I need a drink, come and join me.

March 4th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I have to admit, my heart’s not in it this week, certainly there is no humour to be found.

At least with Covid there was/is a sense that we are all in it together, irrespective of nationality, geographical location or belief.  We are all fighting against a disease that has touched all corners of the earth, all age groups and we all miss someone who is no longer with us as a result.  We have suffered the frustrations and restrictions to life, all the while knowing that this was for the global good.

Putin the Sociopath has no sense of camaraderie or benevolence toward his fellow beings.  However, by all accounts, he is terrified of Covid and has taken many extreme measures to avoid infection by isolating himself from all but the closest aides, which certainly cannot have helped his delusions.  The man is a coward, ordering cowardly attacks on innocent people and he needs to be stopped right now.

Apologies for the dark thoughts but frankly what we should all be doing right now is embracing each other and looking forward to some brighter days, not bombing the $^!£ out of our neighbours.

Meanwhile, in London, all the oligarchs are scrambling, liquidating assets and trying to get cash out of the country. 

Or perhaps not, in the case of Roman Abramovich, who has instructed his team to ‘set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.’    Sounds pretty good doesn’t it and a large part of me wants this to be a grand gesture of faith and support to the Ukrainian people and a massive two fingers to Moscow.  However, a little bit of me wonders what ‘net proceeds’ means and how much can be winnowed away as I guess that charitable assets might not be frozen; it also wonders how rich he really is if he can write of all the Chelsea loans as well; is there so much more stashed away that losing a few billion here and there is just a cost of business if he ends up not being sanctioned and keeps his assets unfrozen?

Time will tell.  As I say, I want to believe Roman is doing the right thing (just to clarify my football allegiances lie in North London) but I fear I might be disappointed…. Time will tell.

Possibly the most startling news this week was that Gav ‘hide of a rhino’ Williamson is to get a knighthood.  Really?  I’ve attached a link below to an article from The Guardian last September which clearly summarises all the reasons he should never work again, let alone ascend to the House of Lords.  It’s a toxic farce, there are legions of people who should be ahead of him in the queue for ermine lined robes; however I imagine they aren’t bothered by such fripperies, being keener on saving lives, protecting the vulnerable or teaching our kids, whilst desperately chasing a lie in and a day off.


I need a drink, come and join me.

I’ve got a couple of wines from Chile open – oft overlooked, which is a crying shame.

Aromo Viognier 2020 – £9.99 – from the Maule Valley, one of Chile’s traditional wine growing areas, just about 250km south of Santiago.  There’s not a great deal of Viognier planted there but when you taste this you’ll wonder why.  We really rate this wine and have been selling it for over 10 years now, one way or another as it is consistently great value, great quality with lovely peachy-apricot fruit characters and a nice crisp finish. 

From the same producer, we have the Aromo Carménère 2018 – £9.99 – a treat if you like a Merlot but fancy something with a bit of added spice and interest.  Carménère is almost Chile’s own grape, it having been lost to most of the rest of the world but originating in Bordeaux.  Interestingly, through DNA testing, they have found that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère all share the same parent – Cabernet Franc – one to remember for the pub quiz on Monday.  Anyway, this one has some lovely damson spiced fruit notes, a medium weight with just a touch of oak lurking in the background.

And now I must be gone but I will leave you with some words of wisdom from Frederick Coolidge, a professor at the University of Colorado who has studied the personality traits of autocratic leaders that shows us what we are dealing with in Putin:

“They tend to have an excessive fear of death or infection… They fear losing control, they fear losing everything and have a need to control everything…. And they are not always rational about it.”

Send help.

De Wetshof Lesca Chardonnay and Quinta do Espinho

February 25th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Just when you thought the world couldn’t get any crazier, a fragile attention seeking dictator decides he needs to kill thousands of people who’d rather just be left alone to get on with their lives. You’d have thought the world had suffered enough sorrow the last couple of years.

In other news, the Six Nations is back this weekend, unaltered by the addition of any South African representatives who have opted to stay where they are. England, who host Wales at Twickenham, will be boosted by the return of Lawes but not Tuilagi – at what point does Eddie stop waiting for his Manu. Anyway, we always enjoy this fixture as many of our Welsh readers like to teach us naughty words that we have to Google translate.

We worry many of our Scottish readers will be watching from behind the sofa as an in-form France visit Murrayfield. Let’s hope it’s not a horror show. Italy will be bringing their special brand of hope to Dublin, where Johnny Sexton is set to make a return to the Irish team.

