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DotW, Moloko Bay, Autumn Bundle, Wax Seals and Car’s the Star

Esther has me on a short leash at the moment so we don’t have a raft of New Ins tonight – probably a good thing, we have quite a lot of wine in the shop. We do however have the exciting news regarding the Nika Tiki replacement. Called Moloko Bay, this wine is a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc lookalike. Trish and I drank the best part of a bottle with fish and chips last Saturday and we can confirm: it is delicious. We will have a little in the shop tomorrow on taste, so if you are in the mood for a wee glass then pop in.
We also have a new bundle. The Autumn Bundle is red-biased as we roll into the next season. There is a short but informative article on how to deal with wax seals on bottles of wine and of course a Car’s the Star – and what a piece of kit it is. Crack on.

Dog of the Week

Say hello to Romy. He dropped into the shop at the very end of August to choose some bottles. I am pleased to say he had true Retriever characteristics – the treats he was offered didn’t touch the sides. Well behaved, photogenic and quite relaxed about sitting still and having his picture taken.
Many thanks to Stephen and Catherine for bringing him in to see us. A long way from Warrington, but such is the need of owners to see their furry friend appear as ‘Dog of the Week’. Smashing.

Moloko Bay Sauvignon Blanc – Nika Tiki in all but name (and location of origin)

Last week we reported on the plight of our New Zealand wine making colleagues following a string of difficult harvests. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is already running dry in the UK, we have sold out of our Nika Tiki which was the best selling white wine in the shop in 2020. New vintage stocks will be arriving in the UK next month, but we have already been informed of the price rise which will push the bottle price well above the £10 mark.
Thankfully our friends at the Nika Tiki importer, Lanchester Wines, have been actively working to solve the issue. Recognising that we were rushing towards the edge of a cliff, Lanchester dispatched bottles of Nika Tiki to South Africa and started working with wine producers in the country to create a wine similar in style to the Marlborough favourite. Several samples later the right blend was assembled and plans for production put in place. We received a bottle of the new wine a week ago, tried it last weekend and all agreed that it was very good indeed and an excellent replacement (albeit temporary) for Nika Tiki. The wine is called Moloko Bay, and is all juicy lemon, lime and gooseberry in the glass, just as you would want from a good Sauvignon Blanc.
Moloko Bay Sauvignon Blanc – £9.95 a bottle
Recognising that some of you may be a little nervous regarding the switch to a wine made in another region, I have decided to open a bottle or two of Moloko Bay for you to try in the shop on Saturday. So if you are a regular Marlborough Sauvignon buyer, come in and give Moloko Bay a try. I am confident you will be pleasantly surprised by the result. If you choose to buy this wine you will also have the added warm glow knowing that you are supporting wine producers in South Africa. They too have had a tough time, not due to weather but to the local ban on alcohol sales while the nation navigated its way through Covid lockdowns. The ban has hit every aspect of the wine industry in the country and we are keen to support in whatever way we can – the easiest being to buy wine from South Africa at this time.
New Autumn Bundle – 10 lovely wines for £100 and save 10%
Recently we have had a number of customers appear in the shop and ask for a mixed case for an average price of £10-12 a bottle. Invariably we end up picking the shop favourites with the odd wildcard in the box just to spice things up. Seeing as the Summer Bundle has long since passed I thought it would be fun to put an Autumn Bundle together. The bundle is a little biased towards the reds, taking into account the change in the weather and the need for a glass or two of something warming. And I’ve included a bottle of fizz and a bottle of Moloko Bay in the bundle too, what’s not to like?
In the Autumn Bundle you will find the following treats:

Francesc Ricard Cava Brut (fizz, Spain)
Quinta Vide Albarino (white, Spain)
Saint Peye Picpoul (white, France)
Moloko Bay (white, South Africa)
Cousino Macul Cabernet Sauvignon (red, Chile)
Scotto Zinfandel (red, California)
Kaiken Clasico Malbec (red, Argentina)
16 Stops Shiraz (red, Australia)
Trastullo Primitivo (red, Italy)
The Wolftrap Syrah/Mourvedre/Viognier (red, South Africa)

The cost of the wines in the bundle when bought individually comes to just shy of £110 so the saving is 10%. We have some packed up ready to go, all you have to do is rock up with a hundred beer tokens and we’ll pop a box straight in the back of the car/van/landrover/motorbike pannier. A perfect way to try some new wines or reacquaint yourself with some old favourites. Tuck in.

How to open a bottle of wine that is sealed with wax

We are often asked some peculiar questions in the shop. Everything from how to store wines, when to buy wines for ageing, what does a corked bottle taste like and much more besides. One question that has cropped up twice in the recent past is what to do with a bottle that is sealed with wax. Dipping the neck of a bottle in liquid wax is a traditional way of creating a seal around the cork and bottle, but latterly this has been replaced by the use of foil or plastic capsules. Some producers are choosing to return to wax seals as an indication of care and quality. And the question is this – how do you remove the wax to get at the cork to extract it?
Three delicious South African whites all finished with a wax seal
A standard foil cutter will not fit over the wax seal and even if it does, it rarely has the desired effect, instead it tends to make a right hash of the wax and clog the cutter. The next option might be to hack away at the wax with a knife. Again this is rarely effective and has the added danger of a possible slip and a trip to A&E. So what to do?
The easiest way to get to the wine in a wax sealed bottle is to leave the wax seal untouched, twist your corkscrew through the wax seal, into the cork as if the wax seal wasn’t there at all. Pull the cork out as you normally would. The pressure from the top of the cork on the wax will remove a disc of wax from the top of the bottle. If there are any left over bits of wax around the top of the bottle, these can usually be easily removed with your fingers. In some instances the cork has a small disc on the top to ensure the wax comes off cleanly.
So there you have it, no need to put yourself in harms way when opening a bottle of wine with a wax seal.

Car’s the Star

Now this beastie looks a little bit like a kit car but that would be far from the truth. It is an Aerial Nomad. I remember when the Aerial Atom came out and everyone went a little mad for it. It was badged as a no-compromise sports car and has lived up to the expectation ever since. Not to rest on their laurels, the team at Atom have gone a step sideways, creating a road/offroad car that has the same no compromise principles as the Atom road car. The Nomad was born from this endeavour.
Powered by a 2.4 VTEC Honda engine, this gentle off-roader is capable of 0-60mph in a mere 3.4 seconds. The version you see here is spec’d for the road (it has the luxury of a windscreen AND wiper!) Had the shop not been quite so busy on the day it popped in I would have begged the owner to take me for a spin. Thanks to Henry for dropping by in what must be one of the most fun cars available today.
The weather tomorrow is looking like a bit of a shocker. Drizzle interspersed with occasional downpours. The perfect weather to pop into our lovely emporium, try a little Sauvignon Blanc and pick out some super bottles for the weekend ahead. Trish and I will be here to see to all of your wine-related needs, we look forward to seeing you.

Shane, Amanda, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your Marlborough-alternative-loving, bundle-building, Atom-admiring wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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