We’re almost there, just half a dozen weeks to go, then we’ll be free of this uniquely wretched year.
But, before we can tell 2016 to git tae, there is the small matter of Christmas and its associated festivities. I’ll post all Christmas related stuff on this page here, so you can pre-plan your December shopping.
Through December we will be open:
11-9 Sunday to Thursday and 10-9 Friday and Saturday
We will close at 7pm on Christmas Eve and stay shut on Christmas day and Boxing Day
We will close at 7pm on Hogmany and take a few days off to recuperate, opening again on Friday January 6th.
The only major difference is the longer opening hours on Sundays, which will give you a chance to grab a post John Lewis bottle.
Of course we have stacks of winter seasonal beers. Ideal for Secret Santa gifts or personal indulgence. I’ll try to keep this list reasonably up to date, but please bear on mind these are all pretty limited.
Chimay Grande Reserve Magnums (1.5 litre) £26 Jerboams (3 litre) £64
De Ranke Pere Noel £3.20/33cls
Delerium Noel £3.50/33cls
Gordon’s Christmas £3.50/33cls
Gouden Carolous Christmas £4.70/33cls
Bocq Gauloise £3.50/35cls
De la Senne Winter Mess £3.40/33cls
Bernardus Christmas £4.70/33cls
Liefmans Gluhkriek £6.50/75cl
St Feuillien Cuvee de Noel £8.20/75cl
Schneider Aventinus Eisbock £4.20/33cl
Erdinger Schnesweiss £2.70/50cl
Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche £4.40/50cl
Anchor Christmas 2016 £2.70/35cl
Anchor Christmas 2014 £18/1.5 Litre
Brooklyn Insulated Dark Lager £2.30/35.5cl
Loch Fyne Christmas On The Beach £2.40/33cl
Loch Fyne Naughty £2.50/33cl
Loch Fyne Nice £2.50/33cl
William’s Nollaig Growler £13/1 Litre
Fierce White Christmas £3.4/33cl
Luckie Black Forest Stout £3/50cl
Six Degrees North Snowy £7/75cl
Mad Hatter Cranberry Sour £2.60/33cl
It’s been a while, but we finally got our hands on decent glassware. Great for gifts, but pretty much essential if you are one of those arseholes that requires the “right” receptacle for their booze.
Boring/standard glasses £2
Fancy Belgian thingys £4
Big Steins £8
Poncy Kwak Glass & Stand £8
Port, Fortified & Sticky Stuff
We’ve been building up our selection of this sort of thing for a while and can offer a fair range of postprandial heavy hitters.
We have port of all styles; be it ruby, lbv, tawny, single quinta, vintage or colheita. We also have a small range of fortified “portalikes” from South Africa, France, California and Argentina. Prices start at a tenner and sneak up to the Forty-odd quid mark.
If you wanted to play it safe you could do a whole lot worse than this 1996, Britpop era, Colheita from Barros.
Requires reasonably careful handling and decanting, but the effort is worth it. Medium bodied, but with great length and grainy tannin. The palate is layered and textured with plenty of spiced fruit complexity.
Once opened, it will fade over a day or so, so it’s probably best to polish it off in one sitting. Fortunately it’s bloody yummy, so that won’t be a problem.
Yours for only £30. Zigazig-ah!
Also, in that corner of the shop we have a pretty decent selection of sweeties and stickies. Having a bit of a sweet tooth I tend to buy more of this stuff than is strictly necessary. But come December most of it will find a home.
You’re all sophisticated types and I’m sure you’re aware that there is a vast array of styles in what we broadly label sweet wines. From delicate, ethereal, sherbetty moscato to rich, oily, marmalade-like sauternes; there is a sweet wine for most occasions and most puddings.
Here are three, plucked from our range, simply because I took a picture of them.
Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes £18/375mls
Great biodynamic winary in the deep South of France, specialising in ageworthy sweeties produced by arrested fermentation. This is medium weight, with a palate of dried apricot and mead. Has a slightly funky, yeasty character.
Meinklang Icewine £19/375mls
Super zingy and fresh. Despite it’s sweetness this wine is positively racy, like biting into a very ripe, very green apple. From our favourite organic Austrian outfit this is a bargain compared to the German or Canadian equivalent.