In proper sports, the Spring Classics kick off on Saturday with Omloop Het Nieuwsblaad. The Elite Women’s race is 128 km between Ghent and Ninove. We think it’s difficult to see past Annamiek van Vleuten but would suggest keeping an eye on Sarah Roy too.

The men’s race is between Ghent and Ninove too but, in typical fashion, nobody wanted to ask directions and as a result the route is 204km. Difficult to pick here but Tom Pidcock, Wout van Aert and Stefan Kung are all worthy of attention.

Sunday sees Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with some new climbs but without Oude Kwaremont this year. Along with the names above I might just mention Peter Sagan who hasn’t ridden Opening Weekend since 2017.

In wine news, if you’re planning a trip to Bordeaux this year it might be worth looking up Wine Cab. It’s basically a London Taxi that takes you on a tasting tour of vineyards. However, if you’re after a more serious tour in Bordeaux, do let us know and we’ll put you in touch with our chum Hamish who knows just about everyone in that part of the world.

In Warrington, Julia Iverson, who’s just celebrated her 108th birthday, says the secret of a long life is definitely a glass of red wine a day. 

Now that we’ve finally got around to the subject of wine we’ll be opening some of that this weekend.  We have discussed some eye watering price changes in Burgundy with a number of you lately so feel we should look at alternatives. We will start on the white with De Wetshof Estate Lesca Chardonnay 2020 (£16.99). The estate is known as one of the most important Chardonnay producers in South Africa, being pioneers for the Burgundian grape in the 1970’s.

On the red, we’ll head off to the Douro in Portugal for it is here we will discover Quinta do Espinho Colheita 2017 (£13.99) a rather fabulous blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca demonstrating to us once again that there’s great drinking for your money in Portugal.

And finally a reminder:

Today is our annual close-early-and-go-and-run-the-bar-at-the-KCS-quiz-night

So, we must apologise because we will be closing at 5pm.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow at Noon.

Go in peace my friends.

Never been to Tramp

February 18th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We’d like to start off by saying that we’ve never met Prince Andrew, never been to Tramp or even Pizza Express in Woking, so where do we need to send our BACS details? We suspect he’ll disappear from public life and be found on a golf course in the sun somewhere in the desert.

Quite a topsy-turvy week one way and another. St Valentine decreed that we should all start drinking on Monday and we duly did, declaring undying love, indeed loving it so much that we kept it up on Tuesday too.  Windy Wednesday, or Storm Dudley seemed to put us all off though and his partner Eunice is still going. Plenty of sweeping up to be done later and a bit of splicing of the odd electricity cable here and there. I have to say, they may sound more like a mid-70’s sitcom couple but the havoc caused seems a bit more Hammer Horror!

We see in the chilly sports Britain’s Curlers have finally managed to get us on the medal table, so well done them. We also noted that the Wikipedia entry for the skeleton might need an amendment given the statement: “Great Britain is the only nation to have won a medal every time skeleton has featured at the Olympic Games, and has won at least one medal in each of the five contests of Women’s skeleton since its introduction with five different athletes.” Oops.

Something that rather warmed the cockles will happen at St Pancras Station on 8th March. The station will become a stage for a series of brand-new, train-themed micro-operas created by female composers from anecdotes submitted to the Royal Opera House by members of the public, exploring themes of time, motion, meetings and farewells. It seems a lovely addition to your journeys and what a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

We read this week that 2021 saw the highest volume of Champagne produced for a decade, sadly the news arrived after all the emails from all the big brands pleading poverty and dry goods problems leading to price rises. The production figures are for the grapes of the 2020 vintage which saw the earliest Champagne harvest ever, with July 2020 being the driest one ever recorded. All that said, the UK’s thirst for Champagne remains undiminished, surging 30% to 29 million bottles in 2021.We shall continue to seek out small producers offering great wines that are interesting and well-priced.

The Domaine Treloar Tasting is now full up, and we’re all rather looking forward to it.

Today is National Wine Drinking Day 2022, how fortunate that it falls on a Friday eh?

Tasting This Weekend

Propping up the bar in the white t-shirt this week will be Menade Verdejo Ecologica (£15.29) an organic Verdejo from the Castillo Y Leon region of Spain. From 25 year old vines, the wine gives us a glassful of citrus and herb notes, a touch of minerality and a lovely finish.

