Archive for December, 2022

An Overview of 2022

Friday, December 30th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As is customary at this time of the yea, we have chosen to give you a roundup of events of the last 12 months:

January 2022 found us quoting Labour MP Diane Johnson: “When the prime minister has to spend his time trying to convince the British public that he is stupid not dishonest, isn’t it time for him to go?”  We were also reading about Liz Truss on Wikipedia.

February 2022 saw the launch of Operation Hillman which involved The Met Police sending a questionnaire to many people in Westminster regarding Partygate:  “As these questions are part of Operation Hillman, which of the following Hillman motor vehicles did you see at Downing Street? Minx, Husky, Super Minx, Imp, Hunter, Avenger or Hustler (please tick all that apply)

To help our sponsors, do you prefer Claret or Beaujolais with your Brie de Meaux?”

As it turned out not answering the questionnaire got you off the fine for insufficient evidence, regardless of any CCTV footage!

March 2022 we found ourselves mentioning Rwanda. A bat that had been missing for 40 years was rediscovered in Nyungwe Park.  After being scolded for being late for supper, the pair of Hill’s Horseshoe bats were measured and their call recorded to make it easier to identify them in future and then released.

April 2022 arrived and the fools were still in charge. Mad Nads was selling Channel Four and Chancellor Rishi Sunak discovering his wife’s ‘non-dom’ tax status whilst breaking an election manifesto pledge not to raise tax on the rest of us. ‘Replicas’ by Tubeway Army turned 43.

May 2022 found Wayne on his bike in Mallorca avoiding a high pollen count here, the Tories lose Wandsworth Council and the Negroni, the Mojito and a Pina Colada named as the UK’s top three cocktails. Also fines landed on the desks of those caught up in Operation Hillman seemingly regardless of whether they were driving an Imp or a Minx!

June 2022 arrived almost as a surprise with some sunshine and some disgruntled Peers who were distinctly unhappy with the catering. “There are only so many smoked salmon or prawn and crayfish salads one can take week after week”

“limited range of pre-packaged sandwiches”

“Could the sandwiches be presented on a plate with a bit of salad rather than in cardboard?”

Moving quickly into July 2022, we saw the Sri Lankan President flee the country, the Italian government collapse and Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss say nasty things about each other to show who was the best person to lead the Conservatives. Moeen Ali scored the fastest half century in T20, the Lionesses got through to the Euro final at Wembley, Marianne Vos in the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France Femmes and the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

August 2022 and most of you had fled the area. Wayne was left to contend with Truss and Sunak still knocking verbal lumps out of each other but now in a series of fancy dress costumes that most of us would call work clothes. La Vuelta a España started with a Time trial in Utrecht and Tory Peer Stuart Rose warned “you can’t grow your way out of inflation”.

September 2022 found us with a new King, Liz Truss as Prime Minister and Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor. Truss and Kwarteng decided to introduce a budget to grow us out of inflation that we now know cost the country around £70 billion. Remco Evenepoel won the Vuelta a España.

October 2022 rolled in with us wondering if No.10 would end up on Air BnB but Superman Sunak stepped in to save the day from the real crazies. Wales lost to the Cook Islands in the Rugby League Cup and the James Bond film Dr No celebrated its 60th birthday.

November 2022 found jungle watchers witness disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock chomping on unmentionables in I’m a Celebrity. Superman Sunak turned out less than Super and performed a U-turn on his decision to skip COP27 in Egypt whilst Lady Mone became embroiled in a very unpredictable PPE and VIP lane scandal that saw her take a leave of absence from the House of Lords and flee the country.

So here we are, rapidly approaching the end of December 2022. The clowns are still in charge both here and in Westminster. The clowns in Westminster would like to remove your rights to equal pay in 2023. The clowns here would like to thank you all for your kind support in 2022 and wish you a happy New Year filled with good health, opportunity and laughter.

We’ll be open until 6pm today, noon until 6pm on Saturday and then we’ll return on Friday 6th January at, yes, noon!

Godt nytår!!

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23rd, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

If you’re reading this then we think you probably know what has happened. We won’t dwell on the three Prime Ministers, four Chancellors or five gold rings.

Alex is resolutely refusing to wear red just to avoid any cases of mistaken identity by the young folk around town and we’ve very nearly completed our Christmas pilgrimage through the albums Spotify thinks we need to listen too. Clearly we have listened to too much Buena Vista Social Club and not enough Stereophonics this year.

We’re busy sorting your Christmas wine stocks but if you’re stuck for a last minute gift, might we suggest a gin from Decanter’s Top 10 for Christmas.

