Archive for October, 2020

Tricks, Treats and Songless Movies

Friday, October 30th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

The world continues to be a little on the crazy side.

For one, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found ‘serious failings’ in the way the Labour Party handled anti-Semitism. Labour leader Kier Starmer called the findings ‘A day of shame for Labour’. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, ever keen to learn from his mistakes still thinks it’s politically motivated by those against him and has now been suspended from the party. This is, of course, a conspiracy and he will be appealing against his whiplessness.

Onto another, there’s the David Bowie biopic ‘Stardust’, the trailer is out and it’s just premiered at the San Diego International Film Festival. One drawback is there are no Bowie songs in it! Can you imagine pitching that for funding?

Us: “We’re gonna make a biography about David Bowie”

Banker, dollar signs in his eyes already: “Fantastic, what songs are in it?”

Us: “Him singing a cover of the Yardbirds ‘I Wish You Would’”

Banker: “Yes, yes what else, ‘Life on Mars’? I love ‘Life on Mars’”

Us: “No, er, not ‘Life on Mars’, but it does have the man himself singing Brel’s ‘My Death’”

Banker: “What about ‘Man Who Sold The World’, that’s almost my theme song?”

Us: “No, the family won’t let us use any of his songs at all”

Banker: “How’s it a David Bowie film with Bowie songs? Close the door on your way out!”

Don’t be fooled by the name, Hollywood is a very strange place.

Marcus Rashford has had a good week. Whilst the Government scored political own goals over free school meals during the holidays (clue: the child is always the innocent!) he has scored his first hat-trick for Manchester United in their 5-0 drubbing of RB Leipzig.

In other sports news, the last couple of days in the Giro were immense, and worth catching up on if you recorded it, otherwise make do with La Vuelta which is also firing on all cylinders.

Somewhat alarmingly, astronomers have found a rogue planet floating through our galaxy. Apparently, it’s a bit smaller than earth and appears to be untethered to any sun. You can read more about it in Astrophysical Journal Letters, but given how 2020 has been unfolding, I’m slightly concerned it may be the Death Star, has anyone got Chewie’s number?

Halloween is tomorrow, is trick or treating allowed? We’ve all been wearing masks for weeks so perhaps we switch back to burning effigies in the back garden next week instead? I’m not that sure if I’m honest, I certainly think Guy Fawkes might introduce a much needed whiff of accountability to Parliament but what do I know?

Given the large amount of pumpkins changing hands this week, we thought we might do something a bit public spirited so here is a link to an excellent recipe for Pumpkin Pie:

Alternatively you can roast the chopped pumpkin for around 30 minutes. Whilst it’s roasting, fry some chorizo in a little olive oil till it is crispy around the edges and the oil is coloured by the chorizo. Put the chorizo aside, in the coloured oil fry a chopped onion and a clove of garlic till tender, add the roast pumpkin, around a litre of chicken stock and simmer for 20 mins before whizzing it all with a stick blender till smooth. Serve in bowls with the crispy chorizo as croutons, perhaps a bit of crusty bread on the side!

For a wine recommendation with this I think I’d go with the Beaujolais Villages Cuvee Six (£10.99) a deliciously fresh red, with softness and freshness in abundance. If you’re going to insist on white how about Troballa Blanc (£17.99) a delicious Garnatxa Blanca from Costers del Segre in Spain, its fruit and mouthfeel give it about the right weight too.

That’s probably enough guff from us for a week, we’re here, we have wine and we can deliver.

Hands, Face and look there’s space in that rack for another bottle or two.

Rock on Tommy!

Jenkins Ear, Morzine & Britney Spears

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Hello, good evening and welcome to 23rd October 2020 edition of the Weekly Wine. 

At some point over lockdown we wrote our 500th edition of this Friday epistle, a landmark that was sadly overlooked in the hiatus of hot weather and rosé consumption but suffice to say we have passed that mark and still my wife hasn’t read a single edition. 

We had hoped that, by adjusting our opening hours post lockdown, we might increase our focus, that shorter hours would result in greater productivity over a diminished period and that many efficiencies would be made.  As demonstrated by the opening lines of this email and, indeed, the lines to come, it would seem we are still more than able to waste time researching dumb facts even when there is less time to waste – which is why we are now considered pretty unemployable by anyone but ourselves!!

