It’s very quiet Dad

January 12th, 2018

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It was a cold night, there was no doubt about it.  The wind was blowing from the east as it often has of late and the promise of little or no sun during the day had been delivered upon, in spades.  It was now 8pm and, in a bygone age, there would have been thick fog swirling about the entrance to Wimbledon Park Tube Station.  Certainly, the mismatched pair clambering up the stairs, were dressed for such weather, the taller in a large overcoat, a warm hat and gloves and with a scarf covering all but his eyes, whilst the smaller creature looked more suited to alpine pursuits than commuting.

‘It’s very quiet Dad’ said the amateur tobogganist, thus identifying their relationship, ‘where is everyone?’

‘It’s always like this at this time of night, Arthur Road is completely dead in the evening’, was the response.

A couple of people left Dalchini, filled with Hakka cuisine, and gingerly weaved through the three battered mopeds sprawled by the door by the over eager Deliveroo drivers.  Further down the street, the sign for Estella blinked, like a remote lighthouse warning people not to approach to closely.

‘The chemist is open late though, look at the light streaming from their windows’ observed the very well enunciated boy.

As they walked down road towards the glow, the sound of excited chatter and glasses accidentally clinking became louder – ‘that’s not the chemist, that’s the wine shop, I wonder what’s going on?’

Rubbing the condensation from the window, they pressed their noses to the glass as people only do in narrative, never in life, and observed a vinous paradise.  Inside the shop, bathed in gloriously warming light, were 10 people of different shapes and sizes seated around a table in the middle of the room whilst two people stood at the far end, seemingly running the show or at the very least talking a lot.

‘This must be that six week wine school that Mum was rattling on about all over December, saying how nice it would be for us to do it together, to taste about 60 wines over the period, to try some mainstream but also some esoteric styles, to learn about wine faults and sweet wine and rosé and then finish off with a week focusing on sparkling wine and champagne – I think they’ve even arranged for a week break for half term which seems very sensible.  I believe it’s aimed at people who are interested in wine but don’t know a lot and are looking to expand their horizons a bit’ murmured the suddenly remarkably well informed Dad.

‘But isn’t that mum over there at the end with Fiona from next door, and isn’t that Clive from your gym?’

‘I had no idea she knew Clive, in fact I had no idea she had signed up for this, why didn’t she tell me?  replied Dad, whilst thinking to himself that this wine tasting looked far more fun than wandering the streets with an 11 year old… why didn’t she tell me?

And with that, they unglued their noses from the windowpane and wandered towards the Coop – ‘beans on toast for supper whilst watching Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It , please Dad’

‘You are not my son’ was the absentminded utterance, as Dad wondered if he was still living the dream…





If you would like to book then please email us, phone us on 020 8944 5224, or pop in and sees us in person – for the course to run we need a minimum of 8 people and we currently are short of this number.  With this in mind we will be closing the bookings on Saturday 20th January – so if you think you’d like to come, carpe diem and don’t let Clive nick your place!

So caught up were our protagonists with the vinous paradise that greeted them, that they completely failed to notice the whacking great blackboard suggesting that if you bought 6 bottles during the month of January the you would actually only pay for 5 of them; or to put it another way, from February to December we offer a 5% discount on a case of 6 but in January we offer 16.666% discount on the same case. 

It can be a mixed case, it needs to be from stock we have in the shop and a couple of things at the top end and in the spirits section don’t qualify due to the fact that giving such a discount would lead to bankruptcy!  Still plenty to choose from here but of course, as every day passes, such choice gets smaller and we wouldn’t want you to miss out like our protagonist earlier – don’t let Clive beat you to it!

Our News

That title sounds extremely formal.  Anyway it’s not really news, more a diary note:

We are closed all day on Monday 15th January in order to attend to our tasting and supplier based responsibilities – we’ve swerved all the Burgundy tastings this year but Monday is showing us, oh, so much more than what Burgundy can offer that we have had to take the day – sorry, back on Tuesday, bright and breezy!

Their News

Too much, as ever.  Farage wants second referendum – or at the very least wants to be on the front pages again.  Snowfall in the alps, very heavy; bear sized Andrex found in woods; Catholics found in Vatican.  Every Premiership player linked with a move to Man City, every Premiership manager denies rumours.  A woman who walked into a police station saying she killed a man and buried him in the garden several years ago is in court accused of murdering a man 12 years ago after police found a body buried in a garden – impressive police work.  The NHS is creaking but sadly this isn’t news.  Theresa launches her 25 year plastic plan, very laudable – 5p bags here we come, recyclable glass bottles for fizzy water (with a deposit), loose fruit and veg – anyone get a sense of déjà vu?

That’s enough of their news – it’s the top of the year, it’s a time to feel positive and enlivened.  To help with such enlivening, we will have the following liveners open this weekend:

Southern Dawn Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – £10.79 – we last tasted this wine, but the 2016 vintage, this weekend last year so it seemed about due.  Classic Marlborough SB, a medley of herbs and grass pursued by a crisp fruit driven palate packed with gooseberry, lime and passion fruit and a lovely fresh finish.

