A new year, a new focus…

Perfect Friday WineToday, after 3 years of total brilliance, I gave back the keys to my Perfect Friday Wine ‘warehouse’.

Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t been storing my Perfect Friday Wine in my dining room. It has been kept safe and sound in a licensed warehouse unit, all part of my clunky (and legal) logistics process. Cool in the summer and temperate in the winter, the wine has been stored under lock and key, safely away from me and my corkscrew, awaiting your orders.

Big up to the guys at A4 Self Store for taking in pallet after pallet of wine, bearing with me while I got my licensing up and running (which is a total ball ache), even putting Spongebob on the office TV to entertain children while I’ve tended to ‘just one more’ order. Without A4, my logistics wouldn’t have run half as smoothly.

Sadly though, this does mark the end of the retail side of Perfect Friday Wine. Just the retail bit mind, this is far from the last you’ve heard of me.

2016 was a year exploring how to grow PFW as a retail business, but it transpires that after investigating shops, importing, taking on staff, it’s the face-to-face chatter, writing and online social exchange that I love the most, not the selling. Continue reading “A new year, a new focus…”

Wine List Released for the Autumn Wine Tasting in Maidenhead 2016

With much anticipation, the biggest and best ever Wine Tasting Event in Maidenhead, certainly to my knowledge, is happening this coming Saturday afternoon.

Yes, from 1.30pm until 5pm on Saturday 8th October 2016, The Council Chamber in Maidenhead’s Town Hall will be transformed into a tasting room filled with around 80 wine loving folk from the locality, enjoying over 40 wines from 7 countries around the world.  Guests are welcome to arrive at any time during the afternoon since the format is very relaxed and of walk around format. Last pour will be at 5pm.

The Wine Tasting Brochure and Wine List  has now been confirmed and is now available to download for preview. You will receive a nice printed copy on arrival.

Maidenhead Wine Tasting

The last few remaining tickets are available to buy in advance. Further details and FAQs can be viewed here or drop me a line.

Correction: Entry to the event is via the MAIN door at the front of the Town Hall on St Ives Road.

Download the Wine List Brochure for the Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting 2016 now.


Best (non-alcoholic) beverage in Berkshire….

12718138_10153823935430399_8863558578712723717_nI remember sitting in the Two Brewers in Windsor once when I was pregnant with an equally pregnant friend, where we sat and nursed two lime and sodas for an entire evening. Don’t pity the landlord too much for our table hogging, as I’ve spent many a hard-earned £ over the years, pre and post-natal, in my favourite ‘no child zone’, on pints of Guinness, bottles of Champagne ‘because it’s better value than a bottle of white’ and dining (their Petit Chablis and Carignan are both worth a tipple btw). Plus, it was nothing more than enforced abstinence and I shared the soft drink consumption around the county, fair and square.

In fact, I found liquid intake during pregnancy terribly boring since I often joke that unless a drink contains alcohol or caffeine, then it’s not for me – obviously a little limited when ‘with child’. Water is the exception, or course, but it doesn’t go down well at a cafe or bar when you rock up and ask for a glass of tap water to sip whilst taking up space for hours. This concept also transfers to brandishing a laptop and working for an hour on the wifi, after all, there’s no such thing as free wifi.

If you follow my Instagram account, you may notice that my second liquid pleasure in life, after the grape or grain and before wine o’clock, is coffee. Not just any old coffee, but proper coffee. Since too much coffee incidentally sends me a bit loopy, I’m a strict one-cup-a-day kinda girl, so every cup has to be the real deal, or there’s no point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert (I’d like to know more), but it’s not hard to taste the difference between Instant (a big fat decline), the stuff they serve in Costa or Starbucks (I will accept if need be) or proper, tasty coffee (yes please).

It has therefore become a decadent habit of mine, as a worker from home, that when I need a change of scenery or when I’m out and about on deliveries or need a spot of inspiration, I’ll seek out the delights of a local cafe with wifi and a decent roast (coffee bean, not Sunday), to work from.