So, in an attempt to avoid the real world and the long ramifications of engaging with the BBC comments pages, I have decided to look back in time (notes in italics from and see what was going on today, in better times mostly… so let’s start with war (?)

1739 War of Jenkins’ Ear starts: British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain – a time when they properly knew how to name their wars, or perhaps a time when they didn’t rush into things – Jenkins lost his ear in 1731

1854 English newspaper “The Times” gives precise British positions in Crimea during Crimean War – good to see that Press muppetry has a long history

1989 Hungary proclaims itself a republic & declares communist rule ended – and this was a peaceful transition, which is not always the norm

Then we move into the word of science:

1814 1st plastic surgery is performed (England) – and people still remark on how little I’ve aged…

1977 Palaeontologist Elso Barghoorn announces discovery of a 3.4-billion year old one-celled fossil, one of the earliest life forms on Earth – potentially a joke to be made about Wayne but I can’t quite find it – a little help please?

2001 Apple releases the iPod – just to make us all feel old!

On the big screen:

1941 Walt Disney’s animated film “Dumbo” released – just discovered this is not based on a true story, damn, I seen a peanut stand, heard a rubber band, I seen a needle that winked its eye but I be done seen ’bout ev’rything when I see an elephant fly

1958 The Smurfs first appear in the story “Johan and Pirlouit” by Belgium cartoonist Peyo – the first blue movie?

2012 “Skyfall”, 23rd James Bond film, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem premieres in London – we should be watching the latest edition right now and drinking Bond branded Bollinger, sigh…

Classical music:

1998 Britney Spears releases her debut single “Baby One More Time” – I will never, ever get over hearing a 27 year old friend of mine singing along to this on a chairlift in Morzine – a personal memory, I know, but frankly one he should be reminded of in one of the board meetings he now leads

2015 Adele releases her single “Hello” – becomes 1st song with more than a million downloads in 1st week (1.1m) – that’s a lot of people buying music en primeur, if only we had that market


2011 7th Rugby World Cup Final, Eden Park, Auckland: Tournament favourites New Zealand edge France, 8-7; crowd 61,079 – imagine that many people in one place at the same time – that’s one hell of a ‘working lunch’

Of course, this is just a snapshot of what has happened this day over time – closer to home, in our missive of 23rd October 2015 we encouraged you to vote for us in a Time Out Awards thingy, we encouraged you to drink lots of Rioja and, funnily enough, we encouraged you to go and watch Spectre with a bottle of Bolli – plus ça change!

No mention of current affairs bar this – Wayne has been keen to point out that the Giro D’Italia and the Vuelta a España will both be on the TV this weekend, side by side, and that his recommended drinking is Sepp Moser Classic Organic Zweigelt 2019 – £12.99, a rather tasty drop from Austria, not too heavy with soft tannins and spicy berry fruits.  But it’s not really about the wine though is it Wayne, it’s about the rather dandy velocipede on the label isn’t it?!

Thank you for listening, have a wonderful weekend  and don’t forget it’s an hour longer this time – clocks change on Sunday morning!

Cows over the moon and other space stories

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As yet another crazy week in 2020 draws to a close we find ourselves again amused at the folly of a strange old world.

In Victoria, Australia a cow was rescued from a trampoline this week. It seems a herd of around 40 cows escaped from a farm and one was found trapped in a sunken trampoline, fortunately the rescued cow was ok, and able to walk back to its field unaided. Now, I have to confess as I read the story I had an image of cows bouncing on a trampoline to make it over the moon, and then one of them not making it as a hoof went through said trampoline.  I wonder if I over indulged in Gary Larson cartoons.

Whilst we’re on the subject of livestock, did you see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. Absolutely incredible the lengths the photographers will go to for the pictures though. Winner was Sergey Gorshkov with his time trap camera shot of a Siberian Tiger cuddling a tree. The camera was one of a number that was up for eleven months before capturing the image which, if you haven’t seen yet, is really majestic and worth seeking out.

In Deeside (Glannau Dyfrdwy if you prefer), the supermarket Iceland has launched a chicken nugget into space to celebrate their 50th birthday (no, really!). According to the company it took two hours to reach 110, 000 feet enduring temperatures of -60˚C before turning and heading back towards the earth at 200mph. We’re expecting it to land around 5.45pm when the oven chips should be ready. Is that why mums go to Iceland?

Meanwhile, in Stirling, train services were delayed when the station car park spilled a car onto the tracks. The black Renault failed to stop in the car park, failed to stop at the fence, went across the platform and came to a standstill across the tracks delaying trains for a couple of hours.

