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DotW, Easter Treats, Opening Hours, Art Auction, Graves, New Ins and Car’s the Star

We have a mini wedding edition today in that our good friends Will and Gilly got married this afternoon in Tredington. And what a ceremony it was. Trumpets in the Church and Champagne at the house. Smashing. With any luck a few of us will still be going as you read this. Congratulations to the lovely couple.

Tonight’s edition somewhat predictably includes an article on the last of the five Left Bank villages of Bordeaux – this week it is the turn of Graves and specifically Pessac Leognon within the Graves region. We have some smashing New Ins, a reminder that Easter is nearly upon us, the announcement of a splendid charity auction in support of two worthy causes and a bit of fun with Car’s the Star. But first it is of course our DotW. Press on.

Dog of the Week

Say hello to Sullivan, or Sulley for short. There is no mistaking a springer spaniel when you see one. But look how well behaved he is! Feet together and a stare that would melt one’s heart. And I don’t think I was tempting him with a sausage at the time. Much.
Quite why this lovely, cuddly woofit is named after a blue, scary beastie from the Disney franchise Monsters, Inc. is beyond me, although Sulley of film-fame is a gentle giant underneath the stern exterior. A big thank you to Jake (aka Mike W) and super-Dad Rob (aka Randall B) for bringing this Sulley in to see us, I am not sure the other Sulley would have made it through our front door.

Esther’s Easter Treats

With only a week to go until Easter is upon us, Jude has been busy again creating a nice Easter shelf in the shop including some rather tasteful eggs to make it feel all the more festive. Mellow Yellow is the theme, the colour of a new born Easter Chick (with a touch of rose thrown in for good measure, just in case the sun comes out). We’ve decided to call it Esther’s Easter Treats because it sounds better than Jude’s Egg Shelf.

Now is the time to think about what you plan to eat over Easter and therefore what you plan to drink too. We have settled on our Easter opening hours and they are as follows:

Sheldon’s Easter Opening Hours

Thursday 14th April – open as usual 0900-1800hrs
Good Friday 15th April – open as usual 0900-1800hrs
Easter Saturday 16th April – open as usual 0900-1700hrs
Easter Sunday 17th April – closed
Easter Monday 18th April – closed
Tuesday 19th April – closed

Wednesday 20th April – back to usual hours

Come in and find yourself a nice bottle or two for the season. Lamb or beef? Burgundy or Claret? Or perhaps a Malbec, apparently it is World Malbec Day on 17th April.

SHN Charity Art Auction – April 24th – 26th

Shipston Home Nursing together with the Stour Valley Wildlife Action Group are hosting a charity auction of artwork produced by the late experimental artist Thelma Madge Green (1933-2014). The artist’s family have kindly donated the pictures in the hope that individuals can purchase a piece of work affordably while raising funds for two worthwhile local causes. The auction will take place online from 20th to 30th April. The auction contains 70 items and it represents a rare opportunity to acquire one of these distinctly original, vibrant pieces of art.
You can find out more about the auction and view the pieces available by clicking the button below:
Charity Auction of the work of Thelma Madge Green
The auction doesn’t go live until 20th April and closes on the 30th. Time to take a look at the pictures and see what takes your fancy. Then get bidding as soon as the auction opens!