Rolling in with the red bomber around it’s shoulders will be Domaine Treloar’s Three Peaks (£14.99) a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre from the French Pyrennes and an ideal chance to taste Jonathan’s handiwork for those of you who can’t make the tasting.

Finally, one important piece of admin before we go:

Next Friday, 25th February, is our annual close-early-and-go-and-run-the-bar-at-the-KCS-quiz-night

So, we must apologise because we will be closing at 5pm that day.

Lunchtime Burritos, Parties and a Minx

February 11th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I will confess to being in a bit of a crisis this week, a crisis of excess. 

In one hand, we’ve got 50 letters being sent out by the Met to various unnamed recipients, relating to potentially shady goings on in Downing Street; we’ve got the ongoing fallout from the Sue Gray report and we’ve got a famous bodice ripper written by EL James.  Ideally, in the other hand, I would have a clever pun combining all of the above, that would make us all smile for a moment as we unwrap our lunchtime burrito; however, as I uncurl my fingers I find that the palm is empty, there is no pun to be found, just a P45 named Dick.  So, if anyone can come up with something clever using the tools provided, please do let me know before the end of the email and I’ll slot it in.

Were you one of the lucky 50 recipients of a letter from Scotland Yard?  I imagine not, given that you were all at home isolating for the last two years but I have to say I’m intrigued to know what the emailed questionnaire is going to ask, or perhaps should ask:

  1. Did you go to any parties in Downing Street in 2020 or 2021?
  2. Was Boris Johnson there in a work capacity or was he working the room?
  3. As these questions are part of Operation Hillman, which of the following Hillman motor vehicles did you see at Downing Street? Minx, Husky, Super Minx, Imp, Hunter, Avenger or Hustler (please tick all that apply)
  4. And finally, to help our sponsors, do you prefer Claret or Beaujolais with your Brie de Meaux?

This questionnaire has formal legal status and all responses are required within seven days.  You must answer every question with either ‘YES’, ‘NO’ or ‘IT IS SIMPLY THE CASE THAT WE WOULDN’T WANT TO BE SEEN TO BE PREJUDGING THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION.  GIVEN THE CLAIMS AND SPECULATION THAT’S BEEN REPORTED ON, WHAT’S RIGHT IS THAT THE INVESTIGATION IS ALLOWED TO CARRY OUT ITS WORK’

However, we have to assume that we’ll never know the whole truth, so I’ll move on to other things and this week we have a couple of diary notes for you.

It’s the 11th February today, I imagine many of you are all dusting off your passports in anticipation of a snow filled half term break and I fully applaud this.  Anyway, if today is the 11th, tomorrow will likely be the 12th, Sunday should be the 13th which will result in Monday being the 14th.  The 14th February aka Valentine’s Day.  I’d pack a card and a bottle of something nice in amongst your long johns if I were you…. don’t say you weren’t given enough warning!

Almost as exciting as the prospect of drinking Champagne on a Monday night is the prospect of us hosting a winemaker tasting here instore.  On Tuesday we received the following email:


We’re planning on coming to the UK in April for a friends 50th and wondered if you would be interested in doing a tasting on the evening of Thursday 21st April with Jonathan like in the old days

To which we replied:

Yes please, we’d love too

To clarify, the email came from Rachel, Rachel Treloar to give her full name, one half of team Domaine Treloar, down in Roussillon in the nice warm part of France.  Now, over the years both Rachel and her husband Jonathan have done tastings for us here and they have gone down an absolute storm – the combination of great wines, great anecdotes and the opportunity to ask the winemakers some really geeky questions is Alex’s idea of atop night out.  It would seem that, historically, you all have a pretty good time too, given the speed with which tickets tend to sell!

The last time we did a Treloar tasting was with Rachel on 17th October 2019 and prior to that Jonathan filled us with wine and information on 26th November 2014, which just goes to show that another visit is well overdue, where has the time gone?


THURSDAY 21ST APRIL 7.30pm – £20 each – limited numbers, when it’s full, it’s full!

Very exciting!

Back in the here and now, we’ll be having a wee tasting of our own this weekend as usual and these two characters will be on show:

Cramele Recas Solara – £11.99

We chose this because frankly, on this most romantic of weekends, what says ‘I love you!’ better than a vegan natural wine from Romania with a slice of orange pretending to be the rising sun on its label?  See, we’ve got all the moves. 

