Archive for September, 2022

Yes Ralph, Take Your Meter Readings

Friday, September 30th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I need to start thinking about something else because it’s making me angry.  (Wayne, Park Vintners, 29/09/22 – referencing the current political/economic situation)

Alright boss, let’s see if I can distract you…

Did you know that Marc Bolan and Rula Lenska we’re both born on this day in 1947?   And that Max Verstappen is exactly 50 years younger than them?  Or that James Dean died 67 years ago? 

Perhaps most interestingly though, did you know that today is International Blasphemy Day, something I had been sadly ignorant of until now?  The purpose of the day, as stated by the Center for Inquiry, is “to show solidarity with those who challenge oppressive laws and social prohibitions against free expression, to support the right to challenge prevailing religious beliefs without fear of violence, arrest, or persecution.”

They continue: “While many perceive “blasphemy” as offensive, this event is not intended to ridicule and insult others. Rather, it was created as a reaction against those who would seek to take away the right to satirize and criticize a particular set of beliefs given a privileged status over other beliefs. Observing International Blasphemy Rights Day is a way of showing opposition to any resolutions or laws, binding or otherwise, which discourage or inhibit freedom of speech of any kind.  Freedom of expression, including the right to criticize any belief, religious, political, or otherwise, is the only way in which any nation with any modicum of freedom can exist.”

All of which feels very pertinent in a country where the PCSC Act now exists and people are getting their collars felt for shouting things like ‘who elected him?’ as the then Prince Charles was on walkabout a couple of weeks back.

However, I’m not sure thinking about any of this is going to improve Wayne’s mood…

Still, at least he can still nip down the local ‘spooners and get himself a cheap pint to take his mind off things.  Although his choice of venue is about to be restricted, as everyone’s favourite landlord and self-appointed barometer of what’s good and bad in the UK, Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons, has announced 32 of his pubs are up for sale.  Although, actually, it wasn’t Tim who did the announcing, it was someone called Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for the company.  Now this is very strange because usually Tim craves a bit of media attention and limelight but in this instance has avoided it – doesn’t like to deliver the bad news perhaps! 

One of the pubs on the market is The Asparagus, down on Falcon Road in Battersea, near to where the big old Oddbins shop used to be, where Wayne first cut his wine retailing teeth.  Never the nicest pub in the world, everyone who did their first ‘training day’ at the big shop would end up there after work because it was the only pub they had passed on the way down from Clapham Junction… and then they’d leave quickly and leg it up to the Falcon by the station.  More recently, the pavement outside has become an unofficial parking zone for mobility scooters as their owners tank up inside – where will all these chaps go now, we wonder?

So, no ‘spooners for Wayne, he’ll have to do his drinking at home.

To help him along, we’ve had a few deliveries in this week and a couple of old favourites have returned to the shelves.  Perhaps most significantly we see the return of Bollinger Special Cuvée NV at £55 per bottle or excitingly £270 for six (£45 per bottle!).  For the more ambitious amongst you we also have a Jeroboam of the Bollinger NV which looks darned exciting and will cost you a mere £230.  Sticking with bubbles, the temporary hiatus in supply of Domaine Landreau Cremant de Loire Rosé – £16.99 has now been resolved and we have good stocks.

From Domaine Treloar, Ciel Vide – £13.49 and Three Peaks – £14.99 are also back on the shelves, first come first served.

We’ve previously mentioned new products in the pipeline and two of them also turned up this week.  Blantons Single Barrel Gold – £100 is one of the most sought after Bourbons on the market and is a smooth as Porsche salesman’s patter.  Dark fruit and citrus notes, honey and tobacco too with an excellent long finish and a reassuring 51.5% ABV.  Also from America but there the similarities end, we have Orango Tango – £25.99.  We saw this and just had to buy it.  An orange wine, made in Paso Robles in California, from a blend of Falanghina, Arneis and Pinot Grigio, this is a wine with fabulous texture and poise.  Tropical fruits and a little bit of white pepper spice on the finish this is a wine that crosses many culinary borders – as happy with some kimchi as with a lamb tagine! 

“Yes Ralph, the big orange fella run in from the left and he gives him a good old slapping.  Super taste sensation. Smashing drink. Lovely.”  as Ray Wilkins once famously said!

