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Sketch, DotW, Guest Beer, Tastings & Car’s the Star

As we roll towards the end of October and the light changes, many of us are beginning to think of log fires, hearty stews and rich warming wines. I know I certainly am. In tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times we have an excellent sketch, a gorgeous Dog of the Week, a tale of too many tastings in a 24 hour period and a super Car’s the Star.
For all of you hawks out there, there are no New Ins in tonight’s email, unless any of you want the case of 2018 Remoriquet NSG Les Damodes 1er Cru I found in the cellar just now (£59.50/bt). Shout if you do, it is the last of it…..

Sketch of the Week – Halloween Time!

It’s a while since we had a decent sketch of the week. I am pleased to say tonights entry is not just good, but it also follows a topical theme. Entitled “Bat-Cat”, the picture has an obvious Halloween tone to it, completed using the medium of ‘biro’.
Had there been more time I suspect we would have had a bit of colour on the picture too, but time was of the essence. I particularly like the flying flowers around Bat-Cat, which I am reliably informed aren’t flying flowers at all, but are bats (understandable I suppose). A big thank you to Eleanor for producing yet another masterpiece. Banksy has messaged me and asked me to say he is proud of you.

Dog of the Week

This lovely old soldier is Ted. Such a super fluffy sheepdog-type of fellow. Magical eyes, one blue, one brown. He was quite a handful in the shop, always bobbing about and not wanting to sit still. Bless him.
Many thanks to Tim and Tracey for bringing Ted into see us. You are welcome any time.

This week’s Guest Beer – The Green Man by North Cotswold Brewery (£2.95)

We have stocked a couple of beers from the North Cotswold Brewery for some time now (Cotswold Best and Shagweaver IPA) and they have become firm favourites for many of you. This week’s guest beer is from the same brewery. Called The Green Man, it is named after the company’s emblem. The North Cotswold team describe this beer as an IPA with notes of mango and gooseberry on the nose with a hoppy taste and more gooseberries. It scores high on the bitterness scale and low on the sweetness scale. In short it sounds like my sort of ale!
Amanda and I have just tried it and we say….looks like a lager, smells like a fruity lager, tastes like a bitter, fruity lager. A bit too bitter in flavour for Amanda, Shane rather likes the bitterness. Would go well ice-cold with a curry. I quite fancy a curry.

There’s tastings and there’s Tastings

One of the jobs we do as wine merchants is taste wine before buying. We do this to select the wines we think represent the best possible quality at a price point that works for you, our customers. Tasting wine as part of the day job sounds very glamorous, exciting and fun, and sometimes it is. Other times it is simply about work, an endurance exercise to go through to achieve the best result. Last Monday and Tuesday I attended three tasting events, two as a wine buyer for the shop, the other as a personal collector. Attending the the tastings in such a short space of time illustrated to me the extremes of wine tasting.

On Monday morning Trish and I attended the Dreyfus Ashby trade tasting in Huntingdon, near Cambridge. The wonderful people behind Dreyfus have been instrumental in our wine upgrade programme at the shop. Richard Kelley MW fronts the business and is at least as passionate about the subject as we are.

On show at the tasting were many of the wines from the Dreyfus portfolio. 180 in total, including fizz, white, red, sweet and a variety of other interesting bottles that wouldn’t fit into these traditional categories.

Starting at 10am, we allowed ourselves a maximum of 3 hours to work our way through the bottles, with a personal spittoon, a glass and a tasting sheet in hand. It is essential to spit samples away at these events to stand a chance of surviving. It took us just over 2 hours to complete the exercise, following guidelines for social distancing and other Covid considerations. We found some stunning new wines that we will progressively add to the portfolio in the shop. We also reconfirmed some previous decisions, with the opportunity to taste wines we have already selected and stock in the shop.

A big thank you to Richard, Rebekah and Bekah for pulling the event together and inviting us over. It was well worth the time, albeit not for the fainthearted taster!

Following a restorative coffee break, Trish and I then jumped in the car, drove back to Shipston where I got changed, headed to the station and caught the train to London. By 6.30pm I was at a private residence in Shepherd’s Bush for the private client release of new vintage Krug 2008.
I am embargoed on this wonderful Krug event, so more about that later, perhaps when we have some of the bottles in the shop. They are proving ludicrously hard to get hold of.
The following morning, up bright and breezy in London Town I walked from Marylebone to Pall Mall, to the now infamous wine-focused Club simply named “67 Pall Mall”. I was shown into the basement room for a tasting of wines from Chateau La Fleur de Boüard. This was a stroll in the park compared to the day before. The event was described as a Masterclass, hosted by Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, the proprietor, and his daughter Coralie, who is responsible for product promotion and marketplace relations. Chateau La Fleur de Boüard is based in Lalande de Pomerol, to the north of the better known Pomerol appellation. Following a comprehensive introduction to the history of the Chateau, the terroir, and the investments that the current team have made we were invited to work our way through a civilised tasting of 5 wines.
We were fortunate enough to try three of the core Chateau La Fleur de Boüard wines and two wines entitled La Plus, the fruit for which comes from the older vines on the estate. The youngest wine was six years of age, the oldest was from the 2011 vintage. It was another useful exercise, trying wines from a single estate across multiple vintages in the presence of the owner and winemaker. And La Fleur de Boüard is definitely a wine to watch. The two hours allotted to this tasting flew by. Many thanks to the Mentzendorff team for arranging the event and to Michelle for badgering me to attend.
I am looking forward to us hosting tasting events at the shop again soon. It seems a long time since we had a decent tasting here. Tasting for us is our job, but it is always a pleasure to try new wines and decide what we want to place in the shop.

Car’s the Star

When I heard these two monsters roar into the car park I forgot where I was for a moment. I was either on the set of The Dukes of Hazzard or Fast and Furious. Of course we have a Ford Mustang and a Corvette Sting Ray, both in excellent condition. I haven’t seen a Stingray for years. Both cars are icons of their time. The Mustang comes from the mid-1960’s and the Sting Ray probably the late 60’s. Both were joys to behold.
Thank you to David and your pal (sorry, didn’t catch your name) for bringing the cars over. What an occasion.
That’s it for tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times. Looking at the forecast it is due to be OK over the next couple of days but getting rather chilly towards the middle of next week. And of course we have an extra hour in bed this weekend. Enjoy it and spoil yourself with a bumper breakfast on Sunday morning.
Trish, Jude and Shane will be running the show tomorrow so pop on by and say hello, perhaps pick up a bottle of lovely wine or three.
Shane, Amanda, Jude, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your Halloween-loving, extra-hour-in-bed-adoring, palate-fatigued wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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