Archive for April, 2023

The Braverman Blog

Friday, April 28th, 2023

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been a bit of a week and it feels like only five minutes since I last typed that if I’m honest. We also know that a number of you have had birthdays and anniversaries during the course of this week, so felicitations one and all!

You’ll have seen Cruella Braverman has been doing the rounds again this week and on that front we’d like to bring you a bit of a scoop: we only got to help out on a bit of speech writing!

Obviously, we’re in full agreement with all parties on the right to free speech and were chuffed to have this opportunity.

[This speech has been edited by HM Government to remove political content.]

Thank you, Rory for that introduction. You know better than most, from your own experience on the beat, the realities that our brave police officers face when going up against MP’s and other criminals, and the damage that crime can do to people and communities.

And that’s why it’s wonderful to be here welcoming the launch of The Public Safety Foundation, an organisation committed to making the UK the safest place to live, work, vanish taxpayer funds and raise a family. Alongside Rwanda obviously.

This really is the perfect forum for setting out my ethos for common sense policing.

Everything that our police officers do should be about doing what I say, wearing Hi-Viz, fighting crime, catching criminals, and keeping the public safe.

My mantra at the Home Office is simple: common sense policing.

Common sense policing means more common sense.

It means better police culture and not wasting time investigating our elected officials.

It means giving the public confidence that Parliament is unequivocally on their side, not pandering to politically correct or, indeed, incorrect preoccupations.

It means measuring the police on outputs such as public response times, Hi-Viz deployed, crimes solved, and criminals captured.

It means police officers freed up to spend their time on proper police work like jogging alongside the PM’s motorcade.

It means police prioritising the highest harm crimes and those that matter most to the public. We are particularly concerned with that noisy man on Parliament Square and those nasty teenagers who keep glueing themselves to things. The public is mistaken in their belief that all the missing fast track covid money should be investigated.

And above all else, common sense policing means officers maintaining a relentless focus on wearing Hi-Viz, fighting crime, catching criminals, and most of all, common sense.

It is central to common sense policing that the public wants to see more Bobbies on the beat and so do I. Particularly if that beat is provided by Justin Bieber.

Everyone who has been part of the government’s Police Uplift Programme should be immensely proud of what we’ve told you we’ve achieved in the last few years.

We’ve delivered an additional 20,951 officers into policing over the past three years, coincidentally replacing the 20,000 officers that we cut 2010-2017. I’ll also point out that we’ve increased the police numbers to a new record of almost the same despite a rise in the population of 5% over the same period.

I have widened the pool from which we can recruit, by enabling non-degree holders to be part of policing. It’s not about how many exams you sit or essays you can write – important skills though those are, believe me when I say I was never top of the class in any of those.  It’s about common sense, problem-solving, strength- of character and how your physique looks in Hi-Viz. You will, of course, still be required to be dishing out the third degree!

Lastly, I repeatedly get asked about the common sense policing of Michelle Mone and the large amount of money that may or may not be missing. Let me be clear, there is nothing to discuss as Michelle has a big boat and it’s only small boats that are illegal. Actually, I wonder if I can skip the crowning thing and join her for some cocktails.

Anyway, thanks for listening, and remember, 20,000 officers is not just a statistic in a press release!

In the interests of balance the real speech is available here…

Suella Braverman: Full speech on ethos of ‘Common sense policing’ | West Bridgford Wire

Elsewhere, Labour’s Jess Phillips appears to be in trouble with the Standards Commissioner over some untimely declarations, Kier Starmer has distanced himself from looking at Proportional Representation, the SNP continue to gently implode and Arsenal fans are starting to wobble.

It’s been quite a while since we ordered wine from our New Zealand supplier; the journey has been a long and arduous one that included the moving from a warehousing facility that was small and crowded to an enormous one where nobody can find anything. However, that’s all in the past and we are chuffed to announce now that our bestselling Marlborough white has finally arrived. Yes folks, Southern Dawn Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (£12.99) is back in da house. We’ll open a bottle to let you all re-discovers its charms.

We’ve spoken to a number of you planning holidays in Greece this summer. As part of our remit to public and community service and definitely not because we fancy kleftiko on Sunday, we will be opening Monemvasios Red 2013/14(£23.99). It’s from the southern part of the Peloponnese, in the southern part of Greece, made from 90% Agiorgitiko and 10% Mavroudi but I imagine you knew this already.  It’s absolutely delicious, the fact that the wine has a nice bit of age means we have some lovely mature dark fruit and silky polished tannins – all in all a wine that gives scores high on both tasty and satisfaction scales.   

