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DotW, EUROs update, Squashed Sheldon’s, Riscal Spotlight, New Ins and Car’s the Star

Finally we have a little wine content in tonight’s Sheldon’s Times with an article on Marques de Riscal, one of the historic houses in Rioja, Spain. We have taken the plunge and brought in some of their best wines. I shall certainly be trying a bottle this weekend. We are also offering the gift of a fabulous book signed by the winemaker and 5th generation owner of Riscal to anyone who buys a mixed case of the wines – see below.
Seems England made it through the group stage of the footie so Amanda has updated her EUROs game, both in terms of drinking opportunity and the size of her bottle, we have a gorgeous DotW, an equally gorgeous Car’s the Star and Andy is still in the tennis so hit the strawberries and Champagne. On you go.

Dog of the Week

Say hello to Hector. My first memory of Hector was last summer when he visited the shop and we had Molly, the rather large St Bernard in. Hector is no Chihuahua himself and we are delighted that he has popped back a couple of times since, clearly unperturbed by the first experience. He has a real Labrador appetite, those eyes say “feed me, pleeease”!
A big thank you to Owen and Bill for bringing him in. Always welcome.

Football Fun – update

After Amanda’s piece last week on drinking whilst watching football we’ve had to revise our thinking a little. If you remember, Amanda was taking a half bottle of Lyme Bay Brut Reserve but she finished that in the first 10 minutes. Now that we are facing another big game tomorrow, she has decided to upgrade.
Yep, we have managed to prize just a few magnums of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee direct from the cellars of Nyetimber. Newer releases of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee are multi-vintage wines, but the older releases came from a single vintage. These beautiful big bottles hail from the near-perfect 2010 vintage and won’t be found in your average off-licence. £90 a mag. Remember, a goal, a shot at goal, a corner, a yellow or red card or a penalty – all of them earn you a gulp of something English. Good luck. Other English wines are available….as are English beers, ciders, gins, etc, etc.
Amanda has also sent me the following for you to add to drinking opportunity:

Football cliches to look out for during Saturday’s match to earn an extra large sip!

He gave 110%.
Your Linekers, Your Ronaldos, Your Messes etc.
A great advert for the game.
This game needs a goal.
Every game is a Cup Final now.
He’s a player with genuine pace.
He knows where the goal is.
Hits the back of the net.
He’s got something in the locker.
There are some tired legs out there. (Ed: questionable in an England match!)
Something out of nothing.
A game of 2 halves.

Amanda x

A squashed bottle of Champers!

A few months ago a nice couple were taking a look around the shop. I noticed the lady was paying particular attention to the bottles. After starting a conversation we discovered that the lady works with glass and was looking at the bottles to judge what could be done with them. She explained the process of heating and working with glass and as she talked I became increasingly engaged. At the end of the discussion I could not help myself – I dispatched the pair with a bottle of Sheldon’s finest (our Champagne of course) and then duly forgot about it.
On Wednesday this week the pair reappeared in the shop with a gift. The above bottle was opened and drank, then de-labelled and the rest of the paraphenalia was taken off. The bottles was then put in a kiln and heated until it collapsed in on itself. After cooling the label etc was reattached and the whole thing was beautifully wrapped and made ready for delivery. Thank you to Lorraine for taking the time to ‘squash’ one of our bottles (I think it is actually called ‘bottle slumping’), we will find a special place for it to hang in the shop. What fun – many thanks Lorraine!

Gifts for Teachers…

…we have a shop full of them. Enough said.

Spotlight on…Marques de Riscal Rioja

Many of you already know we are big fans of well-made Rioja at all price levels. We have been carrying the range of wines from Lopez de Haro for some time now. Their entry level Tempranillo (£9.95) is great, with the best value to be had with the 2015 Reserva (£13.50). We have also just taken delivery of a few bottles of their Gran Reserva (£21.50).  For the last couple of years we have been stocking the wines of La Rioja Alta (the favourite being ‘904’ Gran Reserva), we have Vina Tondonia from Lopez de Heredia, and a couple of new wave Rioja producers with Artadi and Sardonia, both of which have elected to step out of the DOC structure.
Today we are announcing a new selection of Riojas from the Herederos del Marques de Riscal. Founded in 1858 (16 years after Sheldon’s), Marques de Riscal claims to be the first house to put Rioja wine in a glass bottle for the 1962 vintage, until that point Rioja wine was transported by other means, commonly in the skin of a pig. In 1895 the wine of Riscal was the first non-French wine to win the Diplome d’Honneur at the Bordeaux Exhibition. Accolades and prizes continue right up to the present day. Riscal has many ties back to Bordeaux with winemaking techniques, knowledge education being shared across the Pyrenees. Bordeaux was more advanced in winemaking methods, especially in the 19th century so Rioja, and in particular Marques de Riscal benefitted from this transfer of know-how, leading modern winemaking in the region in many ways.
Marques de Riscal produces a comprehensive range of wines including whites, roses and reds. We are focusing on 4 red wines from the range, from the mid tier to the top.
2016 Finca Torrea (£30.95) – this is a modern Rioja with an up-to-date style, having spent less time in barrel and bottle than the other three wines. It is made from a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano grapes from an old vineyard cultivated in the Finca de Torrea estate. The style is elegant and fresh, while still having depth and intensity which comes from the high quality of the fruit. Relatively easy to pair with meats and poultry dishes.