Petit Pittacum 2016 – £12.89 – this is one of our best-selling Spanish wines which probably explains why we haven’t opened a bottle in the shop for over a year, it sells itself!  From Bierzo in the top left corner of the country, made from the lesser known Mencía grape, this has an extremely enticing nose filled with blackberry and elderberry fruits and a palate that reflects the self-same fruit characteristics and a touch of tannin to keep it honest.  Try it.

And with that we shall wish you well – don’t forget, if you have been considering wine school now is the time to strike, unless of course beans on toast with Kirstie and Phil is more your thing!

Alexa really does know too much….

January 5th, 2018

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Here we are again, the last of the turkey has been currified and frozen, we’ve caught up with Hootenanny on iPlayer and poked our nose in the gym – surprised at how quiet it was, we even worked out!

As appears to be the custom at this time of year we thought we might make a few suggestions of what may happen in 2018. We think that by the end of the year Alex will be wearing a beard and Wayne not. Money laundering and tax havens will crop up repeatedly in the news, and Trumpolena will still be twittering on, Theresa May will still be Prime Minister and Liverpool will, again, be the best team to win nothing.

At some point during the year you’ll receive an unexpected delivery of loo roll, toothpaste and a boxed set of Little House on the Prairie and realise that Alexa really does know too much.

Driverless cars will still not quite happen, and because of continual over crowded trains more people will cycle to work. Electric car charging points will be everywhere and still only one person on your street will have one.

Financially, the pound will end the year stronger than it started, FTSE 100 and the oil price will be about the same and the Nikkei 225 will be above 25000.

On the drinks front, there will be life beyond Prosecco, with other sparkling wines getting a look in and an English Sparkling wine being chosen for the Royal Wedding.

Sport wise we’re going with Antonio Conte to return home to Italy as manager, Rory McIlroy to win the Masters, and England to win the Six Nations Rugby, whilst in football exiting the World Cup at the quarter final stage.

Lastly, in a more believable prediction, we think Liver and Bacon will become popular again. Who knows, it might even get its own food truck in Haggerston!

Wine School

We put the dates out last month but to no reaction, we think that in the whirlwind of December they got missed.

We’ll start on Wednesday 31st January at 8pm here. It’s a six week course (that skips half term) and costs ₤150. During the six weeks you’ll taste in the region of 60 different wines. If that appeals, full details are attached.

The Famous Park Vintners January Sale

All we had to do was look at what we wrote in January 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 to find the appropriate words. Yes folks, as now seems traditional in this small corner of southwest London, everything on the shelves is for sale. To encourage you though, might we present to you the Park Vintners January 6 for 5 Offer.

Similar Identical to the ongoing Champagne and sparkling wine deal we offer all year, for January we will be extending this offer to wine and beer too. But not spirits I’m afraid, all the profit on those is reserved for HMRC, unfortunately it’s our Duty. Oh, and it’s only wines we have in stock currently.  And a couple of the wines and Champagnes aren’t in the deal either but let’s not get caught up in all the Ts & Cs, this is a glorious offer – 6 bottles for the price of 5, mixable, a ‘16.66% off’ straight-up deal, none of this ‘cheapest bottle free’ malarkey.  Does that sound like a deal or what?

That’s it from us for this week. Don’t be a stranger!

End Of Year Report

December 29th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Hello, is there anybody in there?  Just nod if you can hear me.  Is there anyone at home?

It’s almost 40 years since Roger Waters wrote these lines, how could he have possibly known what trade would be like on Arthur Road in late December 2017?

As is our wont, as we lie amidst the dying embers, we like to look back on what has burnt brightly over the year…

Best Man?

Wayne maintained his position as top salesman, a position he has kept since we opened, with an astonishing 60% of sales versus Alex’s paltry 40%.

On the plus side, Alex had lots of nice holidays.

Best Wine?

Often we are asked what wine sells better, red or white.  We usually reckon that they are about the same with less red sold in the summer etc etc.  We now find out that we’re so very wrong, and we apologise.

This year red wine makes up about 43% of sales, white wine 27%, fizz 17%, with rosé and spirits garnering about 6% each.

What have we learnt from this?  Firstly, whilst we may well be the top two salesman in the company we are but glorified till jockeys if we have no real concept of what is walking out of the door, and that we assume we are selling more white purely because every time we sell a bottle we have to re-stock the fridge.  Secondly, even if you combine rosé and white wine, they still fall short of red.  Thirdly, fizz marches forward ever more strongly.  As does Provence rosé.  As does Gin!

Best Newcomer?

We had assumed that the Foxdenton Rhubarb Gin was a shoo in here – but of course we were wrong, bamboozled by its pretty colour.  Chateau Paraza from the Minervois knocks it into a cocked hat, with almost double the sales.

Best joke?

In an act of sweet revenge, he dragged her around a load of pubs…. Only to go back to the very first one to buy his pint!

Best be going now…

Short and sweet this week, time is ticking on and we know you all have far better things to do than listen to us rattle on all day (I do have a stat for this too but frankly some of things you would rather be doing are unprintable) so it really just remains for us to say many thanks for all of your support this year, hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to a fabulous 2018 – hopefully we can help you make it more fabulous but not until next Thursday!

Chin Chin!


