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Irises, DotW, Father’s Day, English WW, New Ins and Car’s the Star

Something for everyone in tonight’s Sheldon‘s Times, whether you are a plant-lover, a Dad-lover, an England-lover, a Port-lover or a car-lover. And if you are none of the above, we also have some lovely new bottles of wine in. No point in hanging around, read on…

Irises in bloom (v2)

Earlier this year I posted a picture of our beautify bright blue dwarf irises that came out in the early spring. Now it is time for the early summer irises which I believe are Dutch irises – they grow from a bulb rather than a rhizome and are non-bearded types. We have two different colours in the garden, both of which always surprise me with their display at this time of year.
Sadly they are just going over now, making way for more summer flowers to push through. Trish has done her “Chelsea chop” to extend the flowering season of certain varietals. The much-needed wet weather of today will give all of our plants a refreshing boost for the weeks to come. No moaning about the rain.

Dog(s) of the Week

A long-overdue photo of Amy and Moss, two wonderful working dogs. They were so polite they didn’t want to come into the shop with muddy feet. We caught them in the early morning sun in the car park, ready to round up any passing sheep.
Thank you Nigel for bringing them along – next time bring Jester too, then we can have the full set in one picture. Maybe we could borrow a wooly pig or two and do a sheepdog trial in the carpark?

English Wine Week: 19th – 27th June 2021

Our ever-enthusiastic Amanda has written the below article on English wine in recognition of the fact that England are going to beat Scotland this evening, errr, I mean in recognition of the fact that English Wine Week starts tomorrow. When is Scottish Wine Week? In all seriousness, the quality of English wine, both still and sparkling has improved almost immeasurably over the last 10 years and the wines produced here regularly win awards against the very best from around the world. This week ahead is the perfect time to try a bottle or two.
English Wine Week is a midsummer affair this year, from 19th to 27th June.
There is no better time to drink English wine. Most of the varieties that grow well in our climate produce light, aromatic wines – perfect for sultry afternoons and celebrating football victories!
It can be a tough life being a wine maker in England. Erratic weather conditions are just one of the many difficulties they face. Many wine producing countries get investment from the government to help with equipment and production costs. Other regions have co-operatives who band together to share resources. In England, most producers do it for love, with very little financial or practical support. There is an increasing number of English wine producers who have managed to get financial backing to invest in the knowledge, expertise and equipment and who have been doing it long enough to grow good quality grapes and make consistently great wines.
In a cool region like ours, the best wines are those that are made from grapes that like our climate. If you have never tried the grape varieties Bacchus, Madeline Angevine, and Seyval, give them a go. Expect wines which are reminiscent of English hedgerows and meadows – full of floral and grassy aromas with citrus, apple and pear flavours. Warmer temperatures over the past few summers  have also resulted in ripe crops of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, allowing great examples of these wines as single varietal still wines and in sparkling wine blends to be produced.

Vines in Devon for Lyme Bay Winery

At Sheldon’s we know that you like consistently good wines so the English wines that we sell are selected for their quality and consistency. Lyme Bay Winery wines are from Devon’s Axe Valley. We stock white, rose and sparkling wines from their range, which we all love in the shop. Gusbourne and Nyetimber are now recognised world wide for their finesse and quality. A chilled glass of Gusbourne rosé is the perfect way to start off English Wine Week – and that’s exactly what I’m going to be drinking on Friday evening whilst pretending to watch the football… (For the Scots amongst you, we also have a great selection of single malt whisky!)
Amanda x
Father’s Day – final reminder!
Last week we gave you advance warning of Father’s Day. This week it is Final Warning! Father’s Day is on Sunday, if you haven’t got your beloved Dad a decent bottle of something then tomorrow is the time. We have a wide variety of goodies, from wine, through spirits to Ports and lots more besides. And if nothing catches your eye, buy a gift card and your Pop can come in and choose something for himself. Get on it.
Old, very old Port.
We had the opportunity to taste something very special recently, Amanda has done a little write-up for you.

What does a 125 year old wine taste like?

Working in a wine shop is (sometimes) the best job in the world. This week we were lucky enough to experience a taste of something with 125 years on the clock – a single vintage tawny port from Taylors, from grapes harvested in 1896. We were sent enough for around a tablespoon each to try. A deep caramel colour with an olive green tint at the edge, the wine was still clear and very viscous. The aromas were amazing – so intense that you could smell them from 2 metres away, even wearing a face mask! Unlike a vintage ruby port, which matures in the bottle, tawny port is aged in large old oak casks called pipes. This wine originally started out maturing in 18 pipes and due to the gradual evaporation over the years, the remaining wine was condensed into just 2 pipes! The wine is now so concentrated that the aromas, flavours and alcohol are extremely intense.

