Yapp Brothers Blog

Hors catégorie – poor old Citroën Traction Avant!  »

July 24th, 2014 by Tom Ashworth

You may have wondered how the Tour de France categorizes the hills and mountains it crosses. Ok, maybe not?


Tour de France - Citroen


Quite likely, this is a question that went round and round the heads of the riders as they struggled up and over The Pyrenees this week.


Tour de France - Hill Classifications


Hills are categorised on a scale of one to four – one being the hardest, four the easiest, and ‘HC – hors catégorie’ being ‘off the charts’ as Matthew Jukes like to say. The system was established after WWII by the use of a Citroën Traction Avant. Tour officials drove the stages and if the ageing ‘Avant’ could get over the pass in fourth gear (a relatively new automotive development at that time) it would be categorised as ‘4’. Likewise, chugging over in first, would lead to a ‘1’ grade. Suffice to say, ‘HC’ marked a climb over which the poor old Citroen couldn’t make it!


Yapp Brothers Citroen Traction Avant



A High Time at the High Pavement Evening Café  »

July 15th, 2014 by Jason Yapp

In the summer time, before the schools break up for the holidays, the team here at Yapp Brothers like to get together and put the world to rights over a meal and a few glasses of wine. We have long established that it is impossible to find a date that is universally convenient but as long as a quorum can make it we try and go ahead. It is great to see colleagues outside the working environment and even better if their partners can join us too. Thus it was that last Saturday we convened in my home town of Frome for a glass of Fredrik Fillitreau’s superb, natural, sparkling rosé, called ‘Fillibulle’, before heading off on foot to a fabulous local restaurant called The High Pavement Evening Café.


Team Yapp


The High Pavement (as locals seem to have abbreviated it to) popped up over a year ago and proved an immediate hit with the discerning Frome foodie firmament before having to close down for months due to some arcane planning complications. Happily these have now been resolved and it is back with a vengeance. The cuisine is Spanish and North African influenced and one doesn’t have to strain too hard to trace chef-patron Stuart Bastiman’s lineage back to the celebrated Iberian restaurant Moro where he cut his teeth under Sam and Sam Clark.


High Pavement Cafe


On arrival we were seated at a single, large table and presented with the exemplary menu below which ticks all the boxes for me being short, keenly-priced, imaginative and really inviting.


High Pavement Menu


Never a group to hang about gastronomically we promptly ordered all of the pre-starters having established that Boquerones are lightly cured anchovies and that Muhummra is a Turkish dipping sauce made with walnuts, chillies, paprika and pomegranate molasses. Stuart’s partner Aimée Snell, who presides over an attentive, knowledgeable and relaxed front of house team, recommended we kick-off with a Specogna Pinot Grigio Romato 2012 that we were allowed to sample before committing to which is a nice touch. It was delicious – with the palest rosé robe, racy elderflower and redcurrant aromas and a zesty, dry palate of ripe orchard fruit.


The High Pavement Evening Cafe


Dining at the High Pavement is quite similar to eating in somebody’s front room because it occupies the ground floor of an old town house and so has a lived in and intimate ambience. It is the antithesis of modern, design-driven offerings and should be celebrated for that. What sets it apart (other than the friendly service which should never be over-looked) is the fantastic quality of the food. You can tell it has been cooked with passion and integrity by someone bustling away in a bijou kitchen and if you’re in any doubt you can peek in the kitchen window and watch Stuart in action.

The cod croquettas were terrific but I have been reliably informed that the yoghurt-based soup was out of this world. With our main courses we selected a chest-thumping, Spanish, red Pitaccum Bierzo 2008 that was full and fruity with warming, spicy undertones. It went down very well with the slow roast lamb and appeared to be equally popular with the ‘knock out’ mezzé.


Team Yapp - Meal


After some indulgent puddings and cheese we tottered off, sated, into the darkness being careful not to fall off the eponymous high pavement. Our timing was providential as the restaurant closed this week for its summer recess. Fear not – they re-open in September when I’ll definitely be going back – come hell or high pavement!



Agapanthus Activity  »

July 9th, 2014 by Tom Ashworth

At Yapp Brothers we don’t take ourselves overly seriously, so we were delighted to recently discover that our most-read blog ever was a posting on border terriers. In an effort to keep up the good work and possibly pick up an award for ‘wine blog least likely to feature wine’, here are some musings on our courtyard agapanthus forest.


Agapanthus by Yapp Fountain

Courtyard in Mere, NB: Blue agapanthus, when seeded, produce white flowers.


In 1964, when Robin Yapp had moved to the area as a dentist but had yet to begin importing wine, he spotted an exotic looking plant while driving through the chalk valley West of Salisbury. Having made it his business to find the name of this flower, he bought his first plants and these wonderful agapanthus became a feature of the courtyard in Mere when Robin moved there six years later. They have become quite a spectacle and attract visitors in their own right, although not quite on a par with our near-neighbours, Stourhead Gardens’ rhododendra.

