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Corrections, DotW, Events, Shipping, New Ins, Staff Training and Car’s the Star

With the leaves tumbling from the trees and the chill in the air we have an eclectic mix of articles in tonight’s Sheldon’s Times. This week we’ve been on some staff training which we report on below. We have some super New Ins, a proper Car’s the Star, a report on events at the shop, a gentle nudge on shipping for the season ahead and a lovely Dog of the Week. But first we have some editorial corrections – I issued last week’s Sheldon’s Times in haste and made a couple of cock-ups. I blame Adam and Marina. Many thanks to those of you who ‘helpfully’ pointed them out. Press on.

Editorial Correction and Missing Contribution

I know how much you lot like to see me make mistakes. Sheldon’s Times was sent in haste following a tasting last Friday. There were two errors in the edition. Time to make amends:
Dog of the Week: Last week’s DotW was young Viv, full name Vivienne. I made reference to The Young Ones, as Viv is named after the punk-styled character in the TV series. The correct name spelling is in fact Vyvyan, played by Ade Edmondson. I am hoping Vyvyan, or Viv for short, will forgive me (I think a treat might help).
This Week’s Guest Beer: The eagle eyed among you will have spotted the not-so-deliberate omission from the article about Battledown’s West Coast IPA. I had left a placeholder in for our findings having tasted the beer, but didn’t fill in the blanks. The sentence simply read:

Amanda and I have just tried it and we say ”    ”

That is doing both the article and the beer a disservice. We did try it on Friday afternoon and this is what we meant to say:

Amanda and I have just tried it and we say “This new IPA has a lovely hoppy nose which is followed through on the palate. It also has a malty note in the mouth and finishes with a nicely judged bitter finish. This is one of the best Guest Beers we have had in the series so far. Yum!”

Apologies to both Viv and to Battledown for the errors. Let’s see if we can avoid a similar set of errors tonight (no promises). And before you ask, yes, we still have some bottles of Battledown left…

Dog of the Week

This is Ria. My oh-so-reliable notes say she is 9 years old, but still looks like a pup. She is of course a springer spaniel, and being an enthusiastic breed, it took us a few photos to catch Ria in a stationary position. Such a lovely dog.
Many thanks to Mark, Jo and Ettie for bringing her in to see us. A treat for us, and Ria might have also got a treat or two while here.

Events at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

I cannot tell you all how pleased we are to begin to do events again here at the shop. In the last few weeks we have reported on a couple of tastings in the events room in the cellar (good for upto 24 people seated), including the Sherry tasting in International Sherry week. Last week we used my favourite room in the cellar – the Slate Table Room, named after the rather large single piece of slate that sits squarely in the middle of the room. This space is perfect for groups of up to 10 people for a tasting or supper.
Last Friday evening we hosted a group of seven thirsty souls who had spent most of the day on the moors. Having been given a budget we put together some snacks and selected some smashing bottles to share.
In the bottle line up were:

Sheldon’s Champagne to get us in the mood
Soutiran Blanc de Blancs Champagne
2017 Lechauve Meursault
2002 Cos d’Estournel (St Estephe, Bordeaux)
2005 Chateau Rieussec (Sauternes) 

What was supposed to be an hour of rapid tasting turned into three hours of fun. The participants seemed to have a good time, I know we certainly enjoyed it. All of the wine was polished off and the only food left was a chunk of Stilton (from Taste of the Country). A big thank you to Adam and Marina for choosing Sheldon’s for this event and to all the chaps present who dived head-first into the spirit of the evening.
If you would like to hold an event at Sheldon’s don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements and talk through options. We’ll do our best to make your event a memorable one!

Shipping for Christmas

For anyone considering shopping wine to family or friends for the festive season, we would urge you to plan early. Based on recent experience, the courier network already appears stretched and I don’t think it is going to get any better.
We use an overnight courier service. If you place an order with us on a weekday, we pack on the day, ship the next day and the parcel should arrive on the following day. If you catch us early in the morning we may be able to ship on the same day, but this is on a best-can-do basis. Note we are closed on Sundays and Mondays, and anything shipped on a Friday will arrive on the following Monday unless you want to pay an extraordinary surcharge for a Saturday delivery.
We are holding our shipping rates at current levels despite a series of extra costs being levied on us by the carriers. Our rates are:
£10 for up to 6 bottles
£15 for up to 12 bottles

These prices include all packing materials and shipping fees and apply to the majority of mainland Britain. If you are shipping to somewhere exotic, e.g. Cape Wrath, please enquire about rates and shipping times. Rates are based on destination postcodes.
If you want to be sure about safe and timely delivery, please book early.

