Archive for December, 2021

Happy New Year. 2022 We’ve Got This!

Friday, December 31st, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Possibly not our most original idea but like many before us, we thought we’d give you a quick recap of 2021.

January saw us discuss a racing pigeon lost at a race in Oregon turning up in Melbourne, a flight of 13000km.

February found us up to our knees in Ferrero Rocher, Valentines cards and the Six Nations Rugby, whilst Wayne got a new shed.

We marched on into, well, March and there was more Rugby, covid jabs and the unexpected appearance of Jilly Cooper in one of our Friday emails. ‘Stay at Home’ ended on the 29th.

April rode in with a mixture of sunshine, snow and rain. The Volvo got a new bit for its suspension, Paris Roubaix was postponed and Mark Cavendish came third at the Schelderprijs and then won three stages at the Tour of Turkey. We got haircuts.

May arrived without the removal of any layers as it was still very chilly. We voted for a London Mayor and kept the one we had. Leicester won the FA Cup and Harry Kane wanted to leave Tottenham Hotspur.

In June, the G7 bought gridlock and an extra burst of  the ‘rona to the lucky folks of Cornwall. Whilst scientists discovered infecting mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria causes a 77% reduction in cases of dengue fever without harming the mosquito.

July saw the Tour de France, Freedom Day and England’s men’s football team lose on penalties to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley. Despite not being originally scheduled to ride, Mark Cavendish was on winning form again, equalling Eddy Merckx 34 victories at the Tour.

August featured a lot of Dave’s getting up to mischief. Call me Dave was in bother for lobbying proceeds, ‘Dave Smith’ at the Embassy in Berlin for selling secrets to the Russians, and ‘River Dave’ for being in contempt of a New York court.

September contained too many R’s. Ronaldo returned to Manchester, Reginald Dwight (Elton John) postponed his tour of the UK, Rahm at the Ryder Cup, and a Government reshuffle.

October arrived with James Bond, whilst the Justice Minister was demonstrating his grasp of the brief with “Misogyny is absolutely wrong, whether it’s a man against a woman, or a woman against a man”.

November arrived with COP26 involving more hot air than seemed sensible and Owen Paterson resigned. There were fireworks for most of the month.

He we are at the end of December.  We’d like to thank you dearly for your support this year it really means a lot us. We wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

We did also talk a bit about wine as well but not as much as we would like to think we do – anyway, bring on 2022, we’ve got this!

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Top to toe in tailbacks, Oh, I got red lights all around, I’m driving home for Christmas, yeah….

Thankfully, today marks the last day that we have to pay royalties to Chris Rea, Shakin’ Stevens, Noddy et al for wishing us festive joy, 1980’s style, and we can go back to listening to The Prodigy and Morbid Angel.

IN the meantime, we need to keep this short and sweet as the queue at the tills is starting to resemble the Centre Court Booster Jab line.  We’ll be here until 5pm today and then we are shut until Wednesday.  In fact, our opening hours for the next week go something like this:

Saturday 25th – Tuesday 28th December CLOSED

Wednesday 29th December – Friday 31st December Noon – 6pm

Saturday 1st – Wednesday 5th January CLOSED

Thursday 6th January Noon – 7pm

So, have a very jolly Christmas, eat, drink and be merry and don’t watch the news – you’ll have a much better time if you follow that advice. 

Finally, to show empathy for all of those isolating over Christmas, some wise words, with apologies to The Waitresses:

So deck those halls, trim those trees, Raise up cups of Christmas cheer, I just need to catch my breath,  I think, I’ll miss this one this year…

Wayne & Alex

Sunshine and other Utopian Ideas

Friday, December 17th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well folks, to paraphrase, it’s beginning to look a lot like last Christmas….

Which is not at all where we expected to be when we all sacrificed our plans in December 2020, all for the greater good.  Plus, here in London, we’ve finally reached another ‘world-beating’ milestone, where Omicron is most deeply imbedded and case rates are highest and rising fastest.  Clearly, the fact that the Houses of Parliament and all its law abiding inhabitants are based here is pure coincidence, nonetheless high fives all round – mind my arm though, it’s a bit sore after the booster.

But my God, aren’t we bored of this?  At a time when we should be gearing up for festive fun and frolics we are instead spending all our time worrying about the prospect of getting ill which is no way to lead a life and if we don’t get Covid then we’ll get sick with something else and become a nation of psychosomatics.