In Los Angeles, reports have come in that a China Airlines crew spotted someone flying in a jetpack as they came in to land. It is the second such incident in as many months and the FBI are investigating. We’ve tried to contact Tony Stark and Pepper Potts for comment but are yet to hear back.

In London, news arrived that you and I as taxpayers have employed a selection of consultants from Boston Consulting Group at a bargain basement DAILY rate of around £7,000 to sort out track and trace. I suspect we could have asked a district nurse to run it for considerably less than that!

Our correspondent in Italy has wine news with a frisson of excitement. In an operation code-named ‘Bad Tuscan’, Italian police have seized 4,200 counterfeit bottles of world famous Super Tuscan ‘Sassicaia’. The bit that made us smile was that the investigation was triggered when a couple of cops from the financial police came across a box of the fake wine that “had probably fallen from a truck”! By all accounts around 1000 cases had been ordered by customers from Russia, China and Korea at 70% below the market price.

Remember kids, if it looks too good to be true…

Lastly, the government has changed the rules of engagement, again. I’m sure you’ve all seen the news and the debate, we think there’s probably a joke to be made about ending in tiers but you’ll not hear it from us. 

Mad World!

Catching up!

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Read any news, lately?  No, me neither.  I will confess to having spent too many months reading the same old stories only able to tell the difference between each fable by the numbers/statistics used and the tilt of Boris’s quiff in the accompanying photo.  None of it is news though really, just developments of a saga that no one will ever want to recall around the fireplace:

 – ‘where were you in the great plague of 2020, Grandpa?’

 – ‘in a shop mainly, my boy, surrounded by wine and poorly written email blogs….’

 – ‘oh, how heroic!!’

Won’t happen.

Like many of you (!) I’ve had a bit more time on my hands for much of this year.  Again, like some of you I imagine, I haven’t nearly made as good use of this time as I could or should have done.  When I visited the shed at the end of the garden during one of last weekend’s downpours I discovered a certain amount of rain already inside it – if only I’d had enough time to re-felt the roof over the summer!  In a similar vein, I don’t seem to have caught up on as much TV as I thought I would nor has the list of films I would like to watch shortened.  This might be a blessing though, given the parlous state of the film industry right now.  Anyway, the other day I finally got round to watching Jools Holland Hootenanny, from December 2019.  Now, we all know that it’s pre-recorded but I am always impressed by the vim and vigour with which many of the celebs in the audience attack the celebrations – they certainly seem to be drinking like it actually is New Year’s Eve! 

Ainsley Harriott rattled on about sustainable meat and such like, Michaela Strachan talked about saving the world but then the value added Vic Reeves stepped up and, whilst I’m unable to find the quote from him, he basically opined that, in 2020, we all needed to buy more toilet paper.  Not just a few rolls but whole catering packs to keep us in loo roll for a good while hence.  And everybody should do this.  When Jools questioned what one should do with all this loo roll, Vic just gave him one of those looks that said it all.  And then everybody laughed at Yorkshires finest surrealist and moved on…

However, it is now clear that Vic knew what was coming and this was his warning to us – no dove from above this time, straight from the hip.  So from now on, when Vic speaks, we should all listen up!

Not sure what Vic has had to say this week but I imagine he might be reiterating his advice as we seem relentlessly drawn towards another lockdown of sorts.  A lockdown that still lets the kids go to school of course but doesn’t let their custodians go to the pub afterwards (note to self, must finish watching Teachers during this second lockdown…)

It does seem inevitable now that some further restrictions will be put on our movements, the famous circuit-break, and I genuinely think the pubs and bars will be hit hardest and earliest, especially if we consider what has happened in Scotland and Paris.  So, I fully expect to see none of you this weekend as you all go and support your local bars and restaurants before any announcements on Monday.

Should such announcements be made, then we imagine that they will not be any more restrictive than in Lockdown Part I and, as a consequence, we will be able to continue trading as usual.  Being better prepared this time and with 6 months of experience under our belts, we don’t envisage closing the shop this time but we do see ourselves back in the Volvo doing doorstep deliveries.  As ever, we’ll play it by ear and act accordingly.

Anyway enough doom and gloom, on to our happy story of the week – Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz.

