Are we just living inside someone’s lunatic dreamscape?

Fellow Wine Lovers,

To borrow from Mrs Merton:

So what first attracted you to ninth in line to the throne, Princess Beatrice?

Or perhaps:

So what first attracted you to the Italian property tycoon, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi?

And then the answer arrives:

We share so many similar interests and values, and we know that this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead, full of love and happiness – like skiing and holidays on yachts and working not very hard or too often… let’s see who ends up paying for the wedding shall we?

In truth though, I shouldn’t be belittling this romance because it’s actually one of the few pieces of happy news this week. 

Politics, on both sides of the pond, is in absolute mayhem and as a consequence has a somewhat surreal aspect to it – can this all really be happening or are we just living inside someone’s lunatic dreamscape?  Watching the mudslinging in parliament on Wednesday, frustration and vexation were in abundance.  What was also in abundance was mobile phone usage – whoever was sat behind the Attorney General when he was in full barrister-flood on Wednesday spent most of her time on her phone.  Now, I don’t know that she wasn’t scrolling through important government documents nor that the colleague next to her was watching House of Cards on her tablet but I do know when discretion is called for – a well-placed sheaf of papers blocking the phone from the television cameras would perhaps have been the guidance.  Moreover, it was distracting – never did we see her face, no matter how attentively we viewed, so we still don’t know who it was!

Thomas Cook finally curled up its toes this week, to much gnashing and wailing and reports of skulduggery in hotels in foreign resorts.  What we have learnt from this is that whilst we pay up front for the accommodation the travel company doesn’t actually pay the hotel until well after you have stayed there so, effectively, when you are actually in the resort, you are living on credit which is fine, unless your tour operator goes bust.  By all accounts there are towns in Spain that dealt almost exclusively with TC and will now face an uphill struggle to survive.  The real injustice here is that the writing has been on the wall for Thomas Cook for so long now but still they were allowed to make promises that they stood so little chance of being able to fulfil – which then leads to the question, as always, where has all the money gone???

It has been confirmed that Wayne did not travel on a package holiday so will not be spending an extra week in Greece, awaiting repatriation – we expect to see you on Monday, spick and span.

So with such headlines, apart from the royal engagement, where are we looking for our happiness this week?  Well, I suppose if you’re an Arsenal fan you can wallow in Tottenham’s spectacularly poor start to the season in all competitions.  If you’re not a cricket fan then you can relish the fact that the cricket season has finally finished and if you’re a rain fan you will have been very happy with the way the week has shaped up.

But now we can look forward because it’s the weekend and, for some of us, it’s payday, hooray!  Not wanting to spend your money for you but, you know, it is Friday and thus it should really be fizz tonight and with that in mind, I might mention that we’ve listed a couple of new English sparklers from Hawkins Bros. 

These have been brought in to replace the Herbert Hall primarily, who was just becoming too expensive for what he was putting in the bottle, which is ironic really considering the most common bugbear people have with English sparkling wine is the cost – but hey, let’s not listen to the punters, let’s just whack another tenner on a bottle and hope Brexit makes us the only choice?  Nice one Herbie, on your bike now!

Anyway, back to the brothers Hawkins, who are English wine producers based just south of Guildford, growing and making wine on the south-facing chalk of the Hogs Back.

Brut Reserve 2014 – £30

Dosage: 6g/l – Alcohol: 12%

Gold medal winner at the IEWA 2019 and Bronze at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2018

A classic cuvée from 2014, made and grown on the Hogs Back in Surrey.  This is a blend of 56% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Noir and 22% Pinot Meunier and has spent over three years ageing on its lees.

Baked apple on the nose, a soft mousse gives way to a palate of wonderful depth and complexity with a long citrusy finish.

Rosé Reserve NV – £29

Dosage: 4.5g/l – Alcohol: 12%

Bronze Medal International Wine Challenge 2019

Made in the Traditional Method from 95% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier.

A supremely elegant rosé with a subtle flavour of summer berries, a delicate pink hue, notes of strawberry, and fresh brioche from 30 months pre-release ageing.

Sound exciting, don’t they?  I took a bottle of the pink home last weekend on the false/fools assumption that, as my wife has always been a bit suspicious of wine that’s not either white or red, much of the bottle would be mine.  However, in a text book horse switcheroo mid-river, of which only she is capable, my beloved declared that it wasn’t that she didn’t like pink it was just that she hadn’t had a good one yet.  As she poured the last drops into her tankard, I could only surmise that this was a ‘good’ one!

Further to my missive from a week back, we still have places on some of our upcoming tastings, just a few less.  If you fancy an evening in the company of cheese and wine, or perhaps a winemaker’s wife, all for a mere £20 per person, here are the dates once more:

Wine & Cheese Tasting – 10th October – 5 spaces left

Domaine Treloar Tasting – 17th October – 2 spaces left

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

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

Tasting this weekend

As mentioned, it’s the last weekend of September and frankly we should be looking forward to hearty reds not delicate Rosés and shorts should returned to use for sporting purposes only, just so you know!  Last weekend we opened the World Cup Rugby with a head to head between Meerlust Red from South Africa and Alpha Domus ‘The Pilot’ from New Zealand.  Intriguingly the Meerlust was a clear favourite on the Friday evening and, for the first twenty minutes of the game on Saturday we thought our wine predictor might be onto something.  By the end of play on Saturday  though we had sold four times as many of the Pilot than the Meerlust – after a slow start it came back very strong, appropriate given the scoreline!

This weekend there are no obvious vinous clashes – I mean Uruguay v Georgia would be an interesting tasting and Ireland v Japan could lead to a whisk(e)y  fuelled late night but no, I’m not going there.

This week it’s purely about what I fancy tasting whilst the guv’nor is still sunbaking:

From the part of Italy that is almost Slovenia, we have Vigneti Le Monde Friulano 2017 – £15.99

Established in 1970 and recognised as a “cru” within Friuli, it is only under the current owners that the estate has really taken off.  This wine is made from 100% Friulano, with aromas of fresh flowers, citrus, lemon and green apple.  The palate is crisp and dry with again notes of apple, peach and pear with a subtle floral note. Good weight, perfectly balanced by a fresh clean finish – a delicious wine that often falls below the radar of many Italian white fans!

And from the Minervois in France, we’ve got open Chateau de Paraza ‘Cuvée Spéciale’ 2016 – £13.99 which is a Syrah, Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre blend that give us a deep red garnet coloured wine with cherry and raspberry compote notes, red liquorice string in the background and a lovely juicy acidity.  A great all-rounder of a wine with red flowers and mineral notes entwining themselves with the fruit into a great finish  – if you enjoy the Rhône, you’ll enjoy this!

So pop by and have a taste, tell us some happy tales from your week and we’ll all be the better for it!

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