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Spring Colour, DotW, Jubilee Opening, Italians, June Cellar Tour, New Ins and Car’s the Star

What fun we had with the Italian Tasting last Saturday. Delighted to see many of you come along, apologies to those who wanted to pop in but for whom we didn’t have space. There’s a write-up in tonight’s Sheldon’s Times, including those wines we thought were outstanding and now have a place on our shelves.

Also in tonight’s Sheldon’s Times we have a reminder about the June Cellar Tour (places still available), our opening hours over the Jubilee long weekend, some wines for you to try in the shop tomorrow (with the proviso that you give us some immediate feedback) and a car that we have seen before, albeit in a different colour. But first, a bit of uplifting spring colour and a great DotW. Read on…

Spring Colour

I am sure you have all noticed, the recent combination of rain and sunshine with a bit of warmth has spurred everything in the garden and countryside on. The vibrant acid greens of new leaves everywhere is a sure sign that the spring is here and summer will soon arrive. At home the bulb irises have suddenly come into flower, producing a super display for us to enjoy.
These beauties only last a week or two at most so we make the most of them when they are out. Terry’s Cannas are shooting up behind, they will soon be in bloom too.

Dog of the Week

This is Badger. Yes, I know we have already had a Badger as DotW – you remember, the little curly-haired fella who gives us a high-five when he comes in. Well it turns out that Badger is not the only Badger. This Badger is a Whippet. Quite a large one, especially considering he is only 7 months old. He’s standing rather statuesque-like, facing the sunshine.
Many thanks to Ben for bringing Badger to see us. One day we’ll get both Badgers in at the same time. Now that would be fun.

Jubilee Opening Hours

We have been doing a straw poll around the town to help us decide what we are going to do over the Jubilee long weekend. I think we have settled (like some other shopkeepers) on the following:

Thursday 2nd – usual hours 0900-1800hrs
Friday 3rd – 0900-1400hrs (we are taking the afternoon off)
Saturday 4th – usual hours 0900-1700hrs
Sunday 5th and Monday 6th – closed as usual
Tuesday 6th – back to regular hours

So the only change is Friday 3rd where we will be closed in the afternoon to enjoy a cold beer in a garden somewhere. At all other times you will be able to purchase your Jubilee weekend treats as usual.

Italian Tasting

Last Saturday we conducted an Italian Tasting in conjunction with the wholesale business, Berkmann Wine Cellars. By the time we had included the ‘extras’ the guys from Berkmann brought along we had north of 30 wines to try. All were top notch and the range covered areas of Italy from the very north right down to the island of Sicily in the far south.
Some top wines from Antinori at the tasting
Wine styles presented at the tasting included a couple of Franciacortas (the ‘Champagne’ of Italy), some stunning whites made from both international and indigenous grape varieties and reds which were light and flighty right through to the biggest style fo all, amazing Amarone weighing in at a tidy 16% alcohol.
Thirty customers attended, each having the opportunity to try as many wines as they could sensibly manage. Throughout the three hour session, Amanda, Trish and I snuck down and tried the wines too. Based on the orders we received there were some clear favourites, some of which we have decided to trial in the shop.
Top overall seller and an amazing white: Leone d’Almerita made by Tasca – a delightfully tasty white from Sicily. Made from a blend of grapes (Catarratto, Pinot Blanco, Sauvignon and Traminer) this was a pleasant surprise, not least because it was the least expensive wine across the whole tasting.
Second favourite white: Plenio Verdicchio Castello di Jesi Classico Riserva from Umani Ronchi. We haven’t had a Verdicchio in the shop for a long time, this was a stand-out example which we all loved.
Top red: Prunotto Costamiole Nizza Riserva – an absolutely delicious Barbera d’Asti made by Prunotto (and part of the Antinorti stable)
Second red: San Leonardo by Tenuta San Leonardo. This is the first wine from San Leonardo, the second wine ‘Terre’ was also very popular and considered great value for money. The wines are based on Bordeaux varietals and produced in the Trentino region of Italy (up north). This wine showed lovely richness. It is a wine we have sold in other vintages, this 2016 showed really well among strong competition.
Shane’s special pick: Tenuta Tascante Contrada Rampante. Made from the fascinating Nerello Mascalese grape grown on the volcanic soils on the southern slopes of Mount Etna, the wine showed bright, light iridescent cherry colours in the glass. A proud, dense nose of red fruits and a weight and intensity in the mouth that goes way beyond expectations. Complex, with unexpected tannic structure and much fuller fruit flavours than the colour suggests. Not cheap at £59 but such an interesting wine.
We also sold rather more magnums than I expected of a particular Italian rose. The 2021 Tomaresca Calafuria Negroamaro Rosato Magnums have flown out. Perhaps it is down to the rather funky fish-adorned box and bottle that it comes in? All I know is that the juice inside the bottle was delicious.
For those who attended the tasting, all wines ordered are now available for collection.
All of the above are now available in the shop, albeit in limited quantities at this stage (see New Ins below). We also have some other bottles for sale that made an appearance. If interested, please just ask and we’ll take you through the selection.