PS – we are open:






Meursault, Barolo and Santa

December 22nd, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

And now we’re a week closer.  And now we have significantly less wine here than we did seven days ago.  Our special Christmas Gift Case has been changed three times this week  as we ran out of different wines and, frankly, we’ve never known it to be so popular – over the next few days I believe a number of you will be enjoying something along the lines of:

  • Moutard ‘Grand Cuvée Champagne
  • M & B Talmard Macon Uchizy 2015 – a delicious white burgundy
  • Wairau River Pinot Gris 2016 – fabulous with your boxing day ham
  • Château des Demoiselles 2010 – Bordeaux? From a stellar vintage? For Christmas?  Well, if you’re sure….
  • Faiveley Mercurey ‘La Framboisière’ 2015 – as above, but Burgundy instead of Bordeaux
  • Emilio Moro 2015 – our old favourite from Ribera del Duero

Sounds good to me.

Otherwise, everything is ticking along quite nicely.

Opening batsmen

We lost ‘The Ashes’ earlier in the week, which takes the pressure off trying to watch the highlights surreptitiously over breakfast with your in-laws.  If there are any Arsenal fans out there(?) they can also have a very relaxed time over the festive period – a game tonight and then nothing until next Thursday – not sure how Arsene swung this but it should stop him bemoaning an overcrowded fixture card,  we’ll see!  Toys’R’Us seems to be facing an uphill struggle, not for the first time I believe, Apple admit slowing down older models of the iphone and Uber will finish the year as a cab company and not an “information society service” – you gotta love big business.

Open to new experiences

Foodwise, we’ve mainly been sponsored by Pret this week and can confirm that their Christmas sandwich is a sumptuous as ever, although Alex still reckons the Tesco Christmas Special that he tried earlier in the ‘season’ ie late November is his favourite and Wayne has plenty of time for the Waitrose effort.  Neither of us are convinced of the need for vegetarian Christmas sandwiches but that may have a little to do with us not being meat dodgers!

Whilst we are always keen try a Christmas sarnie we have been quite shocked by the array of Christmas snacks available in the local cooperative down the road.  By snacks we really mean crisps:  Honey Roast Ham Crackers didn’t seem too off the wall but then we spotted Pigs in Blankets Tortilla Rolls, we all like sausage wrapped in bacon but are not convinced of the need to tortill-ise and roll them.

However, we could never have predicted the next two flavours…

Step up Gingerbread Tortilla Rolls and last but not least, Sparkling Prosecco Bubbles!  These are apparently light and crispy potato snacks that pop in your mouth, with a hint of fizz flavour!  What?  That’s not even English – since when is fizz a flavour?  Oh.  I just got it.  Jumping on the Prosecco bandwagon, very well done…

In other news, Wayne bought the most delicious Truffle flavour crisps from Brindisa the other day that were genuinely the Donqui’s Jotes!

Opening hours

Today – 11am until 8pm

Saturday 23rd – 10am until 8pm

Sunday 24th – 11am until 4pm

Monday 25th – Thursday 28th – CLOSED

Friday 29th – 11am until 8pm

Saturday 30th –  10am until 8pm

Sunday 31st – 11am until 6pm

Monday 1st – Wednesday 3rd – CLOSED

Thursday 4th – Back to normal…

Opening bottles

In a final bid to fill your Christmas dining tables with oodles of deliciousness and as a reward for those of you who have stuck it out at work until the last knockings we shall be opening:

Patrick Javillier Meursault ‘Les Clousots’ 2011 – £45.00

To quote our burgundy obsessed pal Jack: Pat Jav is a legend and his 2011s are showing really well.  Clousots is a blend of Les Clous and Crousots.  Patrick likes to blend sites to achieve a balanced wine.  Great texture in these wines, classic Meursault.

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo 2012 – £33.00

Jack knows less about Italy so we had to write our own notes here: lovely red cranberry and cedar wood notes and an elegant palate that has lovely tension between fruit and tannin – if you don’t want it we’ll have it…

Chateau Violet Sauternes 2007 -£14.99

We were dead chuffed when we came across this, even more so once we had some in glass!  This delicious pudding wine is the classic sauternes blend of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc from a wonderful vintage.  A beautiful golden colour with aromas of pineapple cubes, honey and orange peel.  The palate is sweet, as you’d expect, but not cloyingly so and has a lovely freshness about it.  Just hitting its stride at 10 years of age, we feel it’s a bit of a bargain.

Of course, on the tasting table we already have open the Krohn LBV 2011 – £18.99, Taylor 325th Anniversary Blended Tawny – £29.59, alongside a whole gamut of spirits and whiskies so come and taste away!

I think that’s it from us now, just time enough for us to wish yule a very merry Christmas and happy New Year!


Christmas is Coming!

December 15th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

There are now 10 days until Christmas – I know this because my junk mail has told me.

Uniqlo, Runners Need, Amazon, Buyagift, Kew Gardens and even Surrey County Cricket Club have been warning me that I risk missing out on their latest offers and that I really, really must hurry.  Even the cheeky so-and-so’s at the Wine Society were putting the hard word on me.  Yesterday, there were 11 days until Christmas and on Tuesday there were 13 days – how do I know?  Because Uniqlo, Runners Need, Amazon… you get the gist.  However, my daughter wishes me to believe that there are only 9 days left because you don’t include today or the 25th in the count and, in fact Dad, because she is going away next Friday to her cousins’ house that, actually Dad, there are only really 6 days until Christmas properly starts…

So, I will now revise my opening statement, there are in fact just 6 days until Christmas – we all know this because my daughter has told me!