Graves including Pessac Leognan

In the last of our 5-episode series of articles on Left Bank Bordeaux we turn to Graves and specifically the sub region AOC of Pessac Leognan. The area of Graves (pronounced graav as in starve and meaning gravelly land) lies south and south east of Bordeaux and stretches right down to Langon. It includes the sweet producing regions of Barsac and Sauternes. Graves is an area of France once ruled as part of England through the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II and it is the original Claret-producing area when the other Left Bank villages north of Bordeaux were mostly still swamp-land. The oldest wine Chateau in Bordeaux comes from Graves – Chateau Pape Clement – which was founded at the turn of the 14th century by the man destined to become Pope Clement V. Another well-known chateau, Chateau Haut Brion is thought to be the first French Claret referred to in English literature, mentioned by Samuel Pepys in 1663.
Graves includes the areas 33-37 on the above map. Pessac-Leognan is number 33
Just one Chateau from Graves was included in the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux Wines. Chateau Haut Brion was classed as a First Growth (Premier Cru Classe) alongside Lafite, Latour and Margaux). No other red producing chateaux were included. At the time of the classification, the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac were also classified. Chateau d’Yquem came top as Grand Premier Cru Classe, with the likes of Rieussec, Suduiraut and Lafaurie Peyraguey classed as Premier Crus (eleven 1er Crus in total). A third tier of Deuxieme Cru Classe wines were also classified which included Broustet, de Malle, Doisy Daene and Doisy Vedrines to name a few. There are thirteen wines in the Deuxiemes Cru category.
It wasn’t until 1953 that the red wines of Graves were classified under their own Graves system. This list was updated with the addition of Graves white wines in 1959.
Chateau Haut Brion in Pessac Leognan – a Bordeaux First Growth
The sub-region of Pessac Leognan lies in the very north of the Graves region, with part of it within the city limits of Bordeaux town. Pessac Leognan AOC was created in 1987, which included the Graves wines that were the most expensive and sought-after. The sad consequence of the creation of the Pessac-Leognan AOC was that many wines simply labelled as Graves AOC were devalued, despite their inherent quality. Graves makes for good hunting ground for well made wines at an affordable price.
Like the other regions of the Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape variety, although Merlot generally plays a more significant role than in the other villages and the Haut Medoc and Medoc. Wines from Graves and particularly Pessac show the main characteristics of other wines from the Left Bank of Bordeaux, often with the addition of an earthy and sometimes mineral quality that comes from the free draining, gravelly soils.

As with the other regions of the Left Bank, we have a fair selection of wines from Graves and Pessac Leognan. Top picks include:

2015 Villa Bel Air halves (£15) and bottles (£25) – I particularly like this sensibly priced wine made by J M Cazes, the man behind top Pauillac Lynch Bages
2009 Domaine de Chevalier (£85) and the same from 2010 (£87)
2009 Carmes Haut Brion (£95), a separate chateau to Haut Brion, unrelated but great all the same
2009 Haut Bergey Imperial 6 litres (£330) – bargain for the format size

….and of course we have a couple of bottles of 1990 Chateau Haut Brion mentioned in last week’s New Ins. Spoil yourself. A lot.

New Ins

A few goodies for the Sheldon’s Easter basket this week:

2017 Jacques Prieur Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes 1er Cru, Cote de Beaune, Burgundy (£130)

2016 Domaine des Varoilles Gevrey Chambertin Clos des Varoilles 1er Cru, Cote de Nuits, Burgundy (£105)
2009 Chateau Latour a Pomerol, Pomerol, Bordeaux (£105)
2009 Chateau Bechevelle magnums, St Julien, Bordeaux (£285/mg)

And for those who want a little taste of what the best Chablis producer is capable of making:
2017 Domaine Raveneau Petit Chablis in magnum format, Chablis, Burgundy (£275/mg)

Car’s the Star

Seeing as tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times is dedicated to Will and Gilly, it seems only appropriate that we should finish with their wedding car. What better way to take transport from one location to another in the Cotswolds other than in a London Black Cab. And look at the numberplate. It is the order of the day, even if it is only going from Tredington church to, errr, Tredington.
Huge congratulations to the lovely couple. By the time you read this the deed will be done, the ceremony complete, much Champagne will have been drunk and the back kitchen party will be well underway. To Mr & Mrs Douglas, we wish you a long and happy future together. Keep drinking!
That concludes tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times. It seems we might be in for a chilly night again tonight, so cover over any tender plants you may be nursing along. Saturday and Sunday don’t look too bad, time to hit the garden in earnest. Jude, Trish and I will be here to look after you tomorrow, so pop in, pick up something special and roll on into an enjoyable weekend.


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

Your newly-wed-admiring, Graves-drinking, auction-excited wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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