Anyway, back in truthful-land, we first listed this wine last summer in our Case Club and it sold out really, really quickly.  When we tried to re-order in September we were told it was out of stock until 2022.  Well, we’re in 2022 now and the wine is here once more.  The estate is owned by Englishman Philip Cox and his Romanian wife Elvira who have immaculate vineyards, in mountainous terrain, containing a combination of evolved plantings from 1447 alongside more recent plantings.  A natural minimal intervention wine, it is made by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the pressed juice, creating a deep orange-hued finish.  The wine ferments naturally without the addition of yeasts, sulphur or any other additions.  The nose exhibits quince, Poire William and a hint of vanilla. A complex and structured palate, it is elegant with discreet fruit flavours of stone fruits, backed up with a complexity and long, balanced finish, incredibly fresh. 

Or, in simpler terms, try it, it’s fab!

Keeping the romantic theme, the red is Spanish this week.

Valenciso have become a leading light amongst Rioja’s small, yet growing, band of micro, terroir-focused producers.  Leaving behind excellent careers at Bodegas Palacio, Luis Valentin (see what we did there!) and Carmen Enciso started Compania Bodeguera de Valenciso in 1998.  The vineyards and cellar are located in Rioja Alta in Ollauri, Spain, a small village 4-km away from Haro and we’ll be opening:

Valenciso Reserva 2012 – £25.99

“2012 was a warm and dry year, when some vines were blocked and stopped ripening the grapes. Surprisingly enough, many wines have retained more freshness than what the natural conditions of the year anticipated. Valenciso’s 2012 Reserva has more stuffing and power than the 2011 and comes from a year that was saved by some rains in September and big temperature contrasts between day and night. It’s very tasty, almost salty (the words of Jean Gonon from St Joseph saying “our wines are salty, to be enjoyed with food. There is no room for sweetness in our wines,” comes to my mind). It’s a modern classical Rioja in the making, still young but showing some development and incipient complexity. These wines develop slowly and nicely in bottle and seem to hit the spot after some eight years after the harvest.”  

93 points Luis Guttierez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (6/2019)

Now, that should probably be it from us, you finished your burrito a while back now and I’m sure are itching to get on with your afternoon but, just to confirm, yes, you’re right, there’s a very good reason why we haven’t mentioned the Six Nations….

Words About The Winter Olympics And Six Nations

February 4th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As the world goes Wordle mad, we thought we’d share an anagram somebody was kind enough to share with us: Rogue Partyers = Sue Gray Report!

So, hot on the heels of just writing off £4.3 billion lost to fraud just last week, the government has announced that they will be writing off £8.7 billion on Personal Protective Equipment. Some of this loss is understandable, as stock is revalued at prices that have dropped as the demand has fallen, something that we all recall from GCSE economics.

Perhaps you’ll remember that some was purchased through the so called VIP lanes from Matt’s mate down the pub. We’re not sure if that’s

  1. the £673 million worth of masks that were not fit for purpose
  2. the £750 million’s worth that went of date before it could be used
  3. the £2.6 billion that was spent on “items not suitable for use in the NHS” but which they hope to sell

That’s £13 billion and counting of OUR money that has been wasted rather than aiding economic recovery! As a guide, the 2012 Olympics cost £9.3 billion to stage and led to the regeneration of an enormous swathe of East London with more than 10,000 new homes.

To say we are a little peeved may be perceived as an understatement. It’s not so much the paying top of the market, there was a pandemic after all and somebody always ends up buying at the top, it’s more about finding ourselves on the same side of outrage as the Daily Mail that makes us feel distinctly grumpy.

Earlier this morning we had the opening ceremony for Winter Olympics in Beijing. We’ve seen Team GB in action already of course, as the curling started on Wednesday with the mixed doubles team Bruce Mouat and Jen Dodds carrying the weight of our expectations beating Sweden, Canada and Australia thus far. Rumours that the curling started early because it is so slow are apparently less truthful than a speech by the Prime Minister.

Personally, I’m looking out for Brad Hall and co in the bobsleigh and then Kirsty Muir and Zoe Atkin in the freestyle skiing. Ski jumping with its new mixed event seems even better than ever, no prizes for guessing who’s been watching Ski Sunday! 

