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Sunflowers, DotW, Quiz, Tours, New Ins and Car’s the Star

There was me, thinking Trish and I would win the tallest sunflower competition, but no. See below for more details. Having had no New Ins last week we have an embarrassment of riches tonight including some lovely old Claret, a handful of rare Burgundy favourites and some super Rioja. And the new Spanish white is definitely worth a try. We top and tail tonights edition with DotW and Car’s the Star, completing this weeks line up. Gin and tonic in hand? Press on.

Sunflower Update

Last week we asked for updates on your sunflowers. Here’s Trish standing next to our hopeful-wannabe-winner measuring in at 210cm but with no flowerhead yet.
I was sure we would be in the lead. But it turns out at this moment in time we have a taller plant. This beauty hails from Broughton and is currently weighing in at 226cm! What a beast!
A big well done to Alfie and Ronnie for their care and attention to their plant. I know they have been giving it a regular feed, talking to it, occasionally stroking it and generally giving it all the support it needs to succeed. Top marks.
Dog of the Week
What a difference a year makes! Or in this case seven months. This is Chester revisited. The picture on the left was taken on 24th December 2020, the one on the right on the 30th July 2021. At the beginning of the year he was just the right size to pick up and cuddle. He’s still very cuddleable, but you’d struggle to scoop him up now. Next time we see him he’ll probably be taller than the counter in the shop.
Many thanks to Ed and Lucy for their regular visits with Chester. Great to see him developing into a mature, sensible, well behaved companion. He’s still a puppy at heart.

Last week’s fun quiz – the answers

I am sure some of you had fun attempting to answer Amanda’s Olympic-themed quiz questions. Here are the answers:

Question 1: Which country / principality competing in the Tokyo Olympics has the highest wine consumption per head, and fewest members of athletes competing?

Question 2: Which country from the leading top 10 places of the Medal Table in the Tokyo Olympics overtook the USA in 2014 as the world’s largest consumers of red wine – by volume?

Question 3: In Australia there are 65 separate wine regions with more than 100 different grape varieties grown. 2 varieties are grown in every region. Which 2 are they?
a. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay?
b. Merlot and Chardonnay?
c. Shiraz and Chardonnay?

Question 4: Which wine is the top seller in the USA?
a. Chardonnay
b. White Zinfandel
c. Merlot

Question 5: Which Country from the leading top 10 places of the Medal Table in the Tokyo Olympics claims to have the world’s oldest wine growing region?
Russia claims their Black Sea area as the oldest.

Question 6: The Tokyo wine bars are famed for their love of Orange wine. What is Orange wine?
a. wine made from oranges
b. white wine fermented with the skins of white grapes
c. A pale rosé wine

Question 7: Japan does produce some grape wines but the damp climate and fertile soil make it more suitable to produce Saké wine. What is Saké made from?
Polished rice.

Question 8: Great Britain has been producing wines since the Roman times. How many vineyards are there thought to be currently in Britain?
a. 47
b. 303
c. 703 

Question 9: Which wine producing country’s citizens from the leading top 10 places of the Medal Table in the Tokyo Olympics drinks almost 5 times as much beer per head than it does wine?

Question 10: Which Hollywood star this week picked up two Gold Medals at the prestigious New York International Wine Competition for their latest wines?
Sarah Jessica Parker of course! For her Invivo X SJP wines.

Cellar Tour with Tasting – Dates

Last Saturday we ran our first cellar tour with informal tutored tasting since the pandemic began. We had a full house (max is 15 people), we started with a glass of Sheldon’s Champagne, had a quick walk and talk through the cellars then finished up with a tasting of 4 different wines, including some of the shop favourites. Everyone seemed to have fun and most rolled out with a bottle or two under their arms. Many thanks to all who participated.
If you fancy a couple of hours out of the home office on a Saturday afternoon then book yourself on a tour. The session runs from 2-4pm, cost is £20 per head. Future dates are:Saturday 4th September (still some places)
Saturday 9th October
Saturday 6th November
Saturday 4th December

Book yourself on and come along. It is always good fun. Phone the shop (01608 661409) or drop us a line by replying to this email.

New Ins

In last week’s Sheldon’s Times we said goodbye to a number of stock lines, unlikely to see them again. This week we have a decent handful of New Ins, all of which are interesting in their own way. See if anything takes your fancy.
2020 Rezabal (£13) – made from the local grape Hondarrabi-Zuri in the D.O. Getariako-Txakolina region (easy for you to say), this Spanish white comes from the Basque region near the Pyrenees. Amanda and I recently tasted this wine and we were both delighted to find this zesty, saline wine had a deliberate spritz making it the perfect match with summer salads and seafood. A winner at the price. Even if you can’t pronounce the name, grape or area in which it is produced.