2016 XR Special Reserva (£31.95) – the XR denomination comes from the barrel markings used historically to indicate wines showing special characteristics that were not present in other barrels. These wines became the ‘winemakers wines’ and were not released commercially. The custom of holding XR wines in the cellar was a practice that ran from 1869 to 1964, the barrels being reference for the master winemaker. The first official release of XR was the 2015 vintage. We have the 2016 vintage which pays hommage to all the master winemakers of Riscal.

2010 150th Anniversario Gran Reserva (£62.95) – made only in the best vintages with grapes from vines in Alavesa with a minimum age of 80 years. Described as a genuine expression of Rioja, this wine sees 32 months in French oak barrels before spending a further 3 years in bottle in the Riscal cellars before being released to the market. This is classically styled Rioja with great intensity and flavour. Good for roasts, red meats, game and mature cheeses.

2015 Baron de Chirel Reserva (£79.95) – blending together modernity with classical styles, 1986 was the first vintage release of this wine. It was a response to the demand for high quality Riojas from an increasingly discerning customer base. The wine brings together the historic winemaking techniques brought from the many Bordeaux influences from the early days of Riscal with 20th century winemaking technology and resources. Old vines, low yields, hand sorting and Allier oak barrels all add to the quality of this wine. Top notch.

Herederos del Marques de Riscal have very generously sent us a copy of a recently released book: Marques de Riscal – A Travel Through Time – written by Andrew Caillard MW. This is a comprehensive work on Rioja and the part that Riscal has played in it. Our copy is signed by Francisco Hurtado de Amezaga, the Head Winemaker at Riscal and the 5th generation of the founding family of the house. The book is inscribed “Thank you for supporting Marques de Riscal” and we are offering the book free of charge to the first purchaser of a mixed case of the above wines (3 bottles of each) as a recognition of your support. Just one copy available. Mixed case of 12 bottles comes in at £617.40. The book is priceless.

Other New Ins

A few New Ins to add to the lovely Riojas:

2010 Nyetimber Classic Cuvee Magnums (£90) – as per the Footie article above, this is an earlier single-vintage bottling of Classic Cuvee from what has turned out to be one of the best vintages in recent times for English winemaking.
2013 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs (£49) – after tasting this with Nyetimber it was a clear “must-have” in the shop. Delicious and in my view a bargain.

2017 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Embazees Magnums (£185) – Embazees is a vineyard on the southern tip of Chassagne and has always impressed me with its ripe fruit. Delighted to have a few mags of this in from the great 2017 vintage.

2020 Zefir rose (£18) – made by the talented team at Chateau Capion in Southwest France
2020 Artadi IGO Organic rose Magnums (£29 per mag) – from the Artadi stable this is affordable drinking rose in large format.

As per our article above, we have the following new wines in from Marques de Riscal:
2016 Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea (£30.95)
2016 Marques de Riscal XR Special Reserva (£31.95)
2010 Marques de Riscal 150th Anniversario Gran Reserva (£62.95)
2015 Marques de Riscal Baron de Chirel Reserva (£79.95)

….and finally….

Severn Brewing Ltd English IPA 440ml cans (£2.95) – a new beer for us to try.

Car’s the Star

This week’s car brings back fond memories for me. As soon as it appeared in the car park I said “Is that a pre-1972 stacked headlight Mercedes Benz 280SL?” and indeed it was. I was lucky enough to have a ride in one in the early nineties and I have never forgotten it. The car made such an impression then, now it looks even better. What a joy.
Many thanks to Tim for bringing it to see us on one of its rare outings. And you have done a smashing job on the restoration. An enjoyable trip down memory lane, such perfect lines.
With a weekend of much sport ahead of us, it is time to close Sheldon’s Times. Whether you are watching the footie, the tennis, the horse racing or anything else, enjoy it with a glass of something reasonable. Tomorrow Amanda, Trish and I will be here to serve you with anything you may need. Saturday weather looks set to be OK until much later on, Sunday is possibly a wash out. Whatever you are up to, have a wonderful weekend.

Shane, Amanda, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your Hector-loving, bottle-slumping, Rioja-drinking wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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