Covid-19 Policy


DotW, Mother’s Day, Book Store, Free Corkage, St Estephe and Scar’s the Star

What an interesting week it has been. We have had glorious days of full sunshine with a day in the middle being downright rotten. I spent yesterday in London at a trade tasting. As usual only a handful of wines made the stringent quality cut we apply, more about the new wines as we source them and put them on the shelves.
Some of you have been sunning yourselves at Cheltenham this week, I suspect you have had a great time and perhaps a few of you came away with more money in your pockets than when you arrived? Congratulations to those that beat the bookies.
We missed the shout out for St Patrick’s Day last week, sorry about that. I don’t drink Guinness.
Tonight’s Sheldon’s Times is a bit of a mixed bag. Two cookbooks feature, we have a second article on Bordeaux, a reminder of the free corkage deal at your favourite local restaurant and a nudge about Mother’s Day, although you still have a week to go with that. There’s also a bruised car. But first some sad news about a former DotY. Press on…

Dog of the Week

We recently had some distressing reports about our former DotY, Hector the Glorious Victorious. Close to Death’s Door we heard. So keen were we to find out how he was doing we contacted ‘Dad’ who sent us this picture.
Turns out young Hector had a sore pad on his front left paw. He had to wear a special sock and everything. Poor chap, we understand he is doing much better now. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he pays us another visit as soon as he back on all paws.

Mother’s Day – Sunday 27th March

First warning from us here at Sheldon’s. It is that time of year and for those who like to celebrate our commercially-invented festive days, Mothering Sunday is just around the corner. Personally I’m all for it, especially if it gives us an excuse to open a decent bottle or two.
Jude has yet again been busy creating our Mother’s Day shelf with all sorts of goodies on. Carol has even provided a nice plant in flower – Louise take note, I think this might be a hint regarding what your Mum wants on the day.
Pop in and pick something lovely (pink if you think is appropriate, but personally I think anything goes, Gin is always a hit) and share it with your beloved mothers, or raise a glass to them if you no longer have one.

Sheldon’s Book Store – new additions

We have recently added a couple of titles to the bookstore, in both instances we know someone who has had a hand in the production:

Swedish Kitchen Stories (£15) is book about eating seasonal food all year round the Swedish way. Written by Louise Bondebjar and translated by our very own Shipston resident, Anita Shenoi, this book will throw you into the Scandinavian way of thinking with authentic classics and recipes with a new, modern twist. Very trendy.

British Cheese on Toast is written by Steve Parker (£16.99). Steve is rather well known to us because he sidelines as one of the wholesaler representatives. When you drink a bottle of Saint Peyre Picpoul or many of the other wines in the shop they will have come from Steve, often delivered personally. Steve, having a passion for cheese as well as wine has written this rather useful and entertaining book containing 100 recipes for cheese on toast. Who would have thought the topic could be quite that interesting, or in fact tasty. Tuck in.

Free Corkage Sunday Evenings – The Royal Oak

t: 01608 688100
Personally I think we are blessed to have The Royal Oak in Whatcote on our doorstep. An establishment of two halves. On the right hand side it is a pub, with a pool table, a dartboard and a roaring fire where you can relax, enjoy a pint with a pork pie and the best fries in south Warwickshire. On the left hand side there is a fine dining Michelin starred restaurant where Richard and the team knock out some of the tastiest food in the area.
As if that wasn’t enough, being wine loving friends, Solanche and Richard continue to offer “Free Corkage Sunday Nights”, meaning those of you who book Sunday supper can take your own wine (1 bottle per couple) to enjoy with a delicious dinner. Trish and I dined with friends just a couple of Sundays ago and we smuggled in a trio of decent bottles (Krug 1995, Drouhin Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Morgeot’ 2017 and Chateau Margaux 1996) which made what was already a special evening all the more indulgent.
To my knowledge The Royal Oak is the only fine dining outfit in our area that offers a free corkage deal. Whether your tipple is the finest from Tesco, taste the difference from J Sainsbury or something from upstairs or even perhaps downstairs from Sheldon’s, book a Sunday evening table and make a night of it. I might even see you there, and if you spot me feel free to share a glass, you’ll definitely get one back, whatever I happen to be drinking on the night.

