We’ve got some chocolate, some almonds, some habas fritas too, so we’re proper spoiling you, like – The Great Sherry Festival!

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Two monsters went to a Halloween party. Suddenly one said to the other, “A lady just rolled her eyes at me. What should I do?” The other monster replied, “Be a gentleman and roll them back to her.”

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat their fingers separately.

They don’t get much better than that, I’m afraid.

In a landscape that used to be dominated by Guy Fawkes Night (who the hell he, say the children in my house) Halloween has now become the major player.

Fireworks night has stood still, become a bit stuck in the Jurassic. It has failed to develop much beyond its ‘fireworks and hot dogs’ image, especially since the use of sparklers at public events was banned – a move that has resulted in serious loss of revenue and a noticeable crowd-shift away.

A few years ago the American conglomerate TorT Inc. (trading here as Trick or Treat UK Ltd) strode into the marketplace and through sponsorship, clever brand placement and a heavy reliance on sugar based snacking, developed into one of the biggest and most successful ‘Cash Allowance from Parents’ Removal specialists (CAPERS). Only Christmas PLC, The Easter Bunny Group and Coca Cola can claim to have better caper returns.

However where does TorT go from here. Yearly it is becoming more professional, there is more money involved now than ever before, the prizes are bigger and the rules are becoming clearer – numbers of players in team, amount of cold parents required to traipse behind, size of bag, pumpkin etiquette. Perhaps in the future we might even see competitive events staged at the old dogtrack?!

Finally, we hear rumours that TorT has been in early negotiations with The Fawkes Foundation proposing the creation of a supersize six day celebration culminating on 5th November with the ultimate goal being to put Christmas out of business altogether.

Now, wouldn’t that be a fun week?

Away from all this though, we have a shop to run. A little while back we were chatting to a nice lady involved with The Sherry Institute. As ever they are trying very hard to get people excited about the wines from Jerez and have asked us to help. What this means is that we have got four sherries open for tasting this weekend and we expect you all to try them!

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Fino ‘En Rama’- £9.99

This is raw Fino, no clarification just a very gentle filtering, it has spent 6 years ageing under the flor. Richer and fresher than the Manzanilla with an almost honeyed note to it, Alex suggests “gambas al pil-pil” but then he would, wouldn’t he?

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado – £30.99
Silver – Sommelier Wine Awards 2014

Oh my! This little number has been ageing in a barrel for 20 years, having started life under flor before additional alcohol added to kill the flor allowing oxidative ageing. Nutty, caramel notes in the nose but the palate is bone dry and deliciously complex. Jamón Jamón!

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado – £34.99
Awarded ‘Master’ title (one of just two) reserved only for outstanding wines with scores of over 95 points – The Drinks Business ‘Fortified Masters’ 2014

A real treat. This rarity starts life as a Fino until the flor goes wrong. Luckily for us, when the flor went wrong here it didn’t turn into sherry vinegar but into this rare beast that has hung out in a barrel for 30 years just becoming awesome. It has a lovely umami character that’d be mighty fine with some Foie Gras. If that’s not your bag, then why not give wild boar a go!

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Pedro Ximenez – £30.99
Gold – Sommelier Wine Awards 2014

When the grapes were on the vine for this Alex hadn’t started shaving! Thirty years in barrels has made this soft, rounded and properly sweet with more sugar than is mentionable in polite company. This is unctuous and delicious and is most often enjoyed with some 70% Green & Blacks. Chocolate dodger Alex loved it with salted almonds, and there has been talk of marinating raisins in it, for a naughty apple strudel!

We’ve got some chocolate, some almonds, some habas fritas too, so we’re proper spoiling you, like – however if the whole sherry thing doesn’t really float your boat we will also be tasting a few wines on Saturday that we don’t sell yet but are thinking about listing – all feedback gratefully received!

Wine School

A number of you have been asking about the dates for the 2015 wine school. After much consultation with diaries and confirmation of half term dates, we are happy to announce that the 6 week course will start on Wednesday 28th January through to Wednesday 11th March with a week off in the middle (Wednesday 18th February, so if you do go away at half term, you won’t miss out!)

Cost as ever is £150 per person and spaces are limited. If you would like to find out more do pop in and have a chat!

Upcoming tastings

These are pretty much sold out but if you still want to grab a seat at the table we still have good availability on our:


And just a couple of spaces remaining on our last event of the year, which frankly would be worth it just for the Bollinger’s and the Vin de Constance, let alone the excellent wines in the middle:


So give us a call on 020 8944 5224 or email us on shop@parkvintners.co.uk and be one of the first to admire Wayne’s new Christmas jumper…

To finish with a quote from the American comedian Rita Rudner which we feel sums it all up very well:

Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, “Never take candy from strangers.” And then they dressed me up and said, “Go beg for it.” I didn’t know what to do!

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