Thursday, 23 June 2011

England's oldest Wine Merchants at our July gathering !

The next wine club in July is an extra special one, we have an 'Expert' bringing wine & experience by the bucket load, well maybe not a bucket load of wine !

Lawrence Page will be guiding us through wines of his choice.  Page & Son is a family business, based in Ramsgate, established over 200 years ago in 1804.

This makes Page & Sons England's oldest family owned Wine Merchants.

Their history taken from Page & Sons website ~

The Beginning
It all began in the year before the Battle of Trafalgar whilst England was fighting the Napoleonic Wars. At that time, Ramsgate was the port from which troops and stores sailed to the Continent and the Duke of Wellington (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) stayed with his Headquarters staff in Ramsgate at the London Hotel (the site now occupied by the HSBC Bank) which was owned by Robert Page who had been joined by his younger brother Richard in 1802.

Wellington's Advice
At that time, there was a threat of invasion by Napoleon and among those caught up in the invasion scare was a grocer named Fisher who offered his shop on the corner of Harbour Street and Market Place for sale and hastily left the town. The Iron Duke, meanwhile, had taken a liking to young Richard, then just 24 and advised him to buy the empty grocer's shop - Richard took his advice and invested his life savings in the new venture in 1804, establishing a business which has been passed on from father to son for seven generations.

Years of expansion
Like all businesses, market trends have altered and each generation has adapted to the needs of the day. After a while, the firm expanded and moved into new premises at 2,4 and 6 Queen Street which boasted some quite magnificent cellars in which the firm carried out the bottling of many wines such as Vintage Ports and Sherries etc. as well as beers. When eventually, it was decided to concentrate solely on the Wine Trade, the firm moved next door to 8 Queen Street where it continued to trade until 1974.

Recent history
Today, the business is run by the sixth and seventh generation of the family - Lawrence and Jonathan Page. In the late 1960's, whilst the firm was successfully expanding its retail shops, there was a substantial growth in the wholesale trade and it soon became apparent that larger, more suitable premises would have to be found from which the firm could operate its service to the licensed trade.

In 1974, Page & Sons moved into a new, purpose built warehouse at Hopes Lane, Ramsgate (built on part of the old Ramsgate Airport). Apart from the benefits for both customers and staff of operating from a new, modern warehouse, it now meant that the firm was able to handle an increased amount of palletised goods as well as offering ample car parking space for customers wishing to call at the warehouse.

I think this is one month where we will all make the effort to take notes, Mark & Linda no pressure on producing Tasting Sheets for notes & enough pens !!!

Time to stick a cork in it.


S x


Sunday, 19 June 2011


Now I know you are thinking 'Pants' what has that got to do with wine, well, not a lot really, although one of the wines didn't score that well and so maybe, could be considered 'pants'. As a serious wine club we would never use such a word to describe a wine of low caliber, when we have a whole host of other terms... Yuk, horrid, nasty, old boots, as you can see we don't quite make it into the Jilly whatever her name is world of descriptive words but then what normal person does... Sorry I am rambling back to the matter in hand and I'll tell you about the Pants later.

This months wine club hosted by The Stones, their RARE emails are finished The Stones, we still don't know their Christian names (joking).. Mark made comment that we'll all become The something or others, though the funny one was Mcokies, this is only amusing to those that know them, so don't worry if you are not rolling round on the floor laughing, I thought it had a nice ring to it. Sorry I digress again, why is that, maybe it's so early...

Anyway back to the wine,(sounding like Ronnie Corbett now, when he sat in his chair telling a rambling story) anyway as I was saying back to the wine..Australian this time, first up and the winner by nine points was McPherson The Full Fifteen, superb, full on, smooth, velvety deep, Rich and fruity at 15% a big wine that didn't disappoint, Ruby Cabernet £6.99 from Laithwaites. Luckily I know a bit about the winning wine as it was mine(ours), I have very little detail about the others notes were scarce, so if any of you have the name etc of your wine let me know....

The second, another red, was okay but didn't have the fullness of the first and had harsher tannins and quite a spicy flavour, this wine tied second with the third wine, a white, a Semillion (is that one L or two ?) nice gentle wine with a peachy taste and a very slight fizz in the mouth.

The fourth wine wasn't popular, a red, compared to the others it was thin tasting, if you know what I mean and a bit harsh, which I think is a bit unusual for an Aussie wine, normally I would put them down as easy and gluggable (technical wine term) everyday drinking wines, so this one was a bit odd, there was something odd about the taste too, sadly, this one did find the slop glass and no-one likes to see that.

The fifth wine, so those that have their finger on the pulse can work out that ten of us made the wine club yesterday, two were late, Geoff playing 36 holes of golf and followed by a meal and prize giving, In case you wondered, he didn't get one, as I said in the morning before he left..No prizes for second place! Double Date Mark was also late as he had to attend and 80th birthday party and yes he did have the wine club already in his diary, just didn't consult it when he accepted the invite to the birthday party, this is ironic after all the gip he has given Mick (one of The Stones) about not having a diary... Sorry I digress again !!

The fifth wine, the final red, last to be tasted and last in the points, or bottom (talking of that, I'll get to the pants in a min.) lots of tannin and spice a Cabernet Shiraz or as I said a Shirab, a few glasses of wine drunk by then !

The big question is does the order you taste the wines reflect their order in rankings, does the first one always make a good impression and is it unfortunate with the last one, as it follows others and food doesn't fair so well?

Mr Mcokie (!) said he had read or heard (probably Radio 4) that if you buy a wine and pay £5 for it due to all the taxes etc you are only paying 40p for the actual wine, no wonder some of those cheap ones are like drain cleaner, not that I have drunk drain cleaner....

Now to the can't tell you, you should have been there, although if you do see Mrs Stone you can ask her why she didn't have some of her underwear on that you wondering now! there was more talk of pants (than wine) and for some reason Double Date Mark offered to take photos of pants being worn and we could guess who's who... I think he was joking, although he did offer TWICE!

Sorry the wine content was short but what's new. The Stones excelled themselves a sheet of 'plain' paper for each of us and a pen for notes, I didn't take my glasses, I didn't expect them to have wine tasting sheets so the paper and pen was a surprise... We love them really..

Time to put a cork in it.

Bye S x