It’s all going bananas, again

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s all going bananas, again.

DT loses control of the House of Representatives, loses control of himself in a press conference, tells Jeff Sessions and Jim Acosta to get lost with all his usual playground charm; Beth Bader Ginsburg takes a dive in order to avoid attending the Brett Kavanaugh investiture and a twitter spat erupts over doctoring of videos. Meanwhile, in the real world away from Capitol Hill, in the country where 42% of households in 2017 owned guns, a 28 year old man runs riot in a bar in California, resulting in 12 dead. Actually Sarah Sanders, this is the sort of conduct that is absolutely unacceptable.

Over on this side of the pond, the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford who are, possibly self-appointed, world-leaders in pioneering research that addresses global challenges, have just released another one of these headline hugging studies that confirms, as a subtext, that we are all going to die but best not have too much fun doing it.

Red meat, bacon and ham and sausages et al are once again in the spotlight, with the potted conclusion being that we need to eat less of all these delicious foods, as already suggested in many previous studies, and that we must impose a meat tax to mitigate future healthcare shortfall. My head spins with all the whys and wherefores but I might suggest that, seeing how slowly we are trying to resolve the ‘sugar’ problem as evidenced as much by the Halloween binging, it could be centuries before salami gets the same treatment – plus any tax on food is always a contentious subject.

In a world where cannabis is becoming more and more legal are we going to see a burgeoning black market in beef rib and bacon? It’s all going bananas, again!

Outside of foreign politics and food, we sometimes amuse ourselves by following the occasional sporting fixture. Alex is quite disappointed that Tottenham weren’t playing football last night since they seem to be on the TV every other day right now, with mixed showings. The cricket has delivered but we all know that anything can happen with the England team going forward. International rugby rears up again this Saturday with Italy v Georgia or Scotland v Fiji being the obvious viewing picks really. In the Twickenham game the most fun to be had is guessing which England player will be sin-binned first – Ashton, Farrell and Hartley are all strong prospects with Lawes an outsider purely because he’s on the bench. Guessing the score – go large.

And then, aside from foreign politics, food and sport we also dabble occasionally in wine related pastimes. This week we have mainly been receiving deliveries of wines we didn’t order, sending them back and finally receiving the correct wines, or being told the wines we ordered have now changed vintage without us knowing and thus are no longer of interest to us. Oh, and in the middle of all this we found time to have a blazing row with our courier company and run two tasting events – and it’s still only Friday!

In amongst erroneous deliveries, we did actually receive some correct stock of two new spirits we ordered – Douglas Fir Vodka (£35) from our pals at the Moorland Spirit Company, makers of the super popular Hepple Gin, and The Eclectic Gin Society Original Blend Gin (£35).

The Douglas Fir is one of the botanicals that appears in the Hepple and has always added an exciting citrusy, earthy and fresh character to the blend. Now they are encouraging it to stand centre stage. We knew very little of this adventure until a six box arrived with a scrawled note telling us to give it a go, we could have it on sale or return and that until Fortnum & Mason had finished their exclusivity for the month of October, it could only be an under-the-counter bootleg sale – very in keeping with the frontier-land feel of the Coquet Valley and the history of moonshine in the Cheviots.

Anyway, we tasted it. Very decent, as we expected but we hadn’t quite anticipated what would happen when we added tonic, ice and a slice – really quite extraordinary! The tonic brought out all the Douglas character and made it undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable drinks I’ve had all year and, by all accounts, I’ve had a few. An absolute highlight – buy it, don’t buy it – but never, ever let it be said I didn’t tell tweak your curiosity!

The Eclectic Gin Society Original Blend Gin is an excellent new London Dry Gin that we are actually sort of involved in. We are part of a small, independent buying group of merchants across the UK and, along with sourcing great wine, we decided a gin would fit nicely into the portfolio. Being UK wide, there are members in Scotland who were key in working with the distiller to create the masterblend and we’re all very pleased. It’s a proper everyday drinking Gin with a delicious lifted citrus kick – we think you’re going to love it.

Both new spirits are open to taste, come and see for yourselves!

Wine School

As discussed previously, it’s November now, with December to follow. The 25th December causes all sorts of consternation in many households as gifts are the required buy-in to get a seat at the turkey top table – but what to buy?

How about a six week wine course to lighten the mood in the dark days of early 2019?

We’ve attached details of the course but, put simply, if you have an interest in wine but have never really got round to learning more about it, this is the course for you.

It starts on Wednesday 6th February and wraps up 7 weeks later (we take a break for half term) and costs £150 per person. It’s a great way to return to the fold should you have a dry January and is certainly better than anything on telly on Wednesdays in February – high praise indeed, what’s stopping you!?!?

To sign up, reply to this email, give us a call on 020 8944 5224 or pop in and see us. The course we are currently running was oversubscribed, just as a warning….

Tasting this weekend

If February is too long to wait for a taste of wine, why not come and try what we’ve got open this weekend (including the spirits)

We’ll have two wines open as ever and I think it’s worth us opening some new arrivals.

The white is a new South African from Doran Vineyards and is called Arya 2017 (£11.99). We met Tom Doran as a consequence of us both pitching to supply wine for a ball at a local school – we both lost the business to a bigger player but all is not lost, since we now have Tom’s wine.
Tom used to be a professional rugby player but now has devoted his time to chefing and selling wine – so he still gets to lose his weekends and miss out on family time but is marginally less likely to end up in A&E. Anyway, we tasted his wines and have listed a couple, one of which is this, Arya. A blend of 65% Chenin Blanc, 20% Grenache Blanc and 15% Roussanne, it’s exactly the sort of wine I’m sure many Rhône producers would love to make if only they were allowed to use Chenin, since this provides the wine with structure and clean acidity that Rhône whites often lack. Orchard fruits on the nose with hints of orange, peach and honey on the palate and a good length juicy finish. It worked a treat with some goat’s cheese last night at the tasting and is a real crowd pleaser.

We’ve opted for a lighter red this week – Domaine des Mailloches Bourgueil 2017 (£13.49). Cabernet Franc from the Loire valley is one of life’s great joys and we have doubtlessly bored you all rigid about this before. So, I won’t bore you again. Lovely, juicy fruit and fine tannins – what’s not to like?

So come along and have a taste, marvel at how full our France room is suddenly looking and buy yourself something nice to go with steak and sausage, whilst we’re still allowed.


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