Following ” Brexit” I felt pretty numb so it was probably a positive idea to a have trip planned to Corbiere, Jurancon and Gascogne planned for this week; let the dust settle whilst I am away. However despite my awful use of the French language all I could hear on most radio stations on the drive from Toulouse to Pau yesterday were the words ” Brexit” so clearly its made its mark here in Europe also.
Onto the wines, well with a little bit of Brexit too! I am always on the outlook for great wines at very competitive prices but none more so than now and in the months and years ahead. With this in mind I have been planning a trip to Corbiere for a long time. Corbiere is in very poor part of France but possibly one of the most undiscovered and beautiful in its very arid, rocky and barren way.
“Domaine La Bouysse” have been making Organic wines for three years but they have been making wine here for three generations. The abandoned and derelict Cooperative in the centre of the village of Saint Andre de Roquelongue is testamount to the past history and the development of the wines here in this region over time. The Tramontane wind from the west thats swoops across the Atlantic was kicking up quite a storm as I approached the town sweeping over the escarpment of the same name. La Bouysse is the name of the mountain, well escarpment, pictured below that protects the vines on the property and emphasises the ruggedness of the region. It really is hard country down here. I have been following this wine region for over ten years and after many visits to this unheralded wine area it was time to import some wines from here myself.
I tasted the following wines at the vineyard ( pictured above)
Domaine La Bouyysse “B” range: a range of wines that really do excite the palate yet that are are at an “entry level”. Their white is made from Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay and Muscat Petit Grains. Its a really different wine with some herb and savoury notes and perfect for summer drinking. Their rose is made from Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. Its dry with that lovely slightly Provencal Pink colour so would go down well in the UK with the rose market. The Bouysse ” B” red consists of Merlot, Syrah and Carignan and is juicy and easy to drink.The Carignan wines are over 80 years old, planted by the grandparents of Delphine, who has been busy in the warehouse all morning as we taste the wines, so this certainly helps the makeup and smoothness of this wine. So three great wines that would sell well this summer and beyond at sensible prices.
Also tasted, were the ” Floreal” rose from AOC Corbiere, 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah, again with that lovely very light pink colour as well as the Carignan 2014, made from the 80 year old vines, that needed a little more time and some air so I must remember to re-taste again today since its in my little Fiat 500 ready to go again. Their wines are also made up of grapes from another appellation, Boutenac, which is about 10 miles north and this wine has to have at least 50% Syrah in its makeup.
( Ann Marie, head of sales and marketing at La Bouysse with the escarpment of the same name in the background and the view of La Bouysse from the other side, heading to Limoux)
La Bouysse are a small vineyard, only 120,000 bottles in total so they fit Whirly wines profile very well indeed. I already have a small parcel of their Viognier reserved, which is sold out apart from this small amount so now its up to Mr Whirly to get the wines over from here and into the Whirly shop. I expect that to happen in the next week or two.
From this little village close to Narbonne I had a 90 minute drive to Limoux, a wine region that even more so remains undiscovered but makes some of the most exciting yet unheralded wines in the south of France. On the way I drove up the Gorge de L’Orbieu, which wound its way up to around 600 metres then down the other side to Limoux and past the remains of Chateau Durfort, one of many Cathar castles built here one thousand years ago. The picture below is of the Chateau D’ arques a few miles down the other side of the Gorge de L’Orbieu.
At Limoux, I had already spotted a vineyard I would like to visit, having crossed its path the day before on my way to Lagrasse over and around the country hills and forests that are full of deer and wild boar. Limoux is famous for its status as ” AOC Limoux Blanquette de Limoux” and ” AOC Cremant de Limoux”. I drove with as much speed as my Fiat 500 would allow up the windy road behind Limoux to ” Domaine de Fourn” where I quickly tasted two wines, the “Blanquette de Limoux Brut Carte Noire 2013”, made from 90% Mauzac, 5% Chenin and 5% Chardonnay, hand picked and matured in bottles for 15 months in the cellar. Very, soft and elegant and a truly delicious wine. I also tasted the “Blanquette de Limoux Brut Carte Ivoire 2013″ made from 90% Mauzac and 10% Chenin. Another exquisite wine, possibly slightly sweeter than the Carte Noire but with another really delicate flavour and mousse. I was really surprised by the quality of these wines and I shall look to import some small parcels very soon.
