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DotW, V-Day, Alcohol Duty, Guest Beer, New Ins & Car’s the Star

Wasn’t it lovely to have a little snow this morning? It was certainly coming down in the villages but by the time I got to Shipston it was more like sleety rain. And then lovely sunshine.
Tonight’s Sheldon’s Times is dominated by a rather long list of New Ins, the wines we have been gathering throughout January ready for the time when those who have been abstemious start drinking again and for the rest of us to up our game. The list is dominated by red Bordeaux, plenty from 2010 and 2009, but also some older vintages too. There is a sprinkling from Spain and Italy and even a bottle from South America and one from the US. Have a trawl and let me know if you are interested. The wines will be allocated on a first come first served basis unless there are contiguous requests for a particular wine, in which case I will do my best to share equally.
We also have a super DotW, a short piece with a link to a more comprehensive article on wine duty increases, your first reminder on the big V day and a very yellow Car. Press on.

Dog of the Week

Here’s Winston. He’s a spitting image of Digby, so much so that I thought the photo was of Digby when I looked back. But my notes tell me it is definitely Winston. Perhaps just a touch older than Digby. And extremely well mannered.
Many thanks to Harry and Marcie for bringing Winston in to see us. As always a real treat to have any woofit in the shop, but especially one so well behaved as Winston.

Sale Update – it’s still on!

Last week I said we would be dismantling the January Sale on Thursday this week because we needed the tables for tomorrow’s Cellar Tour. By some miracle we have found some more tables so we haven’t had to nick the Sale tables. We are going to let the sale run for another couple of weeks to allow those coming off Dry January to fill their wine racks with good booze at a discounted price. Come in and fetch some bottles while you can.

Valentine’s Day – 1st reminder

With January now well behind us it is time to look forward into February and embrace the  occasions that lie ahead of us. First up is Valentine’s Day which is a week on Monday. Consider this your first reminder. If like me you feel Valentine’s is purely a commercial invention then congratulate yourself, you are correct. Unfortunately that doesn’t get you off the hook of sourcing an overly romantic gift for your loved one.
To make life a little easier for you Jude has set up a rather fetching Valentine’s display. Most of the items on offer are pink in colour, but don’t be fooled, there is some proper booze here. And for those who want to go the whole hog there are a few bottles of Dom Perignon Rose downstairs. Go on, do something amazing.

Get ready for more price rises – the Government’s proposal for Duty Rate changes

I have little doubt that some of you will have seen reports in the press about the likelyhood of rises in wine prices. The stimulus for this coverage comes from the Government’s proposed reforms to duty rates. Currently wine duty has three categories: one for still wine, one for sparkling wine and one for fortified wine. For the vast majority of still wine, duty is fixed at £2.23 a bottle. The Government proposal is to move to a variable duty rate linked to the alcohol level in the wine. Instead of 1 rate (or 2 if you include very high alcohol wine) there will be 27 bands in half a percent alcohol increments, each of which have a different duty rate. A recent article by the BBC sums up the situation well and can be found here:
BBC article on proposed changes to alcohol duty rates
As a small single-shop independent merchant, the proposal for additional duty rates will have the following impacts:
a) for most of your still wines the duty rates will be higher than they are today, resulting in higher prices for us and ultimately for you.
b) the duty rates on sparkling wines with relatively low alcohol levels (<12.5%) should go down a touch, savings which we will pass (although Champagne prices are going up at the moment which will counteract any saving)
c) administration to meet the new recording and reporting will significantly increase, Esther will be pulling her hair out and there is a risk we have to employ additional resource just to keep ahead of the requirement.The wine industry body (WSTA) has been working with industry members to ensure the voice of merchants and wholesalers is heard. Ideally we would like the current system to remain in place. We’ll keep you posted.

