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DotW, New Ins and Car’s the Star

It’s all about wine tonight. Well, almost. We of course have a gorgeous DotW and a super Car’s the Star but the bulk of tonight’s Sheldon’s Times is focused on a set of delicious New Ins this week. We have new roses, new wines from Paris (“Paris?” you ask), new wines from Sablet, some massive and ridiculously rare bottles of South African red and a slightly crazy new sweet wine. And of course a couple of attractive additions in the Claret category.
But before you move on, spare a positive thought for Harry and Charlotte who are getting married this weekend. Hip hip hooray! Best wishes to you both and here’s hoping for a fantastic day.

Dog of the Week

This is Rolo, or perhaps it is Rollo, I’m not entirely sure. What I do know is he is an avid chewer of shoes and eater of the finest Iberico ham. And he has a particular penchant for doing all of the aforementioned activities at dinner parties. How do I know this? Because I was there. Full of life, forever excited and ready for anything. What a star.
A big thank you to Andy (and by association Lou) for bringing Rolo/Rollo in to see us. If you see him out and about, mind your shoes. You have been warned.

New Ins

Our relentless quest to find new and interesting wines continues. And boy do we have some interesting wines in this week. Ever heard of ‘cooked wine’? I thought not. Well you are just about to….
Vin Cuit de Provence
Production of this extraordinary wine from Provence, made without the addition of sugar, alcohol or other ingredients is somewhat unusual. After pressing, Grenache grape juice is ‘cooked’ up to 95 degrees C in a cauldron over a naked flame which reduces the volume of the juice by some 25 to 30%. Once reduced, the juice is chilled and allowed to ferment, which usually takes around a month. The finished wine is 12% alcohol with residual sugar in excess of 200g/l. Once bottled, it is ready for that season’s festive period.
It is traditional at Christmas in the region to serve a ‘gros souper’ of fish and vegetables (served on Christmas Eve, the Provencal equivalent of our Christmas dinner), followed by ‘les 13 desserts’. The 13 desserts represent Christ and the 12 Apostles and are served after midnight mass. This is when Vin Cuit is served. Delicious sweet wine with 13 desserts – what’s not to like about that?! I first tried this wine a month ago and was utterly stunned. My notes simply say “Mulberry fruit on the nose and a yummy, jammy palate”. Don’t wait until Christmas as we only have 12 bottles in stock (well, 11 coz I am having one) – £50 a bottle.
Large Format Newton Johnson Pinot Noir
A rare acquisition indeed! We see very few large formats from South Africa. Magnums are like hens teeth and anything larger is almost unheard of. We are delighted therefore to have been offered just a few magnums and jeroboams (3 litres) of Newton Johnson’s Family Vineyards Pinot Noir from the 2018 vintage. We grabbed them straight away.
Just three magnums available (£85/mag) and three jeroboams (£200/jero). Probably never going to be seen again.
New Rhones
We’ve also bought a little Rhone from a producer called Domaine Les Sibu, based in Sablet. The village of Sablet sits between Gigondas to the south and Seguret to north. We are in beautiful southern Rhone countryside here, just under the shadow of the Dentelles craggy outcrops. Sablet is currently classified as Cotes du Rhone Villages but is likely to gain ‘Cru’ status like it’s neighbours shortly.
When I tasted both the white and the red I was impressed. The white is a blend of Grenache Blanc has good intensity yet remains light on it’s feet without the oily texture sometimes present in southern Rhone whites. The red is a classic GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blend with a little Carignan thrown in for good measure. Again I thought this was an attractive fresh style of wine representing more modern winemaking in the area. And both wines are great additions to our Rhone range.
Les Vignerons Parisiens
Les Vignerons Parisiens is the first and remains the only winery based in Paris. Set up by Matthieu Bosser with two partners: oenologist Emmanuel Gagnepain and biodynamic viticulture consultant Frédéric Duseigneur, the winery is based in the 3rd arrondissement. The story of Les Vignerons Parisiens is such a good one I shall refrain from putting my own spin on it, instead I shall use the words of our good friends at Dreyfus Ashby, the inspired UK importer:

The biodynamic and certified organic grapes are sourced from four different growers (to which Emmanuel and Frédéric already consult), located in the communes of Visan and Sabran in the southern Rhône. Although the project only started in 2015, the partners have built up and intimate knowledge of all the vineyards they work with over the past 15 years.