Following the successful tasting a couple of Saturdays ago with Howard from Chateau Capion, we have added a couple of new wines to the Capion range we hold at the shop:

2016 Coup de Coeur (£14) – the entry level red from Capion, we were impressed by the quality at this price point. It will go on the shelves in the under £15 section.

2016 Chateau Capion Blanc (£38) – the ‘first’ wine from the Chateau, this white adds to the red we have had for a while. As some of you bought it direct from Howard on the day of the tasting, we thought we’d better get a little stock in for the shop (Peter, Roger…)

2016 Le Songe d’Eocene rouge (£80) – the top small batch wine from Capion, from low yielding vines. 70% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre. Oak aged for 18 months. Capion say it is the perfect match for sirloin steak and sautéed mushrooms, marinated venison stew or duck with a pea puree. Sounds good to me.

The range from Chateau Capion we now have available at the shop
2005 Remoriquet Nuits Saint Georges 1er “Les Damodes” (£79) – many of you will recognise the name of this wine, it has been a best seller for us for some years. While looking around the market I stumbled across a perfect case of 2005. The quality and characteristics of this wine when young has resulted in me putting a number of bottles away in the cellar for future drinking. Having found this case of 2005 I saw it as the perfect opportunity to see how the wine turns out with a few years of age on it from a great vintage. For those who have bought Damodes 2015 and 2016, I suggest you do the same – just 6 bottles are going in the shop. The rest are going home.
2000 Duhart Milon (£120) – from the Lafite side of the Rothschild family, Duhart Milon is such a reliable, well made Pauillac which outperforms in the best years when compared to the prices of Lafite itself and the official second wine of Lafite, “Carruades”. Duhart Milon 1996 is one of the wines that got me into wine 20 years ago. Just one 6-pack of the 2000 vintage has arrived in the cellar.
2004 La Rioja Alta ‘890’ (£120) – the undisputed king of traditionally crafted Riojas, the 890 is the flagship wine from this quality producer. We have a few bottles of the 2001 ‘890’ left so it is nice to add a few bottles of 2004 to the collection.

I’ve also popped the lids off the following cases which are now in the cellar available to buy by the bottle:

1996 Clos du Marquis (£85) – from the team that makes Leoville Las Cases, it is often wrongly considered the second wine of Las Cases, but the grapes come from a separate plot to the Grand Vin. Great (and rare) to see a case of 1996 available. For those who bought all of the Sociando Mallet and Cantemerle from the same vintage, tuck in (Jim, Tim, Tom).

2009 Potensac (£42) – again from the Las Cases team, exceptionally well-made Medoc wine at a sensible price. The 2009 is drinking now and will keep.

2018 Remoriquet Nuits Saint Georges “Les Damodes” (£59.50) and “Les Saint Georges” (£95) – see my notes about 2005 Damodes above. Damodes and Les Saint Georges are the two top vineyards of NSG and we are lucky to have a few bottles from each in the excellent 2018 vintage from Remoriquet.

2018 Moingeon Corton Charlemagne (£120) – we will soon introduce you to the wines of Remoriquet, one of the few undiscovered high-quality white Burgundy producers. Based in St Aubin (just west of Chassagne), Moingeon has holdings across the Cote de Beaune. I have pulled this Corton Charlemagne out of the store to fill the hole left by the disappearance of Malandes Chablis Les Clos. This is Grand Cru through and through.

And finally…
We have restocked on a little Ruinart Blanc de Blancs (£67). We were delighted to find the new shipment has come in the ‘second skin’ – an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cardboard box packaging. It looks really neat and is entirely recyclable after use. But I would keep it and reuse it if ever you buy a bottle without the ‘skin’.

Car’s the Star

Serious supercar territory this week. A Ferrari 812 Superfast. This is grand touring taken to the next level. With an extraordinary engine shoe-horned under the bonnet, this car has a reasonably sized boot making it perfect for long weekends away, on the Cote d’Azure I assume.
Thanks Henry for sharing another one of your beauties with us. Our pleasure entirely. Happy motoring.
I think that just about does it for tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times. I think the concept of a heatwave has now passed, probably a good thing, so I think we are in for more of the same – sunshine and clouds with the occasional shower. A proper British summer then.
Amanda, Trish and I will be in the shop tomorrow to assist you with your wine-related needs. No distractions this week so you will have our full and undivided attention. As always, we look forward to seeing you.

Shane, Amanda, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your Chester-loving, 812-Superfast-appreciative, Damodes-drinking wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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