Guest Beer – Hobsons Brewery ‘Twisted Spire’ 3.5% £2.95/500ml

Dry January is over, and so is our review of no and low alcohol products. To start us back on the right track we have a beer from a brewery already known to us. Before Christmas we tried Hobson’s Brewery ‘Shropstar’ and declared it one of the best beers of the Guest Beer series. This week we have gone for another beer from Hobson’s. Twisted Spire is a Blonde beer described by Hobson’s as “A beer with a real twist, light and refreshing with a full, up front hop flavour followed by a crisp bitterness and citrus aromas.”
Amanda and I have just tried it and we say ” lovely bright golden colour, a touch biscuity and yeasty on the nose, not fruity like the pale ales we’ve had in the past, more than a lager, rich on the palate with a bitter finish. I guess that’s the twist”. More my sort of thing than Amanda’s, who likes lots of fruit and less bitterness. Good for a curry.

New Ins

I did say we hadn’t been laying idle throughout January. Brace yourselves, here’s today’s list of New Ins. And it is not everything, Esther still has a few things to load on the till. We’ll save those for next week.
The Americas:
2018 Pulenta Estate VII Gran Corte, Mendoza, Argentina (£37.50)
2019 Domaine Drouhin Arthur Chardonnay, Oregon, U.S.A. (£32)
Spain (all large format):
2005 La Rioja Alta ‘904’ Magnum (£115) – only 4 available
2010 CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva Jeroboam 5 litres (£350) – 3 available
2010 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Magnum (£160) – 6 available
2010 Roagna Barolo, Piedmont (£80)
2010 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino (£60)
2010 Gaja Brunello di Montalcino Pieve di Santa Restituta (£74)
2010 Gja Brunello di Montalcino Pieve di Santa Restituta Halves (£55)
2015 San Leonardo, Trentino (£75)
2015 San Leonardo, Trentino, Magnums (£155) – only 4 available
1995 Reserve de Leoville Barton (2nd wine), St Julien (£60)
1995 Troplong Mondot, St Emilion (£115)
1995 Lagrange, St Julien (£105)
1996 D’Angludet (£65)
2000 Leoville Barton (£200)
2001 D’Armailhac (£95)
2003 Batailley (£75)
2004 D’Armailhac (£80)
2006 Leoville Barton (£79.50)
2008 Leoville Barton (£75)
2009 Giscours, Margaux (£80)
2009 Du Tertre, Margaux (£80)
2009 Gruaud Larose, St Julien (£120)
2009 Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac (£85)
2009 Haut Bages Liberal, Pauillac (£55)
2009 Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac (£95)
2009 Larrivet Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan (£59)
2009 Ormes de Pez (£49)
2010 Giscours, Margaux (£95)
2010 d’Angludet, Margaux, Magnum (£120)
2010 D’Armailhac, Pauillac (£80)
2010 Cantenac Brown, Margaux (£85)
2010 Rauzan Segla, Margaux (£160) – Adam…..
2010 Sociando Mallet, Haut Medoc (£55)
2010 Clos du Marquis, St Julien (£89)
2010 Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac (£95)
2010 Ormes de Pez, St Estephe (£45)
2010 Fonbel, St Emilion (£39)
2010 Fonbel, St Emilion Half Bottles (£19.50)
2010 Capbern Gasqueton, Haut Medoc (£46)
2010 Chasse Spleen, Moulin-en-Medoc (£52)
And finally a couple of rare beauties:
2011 JF Mugnier Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale Jeroboam 3 litre
1996 L’Eglise Clinet, Pomerol Imperial 6 litre

Car’s the Star

Here’s a car that I have been promised would visit the shop for at least a couple of years. The excuse for it’s non-arrival was that it wasn’t clean. Here we are, two years later, a spotless car at the shop. A ‘new’ VW Beetle, except it is 22 years old. I remember this model coming out and thinking at the time it was an excellent interpretation of the original Beetle.
A big thank you to Anna for coming in with a clean Beetle and sharing it with us. Don’t worry if your car isn’t clean, you are welcome any time.
That’s it for tonight’s Sheldon’s Times. Weather-wise it is looking like it is going to be both chilly and wet over the next few days. I guess after a no-rain January we deserve a little precipitation. Good for the garden is what they usually say. Whatever you are doing this weekend, have a super time. Amanda, Trish and I will be looking after you tomorrow, drop in, pick out a bottle or two and prepare yourself for an evening in by the fire.

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

Your Beetle-bugging, Winston-adoring, Valentine’s-distaining wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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