Whilst the traceability of the grapes is known to the exact parcel, the wines are not allowed to carry any mention of appellation, for two reasons. Firstly, since they are vinified outside the region (some 500km north of the vineyards in Paris) and secondly because all but one of the cuvees produced are single varietal wines for which no regional appellation exists. The wines are therefore all commercialised as Vin de France.

The grapes are harvested by their own team of pickers, usually between 6am and noon. The whole clusters are carefully placed directly into small lug-boxes which are then loaded onto pallets and transported by refrigerated trucks where, after at least 18 hours of cooling, they are crushed the following morning at the rear of their small (organically certified) cellar on the Rue de Turbigo.

If the sourcing of the grapes was relatively straightforward, the greatest challenge was the 18 months it took negotiating with the Paris authorities to gain the necessary customs documents to be allowed to make wine within the capital. Around 15% of the production is sold from the shop-front, mostly to locals who have quickly adopted them as their house wines.

Following a tasting of the range we have selected two wines for the shop:

Les affranchis (£20) – a rather unusual blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Marsanne and Rousanne, this wine showed a melange of different flavours and struck me as being both interesting and a little different.

Boooom. (£24) – another interesting blend, this time Gamay with Cinsault. My notes say “low tannin, fresh, clean and very drinkable. Definitely one to consider” so here it is, give it a try for yourself.

Naturally we also have a few items which sit in the Sheldon’s mainstream:

2009 Haut Bergey (£45) – solid wine from Pessac Leognan, Graves. We have had it in bottle, mag and imperial formats previously and it has always sold out.
2010 Haut Bergey (£45) – ditto
2005 Chateau Beaumont (£39) – we’ve had younger vintages in but never the 2005 before.
2005 Chateau Cissac (£40) – oh-so-drinkable Haut Medoc, always a best seller for us when we get it in so strike while the iron is hot
2010 Chateau Cissac (£35) – ditto

New Rosé Wines
With it having been so warm recently (although today and yesterday seem decidedly cooler) we have brought in a couple of new rosé wines. One is here by request, the other because it fills a gap. Both were tasted before being ordered and both fit the quality criteria for the shop. Don’t be fooled though – they are quite serious wines. A bit more than your easy-drinking Provence rose this time around…
Abbé Rous Collioure Réserve des Peintres Rosé (£15.95) – many of you will recognise Abbe Rous, they produce the wonderful Banyuls we have downstairs. It comes from the area on the Mediterranean near Spain. This rose is a blend of 65% Grenache Noir, 20% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah. This is part rosé de saignée with a 12 hour maceration before pressing. Fermentation takes place at a low temperature and is bottled at the end of the year of the harvest. Don’t be fooled by the pale colour, this is a rose with real red fruit flavours and a long finish. The label celebrates the famous harbour views of the church in Collioure, much captured by local and international artists.
Moulin de la Roque Bandol (£20) – Bandol is located on the Mediterranean coast of France just south east of Marseille. Known for growing the Mourvedre grape which is well suited to the warm climate, the region is well respected for its age-worthy reds. It is also known for rosé made using the same grape either as a single varietal wine or a blend. The wine we have is a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. While the wine is pale in colour it is very much considered a ‘vin de garde’ with the ability to improve with age, although the vast majority of it gets drunk within a year of the vintage release. A friendly wine for summer drinking in the garden with the ability to partner well with food.

Car’s the Star

What a treat – a Mercedes 190SL. This model pre-dates one of my favourite cars (the stacked headlight Mercedes 280SL from the late 60’s/early 70’s) it being in production from 1955 through to 1963. By all accounts it was released as a more affordable alternative to the 300SL gull wing. It has many similar styling features and looks pretty ‘Americanised’ to me, designed to fight off two seater sports cars from over the pond. The car takes it’s name from the engine – it is powered by a 1.9 litre straight 4 cylinder engine, hence 190SL.
A big thank you to Mr & Mrs N for bringing it round to see us. Any time.
I think that will do for tonight. I’ve just taken a look at the weather forecast for the coming days and it looks like it is going to be OK if not brilliant. This weekend Trish, Jude and I will be here to see to your every wine need. Oh, and as a final reminder it is the ‘Last Night at the Proms’ tomorrow night – the Shipston Proms that is, so get yourself into town tomorrow evening and have some fun.


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

Your shoe-saving, SL-loving, Boooom-drinking wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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