From Limoux I had a three hour drive to Pau via Toulouse in order to get there in time for the Spain v Italy match. I shot back onto the autoroute just north of Castelnaudry ( famous for its Haricot beans for Cassoulet) and drove as rapidly as my Fiat 500 would allow me to this city close to Tarbes and Lourdes. Why you might ask was I heading here? Well, just south of here is Jurancon, a region whose wines I have always loved and yet never had the chance to visit. The next morning, after England had failed so awfully against Iceland and the French were loving there own little double edged meaning of ” Brexit”, I spent about 50 minutes driving to this little Appellation that specialises in Gros and Petit Manseng varietals. Only 50 since I had a meeting in Eauze in Gascogny at 1pm and it was already 10am. I found some wonderful Jurancon wines from Camin Larredya and Clos Thou, that are on either side of a vallye from each other and yet which were so so different. I tasted the La Part Davant 2015 Jurancon sec at Larredya that was very expressive and exotic in terms of fruits on the palate. At Clos Thou I tasted the Jurancon sec Cuvee Guilhouret that was so, so different from the Larredya, more minerally and textured and not so full of fruit. Why were they so different? I have no idea since I had to visit Tariquet in Gascogny, wines that I have already imported but I shall let you know their makeup and why they are so poles apart once the wines are in the shop in SW17.
Next wine tour Piedmont and Tuscany, 10th-13th July, visiting Brunello and Barolo as well as other vineyards.
( the view across the valley from Camin Larredya to Clos Thou and the woods in between)
“Mr Whirly” is presently in Gascogne on a “Whirlwind” wine tour of South West France looking for exciting wines from the smaller producer that really do “punch above their weight” at a sensible price. With the outcome of “Brexit” ( sorry to bring politics into this post!) and the fall in value of the £ this is clearly a priority over the next month and possibly years, who knows? I am in the middle of writing up my notes on this trip and this shall be posted on this website by end of play today, Wednesday 29th June.
Anyway onto happier things, tasting wines this week!! Below are the wines we shall be tasting, please double click on the link below and it will come alive!. Please do let me know if you can make it wont’t you since last week was the best attended so far with 12 people attending so we might need to stagger the bookings this week.
Good Afternoon this showery Tuesday Afternoon.
Last weeks tasting went down was very well received so I am keen to keep the weekly Thursday Whirly tasting going every week throughout the summer and get more people involved.
Below are details of this weeks wine tasting, please double click on the flyer to see full details of the wines we are tasting this Thursday.
I am very excited that the new wines from Alain Normand, that arrived today from Macon will be showcased this week. These wines are very much his heart and soul wines: he has nurtured these small plots of land on the hills and gullies surrounding the hamlet of “La Roche Vineuse” for many decades and they really do show off his skilled winemaking and quality of fruit that his vines produce, oh so beautifully. Macon is the “workhorse” of Burgundy and therefore it does not get the credit it deserves. But in terms of quality and price Macon offers something that its more illustrious and famous appellations just north of here cannot come close to competing with. His red is a Gamay ( being so close to Beaujolais he is able to grow this grape) and I shall be serving this fruit driven, summer wine slightly chilled this week. It rocks let me tell you! His White is the staple white grape of Burgundy however, Chardonnay, but unlike most wines from Burgundy its not oaked and therefore very fresh and easy to drink.
Please book in advance by calling me on 0208 672 2572 from the hours of 11 a to 7pm over the next few days and I shall book you in for this weeks Whirly Thursday tasting, which promises to be fun and also informative!
Don’t forget its fathers day this weekend!
I also have some lovely wines for mixed half cases and full cases of wines, or indeed and single bottles, so please come in and talk to me soon to discuss what your partner and indeed you both might like to share over lunch on Sunday! In this week are some really special wines from all over France ( Cote de Gascogne, Cote de Bordeaux, Cote de Duras, Macon and Champagne) so there will be a lovely choice of 10 new wines to chooses from as well as over 130 wines already in the shop, hand picked and tasted by Mr Whirly for you to enjoy! See you soon!
The Ritherdon road street fair proved a great success for all the shop holders on Sunday 22nd May. It was fabulous to see it so well attended; apparently about 4,000 people turned up to see the street in its prime with the bunting flowing from shop to stall to shop, what a colourful and exciting sight it was. Above is a shot of the Whirly wine shop with the new Aperitif bar ( serving 14 wines by the glass chosen from Mr Whirly’s carefully sourced list of 140 wines that he imports) and the even newer Ice cream stand in full flow! ( serving top quality Gelato and Sorbetto: salted caramel, Lemon, Vanilla, Raspberry, Mango and Chocolate at the moment). Do pop down soon, the little ones can have an ice cream whilst the adults have a little glass of rose in the sun! ( more photos will be added soon).