So, I reckon we’ll open the Tango for tasting today and pair it up with a wine that has also been long absent from the shelves Château Vincens Origine 2018 – £17.99.  As you might expect from this neck of the woods, this is a very dark coloured Malbec – fruity, medium bodied with vivacity and freshness – frankly I’m astonished to discover that we have never put this up for tasting!  That changes today….

That’s it from us for now, hopefully this has worked as a distraction for Wayne and indeed you, at least for five minutes.

Now, go and take your meter readings…

Trump, Tax and Tastings

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Wow, are we here already, I seem to be a bit discombobulated with the days this week. It feels like Wednesday but seems to be Friday! So, welcome to the weekend folks, if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin.

It looks like it could be all over for Trumpolina. Much as he might like to run again in 2024 I suspect it’ll be difficult to campaign from Rikers Island. It seems a three year long investigation by the office of New York’s Attorney General has discovered why Trumpolina was so shy in publishing his tax returns. Apparently, years of lying to tax collectors, banks and insurance companies form the basis of the charges levelled against the Don and three of his adult children. I’ll confess to rather enjoying the Attorney General’s line: ‘Less the Art of the Deal more the Art of the Steal’. Let’s not forget about the FBI raid a few weeks ago too, eh? Wasn’t it poor attention to income tax details that did for Al Capone in the end?

Whilst we’re on the subject of the USA it seems we’ve no imminent trade deal, all those apparently non-existent trade negotiations were really non-existent. I suspect it’s probably for the best really, surely it’s better to get your antibiotics in tablet form from the doctor than the chicken in your lunch! Our new PM, Pork Markets, conducted her first interview from the top of the Empire State Building before heading off to decide who was friend or foe at the UN a bit later. Never miss an Insta moment, eh?

On Wednesday, we read an article by the founder of Cuadrilla, a gas exploration company specialising in fracking. In it he stated that fracking in the UK was unlikely to reach any meaningful scale in the near term because the complex geology and the densely populated countryside make it economically unviable. On Thursday, Business Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg formally lifted the ban on drilling for shale gas in England, stating that opposition to fracking was based on ‘hysteria’. Funny, I thought it was the inability to extract it economically; it will be interesting to see who put’s the money in as I think he’s gaslighting us, if I’m honest. As an aside, sunshine and wind are providing energy at round nine times cheaper according to

We have been abroad in that there big smoke this week: Tuesday found us in Camden chatting with colleagues from around the country and tasting a selection of new wines and vintages; Wednesday found us in the plush surroundings of the RAF club in Piccadilly, a few more wines and lots of paintings of Spitfires. Thursday was more wine, lots of stained glass and a lovely view over the river from Glaziers Hall. We’ve hardly been slumming it I grant you, but we have been working hard to find some new wines for the longer nights that lie ahead. We’ve found a few beauties so do watch this space. I’m sure to be in trouble with the dentist on Monday though!

We’ve been chatting with a few of you about music lately. Spotify has kept us properly on our toes this week,  delivering us Frank Zappa, Paul McCartney and Horace Andy all in the space of just one playlist. We’ve also enjoyed some cracking early 1970’s laid back jazz courtesy of Azymuth radio, the new album by Kokoroko and an early Rory Gallagher album called Deuce.

On the football front, England continue their march towards the World Cup (two months away) with a visit to Milan tonight before returning and hosting Germany on Monday. Given our position in the group I think they might need to step it up a bit. I’m all for peaking come competition time but sitting at the bottom of any table is uncomfortable.

At this point we should probably suggest tasting some wine with you, after all it’s not just about us!

We’re heading for the Kamptal region of Austria to sample Martin & Anna Arndorfer’s Handcrafted Grüner Veltliner 2021 (£16.99) a delicious white lavished with care and attention, unfiltered and in a very tall bottle.

For the red we figured we’d head inland from Alicante (Hi Steve) to Jumilla. We’ll be sampling a drop Sierra De Enmedio Monastrell 2021 (£9.99). It’s from a family winery founded in 1870 and has all the richness of dark fruit you’d expect from this grape variety.

I think that’ll do from us this week, do drop in for a taster.


Friday, September 16th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We have nothing to report that you don’t already know.

We have a new King, we have a new Prince of Wales and Prince Andrew has two ‘new’ dogs.