Whilst Theresa, Brexit and a Tory rebellion dominate the front pages, it is sport that really helps us keep a sense of perspective and, as often happens, it is the world of football and, within that, the world of José Mourinho, which provides us with the appropriate balance we need.

For non-football fans, here’s what you missed and I’m not sure it will encourage you to become fans in the near future.  Manchester United hosted Manchester City and lost the match 2-1.  After the match, it is alleged that Mr Mourinho made a complaint that the City team were ‘over-celebrating’ their victory and thus weren’t showing United, the losers, enough respect.  In a surreal re-invention of what is normally known as ‘handbags’, a scuffle ensued in the tunnel during which milk, water, plastic bottles and even the occasional punch are alleged to have been thrown, proving once more that footballers are the hardest sportsmen around.  Oh, and the concept of ‘over-celebrating’ – what is that, Jose?  Is that similar to over-laughing, over-smugly smiling and having an over-estimation of one’s own worth?!

Having said all this, I was on the verge of grabbing the Cravendale when I heard what Jonathan Ford of the FAW (Football Association of Wales) said of the requirement for a new Welsh national coach:  “We have always favoured Welsh people because arguably the passion is there.  Somebody said this earlier, Welsh most definitely, foreign possibly but definitely not English.”  Apparently he has had to apologise and put on his hair shirt in order to avoid a sticky international incident resulting in borders closing and a wall being built – who knew the world of football was so very sensitive?  Oh, hang about…

In other news, Donald Trump is 71 years old and has never apologised for anything.

Hopefully cycling isn’t hitting another serious doping scandal – we’ll have to wait and see; hopefully the English cricket team can grab something at the WACA – Day One was a decent day, Day Two started well until Steve Smith turned up again and it seems that Jimmy Anderson has yet to recover from the deeply psychologically traumatising Duckett dousing he received recently; however Steve Finn insists recent disciplinary lapses are not reflective of a drinking culture in English cricket.

In other news, Sir Ian Botham is to launch an English Sparkling Wine next year as part of a new wine range, and is already a partner in Botham Merrill Willis wines with Bob Willis and Geoff Merrill, superstar winemaker, who he met whilst on an Ashes tour in the 70’s…

Anyway, enough of what other people are drinking, what about us here in Wimbledon Park?  It all seems to be gearing up a bit now, parties are going on, pre- Christmas Christmases are being celebrated almost every day of the week and instore talk of turkey and smoked salmon seems to be on a perpetual loop – and we love it!

This weekend, to help with our drinking choices over the festive period but from less traditional areas, we will be opening Herbert Hall NV – £29.99 – our delicious fizz from Marden in Kent; we’ll be opening Quinta de la Erre Albariño 2016 – £15.99 – a cracking wine from Galicia; and we’ll be opening Spencer Hill Latitude 41 Small Batch Pinot Noir 2014 – £21.49 – from Nelson, NZ.  Plus, knowing Wayne’s expertise in persuading corks out of bottles of Port, I suspect we shall open something fortified too but I’m not sure what yet!  Of course, we will have an array of spirits open, including the Foxdenton Rhubarb Gin – £14.99 – that is challenging Prosecco as a top seller and is certainly going to get the award for best newcomer!

That’s about it really from us this week, only about 5 minutes left until Christmas I’m told, don’t forget our Wine Course starts in very late January and makes a perfect gift for that wine fan in your life – £150 for 6 weeks of vinous education, sounds good to me!

We’re off now to buy José some earth boots (thanks Galliano) to help him keep his feet on the ground and then have a chat with David Gower about his £1,000 fine for hiring a plane and buzzing the Carrera Oval during the 1990/1 Ashes tour – proper misbehaviour!

Boswellia Sacra (aka Hougary Frankincense) – who the hell he?

December 8th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Following Alex’s minor brush with celebrity and light switches just the other week, it feels like Arthur Road is gently turning into Primrose Hill. Alex gets accosted in the street; whilst the traffic was on a go slow all day Thursday, as both The Wedding Dress Shop and The Cake Parlour starred in a film! All day there were dozens of people standing around drinking tea, it’s a funny old business this film business. Word on the street is that it’ll be an advert for a high street bank, so watch this space.

In other news, we lost the second test in The Ashes and currently sit at 2-0 down, still in it though, we’re told. Russia has been banned from the Winter Olympics for “state-sponsored doping” but reports that they have been contracted to organise the after-party yet to be verified. We also understand we’ve reached “Peak Human” and are not sure if we should believe it; last year we were told we’d reached peak beard but we see more and more of them.

New Gin

A few weeks back we asked for suggestions for a new gin and received many excellent suggestions. Thanks very much for all your help. In the end we tasted a few but settled on Sacred “Classic” Gin (£35.00) from a micro distillery in Highgate. They use vacuum distillation which occurs at a much lower temperature than pot distillation giving much fresher and lusher flavours. This gin is the result of much experimentation (in fact recipe no 23!) and contains 12 botanicals including juniper, cardamom, nutmeg, and Boswellia Sacra (aka Hougary Frankincense) – hence the name, Sacred.  As an aside, when we asked our chaps at Hepple their opinion on Sacred, they gave it an unconditional thumbs up which erased any lingering doubts we may have had!