With that we’re outta here – have a great long weekend and remember as it’s a Bank Holiday we will be closed on Monday, so we’ll see you Tuesday at noon!

Trust, Integrity and The London Marathon

Friday, April 21st, 2023

Fellow Wine Lovers,

When Rishi Sunak made his first address as Britain’s Prime Minister, he vowed to lead a government of “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.” He now joins Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Henry Smith MP, Scott Benton MP, David Mundell MP, Christopher Pincher MP and Steve Brine MP on the investigations list of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. *

The Oxford Dictionary suggests integrity (noun) – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

*In an update to this, Dominic Raab has resigned today. If you read his resignation letter, it’s a real “sorry, not sorry” example and I’m not convinced he feels any contrition or even much acceptance of the findings of the enquiry.

With no comment from us, the latest blog post on Ofwat’s website starts… “Trust arrives on foot and leaves on horseback.”  This old proverb was quoted recently in a discussion about trust in the water sector in England and Wales.

It’s the London Marathon on Sunday. Since its inception in 1981, it has become an event that has inspired so many people to take up running, give up running, take up charity or volunteer work or become fancy dress experts. Alex has run it twice, Wayne joined in for one of them in 2014 though we didn’t manage to meet till the end, but definitely felt we’d earned a beer and pizza that evening. We know many of you have run it and that several of you will be running it this year. A friend of Wayne’s is running her 10th , and final, London Marathon this year for Haven’s Hospices, so if you’ve some spare cash down the back of the sofa you can donate here… Havens Hospices – JustGiving.  Or perhaps the Lifeboats, because you never know when you might need saving and you’ll have the added bonus that it so upsets Suella and Nigel RNLI – Royal National Lifeboat Institution – JustGiving . Best wishes and good luck to all runners, the hard work is behind you and the cheers, smiles and jelly babies will power you round like a magic carpet. But don’t use a magic carpet obviously, that’d be like getting in a car on an ultramarathon!

As we move into Record Store Day, we have exciting news on the music front: Everything But The Girl have a new album out today. ‘Fuse’ is their first album since 1999’s ‘Temperamental’ and has gained a 5 star Album of the Week review from The Guardian. Wayne ordered a copy on hearing the first track and reckons it’s definitely worth a listen on this weekend’s new tunes rotation.

Truth be told we’re probably pretty poor at our jobs, you’ve all signed up to hear about wine and in return we give you poor takes on sport, tin-pot political views and mostly rubbish horseracing tips. That all changes today as we’ve got some new wines coming in or just arrived.

Funkstille Grüner Veltliner 2022, Niederösterreich, Austria (£13.99) is a cracking new member in our Austrian corner and is a classy, crisp dry white with pear fruit, citrus and melon notes and a great dry finish.

Chateau de l’Aumerade Marie Christine 2022, Côtes de Provence Cru Classé (£17.99 or 6 for £90). Everybody’s favourite rose arrived yesterday, crisp, dry and as elegant as always.

Solevari Reserve Feteasca Neagra 2017, Recas, Romania (£12.99) from the same stable as the ever popular Orange wine, this was a bit of a find. We tasted it a couple of weeks back and were rather taken with it. Spicy black pepper framing black berry fruit character, a hint of cherry, maybe even a bit Pinot Noiry, medium bodied and great value was what we wrote down.

Las Tres Filas Mencia 2020, Bierzo, Spain (£15.99). We’ve been looking for one of these since our last one went missing in action, unable to survive the combined problems of Brexit and Covid.  As you’d expect from this north western part of Spain, silky in the mouth, medium bodied with dark fruits and just the ticket with some lamb chops, grilled tuna or some aged hard sheep cheese!

Another one that snuck onto the shelves a few weeks ago and that we’ll be opening this weekend. Dom Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Valle del Maipo, Chile (£31) is an absolute stunner from the smart folks at Tabalí. Apart from being a smashing resignation gift for all your friends called Dominic, it is from one of Chile’s finest sites for Cabernet Sauvignon. Lovely cassis fruit, soft tannins with cedar and star anise notes providing a framework to that cassis character is what we reckon, have a taste yourself and tell us what you think.

On the white front, we’ll give that Funkstille Grüner Veltliner mentioned above a go shall we?

That’ll be us for another week, do come and taste the new wines and have a fabulous weekend!

Wines and Winning

Friday, April 14th, 2023

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Another short week this one, with more on the horizon – we could really get quite used to these long weekends!