The Eclectic Gin Society Spice Blend (£39)

A great Christmas gift for wine lovers who are also partial to craft gin. This is blended in small batches of 140 bottles exclusively for Vindependents, a buying group for independent UK wine merchants. The quirky label design shows a collection of objects representing each different merchant. The Spice Blend is a classic London Dry style, with mellow baking spice aromas, lots of cinnamon and star anise. The punchy, super-spicy palate is balanced by rounded fruitiness, crisp apple and juniper bite, with a pink peppercorn finish. Makes a superbly spicy G&T. – Julie Sheppard, Decanter Dec 5th, 2022.

We’ll be here tomorrow, Christmas Eve, from 10am till 4pm but do come earlier rather than later as Alex has a bit of a drive ahead of him once we’ve locked up.

We’d like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. If it’s not too late to move from the naughty list to the nice list, go for it – we’ll be rooting for you!

Opening Hours for the remainder of the month…

Today: Now till 7pm

Saturday 24th:10am -4pm

Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st: Noon-6pm

In The Know

Friday, December 16th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So that’s that then, this week we have come to the end of an era.

When he burst onto the scene as a precociously talented teenager, the world immediately paid attention as he did things that teenagers weren’t yet supposed to be able to do.  Whilst physically not as strong as many of his opponents, over time he grew and developed and very soon everyone in the world knew his name and was keen to get a glimpse of his talents.  There was always an arrogance and a swagger about him, some people found it annoying whilst others understood it to be part and parcel of being the best in the world.  Whilst famous for his speed, athleticism and his trademark diving when in the vicinity of a net, away from sport he was probably most famous for his love of money, which ultimately could be what he is remembered for most.

Boris Becker was released from prison on Thursday and was expected to be immediately deported to Germany – bye, bye Boom-Boom – never again shall we see you charging up Marryat Road on Finals Sunday, red faced from too much sun/hospitality, next stop Hemingways…. How the mighty are fallen!

(Alex, shall we keep this on file to recycle when Ronaldo moves to Saudi/USA/Newcastle?)

Now that football has come home, carrying its customary quantity of silverware, and Morocco have finished a campaign that has been a delight to us all, we can now get back to watching Harry & Meghan on Netflix.  Or we can sit in the corner and squirt lemon juice into our eyes, which would probably be more enjoyable.  Or we can start thinking about the next big event on the horizon, which is a mere 9 days away.

Yep, let’s talk Christmas and avoid politics this week.

A couple of weeks back we had our Champagne & Fizz evening, which was a lovely event – 8 bottles of bubbles and trays of smoked salmon, what’s not to like.  Anyway, of course, all the wines were very well received; the differences between Champagne and English Sparkling were duly noted; and the out and out winner on the night was an almost unanimous decision.  As often happens, it was the most expensive wine on show but everyone agreed it was well worth it, when put into context:

Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru Millésime 2008 – £75

100% Chardonnay, from Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger, from an outstanding vintage, it was always likely to be a popular drop.  The consensus was that the 12 years on its lees had added enough brioche and breadiness to the delicious fruit and the age had given it a really nice balance and length.  Antonio Galloni put it in a more erudite manner when he gave it 94 points:

Moncuit’s Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Millesimé (sic) shows a different facet of its personality in this version, with lower dosage vis-à-vis the Brut version. Here the flavors are brighter and more sculpted throughout. Hints of toastiness, almond and tangerine oil add an exotic flair that makes the Extra Brut absolutely beguiling. Lower dosage seems to exalt the minerality and bright acids of the year, while pushing the fruit a bit into the background. Both Brut and Extra Brut bottlings are terrific; choosing among them comes down to personal preference. Dosage is 3 grams per liter. Disgorged November 2020.’

And the context I mentioned earlier?  Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV, should you be able to find any, retails for £75 and it’s not even vintage…. IYKYK, as the kids say!

Keeping with IYKYK, we have added Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Brut Reserve (£29) to our cracking 3 for £75 fizz deal.  You can mix it with Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 if you’d like!

Tasting this weekend

It’s the last full weekend before the big one, so let’s have some fun:

Domaine Moingeon St Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Frionnes’ 2019 – £35.99  A couple of years ago we were involved in a MW study that compared St Aubin with Puligny Montrachet and we were really struck by the quality we were getting in St Aubin.  This is a joyous wine, elegant with lime blossom, peachy fruitiness and a touch of nutty creaminess from a barrel ageing.  A perfect partner with white meats, should you encounter any in the next week or so and an impressive if perhaps surprising match with a cheeseboard.

Cantine Povero Barolo Priore DOCG 2017 – £33 ‘The king of wines and wine of kings’.   The Priore is aged for a minimum of 38 months which gives it intense garnet red colour whilst the nose and palate show notes of violet, cassis, wild rose, cinnamon, anise, leather, and perhaps too earthy character of the Langhe, such as truffles, dried mushrooms, and hazelnuts. The palate is warm, dry, earthy, and full and it should come as no surprise that it got a Gold Medal and 95 points in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022!