As luck would have it, Sacred have also recently released the first whisky to be aged in London – Sacred Peated English Whisky (£52), pipping the chaps in Battersea to the finish line. They take English Whisky from bourbon barrels and re-cask them in London for further maturation and flavour development in hogsheads – old Pedro Ximenez casks from Bodegas Navarro in Montilla, Spain. These nutty and rich nuances give a truly deep and satisfying single malt. Log-fire smoke from a country pub, sea salt, dried pineapple, clove spice, sweet vanilla and Christmas cake. We have been fortunate enough to grab a few bottles from cask No.2.

We have also had our first Mexican shelf visitor – Lunazul Tequila Reposado (£33). For us, it offered classic tequila notes of baked pineapple, framed in a smoky note from lazing around in barrels for a bit. Very smooth, with a long finish that is gently spiced and smoky.

Tasting this weekend

The white corner will be hosting Jean Loron’s Viré Clessé 2014 (£17.99). The south east facing chalk and clay soils here give this wine a lovely minerality. More complex than a Mâcon, not as rich as a Pouilly Fuissé, and really delicious.

In the coin rouge we are still in Burgundy but a little further north. Domaine Faiveley Mercurey La Framboisière 2015 (£23.99). La Framboisière is a single vineyard wine that Faiveley have owned since 1933. Despite its name, we always find it has a real hint of strawberry about. This is an absolute stunner of a vintage, so do come and have a taste.

Christmas Opening Hours












Short and sweet this week – don’t forget to book a space on the Wine School that starts again on Wednesday 31st January 2018 – £150 well worth spending to disperse all those deep winter blues!

Right, back to work with you, before someone notices you’re not examining spreadsheets…

Shop Small And Meet The Neighbours

December 1st, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Thanks to everyone who came along last weekend to witness Alex turning on the Christmas tree lights.  He’s coming down from the dizzy heights of celebrity now and is just about able to negotiate doors without damaging his ears. If you need someone handy with a light switch though, do get in contact, he has reasonable rates for Weddings, Barmitzvahs and Paper Bag openings.

In the news this week, we’ve had a bit of everything. The banks aren’t stressed anymore, winter has arrived, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their engagement and, as if it was already scripted, Donna has taken charge of all the planning.

It appears that when invading Britain Julius Caesar landed his 800 ships at Pegwell Bay in Kent. I suspect traffic on the A2 was much lighter in 57 B.C. making it a quicker run up to town!

Something that did make me smile was “Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah pays $1bn in corruption settlement.” Surely, that’s what got him into trouble in the first place?

Lastly, we’re hoping that Sunday night is a clear one, as there’ll be a supermoon (really big, like in ET!) and it’ll be a good number of years till it is that close to earth again.

Wine School

We have consulted the calendar and put some dates in the sorting hat, the results of which are:

Term starts Wednesday 31st January 2018 and ends on Wednesday 14th March 2018. Wednesday 14th February is skipped for half term skiing or St Valentine’s smooching, the choice is yours! Over the six weeks you’ll taste in the region of 60 wines, learn some wine faults and maybe even meet some new friends (vinous or human). Sign up now, the entire course costs £150, and we can provide you with a voucher for it, if you’re buying it as a gift.

Happy Birthday To Us

Park Vintners is Seven (!!!) years old this weekend, and is dead chuffed that small businesses around the country will be joining in to help us celebrate with…

Small Business Saturday

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, so cancel the Ocado shop, skip Sainsbury’s and head on down to your local butcher, the farmers market, florist, or even wine shop. We’d prefer it wasn’t just one day a year clearly, but small steps…

Shop Small with American Express

In some wonderful joined up thinking, the annual American Express Shop Small promotion starts tomorrow too. There are T&C’s obviously, but in essence: “Just spend £10 or more on your Card in a single transaction at a participating small business, and you’ll get a £5 credit on your statement. Offer runs from 2 – 17 December 2017. There’s no limit to the number of £5 credits you can receive, but you can only claim it once at each small business. To take part, just register your Card – or Supplementary Card – and you’re ready to Shop Small once the offer is live.”

It’d be churlish not to so, we’re in, are you?

New Neighbours

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Galerie Prints ( ) who opened today at 152 Arthur Road.  Go in and see them, there are some truly fabulous pictures.

Tasting This Weekend

Well, given the birthday celebrations, we’ll definitely have a Champagne open.  In the white corner we’ll be pulling the cork on Sylvain Dussort’s Bourgogne ‘Cuvée des Ormes’ 2014 (£18.99). It is the estate’s flagship wine, from vines around 50 years old it is delicate, rich and elegant, with good length, and we reckon in a blind tasting it could easily be mistaken for a Meursault.

We’ll be running the flag up in the red corner for Chateau Sorbey 2010 (£13.99) a cracking Cru Bourgeois Haut Médoc that, despite Arthur Road’s propensity for hairdressers, has nothing to do with any famous celebrity coiffeurista called Trevor!

Thankyou, Rioja, Chablis, Pouilly Fume and luncheon Claret

November 24th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As it was Thanksgiving yesterday we thought we should say thank you, thank you, thank you for the events of the past week.