As mentioned last week, we have a new PM but there’s not a lot new coming from her and her colleagues currently and we’re not confident of when we will next hear anything at all from our representatives in Westminster. 

We’re sure that this is entirely unrelated to the fact that Parliamentary Summer Recess was from 21st July until 5th September.  Oh, and then, 3 days later, Parliament rose in mourning until after the Queen’s funeral.  Oh, and then they are due to go on Conference Recess from 22nd September until 17th October (unless Lindsay Hoyle’s suggestions on Thursday are heeded) before they then take the well-earned November Recess from 9th-14th November.  So, if nothing changes what this means, by my maths, is that in the 116 days between July and mid-November, our MP’s will have been at their usual place of work for just 25 of them.  5 weeks work out of 16 – thankfully there is nothing terribly pressing for them to deal with right now…

While we’re at it, anyone remember this note being left on desks in April this year:

“Sorry you were out when I visited.  I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.  With every good wish, Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.”

Back at yer.

Perhaps Jacob, in his new role as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy could get himself into the office and give us all a clue about what he is doing to ‘ensure that the country has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean’  ( – RESPONSIBILITIES) and also let us know about the 6 month business energy price cap that has been suggested but not satisfactorily expanded upon.

Anyway, let’s move away from Westminster for now.  Very little seems to have happened  in Arthur Road this week, it’s been eerily quiet for large chunks of time and even the return of Wayne with his anecdotes about air travel seem to have done little to lighten the mood.  Everyone is walking around on eggshells, trying to be suitably #respectful whilst at the same time wondering when the world became so judgemental and bossy, perhaps most vividly displayed by the actions of The Sheffield and District Fair Play League – google it.

One thing we have been doing a lot of this week though is wine tasting.  Two supplier tastings, three more next week, and then hopefully a slew of new wines will soon arrive in the shop for autumnal appreciation.  Whilst we wait for these new arrivals, we’ll open a couple of bottles this weekend to allow you to join in the tasting fun:

Follas Novas Albariño 2021 – £14.49

From Val do Salnés, the oldest, coolest and wettest of the five distinct sub-regions of Rías Baixas, yet also the birth place of Albariño sometime before the 12th century.  The vines for this wine are between 20 and 40 years old and vinified in a state of the art winery, completed in 2005.  Fabulously clean and crisp with citrus and floral notes on the nose, tangy stone fruit on the palate and a lovely mineral laden finish.

Di Majo Norante Contado Aglianico Riserva 2015 – £18.69

100% Aglianico, grown in the estate vineyards in Molise.   Aglianico can produce really quite tannic styles of wine that could take up to 10 years to soften out and show their fruit balance.  However, that is certainly not the case here; the winemaker has endeavoured to make an earlier drinking style without losing any of the classic nuances.  Full, intense, dark red fruit characters dominate, some fleshiness and tannin are still evident on the palate but with a softer, velvety background.

So come and join us for a taste and raise a glass again to absent friends.

That’s it for us this week, just worth noting (and I imagine this doesn’t come as much of a surprise) that as we now have a Bank Holiday Monday coming up, we will be CLOSED, opening again on Tuesday as usual – see you then!

The Queen

Friday, September 9th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As you can imagine, we’d already penned most of this week’s missive when the news came in last night.  We don’t have any pre-prepared statement for such an event; there are no precedents to go by; we don’t have any protocols in place to mark the passing of a much-loved monarch and as such, are significantly under-prepared – hence we will stick with the potent simplicity of Rest in Peace.

As mentioned, we’d already written most of the email yesterday and, having re-read it, we think it can still be sent out unchanged, however please don’t read on if today you’re not in the mood for our view of the world….

Here’s what we wrote yesterday afternoon:

The week in a nutshell:

Monday – Liz won the leadership race, although perhaps not by the huge margin we had been led to expect, whilst Rishi skedaddled to the backbenches to plot his return to the mainstage.

Tuesday – Boris, ever the narcissist, made up a farewell speech that none of us needed, before he skedaddled to the backbenches to plot his return.  Oh, and Liz became PM.

Wednesday – first proper day in the job for the second Mrs T.  PMQ’s came and went without any long words and the new cabinet was announced – you thought Boris’s last selections were the Dream Team; Liz has just gone further to the right.  Skedaddling to the backbenches and hopefully not plotting a return are Priti, Dominic, Nadine and Grant.  Oh, and Suella becomes Home Secretary – how on earth?

