Archive for November, 2022

We’re Down By The Jetty

Friday, November 25th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Black Monday – famous for multiple stock market crashes, dating back to Wall Street in 1929

Black Tuesday – following straight on from Black Monday, marks the start of The Great Depression

Black Wednesday – the Sterling Crisis of 1992 – a bonkers day, according to Wayne who at that time he had a proper job, and one where George Soros made a huge profit by selling short – if things had turned out differently George would be working here and Wayne would be worth about $10 billion….

Black Thursday – the global stock market crash in March 2020 caused by your friend and mine, the Covid-19 pandemic

Black Friday – is a 1940 American horror film starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi…. Also the day when, without any help from the stock markets or the bankers, people across the world attempt to bankrupt themselves faster than their neighbours in a bid to grab ‘bargains’ before they do!

As you can no doubt tell, we don’t entirely buy into the whole one day shopping frenzy, especially as nowadays with some businesses, it seems to have turned into a multi-week extravaganza of unreal prices.  Add to this the news from Which? Magazine, who analysed a selection of deals last year from 7 major players to discover that

  1. less than 15% of the deals offered a genuine discount and
  2. many of the promotions are cheaper or the same price in the previous six months….

Having said all that, we’re always keen to help people out so can tell you all that the information we have received from  Elys in Wimbledon says that the best deals this year are in winter coats and female fashion, if you’re interested!

We’re avoiding dwelling too much on the news this week. 

The frustration evident on Alex’s face when I told him that arch-Brexiteer, Eurosceptic and disgraced lobbyist Owen Paterson was suing the British government at the European Court of Human Rights for ‘damaging his good reputation’ was enough for me to stop talking.  However, I can tell you that there is perhaps a point to be made that he damaged his own reputation by committing “an egregious case of paid advocacy”.  Nor should the irony be lost that Owen has also previously campaigned for the UK to break away from the ECHR – where would he be now if that had happened?!?  I then started to tell him about PPE and government scandal and Lady Mone and he muttered something about ‘pigs’ and ‘snouts in troughs’ so we left it there.

So let’s focus on our news instead.  We’ve had quite a few deliveries this week  and perhaps most excitingly, we think our Bordeaux offering is now ready to go – and we’re quite pleased with it… it’s a bit of a list but here you go:



Château Haut Barrail 2016                                                                                       £16.99

Chapelle de Potensac 2016                                                                                       £23.99

Château La Tour de By 2014                                                                                      £27.99

Château Patache d’Aux 1996                                                                                     £35.00

Château La Grave 2016 MAGNUM                                                                         £38.00


Château Grandis 2009                                                                                              £20.99


Château Saransot Dupré 2016 (V)                                                                          £23.00

Château Saransot Dupré 2015 MAGNUM (V)                                                        £46.00


Château De La Coste 2018                                                                                       £28.99

Le Margaux de Brane 2016                                                                                      £38.00

Brio de Cantenac Brown 2015                                                                                  £53.00

Château du Tertre 2010                                                                                            £90.00


Château Lalande 2017                                                                                              £32.00

Château Haut-Beychevelle Gloria 2016                                                                 £33.00

Château Langoa Barton 2008                                                                                    £82.00


Vieux Château Gaubert 2010                                                                                    £28.99



Gaia de Château Puybarbe 2018/19 (V)                                                                  £11.99

Château Relais de La Poste Cuvée Malbec 2017                                                     £19.49


Château Valois 2018                                                                                                  £47.00


Château La Menotte 2016                                                                                         £26.99

Château La Fleur de Boüard 2012                                                                           £30.00


Château Mayne-Viel 2018                                                                                        £14.99


Château Fleur de Lisse 2016                                                                                      £35.00

JP Moueix 2015 MAGNUM                                                                                     £46.00

Château La Serre 2005                                                                                              £70.00


Château Lucas 2015                                                                                                   £21.79


Château Cardinal 2018 (V)                                                                                       £19.99


Clos Albertus 2018                                                                                                    £28.99



Château Gabelot 2016                                                                                               £13.99

Château Deville 2016 (V)                                                                                          £13.99

Domaine de Valmengaux 2016 (O)                                                                          £27.79

Château Le Grand Verdus 2018 MAGNUM                                                               £31.00

As I say, were quite pleased with this – if something catches your eye do let us now because some wines will certainly start to disappear over the next few weeks!

