Alex is back, Reading and Negotiation

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So, another watershed weekend is upon us. 

As the summer holidays stumble to a close, we have the last Bank Holiday of the year until Christmas and, by all accounts, it’s going to be a stonker.  3pm on Saturday afternoon we have forecast of 29 degrees here in town, 26 degrees down in the southwest and even 23 up in Northumberland; southern Spain will be 27 Celsius so, frankly, you might as well save your air-miles, and the planet at the same time, and just set up a gazebo on the common.

Given the state of play over the last few weeks it didn’t seem possible that it could get even quieter here in Wimbledon Park but quieter it has definitely got and it would be fair to say we are starting to become very envious of anyone who is able to work from home/work remotely.  One of our friends has been happily sending snaps of the view from his Greek island hideout, with his computer in the foreground and the caption ‘today’s office!’  – since we have but the view of Melrose Avenue from the shop and never have the chance to work from home, his humble brags have not been received too favourably!

Has the news taken a snooze, too?  Well, Boris is taking his 15 minutes of fame very seriously, travelling Europe, talking a lot, putting his feet on the French President’s table and hopefully becoming a negotiator of the stature of a Mandela, a Kissinger or a Roosevelt rather than a Trump!

Following on swiftly from A-level results, GCSE’s came out yesterday.  This was immediately followed by the entire 16 year old population of SW19 decamping to the Reading Festival armed with supersized portable chargers, a sleeping bag, definitely no alcohol and definitely no books – no reading at Reading apparently!  The Foo Fighters are headlining on Sunday, we still remember being teenagers when Dave Grohl’s first band was in its pomp – what on earth was their name again?

Cricket continues to delight and despair us – and also scare us just a little bit too.  Funny old weather yesterday but we managed to get some wickets although it seems that the Smith replacement, Labushchagne, should possibly have been in the starting eleven anyway.  Still, as we all know by now, anything can happen in Test cricket.  Football is all over the shop with Liverpool and Arsenal the only premiership teams with a full tally of points and Chelsea just above relegation whilst Fulham seem to be loving being back in the Championship. 

And of course, as you all know, Spain’s classic cycling race, La Vuelta, starts its journey on Saturday.  They’ve got a quick stop in Benidorm on Sunday, so if that’s where you happen to be holidaying, keep your eyes open for men in lycra.  Keeping with La Vuelta, it’s nice to know that at least one Englishman will wear the red jersey this year – Chris Froome received the 2011 jersey this week after the original winner was finally disqualified for doping.  For the win this year though, Alex is wildcarding with Rigoberto Uran whilst Wayne is backing Primoz Roglic so avoid putting money on either of these two!

Elsewhere, there is still plenty of talk in the trade about younger drinkers not drinking.  As discussed previously, in a survey last year of 10,000 16-24 year olds, 29% didn’t drink at all, which is a 10% increase of non-drinkers over a decade.  However, in a bit of a blow perhaps to Seedlip and their ilk, ‘they don’t see the point in alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits, preferring a glass of water if they choose not to drink.’ Drinks Retailing News 16-08-19.  It seems that some of those surveyed, those between 16 and 18, shouldn’t be drinking anyway but that’s a conversation for another time….

The ‘good’ news is Alex is now back from his travels and Wayne can have a day off.  If you can get him to stop talking about how good the olive oil is in Jaen, how great the ham is in Salamanca and how cheap the wine is in Carrefour he might pour you a tasting sample and let you get a word in edgeways.  Five euros for a brilliant Godello, four euros for lovely Verdejo – yep, thanks mate, very interesting but you do realise you were buying these wines in the country of production, that whilst VAT in Spain is 21%, excise duty is currently nil and you haven’t even factored in transportation costs to the UK!  Of course the wine was cheaper there, you muppet – why do I have to remind you of this every time you go on holiday!?

When he does eventually pour you a glass there’ll be a choice of two, as ever.

The white will be, in fact, a rosé.  It has come to our attention that we are now here at the rear end of August and we haven’t had our best seller on tasting yet. 

So, step by and have a taste of Chateau de L’Aumerade ‘Cuvée Marie-Christine’ 2018 £14.99 (6 for £78).  This Chateau is a 400 year old vineyard in the heart of Provence.  Its red soils are rich in minerals, giving it an edge on the quality stakes amongst its neighbours.  This edge was recognised in 1955 when the estate was designated “Cru Classé”.  A lovely pale salmon colour, it is indeed cracking stuff with delicate red berry fruits, slightly floral and an impressively long finish.  We think it is the perfect wine for summer, great with all manner of food, or just with the Sunday papers and a deck chair.  Oh, and it’s very suitable for vegans!

Staying in France, we will visit Beaujolais for a change and for a light red, suitable for chilling.  Beaujolais Villages ‘Cuvée Six’ 2018 – £10.99.  There’s been a quiet revolution going on in Beaujolais, some of the smartest burgundy winemakers have been buying up parcels of land, Co-operatives have been merging, and there has been a quality revamp too.  This wine is from the villages of Jullié and Emeringes, and grown on the sandy granitic soils that produce the best Gamay.  Tender, round and fruity as you’d expect from a pure expression of the grape variety.  Awesome with a plate of charcuterie, but actually really versatile on the food front, so do experiment!

And that’s it from us for this week.  Still got spaces on the Wine School and some of the Wine & Cheese tastings too should you fancy.  Also as a reminder, we will be shutting at 7pm tomorrow (Saturday) and will not be open again until Tuesday morning at 11am, bright and breezy and ready to serve!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

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