Use Them or Lose Them!

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As mentioned last week, we’ll be closing at 5pm today as we have our annual excursion to do the drinks at the KCS quiz night. Again, our apologies for any inconvenience.

This week saw another chapter in the Post Office Horizon saga. A spat between Harry Staunton, the former chairman of the Post Office and Kemi Badenoch, the business secretary over the payment, or delay, of compensation. Both sides deny the other’s story with Ms Badenoch doing so in Parliament whilst Mr Staunton chose The Times.

Coincidentally, Ms. Badenoch said trade talks with Canada over cheese and motor vehicle tariffs were ongoing. In an unusual turn of events, Ottawa’s High Commissioner to the UK said the talks have not happened. Perhaps Ms. Badenoch pursues a rather Johnsonian approach to the truth?

We also saw Parliament descend into chaos when the Speaker broke with convention during a debate into a ceasefire in Gaza. He was accused of playing ‘party politics’ when he allowed a vote on a Labour amendment when it was the SNP’s turn. Now around 50 MP’s have called for his resignation. You’d think a ceasefire was more important than whose turn it was to do the wording, but there you have it.

This week, we’ve read some alarming news on the drinks and hospitality front. The drinks trade warned the government that the biggest hike in duty in fifty years was likely to have a dampening effect on sales which would harm both the trade and also the tax receipts. This week HMRC statistics revealed that between September 2023 and January 2024 revenue from wine, spirits, beer and cider fell by £600 million compared with the same dates a year earlier. Wine and Spirits Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said “Not only has this hurt British businesses, it has fuelled inflation and significantly reduced excise duty receipts to the Exchequer.”  

We also read a survey by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and Hospitality Ulster revealing the cost pressures facing venues compared to 2023. Nearly all venues (98%) have seen food and drink cost inflation and are concerned about the increase in National Living Wage in April. Of those surveyed, 25% no longer have any cash reserves at all and a further 29% have only enough for 3 months. What caught our eye though was the staggering 64% of venues that are not optimistic about their business’s prospects for the next 12 months. The trade bodies issued a joint statement: “These results clearly show the perilous state our pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafes find themselves in. The fact that a quarter have run out of cash reserves completely is a real cause for concern. Those businesses are extremely vulnerable to the slightest shock forcing them to shut their doors for good.”

Use them or lose them folks, use them or lose them!

The Six Nations is back this weekend, with Wales partaking of Irish hospitality and England travelling to Murrayfield on Saturday, whilst Italy will be taking a tour of Paris before their game on Sunday. In proper sports, this weekend sees the real racing season start with cobbled climbs at Omloop het Nieuwsblaad on Saturday. It seems Wout van Aert and Lotte Kopecky are the favourites in the Men’s and Women’s races respectively but there’s a chance that their days may be spoiled by Arnaud de Lie and Demi Vollering. Kuurne Brussels Kuurne is on Sunday with a more sprinter friendly parcours – it’s going to be a fun weekend!

Well, somewhere in all this excitement we should be able to find time for a glass of wine.

Sporting the white jersey will be Deep Roots Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen, Germany (£13.99). A group of young vine growers all got together with the idea of sharing their marketing costs but in the end decided to make just the one wine to showcase their talents.  Almost a mini co-operative, if you will.  Winemaking duties are spearheaded by the talented Stefan Winter, and this is a cracker.  Citrus and orchard fruit notes on the nose, minerals join them on the palate and we reckon this is a cracking partner to a Thai curry!

We shall visit the Rhône valley for the red jersey, pulling the cork on Côtes du Rhône Villages ‘Les Coteaux’, Rhône, France (£13.99). Common practice in the Côtes du Rhône is to bottle the best cuvées as a single named Village wine and the rest as basic Rhône Villages.  The philosophy here, on the other hand, is to start with the intention of making the very best Côtes du Rhône Villages possible.  They source wine from the vineyards of named villages and enrich them with a small proportion of barrel-aged wine from Sablet, Séguret and Cairanne.  The results are fabulous, as you can taste here, with well-balanced brambly fruit and soft tannin that is bang on the money.

Comments are closed.