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DotW, Food and Wine, Guest Ale, New Ins and Car’s the Star

Hip-hip-hooray! It is a Bank Holiday weekend! That means for most an extra day off, meaning you can drink with impunity on Sunday night knowing it is not really a ‘school night’. For my sins I shall have the pleasure of judging the homemade wines and spirits section of the Whichford Flower Show on Bank Holiday Monday (open to the public at 2.30pm, a fun afternoon out if you are at a loose end) so will obviously have to be on best behaviour. A few regulars have said they are planning entries – their worst concoctions ever – because they know I will have to taste it. Rotters. You know who you are.
Tonight we have a super in-training DOTW, a mouth-watering guest article on Food and Wine Pairing, a new Guest Beer, some smashing New Ins and a red rocket as our Car’s the Star. Press on.

Dog of the Week

I am constantly amazed at the loyalty dogs have, it seems under all circumstances. Their ability to learn and assist is I think second to none in the animal world. Here we have a gorgeous Labrador, not much more than a pup and under an intense training regime to become a Guide Dog. At the time of the visit he still had a little way to go, but the training treats seemed to be doing the trick. We are consciously leaving out the name at the request of the trainer.
A big thank you to Yvonne for bringing him to see us. Always welcome. I understand the correct title for Yvonne is a ‘Puppy Raiser’, such a lovely role name, right up there with Dolphin Trainer. All credit to you, we salute you both.

Guest Article – food and wine pairing

Our occasional contributor (and regular wine drinker) Roger has offered us this excellent article about food and wine pairing, or perhaps I should call it “What Roger and Catherine had for dinner last night”. Sounds delicious and I commend the wines with the tasty food courses. Looking forward to popping round and sampling some of these delectable dishes. And lovely to see such support for local independent shops for sourcing the fresh produce.
“With the Sheldons Times diversifying into blogs about sunflowers, The Olympics as well as the usual dogs and cars I thought it must be time to write something more relevant about food and the highly contentious and somewhat subjective topic of food and wine pairing, as let’s face it, unless your name’s Amanda, most of the wine we drink is consumed with food. I confess the only reason I learnt to cook was because it was the best excuse to open a bottle or two of wine and I never looked back.

As wine flights with our friends are usually a different bottle with each course, the cooking needs to be as simple as possible so being very thirsty won’t hinder the delivery of the food. I therefore thought I would share a menu we did recently where I think we got it right and the food and wine were as good a combination as it gets. Unsurprisingly, all of the wines came from Sheldon’s or you wouldn’t be reading this, and the food from local suppliers.

Soutiran Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs with coustardes (tiny pastry cases) from The Cotswold Cheese Co. in Moreton, filled with white crab meat and samphire, mozzarella and pesto and red pepper humous with green olives.

For once I took Shane’s advice (many times offered but rarely taken) and took the champagne out of the fridge half an hour before opening it. The combination of the yeasty, biscuity, depth of the Soutiran suited the tiny tartlets perfectly. This wine is a big step up from Bollinger and not too much more money.

Solosole Vermentino 2019 from Poggio al Tesoro in Bolgheri with watercress, pear, rocket and fennel salad and a honey and mustard dressing (courtesy of Gordon Ramsey’s Sunday Lunch cook book). This a beautifully refreshing salad that is both sweet and peppery, combining perfectly with the citrusy and full flavoured Vermentino, and so easy to throw together at the last minute, thanks Gordon!

Chateau Fuisse 2017,  Pouilly Fuisse with my own concoction of poached halibut and yellow pepper sauce (my wife Catherine’s favourite) with asparagus and Canarian potatoes. The sauce shines like the sun and the taste and texture go perfectly with the deep rich Chardonnay fruit. The fish and ingredients for both dishes came from Turner’s in Shipston.

Chateau Rieussec 2009 half bottle Sauternes (next door to Chateau d’Yquem) with rhubarb compote, made beforehand, with both the fruit and the recipe courtesy of our best friends. The compote however played second fiddle to this outstanding and complex wine that, preceded with something sharp and savoury, expresses massive flavours and a powerful nose of honey and apricots. It took as long to drink this half bottle as a full bottle of the others, such is the intensity.

Chateau Leoville Barton 2002, predictable I know but with names like Old Winchester, Barnham Blue and South Cerney’s ashed goats cheese from The Cotswold Cheese Company in Moreton (there were others but for some reason I couldn’t remember them) this was a match made in heaven.

I hope this article will offer a little inspiration to some of you to find yet more excuses for opening bottles of wine from Sheldon’s and to perhaps share your own experiences through Sheldon’s Times.”

Ed: what about the Cognac?
Many thanks to Roger for taking the time to write in. Always great to hear about fun evenings where Sheldon’s wines have played their part. Five bottles for 2 people? Sounds like my sort of night in.

