Burn’s Night and Losing Parks

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Greetings from the coal-face, or perhaps that should be cold face.

According to www.timeanddate.com mid-afternoon yesterday, when the sun was out and the sky was as cobalt as a blue poison dart frog, the temperature in London was 3° Celsius.  We were 33rd in the 50 ‘European’ capitals charted – Valletta, Gibraltar, Athens, Monaco, Tirana were all about 20° Celsius whilst Riga, Oslo, Reykjavik, Stockholm and Moscow were all between -5° and -10°.  No real surprises in any of this, just good to know we could be colder… or warmer.

Darwin, at the same time (about 2am for them) was 29°.

Meanwhile, in Kigali they were having thunderstorms whilst experiencing temperatures similar to Monaco, which was enjoying sunshine – peas in a pod really.  Speaking of Rwanda, Rishi’s bill seems to have avoided a revolt, for now, however its next stop at the Lords might not be so easy. Of course, skirting human rights law should not be as easy as imprisoning postmasters,  however if the worst comes to the worst, Paul Kagame has said he could return the £240 million they have received, which could be used to extend the Fujitsu contract for a few more years…

We didn’t save Wimbledon Park Golf Club but we still have a hope that the AELTC plans for the park won’t succeed.  This starts to feel like there is a real risk of a dangerous precedent developing when we read https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/jan/09/locals-hit-back-at-spurs-football-plans-for-green-biodiverse-space-tottenham-enfield-london and then, further up north https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-12970233/Manchester-United-turn-attention-golf-courses-potential-sites-new-training-ground-Red-Devils-holding-preliminary-talks-one-club-possible-move.html.  Can we really continue to build on green space to satisfy wealthy sports businesses?  Discuss.

Meanwhile, back in our igloo, Wayne has been out hunting and gathering neeps, tatties and haggis this week, in advance of Burns Night next Thursday, 25th January.  As ever, an opportunity to eat offal and drink whisky is hard to pass by and this year we’re recommending:

Mary Queen of Scots 12 year old Blended Malt – £40.00 

Blended by Ian Macleod Distillers in Broxburn, near Edinburgh this comprises a minimum of 12 Premier Single Malts, all 12 years old, to reflect the 12 years in total which Mary Queen of Scots spent in Scotland. Premier Malts use only the best Scots barley in the distilling process to achieve the traditional unique flavour which is the pride of Scotland and beyond.

Royal Mile Whiskies described it thus:

Nose – Caramelised white fruits topping American style pancakes.  Caramel sauce and a malty hint come through as well.

Palate – Toffee notes and more white fruit lead the palate before a slightly prickly dryness introduces a malt barley body.

Finish – A slight sugary sweet hint comes and goes as the malty flavour combines with just a whisper of smokiness.

Whilst Archie, at Luvians in St Andrews had, for me, the best note:

A total breakfast whisky – Golden syrup drizzled over old school drop scones, Frosties with full cream milk and wee glass of Ovaltine on the side.


Of course, we have other drams to offer, for example:


Benromach 10 year old – £45.00

Benromach 15 year old – £70.00

Longmorn 2005 – £70.00


Dalmore 15 year old – £98.00

The Glenturret 12 year old – £70.00

Tomatin 12 year old – £44.00

Tomatin 12 year old Amarone Edition – £73.00


Bunnahabhain 10 year old (Peated) – £58.00

Bunnahabhain 11 year old (Sherried) – £58.00

Caol Ila 13 year old – £58.00

Finlaggan Old Reserve – £36.00


Canmore Original Single Malt Whisky – £40.00

London Square 12 year old – £40.00

Mary Queen of Scots 12 year old Blended – £40.00

However, if you’d rather enjoy a fancy bottle of plonk with your pluck, we might suggest trying the wines we have on tasting this weekend.

Cave de Hunawihr Reserve Pinot Gris 2021 – £18.99 – Grapes for this wine are from 30 year old vines, grown on the south-facing slopes, at around 280m above sea level.  The wine is quite full-bodied with enticing peach and pear aromas.  The palate is packed with stone fruits as the nose suggested, a touch of spice and a lovely viscosity before the long, fresh, fruit-driven finish.  On the back label, it describes itself as medium dry, full-bodied and smoky – how can one resist?!

Domaine Lafond Roc-Épine 2020 – £21.49

So, this is from Lirac which is across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a more famous region with which it shares many winning attributes.  The grapes in this wine are a hand harvested blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre which gives us the powerful and well-built wine we’d expect.  A complex nose of vanilla, fruits and dark cherries, the mouth is rich and firm with again those dark cherries and long lasting notes of vanilla and pepper whilst the finish is smooth and rich with a very good length – should be perfect on 25th January!

That, I think is that from us.  Not sure if we’ve mentioned it before and apologies if we are repeating ourselves – this month we offer a January Sale/VAT bill fundraiser whereby if you purchase 6 bottles we’ll give you a discount of 16.66%!  That’s 6 for 5 in old money and covers most of the wines in the shop with the exception of some of the top-shelfers that make little margin!  We can tell you more when you turn up with your empty car boot….

Right, I’m off to defrost my typing fingers!

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