Three years ago, Robin ushered me on to his terrace in Mere and suggested that I take some agapanthus bulbs from a small stash he has ‘split’ and replant them in London. I felt like I’d become a ‘made man’ and spent the next three years resolutely nurturing the little blighters in various pots as they became verdant shrubs. Yet not a flower or shoot appeared so, this year, while rapidly losing hope, I decided to re-pot them. Lo and behold, in June, a couple of pods sprouted.


agapanthus pods


By July they had flowered and were up and running.


agapanthus flowering


Perhaps the roots were constricted and it was the re-potting that did the trick? Perhaps, it was the passage of time as, like vines, they can take 3-4 years before flowering. We look forward to comments on this matter from the RHS.


agapanthus and wine

OK then, as we don’t have a flipping border terrier to hand!



Border Crossing  »

July 2nd, 2014 by Jason Yapp

Long-standing followers of these musings may recall that I was delighted when our beloved Border Terrier, Martha, gave birth to a litter of 5 healthy puppies on Boxing Day back in 2010.



Martha – December 2010


As novice dog-breeders we had read alarming stories about puppy mortality so my family was relieved to find good homes for the entire brood a few weeks later. I say ‘entire’ but we kept the obvious runt of the litter ‘Rocky’, who has a kinked tale and wonky teeth; but he is very affectionate and that counts for a lot in our book.


Rocky with watering can

Young Rocky


His much smarter sister (in all senses) ‘Jezebel’ went off to live with our friend Mandana as resident pooch at the Academy Club in Soho.


Mandana and Jezebel

Mandana and Jezebel at the Academy Club – February 2011


I am happy to report that Jezebel has thrived in the West End and after a whirlwind romance this Spring with a local Border Terrier called ‘Monty’ she has also recently had a litter of 5 healthy pups who are all doing well.


Border Terrier mum Jezebel

Jezebel with Maud, Bron, Harris, Gypsy and Queenie – June 2014


Borders (like beards) must be de rigeur right now because Jezebel’s entire litter is already spoken for. One is apparently bound for Scotland which might make for infrequent family reunions but if anyone does fancy paying Granny a visit you’re very welcome to drop us a line here in Mere!


Rocky and Martha

Rocky and Martha



Summer-wine and the living is easy  »

June 26th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

This Saturday 28th June (yes, just Saturday) we’ll be flinging open the doors to the Tasting Room at Yapp HQ and rolling out a tip top selection of Summer wines for tasting – some of our own personal favourites from the Loire (naturally), some gems from the Languedoc, classic summer drinking from Provence and we’re also eying up some top flight Burgundy today to add into the mix.


cellar - cave


Regulars will testify that Yapp tastings and sales are convivial affairs, great fun and possibly the best excuse (if you’re looking for one or failed to get a ticket) for not nipping down to the bash at Glastonbury this weekend.


Mei with Barrel


Our good friends from Godminster Organic Cheddar and the good folk from the Chesil Smokery in Dorset will be with us to tempt you on the way in (or the way out for that matter) of the tasting room and Claude the Butler will be serving his fresh coffee and cakes – should you fancy a break at any point during the day.


yapp courtyard


We’re just now making the final wine selections and setting up the courtyard here in Mere to be ready to roll on Saturday – as always, it’s free to come along, all the wines in the tasting will be reduced in price from our normal list price and if you fancy any single case of wine from the main list that isn’t in the sale we’ll throw in a £12 collection discount on each case.

So, come and join us and stock up for the Summer!
If you can’t make it to the sale then don’t worry – you can still enjoy our sale wines with our Summer Sale Six Pack case for just £65 delivered – available until Sunday 29th June.

Summer One day Tasting and Sale
Saturday 28th June, 2014 – Yapp Brothers, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6DY 9.30am – 5.00pm.



Flower Power!  »

June 20th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

We always enjoy the opportunity to get out and about and really any excuse in June seems to tick all the relevant boxes. Summer wines in the sun? Really what’s not to like?


Blenheim Palace Flower Show


For the next 3 days we’ve set up shop at the Blenheim Palace Flower Show, you’ll find us, naturally we like to think, in the Festival of Fine Food and Drink Pavilion – where we’re sharing some of our favourite Summer wines.

Please drop by and taste our tried and tested Vouvray Mousseux Brut, it’s bottle-fermented with a toasty nose, a lively mousse and an elegant dry palate of ripe orchard fruit, making it perfect for parties and family celebrations – or flower shows for that matter! If fizz doesn’t tempt you we’ll be sharing a great selection of Summer wines – our ‘own label’ Saumur Blanc 2013, Côtes de Gascogne: Domaine Millet Colombard-Ugni Blanc 2012, a lovely summer lunch time red – the Vin de Pays de Vaucluse: Le Petit Caboche 2013 and our brand new rose that’s selling faster than proverbial hot cakes, the zesty, dry, refreshing and great value coral-pink Côtes de Thongue: Domaine Les Filles de Septembre Rosé 2013.


Jonathan at Blenheim


Even if you don’t fancy tasting wine on the day – do drop buy, say hello and grab a free copy of either our Quick and Easy Guide to French wine regions or a copy of our 2014 Wine list illustrated by Glen Baxter and full of tip top advice on La France Profonde.


Blenheim - Rabbits


Hop to it! Hope to see you there!