Acinatico Recioto di Soave £13/500mls
On the “dry” end of the sweet spectrum. A lush, tropical fruit packed Italian, produced from dried grapes. Quite a versatile wine that I particularly enjoyed with a maple, bacon & banana muffin from the neighbours
Of course, we also have an excellent selection of Sherry of all kinds. From sandpaper dry Fino’s to hazelnutty, toasted Oloroso’s and rich, indulgent, gloopy Pedro Ximenez.
But you’re probably not bothered, because nobody but Granny drinks sherry, despite it being the BEST VALUE WINE IN THE WORLD
We have a pretty lovely range of both prosecco and champagne, but I’m not going to bother telling you about them here because they pretty much sell themselves. Instead, let me recommend a couple of less obvious options.
São João Espumante £12/75cl
This brilliantly balanced, delicate fizz from the Bairrada region of Portugal came as a really pleasant surprise at our last tasting. Made by the traditional champagne/cava method, this is a lean, crisp and citrussy wine with a very fine mousse. The grapes are all unfamiliar, but the price is reasonable and the packaging is decent.
I’m certainly going to be shoving at least two into my fridge for emergencies; just the thing for aperitifs/breakfast/unboxing etc.
Bianchi Brut £13.80/75cl
An Argentine champagne method fizz, with a bit more heft and complexity. Yeasty and spicy, with a real liquid gingerbread palate. Has more than enough character to sit nicely alongside quite heavy food.
This is a great wine that happens to be sparkling rather than a simple bubble delivery system- if you ken what I mean
Penley Sparkling Pinot Noir £16
Aussie sparkling reds can sometimes be a wee bit cloying. No danger of that with this rather perfectly poised Pinot from Coonawara.
Quite a stinky, bruised berry fruit nose and a delicate mousse open on to a dry, racy palate with slight spiciness and decent, mouth-watering acidity. Lovely stuff- lovelier alongside cured meats and cheese
Of course, if you really have to, we’re happy to sell you a case or two of Cristal..,
Prosecco starts at £7.80 and goes up to just under a tenner.
Champagne will set you back between £24-£150 a bottle
I barely have a functioning/comprehensive list on the main site, so I’m not going to waste too long here, but these are the wines that I suspect will be very popular over the festive period
Chateau Cissac 2011/13
Proper old school claret. Medium to full bodied with dry grainy tannin. Plenty of intense currant fruit, tobacco. leather and cedar wood. Having a classic roast dinner?-then look no further. £18
Green Glow 2014
Classic kiwi sauvignon with a bit of a twist. Organic, cool climate and minimal intervention (NOT “natural wine”- don’t have time for that shite around here). Bracingly aromatic, light, fresh and herbal. If you have a pal who “only drinks Kiwi” they will be VERY happy with this £17
Bousquet Reserve Malbec 2014
We sell absurd amounts of this stuff all year round: Because it’s bloody brilliant. Full bodied, boozy, organic, prune juice. This is the ideal red for the rabid carnivore in your life. Taste’s every penny of £13.50
Liberator “Arrogance of Sommeliers” 2015
Wonderful Graves blend (Semillon/Sauvignon) from the most fêted winery in the Stellenbosch. A really big wine that somehow manages to be steely dry. Has weight, acidity and oiliness which suggests it has a long life ahead of it as well as an affinity for seafood. £11
Navajas Rioja Reserva 2010
Eating pig?-then drink Tempranilo. Drinking Tempranillo?- then buy Rioja.
Buying Rioja?-then make sure it’s this one. £11
Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2011
There is a vibrancy and finesse to a decent chablis which is hard to beat. This fine example has a racy balance of flinty, briney minerality and prickly electrical acidity. Top Notch £17
We have a moderately awesome selection of gift boxed beer, many with glasses. Prices start at seven quid and creep up into the low twenties.
If you prefer the personal touch, we can gift box up your own selection of beer. Prices would start at about a tenner for four bottles, up to whatever you can stretch to (depending on quantity and style of beer)
We also have gift vouchers (just £10 denominations though) Handy if your in a rush or just can’t be arsed wrapping anything.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that we carry an ever changing selection of cocktails from Milk Money drinks. Prices start at a fiver which is very convenient for all you secret santas out there. They are also dinky enough to make great wee stocking fillers
I might as well also point out that we have a pretty excellent range of all spirits: Gin, vodka, rum, whisky, gin, brandy and gin.
Plenty of single malts and a few liqueurs, vermouths, bitters and whatnots for all your poncing around in tweed waistcoat needs
I pretty much DESPISE Edinburgh’s Christmas events in general and the German market specifically, but there are some things that they do right. Chiefly the tradition of lubricating the shopping with a mug of cheap wine, made palatable by being served piping hot.