Thank you for eventually resigning, Robert, although we’re not sure what you’ve done with Grace.  Thank you Philip, for freezing duty on beer, wine, cider and spirits.  Thank you also for continuing to freeze fuel duty.  Thank you Tottenham for making Arsenal fans happy, yet again.  Thank you, James Vince and Mark Stoneman, for at least getting us through Day 1 at the Gabba.  Thank you, Eddie, for putting Dylan on the bench tomorrow.  And thank you the British Medical Journal for publishing two reviews on subjects close to our hearts, relating to coffee and alcohol.

First up, coffee.  3 or 4 cups a day might be healthy and might reduce the risk of liver disease, some cancers, the risk of dying from a stroke and certain heart complaints.  Equally, too much coffee during pregnancy can be harmful – but then too much of anything during pregnancy can be harmful, so I suspect that’s not entirely breaking news.  Unfortunately, our excitement over this news was somewhat dampened when we discovered that all of the studies had been ‘observational’ and they couldn’t prove one way or another whether coffee had been the significant cause.

So, in nutshell, someone received a nice grant to watch people drink coffee and then make varying statements about the health benefits of caffeine without actually being able to, or even needing to prove any of them.  I definitely want that gig – but in the meantime, I need a drink.

Do emotions related to alcohol consumption differ by alcohol type?  An international cross-sectional survey of emotions associated with alcohol consumption and influence on drink choice in different settings – yep, this is the title of a research document published on BMJ Open online on 20 November.

In a rare fit of studious intent, I read the document online yesterday and, whilst it’s no JK Rowling, it did make for quite an interesting read perhaps because I managed to understand most of the words, although I’m not sure they’ve re-invented the wheel.  This was an international survey looking at individuals aged between 18–34 years old who had drunk some beer, spirits, red and white wine in the previous 12 months and where one of these was their drink of choice at home and out socially.  The study had almost 30,000 respondents from 21 countries, so quite an interesting cross section of cultures, I imagined with potential to throw up some surprises.

One part of the study was related to positive and negative emotions people believed they would experience with different drinks.  The positive emotions were: energised, confident, relaxed, and sexy; whilst the negatives were: tired, aggressive, ill, restless, and tearful.

Spirits were considered most likely to make people confident and energised but also most likely to make people ill and least likely to make you relaxed (is that definitely the spirits or perhaps the addition of Red Bull, Coca Cola or other sugary mixers – oh, hang about, it’s not my survey!)

Red wine, beer and then white wine were considered most likely to make you relaxed but this also resulted in them being least likely to energise and the most likely to make you tired – are they all possibly synonyms?  Astonishingly (!), beer was the least likely to make you sexy and, whilst spirits were most likely to make you aggressive, it was only 30% of respondents who thought so.

So, what have we now learnt?  Spirits can make you cocky, beer is no aphrodisiac and too much wine can make you a bit snoozy – shut the front door!!

Thank you, BMJ.

One more thanks before I start talking about wine – thank you Douglas and all The Cresidents.  Tomorrow evening, at 4.15pm, Christ the King is lighting up its Christmas Tree and there’ll be carol singing, mulled wine and mulled Ribena, whilst the lights will be turned on by a local celebrity…  Not to give the game away but we are led to believe that the local celebrity works here at Park Vintners but you’ll have to come along tomorrow to find out!

So, that’s enough giving of thanks for now, back to business.  A number of you have been asking if we are doing the Wine School in the New Year as you think it might make for a nice Christmas gift.  Well the answer is yes, on both counts – it would make a lovely gift and we will be putting the course on again – most likely to start late January but we just need to straighten out a couple of dates.

Another week, another deluge of wine arrives in time for December.

From Spain, Rioja in fact, we have the return of Lopez de Haro Crianza 2014 – £10.99 per bottle or £22 per magnum and Lopez de Haro Reserva 2012 – £13.49 both wines as delicious as ever and the Crianza in magnum just had to be bought.

From France we have some new wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire.

Bordeaux brings us Château Sorbey 2010, Haut-Medoc – £13.99, our new luncheon claret…

Burgundy provides us with two treats: Domaine Alexandre Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2015 – £19.99, an excellent, elegant Chablis with a nice richness from the old vines and a good, lean minerality.  Further south, we have Sylvain Dussort Bourgogne ‘Cuvée des Ormes’ 2014 – £18.99.  This is the estate’s flagship wine (impressive, considering he also makes Meursault), with the grapes hand-harvested from vines between 35 to over 60, years.  The wine is aged for 12 months in barrels on the lees is then racked off once and assembled in a single vat before bottling.  This takes place at between 16 and 18 months, depending on the vintage.  Delicate, rich and elegant, with good length, we reckon in a blind tasting it would easily be mistaken for a Meursault.  Awesome value for money we thought.

And finally, the Loire offers us Domaine Lebrun Pouilly Fumé 2016 – £17.49.  About a million years ago, when we sported Oddbins polo shirts, we used to sell lots of this wine.  The bottle has lost its distinctive orange label somewhere in the intervening years but the wine has lost none of its quality or verve.  Gooseberry, grass, minerals, lemons and limes all crop up somewhere between the start and the nice long finish.

