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DotW, T4, Sauternes, New Ins and Car’s the Star

Happy Easter everyone! Did you have hot cross buns this morning? We certainly did. I hope you all have fun weekends planned. The sun has certainly been shining today and it has been lovely to see many of you in a holiday mood.

In tonight’s Sheldon’s Times we have a lovely DotW (just a pup), a reminder about the T4 which is happening next week (call to book a place), a final, final piece on Left Bank Bordeaux (except this appellation is south east of Bordeaux), some New Ins and a belter of a Car (revisited). For those so inclined I hope your Good Friday fish supper is nearly ready? With a nice crisp bottle of white…. Press on.

Dog of the Week

Here’s Tilly, a fox-red Labrador puppy. At only 5 months old she is utterly gorgeous. All paws, licks and sniffs and simply adorable.
A big thank you to Francis for bringing in Tilly to see us. It goes without saying, you are both welcome anytime, but if Tilly wants to pop in on her own we’ll make sure she is well looked after.

Thirsty Third Thursday Tasting (T4)

Our next Third Thursday tasting is taking place on Thursday 21st April (next week). The theme for the tasting is Chardonnays from around the world. Amanda will be showing some of our best examples of well made Chardonnay at a reasonable price.

Details are:

Date: Thursday 21st April
Time: 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Location: Sheldon’s Wine Cellars, downstairs in the cellar
Cost: £25 per attendee

The cost of the event covers the wines, tuition and possibly some snacks to go with the wines to keep you sober. To book on please call the shop on 01608 661409 or email Amanda on Last time well behaved dogs were welcome, but please check with Amanda if you intend to bring a furry friend.

Bordeaux – Sauternes & Barsac

Just when you thought I’d finished my series on Left Bank Bordeaux, here we are with another episode. It dawned on me that we have left out one last area that was included in the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux Wines. Sauternes and Barsac are two villages that lie south east of Bordeaux and are renowned for making some of the best sweet white wines in the world.
A map of the Sauternes and Barsac area
The reason the area has become so famous for sweet white wines is because the conditions in the surrounding vineyards are perfect for the development of botrytis cinerea, a type of necrotrophic fungus more commonly known as noble rot. Damp, misty mornings followed by warm sunny afternoons allow the fungus to develop on the grapes without spoiling them completely. The fungus pierces the skin of the grape and sucks the water out, leaving a shrivelled, super-concentrated grape. This process increases the aromatic compounds in the grape which ultimately will result in the wine produced being more fruity, floral with toasty notes.
The grapes grown in the area are Semillon which are prone to the development of botrytis. Sauvignon Blanc is also grown and added to the wine to add freshness and acidity. When young, Sauternes is very tropical in aroma and fully sweet, with flavours of pineapple, mango and lychee. With age the fruit flavours recede and flavours of toffee and caramel develop.
Grapes affected by botrytis cinerea
If the general rule in wine making is that a vine produces enough grapes to make a bottle of wine, in Sauternes a vine produces only a glass. The levels of concentration are extraordinary. Wines from this area represent one of the best value products in the wine world in terms of price and quality.
Perhaps the most well-known of the wine Chateaux in this area is Chateau d’Yquem. Known as the King of Sweet Wines, bottles of Yquem are pricey when released and their value tends to drift upwards with age. Yquem is surrounded by other great names of Sauternes – Chateaux Rieussec, Suduiraut, Guiraud and Lafaurie Peyraguey to name a few.
Chateau d’Yquem on a misty morning

The 1855 Classification of Bordeaux Wines placed the best wines from Sauternes and Barsac into three tiers:

Grand Premier Cru (Great First Growth):
Chateau d’Yquem

Premiers Crus (First Growths):
Eleven Chateaux were classified as Premier Cru, including Rieussec, Suduiraut, La Tour Blanche and more

Deuxiemes Crus (Second Growths):
Thirteen Chateaux were classified in this category. As with red wines, some of the sweet wines in this category would be classed as Premier Crus is the classification was redone today. In my opinion, Chateaux such as de Malle, Doisy Daene and possibly Doisy Vedrines all merit promotion were a reclassification to take place.

I first visited Sauternes in 2003, staying in a local campsite and driving around the area and the vineyards. It has a different feel about it to the other wine making regions of Bordeaux. It is a touch more agricultural, more of a farming feel to it than a polished wine making area. And very welcoming. The Maison du Vin in the village of Sauternes itself is excellent, offering a wide selection of locally produced bottles from lesser-known producers at sensible prices. I still have a couple of bottles of 2001 in the cellar from that visit. By chance 2001 was one of the best vintages in the last 3 decades.
As with the other regions of Bordeaux, we have an extensive selection of Sauternes here in the shop, starting with our delicious half bottles of Chateau Violet (2016 vintage for £13.95 per half), through some delicious mid and top range bottles, peaking at Chateau d’Yquem 1990 – one of the legends of the sweet wine world. Swing by, have a browse and pick out one of these amazing wines.

New Ins

We’ve been digging deep to bring you some New Ins for Easter. This week we have the arrival/revealing of the following:

Red Burgundy:
2018 Domaine Cacheux Vosne Romanee 1er Cru Les Suchots (£91)
2018 Domaine D’Ardhuy Corton Grand Cru Les Renards (£85)

2000 Larrivet Haut Brion, Pessac Leognan (£60)
2000 Ducru Beaucaillou, St Julien (£230)
2001 Chateau Palmer, Margaux (£300)

…and in the spirits room we have added:

Linie Aquavit (£29.95) – following a recommendation from one of our lovely customers, this potato-based spirit is aged in Sherry casks then put on a boat which sails to Australia and back. Must be good after that journey, right?
Liberty Limoncello (£16.95) – a restock of what has become a very popular drop with you.
Luxardo Kirsch
Sky Wave Gin (£36.95) – a new gin for us that comes from Bicester, Oxfordshire. An interesting back story from Rachel and Andy who make this flavoursome gin can be read on their website at

And finally, we have picked up just a few bottles of the Reverend Hubert Summer Cup. Based off of a recipe made by the eponymous Reverend Hubert back in 1904 and recreated by his great-grandson, this Garden Gin Liqueur features a quartet of vibrant summer garden fruits – namely rhubarb, plum, pomegranate, and cranberry! Alongside herbaceous hints of gin, the result is like a summer fête of flavour, perfect for enjoying with tonic or soda water with a few fresh berries thrown in as garnish.
This is the perfect summer lift. £34.95. Go crazy.

Car’s the Star

Those eagle-eyed readers among you will recognise this car – it has been Car’s the Star before, but a long while back. It fills me with such joy every time it arrives (which is pretty rare) that I felt the need to include it in this weeks edition of Sheldon’s Times. Another sunny day in Shipston and here it is, a lovely old Porsche 356A Speedster. Not too many of these about.
Many thanks to William for dropping by and sharing the pleasure with us. Next time leave your keys.
Amanda, Trish and I will be here tomorrow, usual opening hours (0900-1700hrs) to help you find something perfect to go with your beef/lamb/nut roast on Sunday. Drop in and say hello. Let’s hope the sun continues to shine for the remainder of the weekend. Whatever you are up to, may we take this opportunity to wish you al la very Happy Easter.


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

Your 356-loving, occasional-Yquem-drinking, Tilly-adoring wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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