Saint Estephe

Thanks to those who sent in positive comments about the piece last week on the Bordeaux village of Pauillac. We drank a bottle of 1994 Pichon Baron on Saturday night and a 2001 Chateau d’Armailhac on Sunday, both from the commune. The Baron was interesting. Reticent when first poured, we declared it a poor man’s 1995 or 96, but after 20 minutes in the glass it unfurled to reveal the underlying class of this estate. At less than half the price of the 1996 this is a bargain. The d’Armailhac was all you would want and expect from another underrated year. Delicious with Galloway fillet steak from our friends at Paddock Farm butchery, beef dripping chips and green beans. Sadly a customer bought all of our remaining 2001 Chateau d’Armailhac last week but we do have other vintages available.

This week we are going to look at the village just north of Pauillac – Saint Estephe.

The northernmost village on the left bank of Bordeaux is Saint Estephe. The southern border of the commune lies next to Pauillac, the Gironde estuary forms the eastern border and to the north and west are vineyards under the more generic Haut Medoc classification. Unlike Pauillac which has a plethora of classified estates, Saint Estephe has only 5, none of which are Premier Crus (First Growths). Probably the most famous of the Saint Estephe estates is Cos d’Estournel, located on the southern edge of the commune abutting the vineyards of Chateau Lafite in Pauillac. The Chateau at Cos is interesting, the architecture having an Indian influence. This comes from the founder of the estate, Louis Gaspard d’Estournel who in the early 19th century travelled extensively around Asia promoting his wines. Louis Gaspard passed away in 1853, just two years before the official classification of Cos as a second growth, something I am sure he would have liked to see. The current owner, Michel Reybier acquired the estate in 2000 and soon after embarked on a significant project of improvement at the Chateau.

Chateau Cos d”Estournel in St Estephe

The other second growth in Saint Estephe is Chateau Montrose. A bottle of 1970 Chateau Montrose was included in the line up of the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976, the famous blind tasting that pitched wines from California against the best from France. In both Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon categories a Californian wine came top, much to the surprise of the organisers, the judges and of course the French. Chateau Montrose came a respectable 4th in the Cabernet line up of 10 wines. Like Cos, Montrose came under new ownership in the mid noughties and has undergone a major renovation and improvement project, including the building of an amazing barrel hall for ageing the grand vin under optimum conditions.

The Grand Vin barrel hall at Chateau Montrose

The other classified growths of Saint Estephe are:

Calon Segur (Third Growth)

Lafon Rochet (Fourth Growth)

Cos Labory (Fifth Growth)

Other notable non-classified wines from the commune are:


Phelan Segur

Ormes de Pez

…but this is far from a comprehensive list.

The word I see most often when describing wines from Saint Estephe is “austere”. For me this simply means overly tannic and perhaps lacking in fruit. The commune is certainly known for making big, tannic, structured wine. In great vintages the best wines of Saint Estephe regularly compete with the First Growths for the top spot, with the tannins providing a backbone to the wines that gives extraordinary ageability. The wines go fabulously well with red meat, where the proteins alter the mouthfeel of the tannins making them very pleasant and enjoyable. Think roast beef on a Sunday afternoon and a magnum of Saint Estephe.

We have many different examples of wines from Saint Estephe, including Cos d’Estournel and Montrose. If this article has tweaked your interest come in and we’ll help you select a bottle. But go to the butchers first.

Scar’s the Star!

In the absence of us having a bonafide car for this week’s article, Amanda has kindly ‘fessed up and provided a super picture of her daily workhorse
“Amanda’s trusty Honda CRV had an argument with a stationary bollard in the Bourton Co-Op this week. No prizes for guessing who came off worse”
Weatherwise I think we are in for a treat tomorrow with some decent sunshine. Sunday looks a little more dreary but not so bad that you won’t be able to get out and about. Amanda, Trish and I will be looking after you tomorrow, so whether it be that Mother’s Day gift, a bottle of fine St Estephe or something else you are looking for, pop in and see us, we will be only too happy to help. We always look forward to seeing you.


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

Your positive-thoughts-to-Hector-sending, Cos-loving, free-corkage-advantage-taking wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

Stay up to date

You will receive regular promotions and news. Unsubscribe with one click.