Anyway, let’s move on.  There’s nothing good in the news to talk about, any sport that is still going on actually isn’t, due to illness, and we are praying for rain in Adelaide as The Ashes already hangs in the balance and we’re only on Day 6 of the 25!

So, let’s bury our heads in the sand and transport ourselves to a parallel universe where all is tickety-boo.  In such a universe, Wayne is Global President of Everything and as such has decreed that the sun should shine every-day and all rain should take place between the hours of 2am and 5am.  In this utopian idyll there is also no disease, hangovers have been outlawed and the idea of Christmas being cancelled would never cross anyone’s mind.  I have to say, if you like it here, vote for Wayne.

In Utopia you still have to make some decisions but happily you only have to make interesting and fun ones – right now the decisions revolve around what you should drink next week and what to give your nearest and dearest to enjoy.

How about some suggestions from the Global President of Everything?  As mentioned last week, Alex has been busy putting together some interesting selections which I think might not have successfully attached to everyone’s email so here they are again:

THE CHRISTMAS MIXED CASE – £100 (including tasting notes)

  • Lété-Vautrain 204 Brut NV, Charly-Sur-Marne, Champagne, France
  • Hugel Classic Riesling 2019, Alsace, France
  • Flametree Chardonnay 2020, Margaret River, Australia
  • Paddy Borthwick Paper Road Pinot Noir 2020, Wairarapa, New Zealand
  • Chateau Haut Barrail 2016, Cru Bourgeois Medoc, Bordeaux, France
  • Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo, Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2018, Veneto, Italy

RED SELECTION FOR CHRISTMAS – £100 (including tasting notes)

  • ‘The Chocolate Block’ 2020, Swartland, South Africa
  • Embers Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Margaret River, Australia
  • Petit Clos Pinot Noir 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Le Corti Chianti Classico 2018, Tuscany, Italy
  • Sottano Selección Blend 2019, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
  • Altos Ibéricos Parcelas De Graciano 2015, Rioja, Spain

FRENCH REDS FOR CHRISTMAS – £150 (including tasting notes and gift box!)

  • Chateau Haut-Beychevelle Gloria 2016,Saint-Julien, Bordeaux
  • Chateau Relais de la Poste ‘Cuvée Malbec’ 2014, Cotes de Bourg, Bordeaux
  • Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune du Chateau 1er Cru 2018, Burgundy
  • Domaine Belleville Mercurey ‘Les Perrières’ 2018, Burgundy
  • Domaine Lafond Roc-Épine Lirac 2019, Rhône
  • Domaine Treloar ‘Tahi’ 2013, Côtes du Roussillon

If any of these sound like they might solve a few last minute gift problems then just drop us a line and we can put a case together for you, whilst stocks last!

As we’re now only 8 sleeps away from the big fella’s birthday we’ll be opening a couple of bottles of the good stuff…

Sylvain Dussort Bourgogne ‘Cuvée des Ormes’ 2018 – £21.99

This is the estate’s flagship wine, with the grapes hand-harvested from vines between 35 to over 60 years; the wine is aged for 12 months in barrels on the lees.  The wine is racked off once and assembled in a single vat before bottling.  This takes place at between 16 and 18 months, depending on the vintage.  Delicate, rich and elegant, with good length, we reckon in a blind tasting it would easily be mistaken for a Meursault.  Awesome value for money, we always think.

Domaine Belleville Mercurey Les Perrières 2018 – £27.99

We’re big fans of this estate, their quality is evident in both reds and whites.  This is from 40 year old vines on a stony sloped rock outcrop, one of the finest terroirs for Mercurey.  Blackberries and a touch of spice on the nose.  The palate is juicy with again those dark fruit characters, a touch of spice from the barrel and a mere hint of mushroom rounded off with fine tannins and a lovely long finish.

Quinta de Val da Figueira 10 Year Old Tawny – £26.99

A rich amber hue as you’d expect from 10 years in barrel.  Medium intensity aromas of dried fruits, caramelized orange peel and slightly balsamic whilst on the palate it has a medium to full body, crisp acidity with hints of dried apricots and figs.  A lovely, long and spicy finish make this a bit of a treat for everyone!

And of course, the Foxdenton Estate Christmas Liqueur – £23.00 – will also still be open, so plenty to tempt the taste buds with, especially when you add in all the other whiskies and gins we always have open – come on, it’s Christmas, have a taste!