As an alternative, why not try a bottle of Liefman’s Gluhkriek? This is a fantastic spiced cherry beer best drank warm. It comes in at a very reasonable 6% abv, £6.50/75cl
If you need some convincing, pop into the shop on the afternoon of FRIDAY 16th December where you can meet the bearded behemoth that is big Joe Dick (Edinburgh’s premier beer import guy) We’ll have a tasting of a bunch of winter seasonal beers including some Gluhkriek simmering away on our hastily constructed stove/scalding hazard.
What Amanda is Drinking
Dark Matter Spiced Rum, Aberdeenshire, 40%, £34/70cl
You can drink rum any time of year but when the winter comes in, sometimes you’re looking for that extra something to warm the cold nights. Drinks high in alcohol seem the obvious choice but what makes this rum so special to drink? Well, firstly it’s made in Scotland and I’ve even had the approval from my Caribbean in-laws that this is good rum. So it’s my rum and I drink it how I like. However, if you mix this drink with coke I will probably judge you. If you do want to mix it here’s my option – hot chocolate!!! Give it a try, it’s just too good and it’s my new night cap!
Ingredients and method:
Desired strength of Rum
Add to your favourite hot chocolate
Top with squooshy cream
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
What James is Drinking
Tempest Old Parochial, Tweedbank, 10% abv, £5.20/33cl
This has to be in the top two of any serious beer drinkers top 10. A chunky, chewy, grainy, barrel aged Scotch ale from Scotland’s (maybe the U.K.’s) best brewery. Pours a muddy, deep walnut with a pretty decent head thrown on top. Aromas are of toast, raisin and peat smoke. The palate is very full bodied, with loads of dried fruit and Oloroso sherry flavours. The experience is akin to drinking a Selkirk Bannock smoothie and it is a close to perfect digestif or contemplative beer.
I’ve fallen into the habit of enjoying one of these late on boxing day, once the family are asleep, usually in front of an obscenely violent movie. ( if Father Christmas or my wife are reading this, I would love to get hands on a DVD Killzone 2 )
What Miles is Drinking
James did a great job of recommending some terrific wines with which to slosh down your Christmas dinner. But he didn’t include anything Italian! For my money – and palate – Italy produces the best wines in the world, from your high-end Barolos and Amarones to your more affordable everyday plonk – Chianti, Montepulciano, Nero D’Avola, Primitvo. I’m going to recommend the latter, because the grape Primitivo produces highly alcoholic, mouth-puckeringly tannic, deeply coloured and intensely flavoured wine (they call it ‘hard wine’ in its native Puglia), which is, of course, what your want for your Christmas roast. But I’m going to be contrary and not recommend an Italian Primitivo, rather an American one. Primitivo is called Zinfandel in the US (where it became the national grape) and like its Old World cousin Zinfandel produces BIG wines. My choice, the well-named Ironstone, is made from Old Vine Zinfadel planted half a century ago in Lodi, California. It’s a superb example of a ridiculously robust red, and it’s a welcome reminder that America can still give us reason to be cheerful.
Yours for eleven quid
What Miles WAS Drinking; What Miles is NOW Drinking
You bought all of the Ironstone Zinfandel I recommended! So now I gotta recommend something else. Not a problem for a wino like me, of course. Last time, I started rabbiting on about how fabulous Italian wines are, then rather contrarily plugged an American version of an Old World Primitvo. This time, I’ll stick to my first love in wine and punt something properly Italian: Morgicchio Negroamaro. Like Primitivo, Negroamaro is a well-established native grape variety that produces rich, weighty wines, and like Primitivo Negroamaro is grown extensively in Puglia in the hot ‘heel’ of southern Italy. Negroamaro is often blended with other grape varieties (particularly Primitvo), but my pick is a single varietal wine from Puglia’s best-known appellation, Salentino, that really shows off what the “dark black” grape can do. Morgicchio is a deep red wine that boasts dark berry fruit flavours, brown spice aromas (clove, cinnamon) and full but smooth tannins (for great velvety mouthfeel). It’s an earthy, slightly aromatic, supple and complex wine. And like the wines produced by it’s Puglian cousin, this Negroamaro is big and powerful enough to compliment your tastiest Christmas roast.
Yours for 18 quid. Saluti! Bon appetito!
Bit of an epic post this. Thank’s for making it to the end. As a little reward for making it this far, here’s 90 seconds of yuletide nostalgia.