My favourite spot local to Maidenhead for coffee? I’m open to suggestion, but Coopers Trading in Marlow HAS to win top award for coffee, atmosphere and best dog (great wine list too). Stubbings does a decent flat white and the cakes are very tempting, very popular with MIYP (Mums-in-yoga-pants) and today I thoroughly enjoyed a new-one-on-me-for-coffee, nostalgic, straight black coffee in the sunshine outside The Firestation in Windsor. So if you enjoy a spot of latte art as well as a decent glass of wine, pop over to my Instagram account and follow and let me know where else I should try for the best cup of coffee in Berkshire (or Bucks)!

Dropmore Vineyard; Tribute to John Petersen

Dropmore VineyardIMG_6065IMG_6303As an advocator of English Wine and local produce, it has been my pleasure to have been working alongside perhaps my most local vineyard, Dropmore Vineyard. It was therefore, with real sadness that I learnt of the recent loss of Mr Dropmore himself, John Petersen (30 June 1936 – 29 March 2016).

John’s passion for his 3 acres of vineyard in Littleworth Common (nr. Burnham), was unsurpassed – never before have I seen such lovingly cultivated vines. John planted his 2500 vines in 2008 with a mixture of Chardonnay, Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Ortega and Pinot Meunier, with John’s first harvest following in 2010 with a crop of Bacchus.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with John since his crisp and fruity Bacchus 2013 vintage was released and it is at least good news to hear that the vineyard will continue to be worked and Dropmore Wines will live on in his memory. I’m just sad that John never got to taste his first sparkling wine, which has just been released and is a jolly good drop!

As a salute to John, I will have his award winning Dropmore Vineyard Pinot Blush 2013 open to taste on Sunday 8th May at Maidenhead’s Eat on the High Street. John received the Best Still Rosé Wine Award in the T&CVA 2015 Annual Wine Challenge back in September 2015, a great achievement.  His Bacchus also won a Bronze Award, so well done him!

Chin Chin John!

Wine at Eat on the High Street, Maidenhead 8th May 2016

I’m back this weekend, bringing wine to Maidenhead town centre. Yep, on the High Street, so if you’ve missed me in my old stomping ground, come along and see me on Sunday 8th May 11-4pm – the usual wine pop-up format with superb wines to taste and buy (a little more on those below). Not only is the sun set to shine (unlike my last few chilly outings), I won’t be on my lonesome, infact, I’m going to be alongside a whole host of other local food producers as part of the relatively new street food market, Eat on the High Street, which means while you top up on wine, you can choose your lunch from a whole array of different cuisines, grab a seat and sit and soak up the atmosphere (and sunshine, I hope). Dinerama/ Spitalfields Market, eat your heart out (but think more suburban and sedate, with less hipsters)!

Fabulous local photographer, social media whizz and blogger Maidenhead Mum sums up the first Eat On The High Street perfectly (it also made the ‘Tiser), and now that there are seats and tables, it’ll make the ideal place to meet friends for lunch, every second Sunday of the month. As the first two events have lead to the High Street thrumming with diners, I’m really looking forward to returning to my original pop-up location and hopefully seeing many of my Maidenhead customers on Sunday. Having sought out perhaps every discerning wine drinker in Maidenhead who actually come into the town centre on a normal, nothing-really-happening kind of Saturday, I know that there are many many more Maidonians who would love to have a friendly, knowledgeable, local independent wine merchant, willing to deliver wines from a carefully curated list, i.e. me, to their door in Maidenhead. So, bring your friends, spread the Eat on the High Street word, and let’s get this town drinking great wine and food!