With flavours of raisins, dried fig, coffee, toffee, butterscotch, whisky and a touch of dusty oak, the finish goes on and on. This wine is reminiscent of a cross between an old fashioned cough remedy and a whisky. It is intense, complex and incredible. A teaspoon was probably enough, but what an amazing experience to taste something so old.
Amanda x
At the time Amanda wrote the above we had yet to receive the retail price of this incredible port. Wait for it. A cool £3950 a bottle, presented in a decanter as in the picture above. We have a tiny allocation available, if any of you are interested please let me know soonest. Gary – bet you are glad you popped in that day! Extraordinary.

New Ins

A few New Ins this week across the whole spectrum, so here goes:

Bollinger PNVZ16 (bottles £80, mags £200) – we have just about run out of the prior release (PNVZ15) of this 100% pinot noir Champagne so we are delighted to have just received new stocks of the 2016 version. We have a limited number of magnums, so if that is your thing, jump in quick.

2017 Glenelly Glass Collection unoaked Chardonnay, Stellenbosch (£13.95) – to add to our SA range of quality wines, another excellent unoaked Chardonnay. Think Bon Vallon up a notch.
2017 Joseph Drouhin Meursault 1er Cru Charmes (£89) – the producer needs no introduction, the vineyard needs no introduction, the vintage needs no introduction. Enough said.
2018 Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos (£85)- almost ditto. The best of the seven climats in the Grand Cru vineyard of Chablis, this wine is more reminiscent of well make Puligny than a Chablis.

2017 Glenelly Glass Collection Cabernet Franc, Stellenbosch (£13.95) – in the right hands Cabernet Franc produces such an expressive wine and we weren’t disappointed with this example.
2016 Artazu Pasos de San Martin (£25.50) – well made Spanish red, 100% Garnacha from Navarra this is a lighter summer wine that still packs a punch flavour wise. Pre-barbecue after the rose.
2016 Artadi El Seque (£29.50) – this time 90% Monastrell, 10% Syrah from Alicante, this wine is powerful with plenty of flavour but is not overbearing on the palate. Think barbecue if/when the sun comes out.
2011 Lopez de Haro Gran Reserva Rioja (£21.50) – we have just got a handful of these bottles to see what it is like, before making a commitment to larger volumes. For this who have enjoyed the Reserva from the same producer, this is an obvious step up.
2015 Chateau Carignan, Bordeaux (£18.00) – we had this in half bottles, have sold out so have replaced with full bottles. Decent drinking Claret.
2015 Chateau Bel Air, Graves, Bordeaux (£25) – we have restocked on the popular half bottles of this wine (£15) and brought in some full sized bottles at the same time. Yummy, even at this young age.
2010 Pastourelle de Clerc Milon HALVES, Pauillac, Bordeaux (£25 per half) – the second wine of Rothschild-owned Clerc Milon, this second wine from the great 2010 vintage is perfect for drinking now in this smaller format.And finally…..
2013 Glenelly ‘Lady May’ MAGNUMS, Stellenbosch, (£70) – a wine that comes to us with the highest recommendation from a trusted trade friend of mine, I couldn’t resist getting it in in larger bottles. Top quality wine at a sensible price. Tim Atkin and Decanter have both given this wine 95 points out of 100.

Car’s the Star

This week’s Car’s the Star is a monster Range Rover Sport. It has all of the bells and whistles you could possibly want and is quite a beast. The height of luxury, you feel like you are sitting in a comfy leather settee when behind the wheel of this one. And yet it still has all of the power you could ask for from a drivers perspective. Looks black? It is actually a very, very dark pearlescent blue. Lovely.
Many thanks to George and Michelle for bringing it down to see us so soon after acquisition, a nice treat on a Saturday afternoon.
Here endeth another edition of Sheldon‘s Times. Let’s hope the weather over the next couple of days is a little better than it has been today so we can recapture the spirit of summer. Plenty to do in the garden and lots of wine to drink so let the sun shine. As ever, Amanda, Trish and I will be here tomorrow to meet your every-wine-related-need and sort your Father’s Day dilemmas out. Pop in and say hello, we’d love to see you.

Shane, Amanda, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your flower-loving, Father’s-Day-preparing, old-Port-adoring wine team at Sheldon‘s Wine Cellars

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