La Fleur de Bouard 2012 – £30 Hailing from Lalande de Pomerol, this is owned by the same family as Chateau Angelus.  80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is very much the modern style of claret.  Really voluptuous on the palate with black cherry and berry fruits, toasted spice, mocha, and a hint of graphite.  The tannins are oh so silky and it has an impressive velvety finish.

Plus we still have the Porto Krohn 2003 – £50 in the eto and plenty of Foxdenton Estate Christmas Liqueur – £23, should you fancy tasting something sweeter.

That’s it from us, time for us all to get back to work – we’re ready, are you?

Seasonal Delicacies

Friday, December 9th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Wow, what a week  – to summarise:

England beat Senegal to get through to the Quarter Finals in Qatar – lots of goals, lots of different goal scorers in the England team, lots of pace and the prospect of putting some shots past the fading Hugo Lloris on Saturday has them licking their lips…

England beat Pakistan in the First Test, breaking many records en route – lots and lots of runs, lots of digging deep, lots of different wicket takers in the mix, bring on round two…

Eddie Jones has been given the Spanish archer – not before time for many of us. 

The Trump Organization have been found guilty on 17 counts of tax fraud – of course DT has nothing to do with any of this with his defence lawyers stating that, despite personally signing several cheques and leases, Trump was unaware of the tax fraud being committed by his closest lieutenants!  Can’t wait to see what happens next…

Baroness Mone of Mayfair might need similarly brazen lawyers as she faces various investigations into her and her husband’s use of the £200million they were given in 2020 for inappropriate PPE.  Currently the National Crime Agency, the House of Lords standards commissioners, the House of Commons public accounts committee are all very, very interested… as is typical of people blatantly in the wrong (see also Paterson, Owen) Michelle  is taking leave of absence from the Lords with immediate effect, “in order to clear her name of the allegations that have been unjustly levelled against her”.

Rishi Sunak is reportedly a bit surprised and shocked by all this – perhaps, as Sir Keir said, he should consult immediately with whoever was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020…. perhaps the quote from Trump’s lawyers could fit here too?  Despite personally signing several cheques and leases, Sunak was unaware of the fraud being committed by his closest lieutenants!

Meanwhile, whilst we get closer to a General Strike, the rich just seem to get richer. 

Earlier this week, Bernard Arnault temporarily became the world’s richest person on Forbes’ real time billionaires list, surpassing everyone’s favourite chancer Mr Musk.  For those of  you unaware of Bernard’s monetary pursuits, he is the owner of LVMH, who have in their portfolio, amongst others: Acqua di Parma, Ardbeg, Belvedere, Birkenstock, Château Cheval Blanc, Château d’Yquem, Christian Dior, Cloudy Bay, Dom Pérignon, Fendi, Givenchy, Glenmorangie, Guerlain, Hennessy, Hublot, Krug, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Mercier, Moët & Chandon, Ruinart, Tiffany & Co. and Veuve Clicquot – yeah, I know, can’t begin to understand how he became so wealthy!

Anyway, enough of all this nonsense, let’s talk wine and Christmas.  Two weeks to go, plenty of shopping days left but perhaps time to start thinking about it all – with this in mind, let me introduce you to the Christmas survival kits we’ve put together:


Lété-Vautrain 204 Brut NV, Charly-Sur-Marne, Champagne, France

De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2021, Robertson, South Africa

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Marlborough, New Zealand

Domaine Fournillon Pinot Noir 2019, Bourgogne Epineuil, France

Flametree Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot 2018, Margaret River, Australia

Magnifico Rosso Primitivo di Manduria 2021, Puglia, Italy


La Colombaia Amarone 2018, Veneto, Italy

Paringa Estate Peninsula Pinot Noir 2019, Victoria, Australia

Sottano Selección Blend 2019, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina

The Chocolate Block 2021, Swartland, South Africa

Valenciso Reserva 2014, Rioja, Spain

Viña Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Pasa Robles, USA


Cave de Turckheim Riesling Grand Cru Brand 2018, Alsace

Domaine Moingeon St Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Frionnes’ 2019, Burgundy

Domaine Roblin Sancerre ‘Terres Blanches’ 2021,Loire Valley

Domaine Belleville Mercurey ‘Champ Ladoy’ 2017, Burgundy

Domaine La Font de Notre Dame Gigondas 2019, Rhône

Domaine Valmengaux 2016, Bordeaux


Château Grandis 2009, Haut-Médoc

Château La Menotte 2016, Lalande de Pomerol

Château Lucas 2015, Lussac-St-Émilion

Château Patache D’Aux 1996, Médoc

Domaine Valmengaux 2016, AC Bordeaux

Vieux Château Gaubert 2010, Graves

All the cases come with tasting notes, which we have attached for your perusal.