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to pop in yet this week, I’ll fill you in on what you’ve missed – frankly nothing.  I’m not sure if it’s the fact that everyone is taking advantage of a nice Easter break somewhere less wet than here or that you are all keenly avoiding Alex for fear of him regaling you in torturously tedious detail about how much money he won on his Phil Mickelson Masters tip.  Either way, the bell above the door hasn’t tinkled as much as it usually would…

So, we’ve spent quite a lot of time reading what’s been going on in the world.  Okay, in fairness we spend a lot of time every week catching up on the news, as evidenced in our amateur assessments every Friday lunchtime.  On the whole, we found it quite hard to find much to report on – less coverage of the junior doctor’s strike than we thought we would find, lots of coverage of Joe Biden in Ireland and lots about that controversial Labour Party poster of Rishi Sunak.

So, realising that perhaps we should actual get on and do some work, we looked to the world of wine for our entertainment which sadly didn’t involve opening a bottle of Meursault but did involve us buying a couple of new lines.

Ferghettina Franciacorta Brut NV – £25.00

For a long time we have resisted the temptations offered by Franciacorta, on the grounds that we often found the wines to be too expensive when they arrive in the UK and consequently not terribly competitive when put up against the wines of Champagne.  For those of you that don’t fancy looking at Google, let me save you the trouble.  Franciacorta is a sparkling wine produced in northern Italy, from the province of the Brescia, Lombardy.  Widely considered to be Italy’s finest sparkling wine due to the fact that it has more complexity and finesse than Prosecco or Moscato d’Asti, it is produced in the traditional method using Chardonnay, Pinot Nero (and occasionally a spot of Pinot Bianco), and is undoubtedly a homage to the fine sparkling wines of northern France.

Ferghettina is a family run winery, founded in 1991 (sparkling wine production in the region only started in the 1960’s) and their Brut NV is a blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Nero.  It is aged for 30 months on it lees and has a palate laden with some citrus zing, some ripe golden apples, some floral blossom and some hazelnut too.  As you can perhaps tell, we are fans….

Staying with Italy, we see the return of Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2020 – £30.00.  Whilst not officially a new line for us, the grapes in this wine were yet to have been born when we last sold this, in those halcyon pre-Covid days, it deserves to be mentioned.  As the winery themselves say: Instantly enjoyable, versatile and playful, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia is all about conviviality. This bright red wine opens the door to the world of Ornellaia and simply shares the passion for quality that is experienced every day on our estate and with every sip.

So far as a tasting note is concerned, it’s hard to argue with Jane Anson’s appraisal:

“Grabs you from the first moment your nose hovers over the glass. Smudged charcoal runs into raspberry, underbrush and mandarin orange peel that speaks of Tuscan sun. Excellent quality, good persistency in the glass as it stretches out through the palate. Everything feels in balance, and this provides another indicator that 2020 is a great vintage in this corner of Italy – Le Volte is (almost) 100% Merlot but has freshness and nuance.”  93 points

Domaine Richard Saint Joseph Cuvée Prémices 2020 – £23.99.  It had come to our attention that we were looking a little bit short in the Northern Rhône department so we acted immediately.  This is from a family estate in the small village of Chavanay located at the heart of the Pilat, the top of the Rhône valley. 100% Syrah, this is a super fruity Saint-Joseph with light notes of red fruits and pepper, really approachable right now and a great all-rounder.

We also have a couple more wines in the pipeline but sadly they haven’t arrived in time so more fun to be had next week!

Looking ahead to the weekend, Alex now tells me that there are two things I should be aware of.  Firstly, it’s International Malbec Day on Monday, which strictly speaking isn’t the weekend but does give me a guide as to what to open today.  Secondly, he tells me that Escaria Ten, Cape Gentleman, A Wave of the Sea, Recite a Prayer and Born By The Sea are all at 100-1 in the Grand National tomorrow at 5.15pm.  I’m not sure if he thinks he’s some sort of renascent John McCririck but frankly, I still wouldn’t touch his tips with a bargepole – I reckon Back On The Lash at 50-1 sounds far more his level!

With International Malbec Day having been mentioned, I think perhaps we should crack open a bottle of Bodegas Staphyle Iris Malbec 2021 – £9.99 for tasting later.  This is from Lujan de Cuyo, which is pretty high altitude wise and home to most of the smart names in quality from Mendoza.  The winery was originally built in 1930 but was fully updated in 2002 by boutique winery Bodegas Staphyle.  The wine is brilliant, youthful and bright with light tannins, cherry and berry fruit characteristics and a lovely easy going finish.