I think, as it’s Friday, that we’ll open a bottle of the Pouilly Fumé and a bottle of the Rioja Crianza mentioned above this evening –might as well strike whilst the iron is hot!  We also have the Taylors 325th Anniversary Reserve Tawny – £29.79, should you fancy fortifying yourselves with something a little stronger!

Right, I’m off to have a Caffè Corretto alla Sambuca to boost my confidence and my immune system….


Tasting Wine and Keeping Score

November 17th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Watched any good sport recently?

England 0 – Germany 0; Sweden 1 – Italy 0; Italy 0 – Sweden 0; England 0 – Brazil 0.

Admittedly two of these were friendlies, but just 1 goal in four matches?  You’ve got Germany, Brazil and Italy – three of the powerhouses of world football, two of whom were playing against lowly England, unable to score a goal.  And Italy, fighting to stay in with a chance of going to the World Cup next year, failed to score in 180 minutes of regular play?  Some people paid £100 to watch England v Brazil on Tuesday night, I suspect the costs weren’t far adrift in Stockholm or Milan – who says there’s no value in football?

Oh hang about, here’s a score form the Women’s Champions League:

Lyon Féminines 9 – BIIK Kazygurt Women 0 (Agg 16-0) – I think I’ve found the goals!

England 21 – Argentina 8.

It looked miserable at Twickenham last week and that’s before we discuss the weather.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been bored by a game of rugby, that’s not how the modern game works but last Saturday came close.  And we’ve got the Aussies this week – they must be quaking… although judging by their strange selection of the second choice wicket keeper for Tasmania for the first Ashes Test, perhaps John Eales might turn up on Saturday?

Read any good news recently?

Mugabe under house arrest was a bit of a surprise, him somehow managing to start negotiating some sort of deal with the army, less so.  Otherwise it’s been pretty much business as usual: more sordid sex scandals emerge; another top banker suggests a second Brexit referendum; Trump tweeted; someone said something derogatory about Theresa….

Drunk any good wine recently?

Well, Alex has certainly tasted enough.  85 wines on Tuesday at the IWC resulted in teeth blacker than the night and a pummelled palate.  However, Wayne has been more successful tasting-wise and as a result we’ve listed some more wines to cram onto the shelves:

Viña von Siebenthal Carmenère 2014 – £20.99 – a delicious red from the Aconcagua Valley in Chile, smooth rich damson fruits and a wine to give many Bordeaux a run for their money

Château Haut-Brisson ‘La Grave’ 2010 – £27.99 – Saint Émilion Grand Cru, from a tiptop vintage, on my table at Christmas, don’t mind if I do!

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo 2012 – £33 – oh no, not another Barolo we hear you cry!  Well tough, it’s here now with all its lovely red cranberry and cedar wood notes and an elegant palate that has lovely tension between fruit and tannin – if you don’t want it we’ll have it…

Quinta da Falorca Garrafeira Old Vines 2011 – £50 – bit of an indulgence this one, a wine that we fell in love with and agreed that if no one bought it we were happy to drink it ourselves.  Our note was ‘a serious wine for serious people’, which makes absolutely no sense at all I know.  It’s extremely good, a blend of about 50 grapes all from old vines and with plenty of potential to age.  If you like top notch Rioja then try this Portuguese version, it’ll knock your socks off!

Celler Sangenís I Vaque Vall Por 2006 – £25.49 – 11 year old Priorat is not that easy to find and usually when you do it is double this price.  It still has a deep dark colour whilst the nose has a definite evolved character.  Wonderfully smooth with a lovely richness of fruit and some resolved tannins that you would never find in a younger wine.

And away from wine we were bamboozled by the pretty label and bought Dolin Chambéryzette Apéritif à la Fraise – £16.99 – a strawberry spirit that is brilliant over ice and adds a certain frisson to a glass of Gin.

We also have a returning hero – MAGNUM OF THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK 2016 – £50 – knowing how much you all like these I thought I’d mention them as I only have a limited quantity available, so first come, first served I think is the fairest distribution.

Tasted any wine yet today?

If not, then perhaps you should swing by and see us this evening – we’re going to open the perennially popular Talmard Mâcon Uchizy 2016 – £15.99 and the Viña von Siebenthal Carmenère 2014 – £20.99, so lots to tempt your palate with…

Out and about this weekend?

Wimbledon Park Primary are having their annual quiz night this evening and if you are lucky enough to be going then I hear that the winelist is exceptional!  Equally, if you find yourself in Raynes Park tomorrow, Alex will be at the St Matthew’s Church Winter Fair showing all sorts of Christmas tipples and treats.

That’s it from us now, stay warm and see you later on for a warming tipple!

Gin, Chianti, Barolo and Ego

November 10th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Enough, already – enough of the ego, or is it id, either way I’m sick of it?

Look at all the sordid activities going on in Hollywood.  The torrent of allegations against Kevin Spacey and his rampant inability to keep his hands to himself has sullied his whole oeuvre.  We’ve got the Weinstein case.  We’ve got a growing list of actors and writers and directors amongst them Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffmann, Steven Seagal, Oliver Stone and even George Bush Sr.  Accepting that accusations are only accusations until guilt is proven, it still doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

Look at all the sordid activities going on in Westminster.  Around a dozen MP’s accused of misconduct and half of them confessing to it.  Alongside this we’ve got a Foreign Secretary totally incapable of understanding from his diplomatic advisors that every word he says is recorded and analysed and that even the slightest mis-phrasing can put peoples life at risk; and we’ve got a, now ex-, Development Secretary whose extra-curricular meetings in Israel, again without any diplomatic support, have got us all asking – what was she thinking?