Thursday – fresh from receiving congratulations yesterday from Theresa May on becoming the third female PM, today Liz makes her out to be a liar.  ‘There’s no magic money tree’ is what Theresa famously said in 2017 but, apparently, there is because, despite all the billions spent during the pandemic, the tree still has more than £100 billion left to be scrumped to cover her new energy policy.  Oh, and fracking is back….

Friday – well, one can only assume she will broker peace in Ukraine, sit on inflation, stop the recession and the cost of living crisis by lunchtime, thus giving her enough time to read this email over her egg and cress before settling in for an afternoon watching La Vuelta a España with Wayne.

Meanwhile, moving north from Westminster and up to the Beavertown ‘craft’ brewery in Tottenham, we learn that founder, Logan Plant, has sensibly sold his remaining share of the company to Heineken, just before the costs of brewing go stratospheric.  In 2018 he sold them 49% of the business for £40 million so we can only guess at what he’s been given this time – a lot we imagine and not a bad turn around for a business that was only set up in 2011.

Park Vintners was founded in 2010 and will happily consider offers in excess of £50 million.

However, until someone makes us an offer, it’s business as usual.  Encouraged by the Heineken move, we decided to do some beer buying ourselves but rather than buy a brewery we just bought some cans.  Two new lines appeared this week, guests if you like, we’ll see how you enjoy them:

The Park Brewery Birthday Pale Ale 4.3% – £4.00

What they say: For our eighth birthday celebration we decided to make the style of beer we love, a hazy, session strength pale, tropical and juicy, packed full of some of our favourite hops – Huell Melon, Citra BBC, Simcoe and Cryo Sabro.

The Park Brewery 1637 Pils 4.9% – £3.50

What they say: A deep golden Bohemian-style Pilsner beer. Munich, Pils and Carahell malts provide a smooth and sweet base for the noble spiciness of the Polish Magnum and Lubelski hops.  Lagered for six weeks for a smooth and clean finish.  And the name?  Well, King Charles I enclosed the park in 1637 with an 8 mile perimeter wall forming his own deer park. This wall has helped to preserve the park until the present day.

At this point Wayne usually likes to put in a few pithy one liners about sport, particularly ‘real’ sport AKA cycling.  So, I’ve been revising and have to say that with the sad departure of Roglic on Tuesday the race now looks to be done.  That is unless something remarkable happens on Saturday according to Alberto Contador, who knows a thing or two about remarkable feats having cycled 20 km with a broken shin in the 2014 Tour de France.  In football, I spent all day looking for Arsenal’s Championship League results but couldn’t find them anywhere….  Cricket is wet, as is the Wentworth PGA and the tennis is on Amazon Prime so no one really knows what’s going on there!

I think, poignantly, that this weekend is definitely a ‘raise a glass to absent friends’ weekend – we don’t sell Dubonnet or Krug which were, by all accounts, favoured tipples so let’s focus on the raising of the glass rather than its contents.

Here, we’ll be raising glasses of Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2020 – £17.99 and also Chateau La Tour de By 2014 – £27.99

Based in the Livermore Valley in California, Wente’s vineyards were founded in 1883 and are still owned and managed by the same family, 4 generations later.  They were also one of the first to plant Chardonnay and one taste of this suggests they are doing a fine job.  Crisp with fine elegant apple notes and a supporting touch of oak, bang on some grilled lobster! Meanwhile, in Bordeaux the 2014 La Tour de By is a gem.  As Wine Enthusiast wrote:

“The Pagès family, which has a group of estates in the Médoc, has produced a rich, concentrated wine at this château. While packed with black currant fruit from the 60% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, it also has a firm layer of tannins that will allow it to age. Drink from 2021.” – 92/100

Sounds good to me.

I’ll leave you now with a quote attributed to the first Mrs T that for some reason feels appropriate: ‘Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t’.

Farewell to a class act.


Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Welcome back everyone, welcome to September, the 9th month of 2022 and undoubtedly a month filled with potential tumult, but first, a dictionary lesson, courtesy of

TRUSS [trʌs]


  • a framework, typically consisting of rafters, posts, and struts, supporting a roof, bridge, or other structure.   Synonyms: support · buttress · joist · brace · prop · strut · stay · stanchion · shore · pier
  • a surgical appliance worn to support a hernia, typically a padded belt.  Synonyms:  surgical appliance · support · pad
  • a bundle of old hay (56 lb), new hay (60 lb), or straw (36 lb)
  • a compact cluster of flowers or fruit growing on one stalk
  • a heavy metal ring securing the lower yards to a mast


  • tie up the wings and legs of (a chicken or other bird) before cooking.  Synonyms: tie up · bind · chain up · pinion · fetter · tether · secure · fasten
  • dress (someone) in elaborate or uncomfortable clothing
  • support (a roof, bridge, or other structure) with a truss or trusses.  Synonyms: prop up · hold up · bolster up · support · brace · buttress · strengthen · fortify · reinforce · underpin · stay · underprop

Plenty of punning fun to be had here over the next few months, I’m sure.

Anyway, back to where we were.  It’s now September, the roads have suddenly filled up again and the tumbleweed that has happily swept up and down Arthur Road for the last six weeks has now re-located to Cornwall for some peace and quiet.  Both Schools and Parliament return on Monday and we shall all wait with bated breath to see how the new Head Girl is going to get on.  To be fair to the Trussock, there are not too many pressing items in her in-tray so she can take her time arranging her Cabinet and redecorating the flat at Number 10 before focusing her attention on opening up new pork markets.

All very exciting whilst also quite terrifying, so let’s move away from politics…

Whilst Wayne has gone off to further his studies of aircraft seat belts and bulkheads, I’m left holding the tiller of the Park Vintners Pedalo – hopefully, I won’t need rescuing in some Flintoff-esque late night escapade but do please check the lake in Wimbledon Park if the shop isn’t open one day.

There is of course, no good reason for the shop not being open, it’s not as if we work terribly extended hours but if there were ever to be a reason, it might result from my recent rediscovery of the joys of a Bloody Mary.

Now, back in the halcyon days, pre children, responsibility and mortgages, a Sunday Bloody Mary or two would be just the ticket after an activity filled Saturday night – vitamin C, spice, and a decent shot of vodka all stirred in together with a celery stick and a splash of Manzanilla sherry on top – was the breakfast of champions and the perfect potion to encourage a snooze in front of the 4pm football with The Sunday Times as a duvet.  However, in more recent years, Sundays have involved too many trips to previously uncharted parts of Surrey to watch disengaged 9 year olds playing rugby in the rain and the comfort of a Bloody Mary became long forgotten.

But that’s all changed now.  That disengaged 9 year old is now 18 and very excited about exploring the world of grown-ups and it was he who re-introduced me to the famous tomato cocktail – and wow, wasn’t it good!  Often, when you go back to something it’s never quite how you remember it and, in truth, this was the same for me.  However, if you go back to something and tweak it a bit, then you’re probably onto something and this is where I finally get to my point – tweak the vodka.  Previously Absolut was perfectly acceptable but now, thanks to the random experiments by Braden at Doghouse Distillery, the only vodka that will do is the Baller Chilli Bacon.

Yep, Chilli Bacon Vodka, who knew this was what the world was missing.  It does make the best Bloody Mary though and I have it open for tasting this weekend (bring your own tomato juice) – it’s £33 a bottle and it might just make you re-consider your Sunday plans…

For Louise, who on Wednesday was very keen to know what wines I would be opening this weekend, I will, as predicted, be opening a white and a red.  Both wines come from the Meerlust Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and neither of them has sat on the tasting counter for a number of years:

Meerlust Chardonnay 2021 – £24.99.  Winemaker Chris Williams has been dialling back the richness of fruit and oak on this over the last four or five vintages, introducing a zippier freshness to it.  The wine is bright and vivacious in the glass, with citrus, pear, lemon cream and oatmeal aromas.  In the mouth we have a medium-bodied citrus character, with some stony minerality and a lovely fresh and lingering finish, with again a hint of that oatmeal character.

Meerlust Red 2019 – £15.99 is a classic Bordeaux style blend of 55% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Aromas of cassis and plums drag you into an immediately appealing, medium-bodied red with crushed black fruit, a touch of vanilla spice and soft silky tannins.

I think that’s more than enough from me for now, pop by and say hello if you’re out and about, I’ll be here, hand on the tiller, looking forward to Sunday lunchtime…..