Tasting this weekend

Well, with two weeks to go, why not push the boat out, as they say?

Valenciso Blanco 2021, Rioja, Spain – £21.99 – This is a blend of 70% Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca, sourced from 80 year old vines and then  fermented with wild yeasts before lazing around for 9 months in Caucasian oak barrels.  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.  The texture in the mouth was similar to a posh Graves but believe me when I say it’s unmistakably Spanish in style which is why I often pair it with the Christmas Eve fish extravaganza!

La Colombaia Amarone Della Valpolicella 2018, Veneto, Italy – £26.99 – The grapes are hand harvested at the end of October and these late harvested grapes are dried for four months until January following the vintage. Four months fermentation followed by two years barrel ageing gives us a richly flavoured and approachable Amarone with layers of ripe plum and cherry fruit, mocha and spice. Absolutely perfect to partner with a comfy chair!

Meanwhile, in the eto:

Porto Krohn Vintage 2003 – £50 – Wet weather in winter and spring of 2003 was followed by a very hot August which led to the grapes showing high concentration and sweetness but relatively low acidity.  The result is this award-winning Port – rich, powerful and complex.  Retaining a deep and youthful colour, the nose has intense black fruit characters, with notes of plum, black cherry, sweet spices, liquorice and vanilla.  The palate has structure and concentration, with more of that rich, ripe plum and cherry character, more spice and firm tannins.  Drinking really well right now, this had Christmas written all over it when we tasted it in September!

Of course, we also have our usual selection of spirits open to taste, joined once again by this year’s batch of Foxdenton Estate Christmas Liqueur – £23 – made with Winslow Plums and a blend of traditional Christmas spices including Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon, and Star Anise, our Christmas Liqueur, is the ideal winter warmer.  All this needs is a mince pie and an open fire!

That should be all from us for this week, we’ve taken up too much of your time already, so have a lovely weekend and stay warm!!

144 months open and still going!

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

How’s your week been? We’ve had a bit of a busy one – it seems some of you are having parties and getting organised. To join in, we’re having a birthday on Saturday, it’s the shop’s 12th anniversary, I’m sure we’ll be celebrating!

Happily, Matt Hancock didn’t win I’m a Celebrity. Sadly, they did get him out of there though so he’s not left wandering the jungle for 30 years, reflecting on his shortcomings…

Happily, Emma Raducanu was awarded an MBE. Sadly, it appears the Royal Household is still having racism issues…

Happily, England’s football team qualified for the next round of the World Cup. Sadly, that’s not true for the Welsh.

Happily, some of you got last week’s message about Claret. Sadly, not enough of you have tucked into the selection yet!

Happily, Trump’s tax returns have been handed over. Sadly, we have no further news on that and he’s so slippery…

Happily, there’s been a big breakthrough with a drug to treat Alzheimer’s. Sadly, it’s not available yet.

Happily, England broke some cricket records on Thursday. Sadly, we all know that we can still lose from here.

Happily, we could go on like this for pages. Sadly, we’re not going to.

There’s stuff to be done, lunch to be eaten, cycling to be discussed and wine to be moved down to the cellar, up from the cellar, and out to that chap’s car please Wayne!

We had our end of year Spotify Wrapped round up this week; they’ve decided we are Adventurers because we have listened to 129 genres of music. Sadly, they failed to name them all as, having discussed it, we certainly couldn’t!

I think this is an ideal opportunity to mention that we’ve been in touch with the lovely Nick at Foxdenton and can confirm than not only is Foxdenton Christmas Liqueur (£23) back in stock but it is absolutely the same price as last year.  For those with short memories, we might even be able to let you have a taste!

Whilst we are on the subject of tasting, we will of course open a bottle of our house champagne on Saturday. Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 (£30 – £75 if you buy three bottles) is of course the perfect bubbly to celebrate the shop’s birthday, or indeed any other occasion that might crop up in the next few weeks.

We’ll also be wading into a bottle of Mountford Liaison Pinot Noir 2019 (£23.99). It’s a cracking Pinot Noir from Canterbury in New Zealand’s South Island. Fermented with natural yeast, low sulphur and aged in old french oak for 24 months it’s bright red with a touch of smoke, red plum fruits a hint at leather and a long supple finish. It’s also suitable for vegans if that’s a concern.

White wise we’ll stay south of the equator and head to Swartland, more specifically the Goldmine vineyard owned by Boekenhoutskloof.  Patina Chenin Blanc 2019 (£25.49) is a wine we only came across this year but we’ll let local MW Tim Atkin describe it:  “Patina comes from a 1.6-hectare parcel planted on schist soils in 1996. Partially fermented on skins, it has good grip, taut acidity and layers of pear, green apple and beeswax. Concrete eggs add some focus to the vanilla oak spice.”

I suspect that’s enough from us for this week.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here

Christine McVie RIP