Talking of rose, some new wines arrive soon including a lovely rose from Chateau D’Azur in Bandol, to me the epitomy of Provence rose ( google Domaine Tempier and you will gist of what I am hinting at here) and also slightly further north in Provence the beautifully rounded and soft ” Harmonie 2014″ from Chateau de Majouliere near Villecroze which is one of the most beautifully rounded and soft Provence reds I have ever tasted ( Grenache and Syrah) and a vineyard I discovered on my travels in the south of France over 10 weeks in the summer of 2011. Also new in soon are some really lovely summer wines from “Domaine Tariquet” in the Gascogne that will be wines that hit that vital £8-10 mark in the shop. A lovely summer strawberry rose, a Vermentino and Colambard white which is a delightfully easy drinking wine for the Aperitif bar this summer; also some lovely un-oaked Chardonnay and a Reserve white that has been oaked a little. Top value wines and wonderful quality at the same time which fits in what I am trying to achieve at Whirly wines. Also in are two more rose’s from Molhiere in Cote de Duras ( to go with the existing wines here in the shop, their very dependable Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot-Cab Franc red. Chateau Pierrail in Cote de Bordeaux will also soon be showcasing their new 2015 rose as well as their unique and popular Sauvignon Blanc and Gris 2015 and some easy drinking, soft tannin Bordeaux reds, new wines for the list here in the shop. Lastly, from Macon ( yes some Burgundy for the shop shelves!) and the very talented winemaker Alain Normand in La Roche Vineuse, I have four new wines: his La Roche Vineuse red and white which are wines he has built his reputation on and are very much his pride and joy ( Chilled Gamay for the summer and some clean fresh Chardonnay, un-oaked) as well as some Pouilly Fuisse 2014 and some ” Roc de Solutre” Pouilly Fuisse 2012 ( did you know Pouilly and Fuisse are two separate villages?) So very soon these wines will start to feature on the Aperitif bar list as well as on the shelves, I am hoping my mid June so I look forward to welcoming you and whirling with you soon!
One other thing, I would like to start the Thursday tastings again, beginning with a tasting on the 9th June and then bi-weekly after that. I shall very soon post details on this first tasting so please keep an eye out for it in the coming days. The cost will be only £15 per person to taste 4 wines and I will need a minimum of ten people to make it work.
As soon as the new wines are in I shall look to post them on social media sites as well as on this website.
Looking forward to seeing you at the shop for an ice cream and glass of wine very soon.
We are looking forward to seeing you all next weekend for this great event where there will be many events for the children as well as adults: children’s entertainers, live bands and at the Whirly wine shop we will be launching a new product focused on Children (as well as adults) so do come down and find out what it is! I promises you won’t be disappointed! I shall also have a chef friend creating some street food which I shall be matching with one of my wines so there will be much activity outside the shop. The aperitif bar will be open too so you can taste 15 wines by the glass and I will personally guide you through the choices! See you next Sunday if not before!
The Aperitif bar has been open for a week now and although the weather has been against us in the first week with a great deal of running outside to rescue menus from the rain and hail, its been a positive start with an excited reaction from customers and locals, so thanks so much for that.
The Menu for this week is below! This week we introduced some Iberico Salami de Bellota and Locally baked Foccacia from the Elephant bakery in Streatham served with the wonderful olive oil from Velenosi in Marche that I import together with their very individual wines like the LaCrima.
I have changed the wine list this week and added the very unusual Willespie Margaret river White 2011 ( blended with their four main white varietals, Verdelho, Semillon, Sauvignon and Riesling), the Ribas Blanc 2012 from the oldest winery on Mallorca, over 300 years old now as well as the Perusini Ribolla Gialla 2014 from the glorious white wine region of Friuli in North East Italy that borders Slovenia and Austria. Stunning wine, so very fresh and clean with a citrus finish mixed with a little wax from the lemon skin! I look forward to welcoming you soon to the Aperitif bar and if you are interested in buying wines by the case the ex vat wholesale price list is now updated on this website. I can offer free delivery to you if you are a local SW postcode! Lastly the “Wine of the month” page will start again in May with some new wines from Gascogny that I am importing this week! Stunning Strawberry rose that will soon be served in the Aperitif bar very soon at around £1.95 for a 75 ml tasting glass, so not in anyway expensive! Enjoy Whirling!