New Ins

We are going to kick off this week’s New Ins with a couple of decent whiskies. I have been wanting to upgrade our whisky selection for some time and am finally getting round to it. As you know, we don’t try to beat the supermarkets at the game they play, so no 1.5 litre bottles of Bells here I’m afraid, but for anyone serious about whisky these two might appeal:
Balvenie Port Wood Finish 21 year old – £175/bt
Glenfiddich 23 year old Grand Cru – £220/bt

We only have three bottles of each, so if you are looking for something special for the season ahead, jump in. Both come in very attractive presentation boxes so all you will need is a little wrapping paper.

Also in the spirits category we have the arrival of BLACKLION Rare Sheep’s Milk Vodka (£75/bt). Made just a stone’s through away in Blockely this is a high end vodka with a creamy mouthfeel, I assume from the presence of some remnants of lactic acid from the production process. While the details of the production process remain a closely guarded secret, in short the whey from the sheep’s milk is fermented to produce alcohol which is then triple distilled to produce a flavoursome vodka.
We’ve just tried it here in the shop and it is delicious. I can envisage having this neat over ice rather than mixing it, but it would also be a top-notch ingredient in the very best vodka-based cocktails. Seeing as a decent vodka martini has a bottle of vermouth waved over the top of the glass, BLACKLION might just be the perfect vodka martini base spirit.
Next up we have some extraordinary new wines from Spain. The vineyards of Bodegas Frontonio are based in Aragon, specifically the Valdejalón region which lacks it’s own DO status. Three friends have come together to revitalise some amazing historic vineyards. Bodegas Frontonio produces 4 levels of wines based on quality and site. The entry level includes their regional wines. The second level are village wines, then they have wines that equate to Premier Cru level and finally they produce tiny quantities of what they classify as Grand Cru wines. Dating back to 1898, the Grand Cru vineyards are called El Jardin de Las Iguales and they are nestled in the Sierra de Algairen, around the village of Alpartir. This is bush-vine territory, where the vines are largely allowed to do their own thing. Macabeo is the key white variety, Garnacha for red. We are talking extraordinarily low production volumes. Less than 650 bottles of each of the two top wines have been made for the vintages we have acquired.
We have three wines from Bodegas Frontonio, one from the Premier Cru level and two very special occasion bottles from the Grand Cru level:
Bodegas Frontonio La Cerqueta Garnacha (£50/bt) – try this wine before you even consider upgrading to El Jardin de Las Iguales.
El Jardin de Las Iguales Macabeo (£176/bt)
El Jardin de Las Iguales Garnacha (£220/bt)
Once tried never forgotten. Almost impossible to get. Except we have some.
Staff Training – We sell Havana Cigars
Yesterday Amanda, Jude and I attended a two-hour training session. It was one of the most informative, interesting sessions I have attended for some time and it comes as a result of one of our upgrade programmes. I cannot say anymore other than:
Please ask us if you would like any more information!

Car’s the Star

This is no ordinary Landrover. This is a Nene Overland Landrover. Based in Ailsworth near Peterborough, Nene Overland is a specialist 4×4 shop, with a real focus on Landrovers. Whatever you want in your Landrover, they can sort it for you. They have some amazing pieces of kit. Seeing this beauty (a regular visitor from “up north” a.k.a. north of Stratford) reminds me that we talked about holding a Landrover event here at the shop. I must get on the case.
The lovely owners, David and Angela say “The Betty Boo says shop ’til you drop at Sheldon’s!” I agree. The game I really like to play is “How much wine can you get in the back of a Nene Overland Defender 90?”
The answer is “Quite a bit”.
That’s it for tonight’s Sheldon’s Times. Other than a spot or two of rain tomorrow night the weather looks to be more of the same over the coming days. Amanda, Trish and I will be here to assist you tomorrow in selecting some lovely wines for the weekend and perhaps start a little planning for the mad season ahead. We may even be able to find you a bottle of sheep’s milk vodka.

Shane, Amanda, Jude, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your Nene-Overland-loving, events-enjoying, Ria-admiring wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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