Finally, a bit of admin – below are our opening hours for the next few weeks:

Saturday 18th December 11am – 7pm

Sunday 19th December noon – 3pm

Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd December Noon – 7pm

Friday 24th December 10am – 5 pm

Saturday 25th – Tuesday 28th December CLOSED

Wednesday 29th December – Friday 31st December Noon – 6pm

Saturday 1st – Wednesday 5th January CLOSED

Thursday 6th January Noon – 7pm

That’s quite enough from us for now, back to work you lot!


Prancer and Dancer

Political Parties

Friday, December 10th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Here at Park Vintners we like to think of ourselves of being somewhat involved in the fun business, even if it’s just as supplying some of the ingredients. You can imagine then, our dismay at all the hoo-haa over a Christmas Party.

We normally like to have a festive party and the format involves Alex and Wayne going out to dinner together with their wives. Previous venues that may have featured on the invitation include The Fox and Grapes, The Lighthouse, Nutbourne, Santa Maria del Sur and The White Onion, All are places we feel you can have something tasty to eat and a glass or two of something suitably agreeable to accompany it.

At this point we would like to clarify the actions that were taken last year. We will confess to having not one but two parties. Both of them had the same menu and wine list but no party games or dancing. Because of the government’s rules we found plans changing rather rapidly. In the end we had a really rather delicious hare ragù takeaway from our chums at Whisk and some rather tasty wine from a shelf in this very building.

The first party was here in Wimbledon Park with the second occurring simultaneously in Balham, the two linked by Zoom. We can attribute the Zoom link to the technical abilities of our wives, who spend a large part of their working days enjoying its attributes. We can attest that no other staff, press officers or journalists were present. There was no sleeping Prime Minister upstairs having an early night in a defiant ‘non-attending’ manner. Two teenagers may or may not have been in the building watching television but we cannot confirm or deny because their phones have been changed.

Other than that, we have nothing further to say on the matter.

Have you been following the Grand Prix? All to play for in the Drivers’ Championship with Hamilton and Verstappen on equal points going into the final race of the season. Could be a nail biter, could be two cars off at the first corner, let’s see on Sunday shall we? We weren’t sure we wanted to mention the cricket but on reflection we’ll just reference our email of 26th July 2019, the blond scarecrow had just become Prime Minister when we wrote: 

Theresa was seen sipping a clear drink with a slice of lime in it at Lord’s yesterday; she looked remarkably relaxed, unshackled and about 10 years younger – easy lays the head that no longer wears the crown, to horrendously misquote the Bard.

She did witness a bit of a fight back by the England team though, including an extraordinary innings by a number 11 plus the traditional mid-order collapse.  Good to see Roy in the runs, bit of a concern about Burns though, is the step up to Test a bit too big – Australia will be watching and learning.”

Nothing further to say on that matter either!

In other news we found lying around in the internet’s dusty shoebox, Santa has survived another summer in the Bahama’s and is back in Lapland working hard for the big day. A victim of soaring electricity prices and collapsing energy providers just like the rest of us, he has been harnessing the power from the Aurora Borealis to power the Elves workshop which explains why the colours have been so green lately.

Talking of Elves, Alex has put together some selections of seasonably suitable reds that may tickle your fancy on the gift or drinking front. We’ve taken the liberty of attaching the details.

All that remains is for us to enlighten those of you who’d like to taste some wine at the weekend.  In the celebratory corner we’ll pop the cork on Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut NV (£36.99 or £184.95 for six) because it’s delicious and we’ve not had it on tasting for ages.  Running around in the white ski jacket will be Flametree Chardonnay 2020 (£18.99) a stunning example from Margaret River and if those fishy folk at the farmers market have some brill, that might be just the ticket! Arriving with the speed of a Pat Cummins delivery will be Geoff Merrill Bush Vine GSM 2013 (£19.49) if anyone is watching the cricket it’ll certainly be Geoff!

Like a Spinal Tap Speaker We Go Up to 11

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week, we’ve mostly been cold but we really should get over that because we’re not in the coldest part yet.

Also this week we have mostly been failed.  Words have failed us too often lately and it doesn’t feel terribly much like we’ve reached the end of this cycle.