This Week’s Guest Beer
MOOR Beer Company “Distortion” Session IPA (4.7%) – £3.25/440ml can

A few weeks ago we had the very flavoursome Calvell & Hind “Recantations of an ill led life”, last week we had the lighter, some might say more approachable White Horse Classic IPA. This week we have pitched things in between. The MOOR Beer Company originates from 2007 when a Californian known as Justin Hawke purchased a ‘defunct business’ based in Somerset. The name comes from the Levels and Moors of the area. In 2014 the brewery moved to central Bristol, located just behind Temple Meads train station.
The special thing here is the fact that the beer is live. Brewed using a natural carbonation process without fining or filtering, this beer has great flavour with a full mouthfeel. It is also vegan friendly, giving it more appeal to a broader customer base. As well as the great taste, what I particularly like about it is the name. When asked if I want another drink, I can simply reply “MOOR beer”! Give it a try, as usual with our guest beers we only have a few cans available.

New Ins

A handful of New Ins this week, at all levels and all wine styles.
First up we have a new Sauvignon Blanc. We are gradually revamping our French Sauvignon selection, bringing in new wines as we find those that meet our stringent quality criteria. For this week’s new edition we have chosen a wine from the eastern Loire. The most famous village for Sauvignon Blanc in this area is Sancerre, but other villages are also gaining a name for themselves, mainly Pouilly Fume and Quincy. We have a wine from another neighbouring village – Menetou Salon – based southwest of Sancerre. The wine offers all of the key characteristics of Sauvignon from this region with a significantly lower price tag. At just £13.95 it represents good value for money for the quality.
Next we have an old favourite in new vintage form. Gaja’s Brunello di Montalcino Pieve Santa Restituta is a wine we have sold a lot of from the 2010 vintage (£73), with just a couple of bottles left. We have just received a small allocation of the 2015 vintage priced at £65 a bottle. This is a drink now or keep bottle, it will go on and on.
For those of you who like to ‘go large’ we have taken delivery of three double magnums (3 litres) of good Rioja. CVNE is one of the better known producers in Rioja and their Vina Real Gran Reserva 2012 is a great wine, ready to drink, and these large bottles are a ‘Real’ centrepiece on any party table (see what I did there?). £175 per DM.
Before we hit the short but unbelievably good list of Clarets this week there is one more wine to introduce. This wine will already be well known to many of you. Klein Constantia dates back to 1685 and is located on the Cape Peninsula, just south of Cape Town, South Africa. The region benefits from the cooling influences of the South Atlantic to the west and the Cape Doctor, a persistent south-easterly summer wind. Klein Constantia’s most famous wine, Vin de Constance is a late harvest Muscat. We have just taken delivery of some 500ml bottles of the 2013 wine, which the house describes as follows:

2013 Vintage conditions
Due to a prolonged winter and cool spring, the growing season was late in 2013 and delayed budburst by up to 2 weeks. Ideal conditions prevailed with moderate daytime and cool night time temperatures. This together with a dry season ensured for perfect ripening and raisining of the Muscat de Frontignan.
Wine description
Bright and gold in appearance with aromas of citrus marmalade and frangipan abundant on the nose. The palate is full bodied and complex. A good sugar to fruit ratio combined with a great acidity ensures the wine is in balance. The wine concludes with a long, spicy and grippy finish.

With the distinctive bottle shape, Vin de Constance is visually unmistakable and the wine is regularly ranked up there with the best sweet wines in the world. £79 per 500ml bottle, and it comes in a nice box with some literature in it to boot.
And finally a couple of lovely Clarets:

1996 Chateau Pichon Baron (£235/bt) – for those who scooped up the 1995, this might just be even better.
1990 Leoville Barton (£195/bt) – the undisputed king of the older Leoville Barton vintages, recent tastings have proved that it remains at the top of the super seconds from this timeless vintage.

Car’s the Star

There are Fiats and then there are Arbarth Fiats. This is an Arbarth 595, such a neat car with performance to match the styling. This is not your average Saturday morning run around. The founder of Arbarth, Carlo Arbarth, raced motorcycles and cars in the 1920’s and 30’s, famously beating the Orient Express on a 1300km run from Vienna to Ostend in a motorcycle sidecar. He then went on to develop a successful business in exhaust systems, modifying performance cars to make them go even faster.
Despite Carlo passing away in 1979, the name has lived on in the conversion of Fiat cars, transforming the otherwise unassuming vehicles into something rather more special.
Many thanks to Sara for bringing her pocket rocket to see us on another fine sunny day in Shipston. You’ll have years of fun in this little monster.
That’s it for tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times. Seems the forecast is suggesting dry weather with some sunny spells in the days ahead. At least we are not predicted a wash-out. The late summer is booked for September. Perhaps see some of you in the Whichford Marquee on Monday. Wishing you all a super Bank Holiday weekend.

Shane, Amanda, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your guide-dog-loving, MOOR-beer-demanding, Arbarth-respecting wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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