White Rioja Maidenhead

Valencia Monastrell El Bon Homme Maidenhead

As for the wines open to taste? Well, what with the sunshine, I thought I’d bring you two of my best selling Spanish numbers, both perfect for barbecues… Valencian red, El Bon Homme (Monastrell, Cab Sauv blend) and fresh, white Rioja, Las Orcas Decenio Viura, come and taste! If you’d like something specific, let me know as there’s only so much stock I can bring or I’ll of course be taking orders for delivery next week. Can’t make it or want your wine in time for Friday wine o’clock? Order here for delivery or pop a later event in the diary (Plus, the next Eat On The High Street will be a Queen’s Birthday Street Party in Maidenhead, on 12th June).

p.s. I’m working on the ‘by the glass’ angle at EOTHS, of course I’ll top up the wine tasting thimble of any customer to go with lunch, particularly if you’ve read to the end of this blog post. 🙂
p.p.s The Fat Fox Burgers, Paneer wraps, Little Reds Pizza  and Como en Casa’s Argentinian Empanadas all come highly recommended!
p.p.p.s If that’s not enough to get you in to town, EOTHS is a collaboration alongside Shabbytique Vintage Fair which will also be on the High Street on Sunday – oh, and of course, Maidenhead’s H&M opened this week!

April 2016 Pop-Up Wine Stall Berkshire

If you’ve ever been to one of my pop-up wine stalls, you will be familiar with just how blue a person’s lips can turn. For some reason, the weather is generally against me and I stand bearing the freezing cold, gales (no snow so far) and rain, purely for the love of wine.

If you’ve never been to one of my pop-up wine stalls and you live local to Maidenhead, love wine or just fancy coming to poke fun at the nutter in the earmuffs selling wine outdoors, please do come and find me. The usual format is me talking a lot about wine, a boot load of wine boxes and several wines open to taste, all under the protective cover of my pop-up stall (or as one kindly customer sneered “Pop-up? It’s a tent!”).

My last outing was at Fernygrove Farm in Hawthorn Hill, between Maidenhead and Bracknell back on a particularly freezing cold April Saturday (yes, Perfect Friday Wine can be drunk on a Saturday, or any day of the week). This was a new wine pop-up location for Perfect Friday Wine with a cafe, florist, farm shop and butcher to boot and I saw many of my lovely, loyal customers up there as well as meeting new ones!  I had a whole raft of wine open to taste and buy and had a great day – where there is other brilliant food, there is the desire for fabulous wine. Here’s a reminder of those on taste, all handpicked with springtime in mind.

Casa Silva Pinot NoirCasa Silva Pinot Noir Reserva
: One of the best value Pinot Noirs I’ve come across, the Casa Silva Reserva from Chile is a delight of cherry fruits, delicious and a lighter for the spring. I hadn’t tasted this vintage (2014)  since February myself and I was reminded as to just how fantastic a Pinot this is. I enjoyed the leftovers very much once I’d warmed up on the following Tuesday, when it was still drinking superbly.


Villa Blanche Grenache

Villa Blanche Grenache Rosè: Springtime sunshine marks rosè time! The delicate and delicious Villa Blanche Grenache is Languedoc in origin, Provençal in style, dry, pretty, peachy and great value. From the genius of Calmel and Joseph, this is just as good as their Villa Blanche Picpoul de Pinet and Syrah and went down a storm (likely because it was kept so blimin’ chilled) – definitely the  WINE OF THE DAY.



Bluebell Vineyard Blanc de Blancs

Bluebell Vineyard Estates Blanc de Blancs 2011: It’s Bluebell season, so this award winning Sussex fizz seemed fitting to open. Interestingly, this has been in the press twice since, firstly on Olly Smith’s recommendation on The Daily Mail Online and then ‘Food Matcher’ Fiona Beckett stating what ‘good value’ it is on theguardian.com. As I continue my championing of English Wine, it’s good to see it, the sparkling in particular, getting a louder ‘voice’.  This is a class or 5 above the cheap Prosecco that’s enjoyed so heartily in the UK – it’s Champagne method, Champagne grapes and excitingly, from our own fair shores – just don’t call it Champagne (Wine fact: did you know that Taittinger have bought land in Kent to begin planting vines? Even the French are on it).