Back to now and this weekend’s tasting offering.  We shall tip our hats in acknowledgement of American Thanksgiving and open one of our perennial favourite whites – Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2020 – £17.99 and for the red we will pull the cork on the Long Barn Pinot Noir 2020 – £14.99 a richer style of Pinot from California.

And with that we must be almost done.  We know the World Cup has started in Qatar with some shock results and small crowds and certain controversy but I imagine that those of you who are interested know what is going on and those of you who are boycotting aren’t interested.  I suggest watching some rugby this weekend perhaps…

Have a lovely weekend, do come and buy some claret – we’ll be Down By The Jetty with Wilko if you can’t find us….

Smoke and Mirrors

Friday, November 18th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Smoke and Mirrors.

Musically… a song by Gotye, the Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist better known for the song: “Somebody That I Used To Know”.

Visually… a special effects company whose work you may have seen in a broad selection of adverts ranging from Adidas to Sol via Toyota and Nissan. Be sure to have the Sol after the motors…

Internationally… a rather swish looking cocktail bar on the roof of the National Gallery in Singapore. A Kaleidoscope for me if you’re buying!

Topically… an intimate magic-themed pub in Bristol that serves a selection of real ales and hosts magicians at the weekends. We think this is where Jeremy Hunt might have been sipping on his inspiration!

Traditionally (from Cambridge Business English Dictionary) … Something that is described as smoke and mirrors is intended to make you believe that something is being done or is true, when it is not:

The new budget isn’t smoke and mirrors; it’s an honest attempt to reduce the deficit.

Economically… it has, of course, been the modus operandi of many chancellors but I’m not sure so many of them had it so freely available in the press before they stood up and started speaking. Normally the contents would be subject to an embargo commonly known as purdah. But whilst the speaker continues to leave rule breaking unpunished, rule breaking will continue. So adios purdah, just another part of our parliamentary tradition being trashed.

Freezing the tax thresholds till 2028 sounds good till you realise it is very similar monetarily to raising the basic rate of tax by about 5p. It seems we’re about to stroll into the largest fall in our living standards since 1956, a year when Wayne’s mum was younger than Alex’s daughter is now and only two years after rationing from WWII finished.

Not removing the ‘Non Domicile’ loophole we think is rather disappointing, surely if you choose to live in a society you would want to contribute to that society?

We won’t even mention the tax cut to bank profits hidden away in the small print where the surcharge was cut from 8% to 3%.

Announcing, yet delaying most of the austerity measures till 2025 tells you everything you need to know about who they think might win the next election.

Elsewhere, it is the 70th anniversary of the pop charts this week and the Guardian was kind enough to share their view of the 70 greatest no.2 songs. There are some surprises in there; Outkast’s Ms Jackson being 22 years old was one. Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks as number one number two (if you get my drift) is something we can definitely get on board with. How many times do you walk across the bridge and that pops into your head?

The 70 greatest No 2 singles – ranked! | Culture | The Guardian

In wine news, American wine magazine The Wine Spectator announced its top 100 wines for 2022 this week. Kevin and the team at Greywacke were chuffed to discover they were the top NZ wine at number 13 with their Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021.

You’ll never guess what happened to arrive on Wednesday! Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021 (£21.99 or six for £120). We’ll be opening this at the weekend too so pop in and give it a go yourself.

Whilst we’re talking about tasting we’re going to open Famille Gras ‘Les Plans’ 2019 (£14.99). Hailing from the Vaucluse, it is a soft and pleasing blend of mostly Grenache and Syrah but with the added excitement of Cabernet and Merlot too. It’s always nice to see what one of the longest established Rhône families are up to.

We notice that Elon Musk has managed Twitter from a $44bio valuation two weeks ago into something closer to around $5bio now and couldn’t help but wonder if we shouldn’t put him in charge of the National debt?


Wayne & Alex

Matt Hancock is getting far more attention than he deserves

Friday, November 11th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So let’s get this clear, it’s all a bit full on if I’m going to try and watch all the sport this weekend:


6.30am Women’s World Cup Rugby Union FINAL – New Zealand vs England

2.30pm Men’s World Cup Rugby League SEMI FINAL – England vs Samoa

3.15pm Men’s Autumn International Rugby Union – England vs Japan


8am Men’s T20 World Cup Cricket FINAL – Pakistan vs England

2.30pm Men’s Wheelchair World Cup Rugby League SEMI FINAL – England vs Wales


7.30pm Women’s World Cup Rugby League SEMI FINAL – England vs New Zealand

As you may have noticed, with the obvious exception of the men’s rugby union team who frankly still look a long way off, there are a lot of events with the word FINAL in their title, which is very exciting indeed. Wayne was pleased to work out that his accumulator of Six England World Cup wins in the next Six weeks will fulfil his retirement yacht budget requirements until I explained that, whilst the first five are very doable, the sixth would be his heartbreaker, especially since no AFC Wimbledon players have made the squad.