June Cellar Tour – Saturday 11th June 2-4pm

Having completed the Italian tasting last weekend we are now looking forward to welcoming our next group into the shop for our monthly Cellar Tour. Because of the Jubilee weekend we have decided to delay our tour until the following weekend. The tour will take place on Saturday 11th June starting at 2pm. We usually commence proceedings with a glass of chilled fizz, have a tour of the premises and the cellars before settling down for an informal tasting of 4 wines. Price is £25 per head to include all of the wines. If you’d like to book please reply to this email or give the shop a call on 01608 661409. You are forgiven for throwing yourselves into the Jubilee celebrations, but do get your cellar tour booking in early to guarantee your place.

New Ins

Here’s the list of Italians that we have in from the Saturday tasting, all in limited quantities. We’ll see what you think, if you enjoy some of them as much as we did we’ll keep them on the shelves.
Ca’ Del Bosco (Lombardy):
Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige Ed 43 (Brut) – £44

San Leonardo (Trentino):
2018 Terre di San Leonardo (Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere) – £21
2016 San Leonardo (Cab Sauvignon, Carmenere – £79

Umani Ronchi (Marche):
2015 Plenio Verdicchio Castello di Jesi Classico Riserva (white) – £27
2017 Pelago (red, Montepulciano, Cab Sauvignon, Merlot) – £40

Antinori (various regions):
2021 Calafuria Negroamaro Rosato, Tormaresca Magnum (rose, Negroamaro) – £48
2015 Pian della Vigne Brunello di Montalcino (red, Sangiovese) – £54.50
2016 Santa Pia Vino Nobile Riserva La Braccesca (red, Sangiovese) – £49
2019 Chianti Classico Riserva Marchese Antinori (red, Sangiovese, Cab Sauvignon) – £52
2018 Poggio alle Nane, Le Mortelle (red, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Carmenere) – £80
2015 Prunotto, Barolo Bussia (red, Nebbiolo) – £90
2015 Prunotto, Nizza Riserva Costamiole (red, Barbera d’Asti) – £52

Famiglia Cotarella (Umbria):
2019 Sodale, Lazio Rosso IGT (red, Merlot) – £27
2017 Montiano, Lazio Rosso IGT (red, Merlot) – £65

Tasca (Sicily):
2020 Leone d’Almerita (white) – £20
2019 Chardonnay Vigna San Francesco (white) – £47
2017 Contrada Pianodario (red, Nerello Mascalese) – £59
2017 Contrada Rampante (red, Nerello Mascalese) – £59

For those in the full Jubilee mood we have just received a small number of Whispering Angel ‘Jubilee Edition’ bottles (same price as standard bottles, £21.95). Sold on a first-come-first served basis, if you want to give your celebration a special feel why not serve your rose out of a special bottle? We also have Whispering Angle in magnum and 6 litre format if you want to go large (without Jubilee Edition labels).
Tomorrow in the shop we are going to open a few bottles for you to try, some of which we have in stock, others we would simply like your opinion on:

Sacha Lichine Single Blend Rose – from the maker of the rather famous Whispering Angel we have a bottle of his Single Blend rose which is made from Grenache and Cinsault grown in the south of France. We are looking forward to trying it with you.

If it has the style of Whispering Angel but is priced at £14.95 it certainly seems worth a look. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. We’ve taken a punt and have brought this wine into stock.
The following two bottles are from a new stockist we are looking at. Both sit in the affordable category. You are invited to try them with the expectation that you will tell us what you think:
Flora and Fauna (Grenache Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc) – regional French white for easy drinking.
El Garbi Blanco (Garnacha Blanco)

Prices on both will be confirmed if we go ahead with an order, but both will be in the under £15 category. Certainly worth a try.

Nearly New In

This one is a ‘nearly new in’ because it isn’t really new at all.

We are now stocking Hawkstone Pils (3.8%) and will soon get Hawkstone Lager (4.8%). You may well have heard of the Hawkstone brand, in particular if you are a follower of a certain Mr Clarkson. The beer is made by the Cotswold Brew Co, whose Cotswolds Pils and Cotswolds Premium Lager we have been stocking for years. In collaboration and with some investment from Clarkson the Cotswold Brew Co have rebranded their product range as Hawkstone.

Same beer (subject to the usual Cotswold Brew Co tweaks and improvements), different name. I think that puts it in the ‘nearly new in’ category, doesn’t it? Love him or hate him, the beer remains good so we will continue to sell it as long as you still want to buy it…
And finally in the New Ins this week we have the following which we have managed to squeeze out of Gilles Remoriquet. The price is up on earlier releases on this 2016 vintage wine but I know how much you love it so I got the remaining 24 bottles on offer. It’s not out in the shop so ask me for it:

2016 Remoriquet Nuits St Georges 1er Cru ‘Damodes’ – £69 a bottle

Car’s the Star

Regular readers of the Car’s the Star feature will know that we’ve had a car like this before. A SAAB 96 V4, this example coming from the fine vintage of 1972. The car is affectionately known as ‘Barbra’, a slight joke by the owner about it’s looks at certain angles. All I can say is I love it, a true icon of the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.
Many thanks to Kris Kristofferson (aka Richard G) for bringing Barbra in to see us. Love the matching blue tyre walls.
That’s it for tonight’s edition of Sheldon’s Times. Weatherwise this weekend it looks like we are in for an okay Saturday with Sunday being a little cooler. Not too much rain forecast meaning more time in the garden having picked up on some top tips from Chelsea (on the TV) this week. Jude, Trish and I will be here to welcome you into the shop tomorrow, whatever the weather.


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

Your Barbra-loving, Italian-drinking, Iris-enjoying wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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