Calmel and Joseph ‘Les Cuvèes Rare’ La Ruffe 2013: New to PFW this spring and lush, this saw its first outing back in March where I chilled myself  (and the wine) to the bone at my Emmett’s Farm Pop-Up in Little Marlow.  I must find a way to keep my reds warm enough so that by 2pm they’re not fridge cold. In the words of wine critic Tamlyn Currin, who rated La Ruffe a very high 17+ out of 20: “50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. They didn’t want to pump the wine, so they had to carry it down with a pick-up truck. No filtration. Dark chocolate, peppermint, green herbs. Lots of black chocolate, lots of power, massive structure. Thick velvet-and-portcullis tannins with opulent fruit firmly behind bars at the moment, but it’s definitely there. Tightly bound. Very imposing. A sleeping dragon. Needs five to 10 years. Drink 2019-2026” Although I think it’s rather nice right now (agreed that it will only get better)! Full article on jancisrobinson.com.

So, there we have it.  April’s Wine Pop-Up summarised. Where can you find me next? After a while away, I’ll be bringing wine back to Maidenhead High Street on Sunday 8th May, joining the new street food market Eat on the High Street alongside a whole gang of other local food producers. Keep posted on my events page or better still, sign up sign up to the Perfect Friday Wine Newsletter to keep up to date with my whereabouts over summer 2016 and beyond.

You win some you lose some: Part 3 (1996 Chateau de Beaucastel wine tasting)

Part 1 and part 2 of this blog were written back in 2013 and its not until now, with anticipation much like the wait for Star Wars VII, that I write part 3.

1996 Chateau de Beaucastel won at auction
1996 Chateau de Beaucastel won at auction

So, to bring you up to speed, a few years ago I bought some wine in an auction. Not like a proper wine auction, just the local auction in Bourne End. Had I read to the bottom of the listings, I might have seen the lot for the Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Beaucastel and Bordeaux’s left bank Chateau Lagrange, but I got stuck higher up with Rioja from my birth year. Not so good, as you can read here, but it’s true, as I can confirm on this Easter Sunday, that you do indeed win some.

The last lot (that I won) sucked. As it happens, my husband was a little less hasty and read to the end of the lots and we have now have 2 bottles of 2001 Lagrange tucked away, plus this 1996 Chateau de Beaucastel, and all for the bargain price of about £30. 

Since it’s Easter Sunday, the shoulder of lamb has been slow roasting since 11am and I’ve been given the green light to open something from the wine fridge, so here it is, open and drinking well. 

What’s it like? It’s blackcurranty with an amazing acidity still, tannins are soft and there’s still body, although the fruit is light. Delicious and well balanced, definitely one to drink now and enjoy. Lucky me! Oh, and it’s fabulous with the lamb.

Happy Easter!

Introducing Austrian Holzer Wagram Grüner Veltliner

On more than one occasion, when introducing a Grüner Veltliner, I have been met with the response ‘come again’ or ‘Grüner what?’. I’m yet to have heard ‘gesundheit’, but I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time, and although consistently complicated for folk to get their ears round, Grüner Veltliner is not a grape that has the same effect on their taste buds.

The Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Grüner Veltliner is one of those wines that makes an instant impression and got the ‘OMG’ reaction from me at first taste i.e. I taste a wine and find it significantly more exciting than I am anticipating it to be, causing me to spit (ever the professional) and exclaim exactly that, ‘OMG’. Each time I’ve popped it in to a tasting, it’s flown out the warehouse in subsequent customer orders and it’s a no brainer as to why. This is one fabulous wine. Not only does it look great, miles away from the boringly traditional Germanic/ Alpine labels often synonymous with wines from this part of the world, most importantly, it tastes delicious. It’s white, just to clarify, has a notable body to it but a really spritely acidity and bags of flavour, bringing the taste buds alive. There’s a level of florality to it, with lots of apple and a dash of typically-GV white pepper too.

Eschenhof Holzer is the wine maker, and at just 28 years old and five vintages in, when I consider what I was up to when I was 23, I am a little in awe of him, although he does have the benefit of having the bloodline of 3 generations of wine makers before him. Holzer tends to his 13 hectares of vines in the region of Wagram, alongside the River Danube between Vienna and the very steep, terraced and prestigious wine region of Wachau, where the finest Austrian wines hail from and Riesling reigns. Holzer’s wines are the perfect excellent example of how Wagram and the neighbouring areas of Kamptal, Traisental and Kremstal (Wachau’s no. 2) can produce some excellent quality and great value wines.