So, we’re back to wearing masks in shops and trains and suchlike.  However, suchlike doesn’t actually encompass much else unless you happen to be in a hair-dresser, nail salon, bank or caught walking down a school corridor by the local bobby and fined £200.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I want to wear a mask down the pub or in a restaurant but it does feel like this policy on masks is a little piecemeal.

Thérèse Coffey then took measures to help her avoid any awkward moments at the upcoming Number 10 shindigs by discouraging mistletoe kissing, seemingly blissfully unaware that ‘snogging’ is an all-year-round activity and not just reserved for December.  George Freeman then joined this free advice service, saying that the government wasn’t trying to tell the public who they should kiss and where, which we all agree might be a little too prescriptive and invasive.  Boris has yet to join in with his tuppence, perhaps because his advice might be slightly different regarding kissing strangers.

Speaking of the Johnson, seems that whilst he was upstairs reading nursey rhymes to 6 month old Wilf this time last year, his buddies were getting loaded on eggnog downstairs, partying like it was 1999, fiddling whilst Rome burnt and generally observing the famous lyric from Killing in the Name – all whilst we were wearing masks everywhere, seeing no one outside our bubble and exchanging Christmas gifts in chilly lay-bys on the A3.

Before we leave Westminster, we mustn’t forget everyone’s favourite mansplainer, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who seems to be in trouble for lending himself £6 million to buy a house in Westminster…. is there perhaps some sort of financial manipulation going on there Jacob?!

In the rest of the world we have vaccines, boosters, more vaccines, a variant that perhaps can avoid such vaccines and then talk in Europe of mandatory jabs and fines for non-compliance.  We’re both on board with the roll-out, have stepped up every time we’ve been invited to have an injection but at the same time we are a little discombobulated by the words ‘mandatory’ and ‘fines’ – not sure anyone wants to go too far down that road… although Germany now seem more than happy to poke that bear, banning the unvaccinated from shops and bars!

Words fail us.

Back in the world of booze, the panic surrounding Champagne shortages was dealt another deadly blow last night as we hosted our annual Sparkling Wine and Champagne Tasting – Thirsty Thursday is no misnomer and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves like they were at a senior aide’s leaving do.  Much fizz was consumed and I think it fair to say that there were no outright winners or losers and the absence of Prosecco from the list was not greatly missed!

For those of you unable to attend the tasting, fear not, we’ll open a bottle of Champagne today for you all.  For on this day, Friday 3rd December 2010, we opened the Park Vintners doors for the first time!  So, when you consider that Wayne just celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this week too, means we should certainly crack open a bottle of bubbles or two, no?

Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 NV – £30 – 3 bottles for £75

This champagne has been our house fizz for a couple of years now and is a constant delight.  A blend of the usual suspects, 50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir this is an ideal aperitif champagne, crisp and dry with complex apple and stonefruit notes with a touch of breadiness and dried fruit on the finish.  However, don’t take our word for it, come and try it yourselves!

Whilst we’ve got you in the shop, why don’t you also taste the wines we’ve got open?  And perhaps a drop of the perennially popular Foxdenton Christmas Gin?

Valenciso Blanco 2019 – £21.99

We think white Rioja is an oft overlooked style and works particularly well with much of the festive feasting.  A blend of 70% Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca fermented and then aged for 9 months in Caucasian oak barrels it has complex aromas combining pretty, floral characters with preserved lemon, truffle and smoky notes.  The palate is broad and well integrated with nuts and stone fruit characters, fresh candied peel, minerality and crisp citrus acidity on the finish.  A delicious broad mouth-feel and a great length finish cap it all off – we generally cannot understand why we don’t sell this by the caseload!

Marco Abella Mas Mallola 2017 – £27.99

A classic rich and fleshy Priorat made principally from Grenache and Carignan.  The style of wines from Priorat comes from the arid soils characterised by slate strata known in Catalan as licorella.  Marco Abella has 23 hectares of land, distributed over four different vineyards located between 450m and 700m altitude, which make their wines uniquely refreshing. They believe firmly in biodynamic viticulture and follow the principles throughout the vineyard and the winery.  Polished and rich, with firm dark fruits and a bit of grip to keep it honest, this is not a wine we open very often but, as the Philadelphia girls once said, it is my birthday!

So come and try some sumptuous wines on what promises to be a cold weekend and help Wayne celebrate his multiple birthdays. 

We finish with an apology after a longer missive – clearly words haven’t failed us that much!