Whisky, Birthdays and Waterboys Surprise

Fellow Wine Lovers,
Diary entry, Friday 30 November: 334 days in, 31 days to go.
Dear Diary, This year Dry January came and then Lent went; we witnessed the rampant Rosé revival that naturally follows such springtime abstinence and is always promptly pursued by the mass August Exodus; too much summer fun pressurises us into a Sober October but I think that now, as we only have 8.5% of the year to complete that we’ve all done pretty well this year and so we can abandon media inspired self-flagellation as we meet December face on.
Because, let’s face it, for Dry January to have any impact at all, December needs to have been fun! I know I’m not meant to say such things in the world where every published comment gets over scrutinised in order to be criticised but hell, why not have fun in the festive season? You heard it here first…
Before we get to December, however, we need to finish November. Today is that day and, if you’re Scottish, you’ll be celebrating St Andrew’s, like a true professional. Now, it’s been a bank holiday in Scotland since a parliamentary act in 2007, however that feels a little nominal – banks are not obliged to shut and employers are under no obligation to give the day off. Nonetheless, when it falls on a Friday I expect that productivity north of the border slows a little in the afternoon… and why not?
As a consequence of St Andrew we were sent a musical playlist yesterday featuring music by Scottish bands. Quite an impressive list, lots of bands we’d forgotten about or not realised were from there, particularly The Waterboys. Both of us had firmly believed The Waterboys to be from the other side of the Irish Sea but, by all accounts, they were founded in Scotland, have pretty constantly had Scottish members and really have little more than the celtic connection with Ireland. That the two of us, having grown up in different places at different times, both thought them to be Irish must mean there was some sort of mis-selling in the late 1980’s, an early example of cultural appropriation maybe, or perhaps we only saw the crescent. Either way, it came as a bizarrely shocking revelation and one which made us question what’s what.
And we were right to question it because there was more – did you know that Scotland isn’t the only place that produces Whisky? I know, the world is collapsing about our ears. We quickly researched our top shelf and, with a view to full disclosure, can now offer a corrected list of what we currently have in stock, and its provenance:
Finlaggan Old Reserve – £32.99
Benromach 10 year old – £37.99
Tomatin 12 year old – £41.75
Bunnahabhain Discovery 11 year old – £50.00
Caol Ila Discovery 13 year old – £50.00
Strathmill 2002 Connoisseurs Choice – £50.00
Ledaig Discovery 12 year old – £50.00
Benromach 15 year old – £60.00
Royal Brackla 1999 Connoisseurs Choice – £60.00
Linkwood Distiller Label 15 year old – £65.00
Ardmore 1998 – £70.00

Jack Ryan Beggar’s Bush 12 year old Single Malt – £52.99

Sacred Peated – £52.00

Kaiyo Mizunara Oak – £90.00
Yamazaki 12 year old – £110.00

Evan Williams Extra Aged Kentucky Bourbon – £28.50
Rittenhouse Rye – £32.99
Blantons Single Barrel Bourbon Original – £57.99

Glad that’s all cleared up.

Away from Scotland, as mentioned earlier, December is upon us. That means we will have been open here for 8 years on Monday, which is more than 16,000 hours (of which Alex has definitely worked at least 4,000) and, more scarily, also means that we have written over 400 of these emails (of which Alex has definitely written at least 40, perhaps 50). Either way, I reckon we all deserve a drink and so we will open these chaps this weekend…

To celebrate 8 years:

Champagne Comte Decrion Brut – £28.99 – a fabulous champagne that we tasted a couple of months back, purely on the basis that we quite liked the label. I know, we all do it. A fabulous drop, less rich than the Moutard but that is no doubt because it is the traditional Chardonnay/Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier blend rather than just straight PN. Delicious fruit, a gently soft and creamy mousse, a real pleasure. We both imagine it will be our Christmas Day fizz, depending on stock.

To celebrate the start of the festive season:

Domaine Lebrun Pouilly Fumé 2017 – £17.99 – About a million years ago, when we sported Oddbins polo shirts, we used to sell lots of this wine. The bottle has lost its distinctive orange label somewhere in the intervening years but the wine has lost none of its quality or verve. Gooseberry, grass, minerals, lemons and limes all crop up somewhere between the start and the nice long finish. Tip-top, classic Pouilly Fumé!

To celebrate Wayne, and all his hard work over the years:
Château Béchereau 2015, Lalande de Pomerol – £19.99 – for those who don’t know, for many years Wayne was a Fine Wine manager. In fact he still is but this fades into insignificance when put against his role as IT Manager, Head of Office Supplies and Director of Marketing, to name but three. As a fine wine guru, Bordeaux has always had a special place in his heart, hence this choice. Chateau Béchereau has been family owned since the early 19th century and has vineyards in Neac, on excellent clay soils. A blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) half of the wine is fermented in stainless steel before ageing in oak barrels for 12 months whilst the other half is fermented in oak. This has given us a medium bodied, modern claret with a good balance of black fruits, toasty notes, some sweet spice and those tell-tale silky tannins that we love about Pomerol – this one’s for you, Wayne!
That’s about it from us for now, just a few final bits of admin to tie up.
If anyone is in Wimbledon on Saturday then why not visit the Wimbledon High School Christmas Fair. It’s on from 11am until 4pm and Alex will be manning the PV stand there – he’ll be delighted to see you. Also, if you ever venture online, have a look at www.dining-room.co.uk a new pop-up supper club in Merton Park – we’ve heard the food is excellent and the wine too!
Finally, did we mention Wine School? No, ok, that’s something for next week then…
Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us!

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