At the risk of raising the excitement levels just a little further, the Six Nations starts on Saturday too.  An injury diminished England travel to Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup game, however the injury list has forced Mr Jones to pick some of the names that you’ve all been shouting at your TV for ages, although perhaps not Eliot Daly…. Scotland look injury free so Mr Townsend has full choice and it should be a bit of a game.

Ireland host Wales which I suspect the fans are grateful for given plans to sell weak beer and close bars at half time in Cardiff! I suspect Ireland fancy it, given Wales have an injury list to match England’s.

Italy find themselves on the road on Sunday, facing tournament favourites France at the Stade de France, I don’t fancy their chances if I’m honest!

Whilst we’re on the subject of travelling, in real sports, the European Road Racing Season has started with both the Etoile de Bessèges and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana taking place this week. Mads Pederson and Remco Evenepoel respectively pickied up early season stage wins.

Perhaps now we should look at tasting some wine this weekend. Given that Italy had a starring role last weekend we’ll open with France occupying the white corner: Reserve de Gassac 2020 (£12.99) an unoaked blend of predominantly Viognier with Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay from 25 year old vines. Soft and ripe on the palate with stone fruits, herbs and a mineral backbone. Very versatile with food, but a fish stew with plenty of garlic would be heavenly.

Spain will roll in with the red; Time Waits For No One (£13.99) is from Jumilla, just a short bike ride from the race. Made from 100% Monastrell it is dark in the glass with earthy black fruits, a touch of smoke and a plumper of a finish.

With that we’re off quicker than your MP can pop a letter in!

Rhubarb and Other Stories

January 28th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Frustratingly, when one scans the headlines, not a lot has changed since last week.  We’re still waiting for the potentially underwhelming report from Sue Gray to land on our desk and as a result we’re still having to listen to Keir and co telling Big Dog to resign which they know he won’t do because that would be an admission of guilt.  Rory Stewart, possibly not a lover of large canines, saw fit to add his two penneth to the debate:

“This is somebody who has obviously cheated on two wives, been fired from two jobs…. People have known that Boris Johnson lies for 30 years…. The question is do people want somebody who lies so consistently… Boris Johnson lies all the time, you can document hundreds of lies that he’s told…. I don’t think waiting for the Sue Gray report to find out whether he lies. He lies to his wife, his employers, his colleagues, Parliament…. Often he does it in different ways. He’s probably the best liar we’ve had as Prime Minister.”

Don’t beat about the bush Rory, tell us what you really think!

“This whole thing is total rhubarb.”

Thankfully Boris was able to clear things up. 

Think what you will of the labradoodle, he does often have a decent turn of phrase.  In fact, it feels as though the one report he has received is related to the poll taken by Perspectives Global, where 2,000 adults, aged between 18-50, were asked if they had ever used any of 50 old phrases that are dying out – these are all phrases that you could imagine Boris using…

To be Prime Minister you really need to know your onions or else you run the risk of dropping a clanger.  However, as we can see throughout Boris’ career, he always starts as keen as mustard but this is just a flash in the pan as his constant refusal to toe the line results in it all going pear shaped and costing someone a bomb to get rid of him.  The fact that he was able to continue as a journalist for so long takes the biscuit as he churned out a load of old codswallop on a weekly basis, seemingly incapable of putting a sock in it.  In spite of the fact that he could not organise a p*** up in a brewery, he somehow became Foreign Secretary and, in this capacity, showed the whole world that he was a few sandwiches short of a picnic before becoming a fly in the ointment and resigning.  Once Teresa May left Downing Street he saw this as an opportunity to become a legend in his own lifetime although Covid saw him make a total dogs dinner of his premiership.  Right now it would seem his career is ready for the knackers’ yard, it’s been a bodge job but we must never expect him to eat humble pie since he doesn’t consider that he’s done anything wrong, because he’s mad as a hatter!

Elsewhere, everyone’s favourite international jet-setter has set his own big dogs to work denying all charges against him, which he would of course.  We don’t know much about law and lawyering but we thought “Prince Andrew lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the allegation that there exists photographic evidence of his alleged meeting with Giuffre” took the biscuit.  Blimey, this is the photo that has appeared in probably 90% of the world’s tabloids over the last few years – you could only expect such brass neck from a man unable to sweat!

Now, onto things that don’t make our blood boil.  I’m sure many of you will have come across the excellent book Great Lies To Tell Small Kids by Andy Riley, a veritable treasure trove of silliness that includes classics such as Wine makes Mummy clever.  Anyway, I only mention this because we’ve been talking about lying but now we should talk about wine. 

