Monthly Archives: October 2011

Sunday off in London

4.28pm, Sunday 30th October, internet cafe, Bethnal Green Road, East London, UK

With today off, I thought it was time I went to one of the touristy spots in London, so I chose Brick Lane, as I could hook 3 buses together to and from London Bridge and see some of the city. The buses are a great way to get around, as you get to see all the interesting stuff at street level.

So I went down to the train station this morning, bought my ticket up to York for tomorrow, then took the 40 bus to Aldgate Station, the 254 from there to Bethnal Green, then the 8 on to Brick Lane. One of the things I’d heard about was this 24 hour bakery that made boiled beigels (bagels).

So that’s where I started for morning tea – with cream cheese. Apparently the ‘salt beef’ (thats corned beef back home, but over here corned beef is a different thing altogether, and not great!) is magic. It looked really good, and later in the day, the queue was blocks long!

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Then I fossicked around the lane ways, and believe me when I tell you that there is everything you can imagine on sale in the Brick Lane area. I found a travelers souvenir at a junk stand – Concorde badges nail clippers, bought my first reggae CD from another bloke with a musical stand, and long sleeve black t shirts for 1.20 each! Bargain. And a neat day out.

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So now it’s a case of backtracking the buses back to the hotel, and packing everything up for 8 days up in the ‘Grim North’ – some of my favorite turf, and this trip we will be in York, Sheffield, Huddersfield, and across toward Manchester. See ya when we’re safely on the train going north from Kings Cross station.

The Wine Gang at Vinopolis

8.05am, Sunday 30th October, London Bridge, London, England

Didn’t get anywhere near the computer yesterday folks – slept in and did the domestic chores before walking down to Vinopolis at The Wine Wharf below Borough Market to the big Wine Gang Xmas Fair event. Val the PR dynamo for us in the UK held the fort downstairs at the tasting table and I did a masterclass in one of the vaults upstairs. It was “The Icon Wines of Yalumba” and was pretty much a focus on our Viognier and our Cabernet Shiraz blend worlds

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This was Val’s lovely set place for each taster, and I got so wrapped up in doing the tasting that I completely forgot to take a photo of the sold out session.

Schooooooooool’s out! For…EVER!

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9.19pm, Friday 28th October, back at London Bridge, London, England, UK

Got back into London, folks, and read my favorite London book – “Time Out” – cover to cover. Thrilled to bits to find that the touring Alice “Welcome to my Nightmare” Cooper has got himself involved in the BFI London Film Festival. How? He hosted a session on his lifelong love affair with horror/slash/thriller/schlock movies, as well as using some film clips that gave a bit of an insight into where the character Alice came from. Then a really long question and answer moment where he just kept talking … well done the film festival for this event … what a great storyteller. He was going to follow with a second session introducing the screening of the original Halloween movie, but I had to pull the pin as we have a big job at Vinopolis tomorrow as part of The Wine Gang Xmas Fair.

But he is doing a special Fright Night concert tomorrow night here in London, so we may get along and try and recapture our youth. Who hasn’t sung “schooooooool’s out foooor EVA!” along with Alice on the car radio at some stage of the game?

Goodbye Tartan Town … for now

9.23am, Internet kiosk opposite Caffe Nero, Edinburgh Airport departures, Scotland the Brave

Morning folks – no free wi fi today, so it’s back to the coins in the slot and be quick. What a fab 4 days in Scotland – and I haven’t even been near the Highlands yet. Huge thank you to the ringmaster for Wine Importers Neil and the boys that babysat me this last bit – Graeme, Charlie, Jonny and Ian. Ive had Scottish history, arts, literature and geography plus some really handy relationship advice, and that was just in the cars getting from one spot to another! I had a feeling that Wine Importers were the operation for us! Weve also won a stack of Scottish hearts and palates for Yalumba, and caught up with some old friends we havent seen in a while. And as for our big dinner at Kyloe (thats “highland cow” in Gaelic) last night, what an excellent way to cap this 4 day run. More when I can get to the photos.

So see ya later Edinburgh, Glasgow, Crieff, Paisley, North Berwick, Gullane and Dollar, thanks for being so good to us – and with any luck we will see you when it’s your summer.

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Here’s peak hour traffic at Edinburgh airport

In Golf Country

3.08pm, Gullane, Scottish Borders

just dived in to the local Super fry chippy for a piece of haddock and chips as we get around the wine stores in between the golf links.