However, at least all the sport will be a distraction from politics which I know we tend to get a bit bogged down by. Nothing to report in the UK, all ticking along nicely just like last week; ditto in the USA, no outrageous Trump led distractions there; meanwhile, in a jungle far, far away and probably not far enough away, Matt Hancock is getting far more attention than he deserves.

In the world of wine, we have just taken delivery of the new vintage of Chocolate Block. For those of you new to this wine, it is made by Boekenhoutskloof, in Franschhoek, South Africa and the 2021 vintage is the 20th iteration of this great wine. Mark Kent, the winemaker, tells us: “We made an important decision in 2015 to shift from general appellation Western Cape to Wine of Origin Swartland. The significance is that we can directly manage the majority of the fruit being vinified for The Chocolate Block and farm the vineyards using our sustainable approach to viticulture. After more than a decade of working with these Swartland vineyards, our Porseleinberg and Goldmine farms represent about 60% of the fruit in the final blend. Notably, we can see that the wines have changed stylistically. It’s about the purity of fruit, elegance and structure.”

The 2021 is a whopping 74% Syrah blended with 10% Grenache, 8% Cinsault, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Viognier. Although somewhat riper it shows lower alcohol and good natural acidity, which should develop very well for years to come but they would say that wouldn’t they! How about we ask someone a bit more independent but nonetheless very knowledgeable:

“It takes a lot of talent – and good grapes -to make one million bottles of something this impressive. Using fruit from Goldmine, Porseleinberg and a block in Malmesbury, it’s a seamless cuv?e of Syrah with 26% Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier. Polished, scented and glossy, with blueberry and blood orange flavours, fresh acidity, good structure and nuanced oak. 2023-30” 93/100 Tim Atkin MW

The Chocolate Block 2021

” Half Bottles – £15.99

” Bottles – £25.00 (6 for £135) – we also have a few 2020 left, if anyone is keen to compare them

” Magnums – £55 (arriving mid-December we hope!)

” Jeroboam – £130

And if you really fancy pushing the boat out, we also have the single vineyard wine, Porseleinberg Syrah 2019 – £65 which again Mr Tim Atkin MW has thoughts about:

“This remarkable site has established itself as one of the world’s great Syrah vineyards in less than a decade. Sourced from four blocks totally 4.5 hectares, Callie Louw’s stunning red is just short of perfection this year, but is still brilliant, confirming the evolution in style of the Jamet-inspired 2018. Leafy, spicy, rose petal aromas are supported by pure red berry fruit, detailed tannins and the faintest hint of oak. 2022-32.” 99 points


However, if you’re not in the mood for iconic South Africans this weekend perhaps the two wines we’ve got on tasting might be more up your street?

We’ll start off with a trip to Epanomi, which is about a twenty minute drive south from Thessaloniki airport. Lurking in this vicinity, we find Ktima Gerovassiliou who are entirely responsible for this week’s choice white: Ktima Gerovassiliou White 2021 – £19.49. In 1981, Vangelis Gerovassiliou started reinvigorating the 2.5 hectare family vineyard approximately 25km south-east of Thessaloniki. The vineyards are about 3 km from the sea, which borders the vineyards on three sides, tempering the warm summer days. This wine, a blend of Malagoussia and Assyrtiko, is a deliciously crisp citrus and peach flavoured drop with a splendid seam of minerality. Ktima Gerovassiliou is internationally recognised too – US publication Wine and Spirits Magazine has named them ‘Winery of the Year’ four times.

The red this week is from the Mas Blanch I Jove winery in Costers del Segre, which is just west of Priorat. We’ve spoken about them before but just to recap, most (99%) of the energy they use is solar, the vineyard has been certified as organic since 2015 and they have a great arrangement with artists and sculptors in the vineyard too – they have more than a dozen masterpieces scattered over the property, which look awesome.