For a white, a cheeky little Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa has been tugging at my sleeve.  Barton Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2020 – £13.49.  We like the wines from Barton and it seems you do to.  The cool maritime climate of Walker Bay is ideal for Sauvignon and this one is all about green pepper, gooseberries, and grapefruit, underlined with a crisp minerality and a medium- bodied citrus finish – ideal!

That’s it from us for this week, and remember it’s another short weekend this one, with more on the horizon – we can’t really get quite used to these long weeks!

Alex & Wayne

Park Vintners

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Friday, April 7th, 2023

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Our week, in numbers:


Having recently completed a major refurbishment programme, Bibby Stockholm can accommodate up to 222 guests in high quality en suite bedrooms alongside a range of modern facilities over three decks ( -Stockholm-Factsheet.pdf)

So is capacity 506 or 222?  There seems to be some serious discrepancy, are we trying to get 506 men into 222 beds?  Pretty sure that there aren’t too many UK prison cells with more than 2.279279 people inside?

14, to become 15?

So, is Scott Benton the next Owen Paterson?  Maybe, maybe not, but as we write he has had the Conservative party whip suspended and I would suggest to all of his colleagues to be really careful who they have meetings with, and make promises to, outside the Palace of Westminster.  If Scott does end up becoming un-whipped, it will take the number of Independents currently sitting in the Commons to 15 – the fasting growing party and the fourth biggest group there, with one more member than the Liberal Democrats!

Minus 2.

Everyone’s favourite orange, President Trump, finally made it to court this week to give his reaction to the 34 charges he faces.  As you would imagine, he brought some supporters and family members, so Melania’s decision to stay in Florida and wash her hair went by completely unnoticed.  Oh, and Ivanka had better things to do too….

£200 million.

That’s how much interim manager Frank Lampard spent last time he was at Chelsea (aren’t all Chelsea mangers interim?).  Anyway, they sacked him, of course, and he subsequently ended up at Everton where he was praised for successfully steering the Toffeemen away from relegation.  The question we are asking ourselves is, whilst  we know Chelsea are top of the bottom half of the table, 12 points clear of the drop, surely they aren’t already putting their focus on league survival, are they?!


Having been unable to place our usual bet on Fickie Rowler as he was outside the Top 50 (don’t worry Wayne, one day he’ll win and we’ll get all our money back), we scanned down the various odds for the Augusta Masters and far, far down we found Phil Mickelson at 400-1.  Now, we know he’s a numpty and in pretty patchy form but frankly, an each-way on the man who has won the Green Jacket three times seemed a pound well spent.  Theegala at 80-1 and Spieth at 16-1 also caught our attention for e/w punts however, if you want to win some serious money, I’d avoid them at all costs because we are lousy tipsters!


That’s exactly the amount of information our cycling fanatic gave me, before he beetled off to the south coast to eat fish and chips and drink Rosado, about the Paris –Roubaix, whatever that is.  A quick google tells me that it’s 257km, hilly and takes place on Sunday…. sounds like a lot of hard work, think I’ll stick to hitting little white balls into hidden sand-traps and lateral water for my fun, thanks!


As you have now no doubt realised, we are open today (Friday) and tomorrow from 12 noon until 5pm.  Easter Sunday and Easter Monday we will be mostly consuming chocolate and intermittently snoozing to ensure we return to work bright and breezy on Tuesday.


The number of wines open to taste today and tomorrow.  For those of you who haven’t beetled off to the south coast to eat fish and chips and drink Rosado, you’re in for a bit of a treat.

Domaine Alexandre Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2020 – £21.99.  This 13 hectare property is in the small village of La Chapelle-Vaupelteigne just north of Chablis.  It’s a real family affair here, Guy and Olivier being the 3rd Generation at this estate and this cuvée is from the oldest vines, around 60 years old, which were planted by their grandfather.  It is an excellent, elegant Chablis with a nice richness from the old vines and a good, lean minerality with great balance between the fruit and acidity into the long finish.

And, because it’s Easter, we clearly need to open The Chocolate Block 2021:

Half Bottle – £15.99

Bottle – £25.00 (6 for £135)

Magnum – £55

Jeroboam – £130

“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 cuvée 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, South Africa Report 2022

15, 16, 16, 14.

That’s it from us for this week – not going to tempt fate by promising a sun-drenched weekend however the daily temperature highs for today through to Monday are 15, 16, 16 and 14 Celsius – double figures every day!!!!

Happy Easter!