It’s the bride of Frankenwine, it’s in the sparkling wine aisle of your local supermarket and it makes me want to weep

Fellow Wine Lovers,

And so it goes on.  One minute we’re leaving next week, the next minute we’re leaving at the end of June, then five minutes later the EU says we need to be out by 22nd May or 12th April –  crikey, so much choice.  Surprisingly, France seem to be very keen for us to sling our hook asap, whilst Theresa has ‘personal regret’ about asking for a delay, perhaps alienating any of her last supporters in the commons, and Jeremy has had some ‘very constructive’ talks in Brussels.  Oh whoopee, well done you, MP’s one and all. 

Now, we’ve all rented rooms in the past and thus had the whole kerfuffle of moving out and moving on.  So, experience tells us that by now, with a week to go (previously agreed with our landlord) we should be nipping down to the local offie to buy a bottle of something cheap whilst picking up some empty wine boxes  to put our crockery in over the weekend; we should have booked a van, booked the day off and organised cleaners to do a deep clean so that we can leave the premises as we found it and thus leave on good terms, ideally with a few quid in our pocket from our deposit.

As demonstrated over and again, leaving Europe was never going to be as easy as moving house but we really have seen the process escalated to levels that will be the subject of politics A level essays for year to come.

Let’s pretend though that we were going to leave Europe next Friday.  Irrespective of how Wayne and I voted, this has been a day that we have been quite looking forward to from a commercial point of view.  It’s our year end next weekend and we were hoping for one last fillip to our turnover before the close.  It seemed like a win-win for us – eager Brexiteers raiding our shelves for bottles and bottle of English bubbly whilst disappointed Remainers buy Champagne to drown their sorrows whilst they still can….

Herbert Hall Brut (Kent) – £32.99 and Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé (Hampshire) – £40 for the leavers and Louis Roederer Cristal 2009 (France) £175 for the stayers – might as well go out on a high!

Otherwise, life seems to go on here in Wimbledon Park.  We completed our first wine school of 2019 on Wednesday night, 6 weeks of tasting torture that rounded off with a bubbles boot camp – 11 more palates are released onto the world, brimming with knowledge and expertise and an intimate working knowledge of all of Wayne’s jokes – if this all sounds too good to be true and the sort of thing you’d like to get involved in then we’ll keep you posted with dates of our next course, which will start late September, I imagine.

And then I read the booze press and my heart sank.  Initially, the idea of Graham Norton launching a pink gin, to go alongside his wine range, seemed a target worthy of a few well targeted darts but then I read about  more crimes against wine being committed by the scientists at Blossom Hill and Echo Falls.  For those of you oblivious to such things, Blossom Hill and Echo Falls are volume producers of very low quality wines in the USA but available globally.  It seems that, of late, sales of vinous beauties like Zinfandel Blush and Sun Kissed Red have been experiencing a bit of a slump.  So what does any self-respecting wine producer do to counteract such a dip – of course, they make a wine that isn’t actually a wine at all.

Blossom Hill Gin Fizz.  Yep, you read it correctly.  So far as bandwagon jumping goes this gets a gold star, previously only awarded to Sparkling Pink Pinot Grigio a few years back.

Anyway, very excitingly it comes in two flavours – Lemon & Rosemary, and Rhubarb – and we are told we need to be pouring it over ice and serve it with a garnish.  But surely ice and garnish is just gilding the lily, we say?  Surely the production method of blending white wine with ‘botanical-infused water’ and gin is enough?  Apparently not. 

It’s not wine, it’s not gin, it’s flavoured with lemon, rosemary and rhubarb and is fizzy – it’s the bride of Frankenwine, it’s in the sparkling wine aisle of your local supermarket and it makes me want to weep.  Echo Falls did a similar launch about a month ago with a Rosé Wine & Gin Fusion which is about £4 cheaper than the Blossom – fill yer boots!

Here are some wise words from their Global Marketing Manager, Bo Jakubenko:

“We know that gin is booming and that people are looking for refreshment and convenience from their drinks purchases.  With Blossom Hill’s Gin Fizz we have developed a product that responds to this need.  By focusing on what the consumer wants and making wine more accessible via a fun, approachable brand like Blossom Hill, we are helping to ensure future category growth.”


We asked our customers and they resoundingly confirmed that whilst they buy our wine they would far prefer it if it tasted like gin and had bubbles and herbs in it – anything, frankly, to make the wine taste better than it currently does!

Tasting this weekend

I’ve been so insanely busy that I haven’t been able to get down to Morrison’s to get any Blossom Hill, so we’ll just have to stick to gin in one glass and wine in another.  As ever, we have Eclectic, Sacred, Bloody Bens, Hepple, Sacred Juniper and Sacred Pink Grapefruit open to taste on the Gin trolley along with other spirits and whiskies too.

Wine wise, I’m planning on opening a couple of Chileans that we listed a few weeks back.  The world, it seems, has fallen out of love a little with Chile but we have always been big fans and hopefully you might see why when you taste these wines…

Naciente Chardonnay 2018, Casablanca Valley, Chile – £11.99 – This is an unoaked white, pale yellow in your glass, aromas of very intense fruit with an emphasis on citrusy notes, and mineral touches.  The palate is fresh with the natural acidity making the wine very vivacious and fruity; it has a medium body and a lovely long finish.  Fish and chip Friday anyone?

Metic Carmenère 2018, Colchagua Valley, Chile – £10.99 – A limited production wine from 30 year old vines, the intensely blueberry fruit nose leads on to a bright fruited palate with a lovely intensity and length.  It’s made by a couple of Chilean guys as a side-line to their main business which is consulting for other wineries around Chile.  Their very laidback approach to winemaking intervention is unusual at this price and we’re certainly not complaining about that.

So pop in and try the wines and, if you ask me nicely, I might open a bottle of San Pellegrino and we can mix it with the Chardonnay and some Eclectic!  Actually no, no I won’t, that would be disgusting…

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