Mas Blanche I Jove Sao Abrivat 2019 – £18.99 is a blend of 40% Tempranillo, 35% Grenache and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon matured in a mixture of French and American oak barrels for around 12 months. The wine is soft with a lovely dark red fruit character and a melange of vanilla, cinnamon and black pepper spice notes before the long balanced finish. A regular visitor to both our dining tables?.

And now that we think we’ve kept you away from your work for far too long, we will wish you well and look forward to seeing you soon!

Dear Diary…

Friday, November 4th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

The craziness just goes on and on doesn’t it? It’s so exhausting trying to keep up that we thought we’d try and keep a diary.

Monday found us wondering what Elon Musk would do with Twitter. Clearly he didn’t want too many of the staff and they’ve been exiting stage left with a cardboard box and a coffee mug all week. So far we’ve only heard that he may charge those with a blue tick around $8 for the privilege. We think we’d rather have a pint or a Spotify subscription if we’re honest. Also Guy Fawkes set off again for Parliament, it’s a long way when your legs are made of old tights and newspaper!

Tuesday greeted us with the news that Matt Hancock will be in the Jungle for I’m a Celebrity… Like Mad Nads before him, he has lost the Tory whip for going. It seems a bit strange that he loses the whip for a few days away, yet the blond scarecrow has kept his despite spending most of the year on holiday, before heading to Cop27 and then Singapore as a keynote speaker at a conference on blockchain. What service is he providing to the overly tolerant people of Uxbridge? Does he even know where it is?

We might have to watch I’m a Celebrity though, just to see the Honourable Member from Suffolk gets to be in the Bush Tucker Trials, his constituents seem keen on him eating grubs.

Tuesday was also marked by giant silver balls the size of a transit van blowing down Tottenham Court Road after they were separated from an installation! It looked like an update to The Prisoner!

Wednesday was a veritable treasure trove. We learnt that the government has been ‘wargaming’ a plan in case of seven day blackouts this winter. We also learned from the National Grid that wind has generated 51% of GB electricity for the first time, that’s over 20 Giga Watts!

We learnt that Rishi Sunak is as keen on U-turns as everyone that went before him. He has changed his mind about COP27, quite possibly shamed into it when the blond scarecrow said he would be attending and that King Charles was having a reception for 200 NGO’s beforehand. Also Rishi has said he’ll ditch key leadership campaign pledges. So, if we remember correctly, he resigned because he had fundamental economic differences with Johnson, then he set out his own pledges during the leadership campaign, then becoming PM he said he’ll deliver the 2019 manifesto and now he says that its ‘not the right time’ for any of this. Did we miss anything?

We also learned, and this is the exciting one, that true north, magnetic north and grid north will all combine at a single point in Great Britain this week for the first time in history. The village of Langton Matravers west of Swanage is preparing itself! The three norths will travel together slowly up the country (Poole for Christmas!) for around three and a half years, eventually leaving our landmass at Fraserburgh around July 2026. More details over at the Ordnance Survey website.

Rolling into Thursday we learned the monetary policy committee of the Bank of England would be increasing interest rates to 3%. We also learned that the same monetary policy committee thinks that the UK is already in recession and they expect it to be the longest in history, without taking account of the coming austerity in the 17th November budget. Which kind of makes the rate rise a bit questionable in my view.

Thursday also brought us a step too far in cancel culture. It seems that Mars will be removing Bounty from packs of Celebrations this year. Whilst it could, of course, be just a ruse to get us all talking about their product, it could also be turning a selection of us into Bounty Hunters. Perhaps like grown up Milky Bar kids!

In wine news, we heard that Spanish police are looking for masked thieves who stole 132 bottles of wine worth £172,000 from Coque, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Madrid. They broke into the upmarket Coque restaurant in the early hours of Sunday morning via a chemist’s next door, which closed last month. Detectives believe the collection, said to be ‘one of the best in Spain’, was stolen by criminals who could have posed as customers in recent days.

Which brings us to today and given the current ubiquity of U-Turns (even Vlad the Invader with grain shipments) we wished we’d trademarked it!

Time for a glass of something suitable…

The white will be Dog Point Chardonnay 2018 (£27.99) from Marlborough in New Zealand. Doug and Ivan were part of the pioneering team along with Kevin Judd of Greywacke who set up Cloudy Bay in 1984. This is a wonderful white and it’s far too long since we opened one.

Red we’ll stay down under and open Flametree Shiraz 2017 (£18.99) from Margaret River in Western Australia this seems just the ticket for bonfire night.

That’s it from us, we’ll be hopping in the Chinook to Balham later!