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Another top day – this time it’s Glasgow

8.53am, Friday 27th October, The Haymarket, Edinburgh, Scotland

OK here we go with a quick recap on what was a fabulous second day ever for me in Glasgow – the first was about 6 years ago. One thing is for absolutely sure – it won’t be that long before we’re back! We started at Rogano – an Edinburgh dress circle restaurant established in 1935 and with the decor and atmosphere based on the art deco dining room that was being built at exactly the same time on the River Clyde as part of the stately lady of the day ocean liner “Queen Mary”. Now when you walk in through the doors fitted with the sea horse etched milk glass portholes, you really do just slide back in time. It’s everything really. The mirrors that were spirited from the construction site, the music, the attention to detail with the authentic original art deco menus – if you’re in Glasgow ever, you must put the time aside to do something at Rogano – oysters at the champagne bar, a group of you for lunch in the booths, or a dinner for two over a low candle in one of the romantic hidey corners. Hopefully this gives you a bit of an idea.

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And if a Manhattan / New York City experience is your thing, there’s always ‘ 29 ‘ upstairs next door, where Jon has our Yalumba Signature Cabernet Shiraz fitting right in on the menu. Check out the David Coulthard formula one driving suit on one of the walls.

On out to the country, and the old mill town of Paisley – yes the town that gave us the ‘paisley print’ – the feature look of the hippie 60s and 70s fashion moment. The old original Anchor Mill has been re furbished and is home to some folks doing nice things with our wines – sending them out to a set of 20 odd stores throughout the Scottish Mid and Low lands.

Here’s Anchor Mill – then and now.

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Whilst out in the countryside, we also showed some new wines to the boys at Mar Hall – very much the granite bluestone jewel in the crown of the forested Renfrewshire countryside. They are already a bit in love with the Yalumba Bushvine Grenache, and what a lovely address for our hardworking raspberry rosemary middleweight to be. Don’t take my word for it though – have a look at this!

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And then it was back into the city, tonthe West End of Glasgow and a consumer tasting at the new Quel Vin wine shop, a play on the store’s location just off the Kelvin Bridge. Lucky for us – good karma is with us so far on the trip, touch wood – they’ve just had a Belgian fine chocolates cabinet set up the same day we arrive, so it’s a wine and truffle tasting actually. But then it gets even better. We start our tasting with some early arrivals, and I duck in next door to the sensational Philadelphia chippy and get enough cod, chips, haggis sausage and chips to keep everyone happy. Yes folks – you should always have wine with food – it’s the responsible thing to do! Here’s the before – a parcel that smelled so good!……and the after ready to eat from left to right – cod & chips supper, haggis sausage & chips supper, and half a dozen potato fritters crisped just right! No wonder really that we get folks back to our tastings.

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What did we show with our fish and chip feast at Quel Vin? – Jansz NV Sparkling, 2010 Pewsey Vale Riesling, 2005 Pewsey Contours Riesling, 2008 Heggies Chardonnay – lovely with the cod – 2009 Y Shiraz Viognier, 2008 Bushvine Grenache, 2008 Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz, and just for a nice sweet finisher offerer – the 2009 Heggies Botrytis Riesling. Thanks a huge amount to Jin & Jill who are the passionate about their world ….now including fab chocolates …..for having us on the night and on the shelves, and everyone for turning out on a chilly school night to see what we do in our part of the world. And it’s all sorted – we will be back ( hopefully July 2012) for the second great Quel Vin Yalumba wine loves fish & chip supper! See ya when it’s a Scottish summer in the West End.

And where is Quel Vin? On the end of Kelvin Bridge, next to the Parmigiana Italian restaurant, two doors down from the Philadelphia chippy, and with Roots and Fruits the organic store on the other side.

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Ah yes – the glamorous traveling life!

6.48am, Friday 27th October, The Haymarket, Edinburgh, Scotland

Got in late last night from working the day in Glasgow folks, and just got woken up by a call from Australia, so thought you’d like this look at yesterday.

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Getting on the train at Haymarket station – ‘Margadh an Fheoir’ – Edinburgh at 8.17am heading for Glasgow Queen Street

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Getting back to the Haymarket station in Edinburgh after a massive – but memorable for all the right reasons – day in Glasgow.

All the good things that Jon – our man from Wine Importers in that part of Scotland – to follow, but first I’m going to go and polish off a poached egg – no bacon.