And what is the one thing that perhaps all these people have in common?  An ego, a sense of self-worth above the norm.  An ego that has such girth that it blocks out a lot of common sense and reality.  An ego that says, effectively, I can get away with this because I am who I am, I am a very important person and I am beyond reproach, advice and retribution – do you know who I am?

“He was really cocky, had this big grin on his face like he was going to get away with something” Carrie Stevens

Sick of it.  Apologies for the rant, here’s to happier times.

Happier times

I’m sitting here, writing this, in what can best be described as an armchair of flavoured Gin – I know, what’s with all the moaning and ranting.  Anyway, our delivery from our pals up at Foxdenton Estate that was due to arrive on Monday has just turned up and the only place to put it was around my escritoire.  My left arm rest is the Recognisably Different Sloe Gin (£24.99), that numerous of you have enjoyed as a winter warmer for numerous years; perhaps more exciting though is my right armrest.  Last time we spoke to Nick at Foxdenton he very kindly sent us down a few samples of his other fruit fancies – specifically his Apricot and his Rhubarb gins.  Now the apricot was like drinking alcoholic jam, which was great in small doses but actually the consensus was that it was all a bit too sweet.  The Rhubarb, on the other hand, was an instant hit.  Sweet and rhubarby as you would hope but with just enough tartness in the finish to keep it honest.  So we bought some, hence armrest number two.  It comes in a particularly smart 35cl bottle and has a delicate pink hue (which our sample didn’t, to its detriment probably) and seems likely to fit perfectly into a stocking in the early hours of 25th December.

Foxdenton Recognisably Different Rhubarb Gin (£14.99).

Even happier times

As intimated above, we have been gathering more stock in this week, which makes us happy and ideally you too in the long term.  A few examples below:

From France we have found another magnum from a cracking vintage, the Chateau Lamothe-Cissac, Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2010 – £36.99.  I’ll bring this if you organise the rib of beef.

From Italy, we see the return of Riecine di Riecine 2012 – £52.00, which is, in their own words, “our ultimate expression of the best wine that can be made from Sangiovese – true to the vineyard and the very essence of the Gaiole terroir, capturing everything that…. is the essence of Riecine” and also their Riecine Chianti Classico 2015 – £22.99, of which wine critic James Suckling wrote: “A firm and silky red with blackberry and tile character. Medium body and a flavorful finish. Drink now.”  He then proceeded to give it 92 points and proclaim it as the best Chianti Classico 2015 – we already knew it very was good and now you can too!

Plus we tasted the totally stonking Borgogno Barolo Riserva 2003 – £48.00, which has oodles of delicious fruit from this warmer vintage and is absolutely singing right now.  We’ve always wanted to get a Borgogno wine on the shelf but have missed out in the past – not this time though!  Finishing off Italy, and a bit more wallet friendly we have managed to list the Feudo Antico Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2014 – £11.99, our previous M d’A went missing so it’s nice to have a replacement.

For the more spirited amongst us we also have some new delights:

Delamain Pale & Dry XO Cognac – £97.00 – real artisanal cognac with an average age of 25 years – smooth, delicious and very smart.

Antica Quaglia Ciliegia Liquore – £22.00 – cherry brandy or is it bottled Bakewell tart?

Antica Quaglia Orange Brandy – £35.00 – really pithy Seville orange notes with hints of Terry’s Chocolate Orange between Grand Marnier and Cointreau in flavour and far superior to both.

Antica Quaglia Fernet – £24.00 – classic aroma of herbs and medicine and old apothecaries, bitter and sweet, herby with a touch of mint decent length – a real hangover fix style, whatever a hangover may be…

Park Brewery Park Porter 4% – £2.59 – a Porter from our pals in Kingston and not at a stupidly high alcohol level – perfect seasonal drinking.

Happy Hour

And so it shall come to pass that at around 5pm this evening the weekend shall commence.  Drinks will be drunk all around the country and we will open a couple of bottles here for your tasting pleasure.

The white will be an old favourite of ours – Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – £18.99 – we’ve been buying this ever since Kevin Judd left Cloudy Bay in 2009 to set up on his own and have never been disappointed; judging from sales it would seem you’re also fans but if you want to double check, swing on by…

The red will be another newbie, Casa Silva Pinot Noir 2015 – £17.99 – from the Colchagua Valley in Chile this is a proper cool climate PN with a nose filled with red fruit notes, strawberries, raspberries and a subtle background note of cinnamon and spice from the French oak it spent 12 months reposing in.  Excellent length of finish and a real pleasure.

So that’s it from us.  Without wanting to get political, wear a poppy, don’t wear a poppy, we don’t mind but do perhaps just take a minute tomorrow to reflect.

Best wishes,

Wayne & Alex

P.S. should you need to hear more ranting, between us we can happily orate on a broad sphere of topics: cycling without lights on, using mobiles whilst driving, not indicating at roundabouts or indeed any junctions, fly-tipping, large lorries in central London, dog waste to name just a few….