We do this so that you don’t have to, be grateful!

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Once again I need to start with a point of admin relating to the coming week:

Tuesday 12th March – we’ll be opening later today as we have to go to Camden for a big old range tasting with one of our main suppliers – we should be back here by 4pm though, just in time to meet you off the tube after work!

But now back to now – how’s your week been?

Monday found me nose to nose with the paperwork from February – 29 days’ worth of coffee chits and uber receipts that I had to gently return to my colleague, explaining for the 159th month that we have to pay for our own drinks and transport, even if we do drink the coffee’s at work… as you can imagine, the hours just flew past.

Tuesday was better.  It found me in a club on Grosvenor Place, surrounded by uber-smart wines and men with waxed moustaches wearing suits with brooches of grapes on their lapels – yes, I was in sommelier land.  Usually sommeliers don’t leave their lairs during service but if I list the wines that were on show, you’ll understand why all the smart restaurants in Mayfair were being run by trainees that lunchtime…

So here’s a snapshot of what these chaps were tasting, amongst others:

Louis Roederer

  • Brut Vintage 2015 – crisp, fresh, lean and taut, plenty of potential
  • Cristal 2015 – delicious

Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Grand Cru “Kitterle” 2013 – awesome, off-dry, loads of fruit and starting to develop beautifully


  • Le Volte 2022 – oh yes, this has it all, fruit, balance and superb length
  • Le Serre Nuove 2021 – more structure here with drier tannins and good length
  • Ornellaia 2021 – soft and subtle and plenty of development potential


  • Brunello di Montalcino 2019 – 5/5 vintage.  That’ll do, absolutely spot on
  • Brunello di Montalcino 2011 – beautifully evolved and smooth, can I have a bottle please?

Tenuta San Guido

  • Le Difese 2022 – still very youthful
  • Guidalberto 2022 – more body weight and actually more pleasurable
  • Sassicaia 2021 – smooth as silk, gorgeously long – is it worth the RRP??
  • Sassicaia 2007 – from a double magnum, he really didn’t want to share this, I think it was for people with ties on however, I got a glass and safe to say, it’s proper kit!

La Rioja Alta 904 Selección Especial Gran Reserva 2015 – very good rich, ripe fruit and opulence

As we’ve said to you over and over again, we do this so that you don’t have to, be grateful.

Wednesday saw me back in the shop with my Egg & Cress and a pile of tasting notes to write.  The chancellor told us “We value our hospitality industry and we are backing the great British pub” but only until February next year it would seem.  To be honest, having, subjected alcohol duty to the largest increase in almost 50 years within the last six months, he couldn’t really do anything else.

Thursday was long and cold, with more tasting notes and the realisation that it was still light at 5.30pm – we’re getting there!

And now it’s Friday, with the happy prospect of a Six Nations weekend where we are fully expecting 3 home wins and tries galore.

I’ll drink to that.

This weekend we’ll be opening another of our new whites: Primordial Soup – £8.99 from the Western Cape, South Africa. 

Primordial soup, also known as prebiotic soup, is the hypothetical set of conditions present on the Earth around 3.7 to 4.0 billion years ago.  In wine terms, we’re talking about this delicious blend of Chenin Blanc and Colombard.  It tastes much fresher than a billion years or two of age suggests too, gentle citrus and orchard fruit characters being the main flavours.  It also comes in at a midweek friendly 11% ABV. 

Wayne is recommending poached haddock and mustard mash, halloumi and salad or just a cheese toasty for partnerships…

For the red, we’ll stay in South Africa and have a go at the very fancy Idun Syrah 2019 – £25.99 which I don’t think we have ever put on tasting before, even though we have had it for 4 or 5 years!

A complex wine from 3 different vineyard sites in the Elgin Valley.  These parcels are situated 200 m above sea level caressed by the cooling sea breezes from the Atlantic a few kilometres away. Rainwater is retained in the iron-rich clay and cobble soils which results in low yield and flavour concentration.  Due to COVID, the wine was matured for longer than usual (16 months) using 30% new French oak barrels.  A lovely savoury bouquet of black olive, spicy fruit and white pepper on the nose.  On the palate we have berry fruits joining in the fun finishing with fine ripe tannins giving us a very elegant drop.

Finally, a public service announcement for anyone who was ever born, which I imagine includes quite a number of you:

This Sunday is Mother’s Day.

Champagne is in the left hand side fridge, by the wall, if that helps…

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