So if you’ve ever pooh-poohed the wines of Austria (and it doesn’t just stop at the Grüner, there are plenty of brilliant Rieslings as well as red wines) or fancy tasting something a little different to the usual Sauvignon Blanc, it’s time to change that perception and taste what you’ve been missing.

Holzer Wagram Gruner Veltliner
Holzer Wagram Gruner Veltliner

If you’re local to Marlow and Maidenhead and would like to taste what all the Grüner Veltliner fuss is about, come and see me on the 19th March outside Emmett’s Farm Shop for a taste of the Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Grüner, as featured in my Spring Wine Case, or drop me an order for local wine delivery!

If you’re going to buy me a wine gift this Christmas….

…something like this one…

Dear Santa

At risk of appearing just like my kids, rifling through the Argos catalogue, cutting out the photos of plastic toys and sticking them on to a crumpled piece of paper covered in Pritt Stick a.k.a their Christmas lists, I was wondering if you might accept the following requests of my own …you know, ‘if” you were thinking about buying me any wine gifts this Christmas… after all, I’ve been a good girl this year.

1) A bottle of wine

My stocking is the perfect size and shape, but perhaps your elves worry that they’ll choose something that I won’t like/ think is a bit naff. If you’re reading this, Dear Elves, please don’t be concerned. Continue reading “If you’re going to buy me a wine gift this Christmas….”

Maidenhead Business Girls Christmas Tasters

DSC06469As a fellow Business Girl, if you’ve been wondering what my wines are like for a while and fancy trying something new, why not take advantage of this special MBG offer this Christmas. I have chosen each and every one of the wines on the wine list, many from small producers or lesser known grape varieties or regions, and only the best tasting, best value make the final cut.

Order one of the following delicious Business Girls Mini-Cases and you’ll be saving more than 5% off the bottle price. A fabulous way to sample some of my fabulous wines and reward yourself for a hard year of self-employment! If you fancy a look at my full Christmas offerings, see here.

Orders can be collected from my open morning at A4 Self Store on St Peters Road (SL6 7QU) by arrangement between 10 and noon on  Saturday 19th December or on one of my delivery rounds.

Starting Out: £25 (usually £27, over 7% saving)

Established: £30 (usually £32.50, over 7.5% saving)

  • Clip Loureiro Vinho Verde 2014, Minho, Portugal. Light, minerally with refreshing spritziness (canapes and shellfish) WHITE
  • Bodegas Carchelo 2013, Jumilla, Spain. (40% Monastrell, 40% Tempranillo, 20% Cab Sauv) Cigars, smooth chocolate, juicy black cherries. (Beef short ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese) RED
  • Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Noirs Cava NV, Spain. (Pinot Noir) Dry, smooth with delicious crisp red apple. Perfect party (Indian curry, hotdogs) FIZZ

Gold: £35 (usually £38, a 7.9% saving)

  • Domaine Chauveau Pouilly Fumé 2014,Loire Valley, France. (Sauvignon Blanc) Dry, crisp lemony acidity with a long mineral flint finish. Classic Pouilly Fumé. (Pork) WHITE
  • Calmel + Joseph ‘Les Crus’ Terrasses du Larzac 2013, Languedoc, France. (Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah) Big, luxurious, velvety cherry, blackcurrant, mint & meaty tannin. (lamb shank) RED
  • Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Noirs Cava NV, Spain. (Pinot Noir) Dry, smooth with delicious crisp red apple. Perfect party (Indian curry, hotdogs) FIZZ

MBG Taster offer available 1 per customer. No other discount applied.  See other pre-selected mixed cases here and full wine list available here if you’d like to pick from the full list. Usual 5% case discount is on orders of 6 bottles or more for delivery within 7 miles of Maidenhead. Please see Ts and Cs for usual delivery area, costs and payment terms and conditions.

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