When I mentioned Ratonero, Wayne’s first guess was that he was a little known domestique in the Mitchelton Scott team, who had crashed into a mound of plastic bottles during the Giro d’Italia.  But he was wrong of course.  He was also wrong when he suggested that Ratonero would be the new mascot for future premiership strugglers, Arsenal.  Third time wrong was his punt that it was a new Stranglers album…

In fact Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz is a breed of terrier, descended from our own Jack Russell, which has been given protected status in the city of Jerez as a thank you for keeping the cellars of the sherry bodegas rat-free for the last few centuries.  The dogs have yet to comment, however I imagine they are delighted with such an honour but it won’t change them and they will still be back to work in the morning!  Dogs of sherry – we salute you!

Anyway, that’s it from us, it’s now early afternoon on a Friday and it’s time for you to book that table at the pub, whilst you still can!

Until next time…

Salami and coleslaw cake anyone?

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well, here we are already; we’ve made it to October. I’m using lights for my journey home, the sun is rather low in the sky if it shows up for the morning run and, frankly, is not showing up enough as far as I’m concerned. Sweaters and thermostats aren’t far off, are they?

You know what they say about everyday being a school day? Well, I’m definitely coming around to that point of view, as I discovered yesterday that many people say “Rabbits, Rabbits, Rabbits” or “White Rabbits” on the first of the month. By all accounts it’s to do with a superstition that if you don’t, you’ll have a month of bad luck. I always expect these things to be something to do with superstition but am more concerned that it has taken me way more than 600 first of the months to discover it.

Perhaps the reason I didn’t know is because we were always a “pinch and a punch” family. I always put this down to the casual violence of the 70’s but it would appear I’m wrong on that. It dates back to when people were afraid of witches. The pinch was of salt, believed to weaken witches, and the punch exactly what it says on the tin – a punch! So, there you go some information so useless you’ll remember it!

Whilst we’re on the subject of information it seems there are 47 different areas under some kind of restriction due to the virus. That’s forty seven different sets of regulations, the ignorance of which could result in a fine of £200. Different rules may apply in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I’m really sorry but the rest of this paragraph has been deleted because the rules changed before I’d finished typing it…

A court in Dublin has ruled that Subway can’t call its bread rolls bread because there is so much sugar in them. Salami and coleslaw cake anyone?

We’ve had a blockbuster of a Tour de France followed by the UCI World Championships in Italy where Anna Van de Breggen managed a clean sweep in the Women’s, winning both the Time Trial and the Road Race. She is going to spend the next twelve months overheating with two rainbow jerseys on. Chapeau!

The Men’s Time Trial was won by Filippo Ganna from Italy, and the Road Race by Julian Alaphilippe triumphing in a really exciting final lap. Poor old Wout van Aert was second in both, always the bridesmaid eh?

Now we rush headlong into Racetober (pending random rearrangement!). The Giro d’Italia starts on Saturday, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège is on Sunday. The Giro should be a wowser, partly due to the lack of a clear favourite and partly because the course looks fabulous. Before it finishes, Vuelta Ciclista a España starts, so we are definitely being spoilt plus there’s Paris-Roubaix to come too!

I’m sure you’ve all seen the Champions League draw, looks a tough one for Manchester United eh? Something that did surprise us this week was the announcement of Ladies European Tour Golf in Saudi Arabia in November; surely it’s not only us that think it’s a bit odd? Will there be many Saudi women golfers competing do you think?

On the music front it would appear that AC/DC are reforming, Fleet Foxes are back with a new album Shore which seems to have good reviews and I certainly enjoyed on first listen.  Disco lovers will be excited to learn that Horse Meat Disco have released their first album, on pink vinyl if you’re quick enough, and lastly, for those of us of a certain age, I think Annie Nightingale’s book “Hey, Hi, Hello” promises to be quite a read, pop it on your list!

On the wine front, now the grapes are in it looks like the third good vintage in a row for champagne, so make a note in the corner of the wine fridge, 2018, 2019 and 2020 vintages of champagne should be worth seeking out once they’re ready in a few years’ time.  In the meantime, 2008 and 2012 are both really rather tasty!

POTUS and FLOTUS eh? Hmmmm strokes chin!

Anyway that’s enough random musings from us for this week, look after yourselves and, should you be planning to pop in to see us, our revised opening hours are:

MONDAY to WEDNESDAY – 4pm – 7pm

THURSDAY & FRIDAY – 2pm – 8pm

SATURDAY – 12pm – 7pm