Whirly Wine Aperitif Bar
Prosecco – Lemoss NV. Ca di Rajo, Treviso
Casal Garcia NV, Aveleda, Vinho Verde
Château Molhière, Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Côte de Duras
Ribas Blanc, Prensal Blanc-Viognier, 2012, Mallorca
Graziano, Chenin Blanc 2011, Mendocino
Perusini, Ribolla Gialla 2014, Friuli
Stefano Lubiana, Riesling 2010, Tasmania
Château Molhière, Cabernet Franc 2013, Côte du Duras
LaCrima di Morro 2014, Veleuosi, Marche
Shiraz-Viognier 2003, Cobaw Ridge, Macedon Ranges
Merlot 2010, Château Les Graves de Viaud, Côte de Bourg
“ Organic” Locally baked Foccacia with Velenosi Olive oil
Iberico Salami de Bellota ( 60 gms)
Arbquina Olives (75 gms) Frutos Secos ( 100 gms)
Salted Catalan Almonds (75 gms)
( Mr Whirly and Benn from Queensland, Australia on the opening day last week!)
The new Whirly wine Aperitif Bar opens this weekend, 16th April. The Aperitif bar will promote wines that Mr Whirly sources from all over the world from his close relationship with his small producers and will be served in 75ml and 125ml glasses. I will have tables set up outside so you can sit out and enjoy the sun ( fingers crossed) as you taste some wines and eat some carefully sourced cold foods. The plan is to offer 14 wines by the glass this weekend so you can get a real feel for the quality of wines on offer here in SW17! The wine offering will change every week or even twice weekly and I shall be sourcing some outstandng new wines throughout the summer. I already have a Bandol rose on the rade from Chateau D’Azur that I tasted yesterday with staff here in the shop and it was the perfect Provence rose. It rvials Domaine Tempier but at half the price! So pop down this weekend from midday to 9pm and Mr Whirly will take you through the whirling process!
The opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday, midday to 9pm, Sunday midday to 5.30pm ( though this might change depending on the demand to open later), closed Monday and Tuesday from Midday to 7pm. I look forward to welcoming you soon to the Aperitif bar!
I am delighted to announce that Whirly Wine’s will be opening an ‘Aperitif’ bar at the Whirly Wine shop in April 2016. We have successfully applied for a variation of the license and as soon as Spring has officially arrived, we will launch the new project. We aim to make Whirly Wine’s far more accessible to our local customers, by allowing you to taste the wines before actually buying them ( 75ml and 125ml glasses will be served).We will be looking to change the wine list every week, offering wines that suit the climate as well as newly arrived wines from the various countries Whirly Wine’s carefully sources from. In time we will also be offering a fine array of cold foods that have been carefully selected to compliment the wine.
We are in the process of creating the outside seating area at the front of the shop. Ideally we would like to have some old French bistro collapsable style tables and chairs but they are difficult to source. If anyone has anything fitting the description that they no longer want, do let us know!
We will keep you informed about the opening day but please feel free to pop in and discuss your thoughts with Mr Whirly and his rascal dog Dash!
I have some lovely Easter wines here in the shop too so please come down and have a chat about what wines you would like to go with your Easter lunch! My top suggestions would be some Veyovis Verdejo from Rueda at £10.95; lovely Spring wine, full of verve and freshness! Also lovely for Easter would be the Domaine Prevote Sauvignon Tourraine 2014 at £10.75; stunning SB at a lovely price, really zingy and full of energy but not in anyway flowery! For reds try some Perusini Refosco 2014 at £16.75 from one of the most exciting wine regions in Italy, Collio in Fruili. This wine has great acidity and is fruit led but in a very restrained way and would be be a perfect accompaniment to a shoulder of lamb for your Easter Sunday lunch. Lastly if you think some fizzy would kick off your day well I have good stock of the Lemoss Prosecco NV from Ca di Rajo in Treviso at £8.99. This wine is going through a second fermentation in the bottle, is slightly cloudy and unfiltered and tastes like a well made cider from Calvados, full of fresh apples and yeast. Its well worth a whirl!
So please do pop in for a chat in the coming days and let me know what you plan to eat and I shall try to match some Whirly wines for your special lunch or dinner.
The shop is open Good Friday from 11.30 am to 5pm and Saturday 26th March from 11am to 5pm. The shop will be closed Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
Thank you for your continued support and a very Happy Easter to you all!