AFC Wimbledon, Gin and Kangaroos

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s no cake walk, wine retailing.

We work slavishly from the ungodly hour of 11am each day (except Sundays of course, which are reserved for golf and cycling); we spend the whole day chattering away, often about wine, but also often about sport, BREXIT, amateurish car-parking, Gin, holidays, what’s for lunch, beer, families, the future, the past and music; and then, perhaps, a customer might bravely cross the threshold and briefly dip into our conversation about whether there is actually any need for Bentley to have built an SUV before interjecting:

‘err, actually I was just wondering, whilst I was here, if I might get some help choosing a bottle of wine please?’

And we leap into action like scalded/scolded kangaroos.

Sometimes, we have to take our chatting elsewhere – for example, Wednesday this week, we paddled up to Home House in Portman Square, purely to taste some different wines and enjoy a couple of jamón rolls.  In the evening, we threw our palates onto the tracks and tasted a dozen organic/biodynamic/natural/weird but interesting/unusual/occasionally pettillant wines with our pal Phil from the sulphite free fields of Raynes Park – and then repaired to The Alex in Wimbledon to freshen our tastebuds with some chemical-laden lager.  Tasting note of the night was, undoubtedly, Wayne’s proclamation about a Gruner Veltliner that particularly tickled his fancy – ‘that’s right dangerous that, you’d need at least a six box for the weekend!’  You can take the boy out of Essex but….

And still we work slavishly.  We write tasting notes, we read wine reports, we evade sales calls from fictitious energy companies and we surf the web.  Surfing the web may not sound like the work you do but we take it seriously and dedicate much time to it – if we didn’t we wouldn’t be nearly so well informed or able to feed you titbits such as:

  • Möet & Chandon launches Ice Impérial Rosé, “fresh and vibrant when served over ice and sure to be the drink of the summer season” – oh boy, not this again
  • Muirfield will not stage another Open Championship as they vote to bar women members and remain men-only – really? Did they really vote that way?  Dinosaurs
  • 21,408 tickets available to AFC Wimbledon fans keen to watch their League 2 play off final against Plymouth Argyle on 30th May – that’s almost 4.5 times the capacity of Kingsmeadow, COYD!

But perhaps most excitingly, we found this gem on Facebook:

  • The Goring Gin Garden – A Living Bar + Gin Safari in London – it would seem that the wild men of Northumberland, and specifically those charming chaps at Hepple Gin, have got themselves a London gig! In their own words:

We’ve created a living bar, complete with sustainable living walls and roof in the hotel’s large private garden that will be open from Wednesday 1st June for the summer months ahead. To help bring this mantra to life the garden has been planted with English juniper, Douglas fir, lovage, blackcurrant and other key botanicals which form the very distinctive Hepple flavour – guests will be able to plunge themselves into an immersive gin safari around the garden, tasting and smelling each botanical –  from the plant to the glass.

It’s only half an hour from the shop to Victoria, and a couple of minutes walk to the Goring Hotel from there – sounds like a great excuse for a roadtrip, who’s with me?

Sad News

Sadly, unexpected passing is not just happening in the music business.

This week we have learnt of the sudden deaths of two of our wine producers:  Peter Neill, the energy, the passion, the owner of Barton Wines from South Africa and Aimé Guibert, the founder of Mas de Daumas Gassac, once referred to by restaurant guide Gault & Millau as “A Lafite in Languedoc”.  Their wines and their passion will live on.

So, it seemed appropriate for us to open a wine from each of these estates.

Barton Sauvignon-Semillon 2013 (£11.59) is a blend of 64% Sauvignon Blanc and 36% Semillon from Walker bay.  We find Sauvignon can sometimes feel a little one dimensional but add a hearty slug of Semillon and the wine fills out splendidly.  Weighty, with a touch of tropical fruit, a nice zing and a long dry finish.

Mas de Daumas Gassac 2013 (£29.99) 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Tannat, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Nebbiolo, 2% Dolcetto, , room for any more?, oh yes, 2% Pinot Noir and 2% Malbec.  Not sure why he didn’t put any Grenache or Sangiovese in but even so, it’s one hell of a blend.  Bordeaux with a splash of Barolo and a drop of Burgundy almost.  Lovely and elegant with oodles of fruit character.  Delicious now but will age for 20+ years, should you manage to keep your hands off it.

Corks will be unscrewed at about 5pm.  Come and raise a glass to AFC.  Raise a glass to Peter and Aimé.  Raise a glass to absent friends.  Raise a glass!

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