A Chinese study, published in journal Frontiers, has found that COVID risk is lower in red wine drinkers compared to non-drinkers whilst beer and cider drinkers up to a 28% higher COVID risk compared with non-drinkers.

So, we’ve vaccinated, double vaccinated and boosted, now it’s time to reach for the corkscrew and open that nice bottle of Italian red to make sure we are properly covered – how does this one sound?

Maculan Brentino – £23.99

For three generations the Maculan family has been selecting and vinifying the best grapes from their hillside vineyards, on volcanic soils, with the best sites of the Breganze DOC.  Located about 20 miles north of Vicenza, Breganze is an enchanting village at the foot of the Asiago high plains.  Maculan has long been a favourite winery of ours but, since we left Oddbins many moons ago, we haven’t been able to get hold of their wines.  Until now.  This red is a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon with seductive aromas of blackberries and dark cherries, that lead onto a medium to full-bodied palate with dark fruit character and some nicely balanced tannins that persist well into the finish.

We’ll have this open to taste over the weekend and to complement it, we’ll have an Italian white too:

Vigneti Le Monde Friulano – £15.99

Established in 1970 and recognised as a “cru” within Friuli, it is only under the current owners that the estate has really taken off. This wine is made from 100% Friulano, with aromas of fresh flowers, citrus, lemon and green apple.  The palate is crisp and dry with again notes of apple, peach and pear with a subtle floral note.  Good weight, perfectly balanced by a fresh clean finish – this often slips under people’s radar and we cannot understand why!

And now we must leave you with one last true story, as told by Barry Cryer:

A man drives down a country lane and runs over a cockerel.  He knocks at a nearby farmhouse door and a woman answers.

‘I appear to have killed your cockerel,’ he says. ‘I’d like to replace it.’

The woman replies: ‘Please yourself – the hens are round the back.’


Uisge Beatha

January 21st, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing.  Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.  In the name of God, go!

I like this quote, it feels like something that might come in useful when dealing with recalcitrant teenagers or dinner guests who haven’t helped with the washing up and keep on drinking your wine….

Boris should have replied ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me’ in in true parliamentary playground style, however he chose instead the far more scholarly riposte: ‘I must say to him, I don’t know what he is talking about’ – take that Davis, how do you like them apples?!

Whilst we understand the excitement surrounding Mr Thick as Mince’s Cromwellian oratory, we feel that perhaps a better question was asked just beforehand, by Labour MP Diana Johnson:

When the prime minister has to spend his time trying to convince the British public that he is stupid not dishonest, isn’t it time for him to go?

Boom – get your coat, Johnson, you’re toast.

In anticipation of all this we’ve spent the week reading about Liz Truss on Wikipedia in readiness for her arrival at Number 10.  However, it now seems that since Boris has single-handedly cured Covid and eradicated it from the British Isles simply by removing Plan B, nobody appears that interested in taking over from him.  And no, of course there hasn’t been any blackmail or manipulation or more accurately, Boris hasn’t seen any evidence….

Shame, in every sense of the word.

I feel we need to move on.  Today is Friday 21st January which means, encouragingly, that Wayne is now 3 weeks into Veganuary and I haven’t touched a drop since New Year’s Eve.

Have we told you how amazing we are feeling, how this period of abstinence has really made us reflect on previous life choices and how generally Zen we are and that perhaps we might even continue into February and beyond? 


That’s probably because we haven’t actually given anything up for this month, it’s all too darned bleak anyway and, if you just abstain Monday to Wednesday each week, that equates to roughly 22 weeks of purgatory per year, which we think is probably about enough.

And why would you want to give up when it’s Whisky season?  Yes indeedy, Burn’s Night is upon us once more, next Tuesday to be precise, but I imagine a number of us will be celebrating this weekend.

Not long before Christmas we added two new Highland Whiskies to our range, from a new labelling called Canmore.  Both of them are here open to taste should you wish to whet your appetite, if not, here are the notes from their website:

Canmore Original Single Malt – £33

A reassuringly complex and smooth Scotch – the search for the classic single malt can end now with this easy-going, easy-drinking whisky. “A well rounded and happy whisky with lots going for it. Would appeal to a novice palate but would also satisfy a regular whisky drinker as a session whisky. Quite moreish.”  Dominic Roskrow, Whisky Consultant

Canmore 12 Year Old – £42

Rich and warming and matured in ex-bourbon barrels for over a decade to create a bounty of deep and complex flavours.  “This is a very nice whisky. It’s not over-assertive – there is no peat, or heavy sherry influence, or over-heavy oak influences. There’s enough going on for it to hold its own in the company of malts such as Old Pulteney, An Cnoc, or Glen Grant.”  Dominic Roskrow (again!)

