That’s it Sun, you’re done.

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So, a quiet week, thus far, in the world of 126 Arthur Road. 

Apart from two Amazon deliveries for the people upstairs and a visit to the Coop for a spot of quality lunch, Monday flew past in a mêlée of paperwork and tumbleweed.  The great and the good of Wimbledon Park, which is you by the way, had clearly decided that tennis, the gym, running club or boot camp were far more appealing than a drop of wine and chat with a local entrepreneur, which is me by the way.  Such was my concern that, at 7pm, I had to call my wife to check for proof of life, concerned that I’d missed some sort of apocalypse and was now destined to be stuck alone for eternity on Arthur Road.  However, the very act of her answering the phone confirmed my worst suspicions – I hadn’t missed Armageddon, it was just Monday and my  utopian future of life surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine and steaks liberated from the ‘closed on Monday’s’ Casa Argentina, disappeared into the sunset.

And then Tuesday rocked up, filled with promise and sunshine and news that a tiny white cloud had been spotted over the Greek islands and all was good with the world.  Oh, and I sold some wine, if anyone happens to ask.  Wednesday was early closing at 1pm, as I always like to do when Wayne is away, traditional market day closing don’t you know, and a visit to a local hostelry to watch a north London football team throw away a 2-nil lead to cling onto a draw, not for the first time this season.

With Wednesday out of the way, Thursday came next and with it a phone call from the car insurance people.  For those who haven’t yet encountered the Park Vintners delivery mechanism, we have a 1995 Volvo estate that has a boot as big as a billiard table and a 2.5 litre engine – it’s a beast and we love it.  It would seem though that not everyone shares this love.  10 days ago, parked outside Wayne’s house for just one night, it underwent some fairly major surgery as some local charmer decided to slash all four of its tyres and destroy all three the windscreen wipers.  Genuinely didn’t know people did this sort of thing still but apparently they do and aggressively vandalising a stranger’s car is ok.  We reported it to the police who, I am pleased to say, have already closed the case due to lack of evidence but at least we got a crime number.

So anyway, the phone call from the insurance company.  Basically, the car is so old, none of What Car?/Parkers/Autotrader were able to give it a valuation, so they were going to write it off.

‘How much is the work going to cost’, I asked. 

‘£1800’, came the flat reply.

‘You’re having a giraffe’, I said, ‘four tyres and some windscreen wipers for the best part of two grand – I’m in the wrong job!’

‘Oh, is that all you want done?’ was the response, ‘we thought we were going to do all the paintwork too?’

At which point I laughed.  It’s almost 25 years old and lives on a London street, don’t fret about the paintwork was my instruction to them and, it would seem, the bill has gone down hugely and is no longer a write off.  A perfectly decent, reliable and useful car was about to be written off due to its paintwork – sometimes I wonder about the world of insurance!

And now we have reached Friday, time for the weekend to start up, the suns out again, it’s all good.

Away from my travails in Arthur Road, there has been a world going about its business without me.  Two iconic sporting figures were in the press this week, for reasons out of their control.  Whilst Gareth Thomas hasn’t named The Sun, they, or their like, were undoubtedly behind the blackmail that led to his HIV announcement.  Equally, we know for absolute sure that they were responsible for the Ben Stokes story this week.  It would be really nice to see the headline ‘That’s it Sun, you’re done’ and the end of this sort of sordid car crash/ambulance chase journalism, which actually isn’t journalism at all, but sadly I think this tabloid would survive the apocalypse, like a cockroach.

We don’t talk about smoking much, partly because it mucks up your palate, partly because we both haven’t smoked for years but mainly because it’s not terribly interesting.  What we both have agreed on since day one, both being Marlboro purists, is that vaping is just weird.  Either smoke or don’t smoke – don’t suck on a Bic biro/mini walkie-talkie hybrid filled with strawberry flavoured liquid, it’s just weird.  Anyway, there have been a few deaths recently in the US that have been attributed to vaping but perhaps not enough to create a serious dent in the vape popularity.  However, what will put a dent in their sales is the news that India’s cabinet has announced a ban on the production, import and sale of electronic cigarettes, saying they pose a risk to health.  That’s a complete ban in India; India, with a smoking population of 100 million people that would be an absolute goldmine for the e-smoking industry but clearly the medical experts see clear risks and have acted.  Very interesting indeed – no smoke without fire, as my colleague might say.

Having just about closed off the cricket season and the cycling Grand Tour season also coming to a conclusion for this year (anyone notice that Wayne’s tip, Primož Roglič, only went and won La Vuelta – chapeaux), we can now concentrate wholly on the Rugby World Cup.  We touched on this last week with mention of Japan as an outside bet for the finals however for many people, and by many people I’m meaning the bookmakers primarily, the winners of the World Cup will come from one of New Zealand and South Africa.  Odds on the AB’s are 5/4 whilst odds on the Boks  are 4/1.  For transparency , England also are at 4/1 but I feel that has something to do with punters patriotism.

No-one knows how the rugby will go this weekend, who will win, who will lose but in our own version of Paul the Octopus we’re going to use wine as our tipster and as a consequence will actually be opening 3 wines – don’t tell Wayne.

In white, of course, we’ll have England and an English wine. 

New Hall Vineyards Bacchus Reserve 2018 – £14.49.  The vineyards of New Hall are located just outside of Purleigh and are home to some of the oldest plantings of Bacchus in the UK, certainly the largest (44,500 vines) and they provide grapes to a couple of well-known English Wineries that, frankly, are not very close to Essex.  The wine has a vinous, limey nose that leads you into a fruit focused medium dry palate with a reassuring zing on the finish.

In the absence of any wine from Tonga, I’m going to boldly pronounce this a walkover and move on to the main event, New Zealand v South Africa.

In the interest of fairness I have picked similar wines at a similar price to go head to head from these two countries, so let’s see how they get on.

From South Africa we’ll have Meerlust Red 2014 – £14.49 which hails from Stellenbosch and is a classic Bordeaux style blend of 52% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot.  Aromas of cassis and plums drag you into an immediately appealing, medium-bodied red with crushed black fruit, a touch of vanilla spice and some nicely structured tannins.  We note that this would be a great partner to a rack of lamb and with that in mind, we move to the Kiwi offering.

Alpha Domus ‘The Pilot’ 2014 – £13.99.  Similar in price, from the same vintage as the Meerlust, basically exactly what we were after for a head to head, a typical Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend with nice plummy fruit, a touch of fragrant spice, a lovely mouthfeel and a nice long finish.

Damn, this one is going to go right down to the wire.

That’s about it from us for this week save for a quick tastings update:

Wine School starts in 10 days’ time – 2nd October – 2 spaces left.

Wine & Cheese Tasting – 10th October – 6 spaces left.

Domaine Treloar Tasting – 17th October – 3 spaces left.

Wine & Cheese Tasting – 7th November – 6 spaces left.

Wine & Cheese Tasting – 28th November – 5 spaces left.

So, pop in and assess the wine offerings, sign up for a tasting our two, watch a bit of rugby, enjoy the sunshine, ignore the threat of thunderstorms and generally have a bon weekend!

Mate ne, as they say in the bars of Tokyo!

Comments are closed.