Of course, we have plenty of other bottles open too, should you need to do a full evaluation


Should Uisge Beatha not be your thing, we’ll have a couple of wines open too

Chatelain Desjacques Chardonnay 2020 – £10.49

Absolute cracking value this from the Val de Loire in France.  A light, crisp and appley Chardonnay given a bit of depth by some time spent on its lees and no time spent in oak.  This fits into that comfortable space where you’d like a glass of Chablis but don’t have a posh Burgundy budget!

Bodegas Staphyle Iris Malbec 2020 – £9.99

This is from Lujan de Cuyo, which is pretty high altitude wise and home to most of the smart names in quality from Mendoza, Argentina.  The winery was originally built in 1930 but fully updated in 2002 by boutique winery Bodegas Staphyle.  The wine is brilliant, youthful and bright with light tannins, cherry and berry fruit characteristics and a lovely easy going finish. Cracking with some of that haggis you’ve got planned!

That’s just about it from us – same time next week, perhaps with a new PM?


A Bit Over It, January Sale, Going Tasting!

January 14th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week we’re a bit over it, if we’re honest.

As we reach the gazillionth day of Covid dominated news we thought, rather than go off on some inarticulate rant that would bore you and just incense us more, we would instead  have a quick flick through the dictionary, just to check that our understanding of certain words was the same as everyone else’s.  Here are some examples:

  • ENTITLED [ɪnˈtʌɪt(ə)ld] adjective – believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

“they feel so entitled and think the world will revolve around them and the rules don’t include them”

  • ARROGANT [ˈarəɡ(ə)nt] adjective – having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

“he’s arrogant and opinionated but not an expert”

  • TENNIS PLAYER noun – an athlete who plays tennis

“No, Novak Djokovic is not a virologist or an, epidemiologist, he is a tennis player”

  • ISOLATION [ʌɪsəˈleɪʃ(ə)n] noun –  the process or fact of isolating or being isolated

Mr Ramella, I’ve tested positive for Covid so will need to isolate rather than do this interview”

synonyms: separation · segregation · setting apart · keeping apart · quarantine · insulation · seclusion · closeting · protection · shielding · partitioning · solitariness ·

  • PRIME MINISTER noun – the head of an elected government; the principal minister of a sovereign or state.

“Yes, Boris Johnson really is our Prime Minister, the buck stops there!”

  • PARTY [ˈpɑːti] noun – a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment.

“Hi all, after what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening. Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

synonyms: social gathering · gathering · social occasion · social event ·

Having now checked, it seems we did have the correct understanding off all of these words, it was just some others who didn’t.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said he is limiting contact with other people, because a family member has tested positive, and will continue to do so until at least Tuesday – what a convenient time to start following the rules!

Moving back into the shop, there are deals to be done.  By simply walking through the door and stating something along the lines of:

‘I believe that, if I choose 6 bottles of wine, either all the same or 6 different, that may also include some of your sparkling wines but not your spirits, then I am ENTITLED to a 16.66% discount?  Furthermore, this ENTITLEMENT is not limited to just one ISOLATED visit, I can actually use it as many times as I want until the end of January – perhaps I should have a PARTY?’

Of course, you don’t have to announce yourself in such a pompous manner, we’d be very excited if you did however (might even give you a prize!), not to worry though, this entitlement is open to everyone, not just our pals!

I think Wayne explained it all last week but just to confirm:

If you buy 6 bottles we’ll only charge you for 5 – which in maths terms is a 16.66% discount – and we do it mathematically rather than giving you the cheapest one free because, frankly, that’s just not how we do things round here…

I think that’s probably it for now – good news is we’re already half way through the month, in 31 days time it’ll be Valentines Day, half term will be in full swing and we’ll be knee deep in the Six Nations whilst happily careening towards Spring.

And we might have a new Prime Minister?  Let’s see….

Finally, we will be closed on Monday.  It’s the annual tasting of a key supplier and we’re hoping to find some new wines to tantalise your taste buds  as well as taste some vintage changes.

New Year in, Angélus Out and a Sale

January 7th, 2022

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Happy New Year folks, may your cup overfloweth! Perhaps not with the red though, we don’t want to stain the carpet.

Away in the sunshine Down Under, Novax Djokovic discovers that being famous is not everything and not doing something can carry as many consequences as doing something. On which note we would take this opportunity to remind you that you’re in the last three weeks of time to do your tax return and, as a note to self; we have pretty much the same amount of time for our VAT return.

In wine news we can report that Chateau Angélus has decided to withdraw from the St Émilion classification system. “While acknowledging the benefits the Saint-Émilion classification has brought, Château Angélus has decided it is time to withdraw.” Drawn up every 10 years, it is due to be announced again this year amid reports that already two estates have plans to appoint lawyers. You may recall us reporting that following almost 10 years of court proceedings Angélus owner Hubert de Bôuard was found guilty by a French court in November 2021 of having undue influence in setting the standards of the 2012 classification.

We have stated before that if the lesser performing estates spent as much time concentrating on their vines and wines as they did in their lawyers office everyone could benefit. For the record, of the top four performing estates in St Émilion, only Chateau Pavie remains in the classification.

Whilst we’re on the subject of wine, I’d like to mention we’re having a January Sale. Despite everyone’s best efforts we just didn’t manage to sell out before the year end. As a result we have decided to continue a tradition we started in 2011 by offering you some FREE WINE.

Your eyes do not deceive you if you buy 6 bottles we’ll only charge you for 5. In reality that’s a 16.66% discount, not one of ‘the cheapest one free’ shenanigans that other retailers might like to hoodwink with…

Apart from spirits there are only a few odd products here and there that we’ll have to exclude but we’re sure you understand.

We understand that some of you may be involved in Dry January. It’s not for us in much the same way as Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. We admire your spirit though, and would mention that do have a Zero Alcohol Sparkler should the charms of San Pellegrino wear a bit thin.  

That’s enough from us for the first week of the year, do pop in and say hi and leave with a box you only paid for five of.


Wayne & Alex

Happy New Year. 2022 We’ve Got This!

December 31st, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Possibly not our most original idea but like many before us, we thought we’d give you a quick recap of 2021.

January saw us discuss a racing pigeon lost at a race in Oregon turning up in Melbourne, a flight of 13000km.

February found us up to our knees in Ferrero Rocher, Valentines cards and the Six Nations Rugby, whilst Wayne got a new shed.

We marched on into, well, March and there was more Rugby, covid jabs and the unexpected appearance of Jilly Cooper in one of our Friday emails. ‘Stay at Home’ ended on the 29th.

April rode in with a mixture of sunshine, snow and rain. The Volvo got a new bit for its suspension, Paris Roubaix was postponed and Mark Cavendish came third at the Schelderprijs and then won three stages at the Tour of Turkey. We got haircuts.

May arrived without the removal of any layers as it was still very chilly. We voted for a London Mayor and kept the one we had. Leicester won the FA Cup and Harry Kane wanted to leave Tottenham Hotspur.

In June, the G7 bought gridlock and an extra burst of  the ‘rona to the lucky folks of Cornwall. Whilst scientists discovered infecting mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria causes a 77% reduction in cases of dengue fever without harming the mosquito.

July saw the Tour de France, Freedom Day and England’s men’s football team lose on penalties to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley. Despite not being originally scheduled to ride, Mark Cavendish was on winning form again, equalling Eddy Merckx 34 victories at the Tour.

August featured a lot of Dave’s getting up to mischief. Call me Dave was in bother for lobbying proceeds, ‘Dave Smith’ at the Embassy in Berlin for selling secrets to the Russians, and ‘River Dave’ for being in contempt of a New York court.

September contained too many R’s. Ronaldo returned to Manchester, Reginald Dwight (Elton John) postponed his tour of the UK, Rahm at the Ryder Cup, and a Government reshuffle.

October arrived with James Bond, whilst the Justice Minister was demonstrating his grasp of the brief with “Misogyny is absolutely wrong, whether it’s a man against a woman, or a woman against a man”.

November arrived with COP26 involving more hot air than seemed sensible and Owen Paterson resigned. There were fireworks for most of the month.

He we are at the end of December.  We’d like to thank you dearly for your support this year it really means a lot us. We wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

We did also talk a bit about wine as well but not as much as we would like to think we do – anyway, bring on 2022, we’ve got this!