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We have delicious Olive Oil!

Happy Thursday!

The sun is beaming into the shop on Ritherdon Road and I thought you may like to know we now stock a beautiful olive oil. I was going to write about our fabulous selection of Sauvignon Blanc (will be my next post), but I am sitting here dreaming of fresh ciabatta to dip into this perfect olive oil.

Let me tell you a little bit about it…

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Velenosi Vini Extra Virgin Olive Oil is from Velenosi’s very own olive tree groves, located in the areas of Ascoli Piceno, Offida and Castel Di Lama.

They are handpicked from the end of October to November while the olives are still green. These are then pressed within 24 hours of harvesting. They use mechanical cold milling, without filtering. The colour of the oil is green with gold yellow hues. It tastes wonderfully fruity and floral with a slightly bitter almond aftertaste. It is intensely full bodied and we just love it!

Why not transport yourself to warmer climates and try this delight.

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Now I must taste some Sauvignon for “research” purposes ….

Holly

 

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A very happy and prosperous new year from Mr Whirly!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year ahead first of all and thank you so much for your support of the new Whirly wine shop at 22 Ritherdon road in the last 10 weeks since we opened on the 15th October.

The shop is open again on the 30th December from 11.30am to 4pm and then again on New years eve from 11.30am to 6pm for last minute fizz needed for your party! We will then open again from the 6th January for normal shop hours. If you need wines outside of these hours please call me on 07821 968111

Mr whirly

 

 

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Made in England

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Happy Friday to you all! It’s Holly here again. I arrived in the shop this evening to find a wonderful selection of English wines. I must admit that I have not tried many English wines, but have a great passion for all things local.

Nutbourne Vineyards  in West Sussex is a family business, owned and run by the Gladwins. The winery was first opened in 2010 and now all Nutbourne wines are produced on site. They make between 40,000 and 60,000 bottles per year. Their winemaking is headed up by our consultant Owen Elias, who has won the UK Wine Maker of the Year several time. Owen has great expertise, and for ten years he was Director of Winemaking and Head winemaker at Chapel Down.

Nutbourne regularly wins awards, medals and trophies in both national and international competitions. They are clean, fresh, exciting and I think it is fantastic that we have such good quality wines right here in the UK! So do come and check their selection out at the shop.

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Keeping on the English theme, we also have a brilliant beer from Harveys in Sussex. Harveys in renowned for its wonderful range of traditional cask ales. These ales are unpasteurised and known as the “champagne of beers”. We currently have ‘Blue Label’ which is  well-hopped beer. It is a blend of four different ‘aroma’ hop varieties, which imparts a delicate bitterness, balanced by the sweetness of malt sugars. We love it at Whirly Wines! Perfect if you still need to stock up your alcohol selection over Christmas!

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I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. I shall be taking a bottle of Lillypilly, “Fiumara 7” home to have with my Christmas pudding. It is proving very popular with anyone who tastes it in the shop!

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Holly’s Whirly Wines for Christmas Day

Hollys Xmas wines

Hello! It’s Holly here,I am new to Whirly Wines and shall be updating you on our events and general goings on in the shop. Last night we had a wonderful wine tasting, where the selection of wines were specifically chosen for Christmas Day. Everyone has they own traditions, but these wines are absolutely perfect for different moments throughout the day.

I thought it would be best to share this lovely selection. They are all available at the shop now (22 Ritherdon Road)…

1. Wake up to ‘Veyovis’

Perfect to wake up to on Christmas morning – elegant, light, and exciting! 

“Vevyovis”, Verdigo 2014, Rueda – £10.60

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2. Sauvignon with your mid-morning smoked salmon

I adore smoked salmon on Christmas morning. This Sauvignon Blanc is from Coteaux du Giennois in the Loire Valley. It is slightly floral, layered, and perfect with fish.

Emilie Ballard “Les Beaux Jours”, Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – £13.60

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3. The perfect Pinot Noir to have with your Turkey

This wonderful Pinot Noir is from the Willamette Valley, which is the home of Pinot in North America. It is beautifully aged, light with hints of strawberries and autumn berries. Perfect with your Christmas dinner, especially if you are cooking turkey.

Bethnel Heights, Willamette Valley, Oregon, “Estate” Pinot Noir, 2008 – £25.00

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4. Don’t forget the Christmas Pud!

Sometimes it is hard to match a wine with Christmas pudding, however this one is truly special and works perfectly. Lillypilly in Australia have created a selection of fortified reds over the last 31 years. This one is made with a blend of vintages and would also work wonderfully well with cheeses such as Stilton. You won’t be disappointed!

Lillypilly, “Fiumara 7”, Leeton, New South Wales, Australia – £19.50

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Please do pop by our shop to see our wonderful selection of wines for Christmas – 22 Ritherdon Road, London, SW17 8QD – 020 8672 2572

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Whirly Wines shop now open! Thursday Night tastings, Christmas hampers, Craft beer and new wines just in from Margaret River and Riverina in Australia

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The fantastic new Whirly Wine shop is now open at 22 Ritherdon Road, London, SW17 8QD.

Every Thursday I shall be hosting a tasting of new wines or wines suitable for the festive season.

This Thursday 3rd December I plan to taste two lovely wines that would be perfect for your Christmas party: carefully made wines from Corbiere in South west France from Fontareche in Domaines de Lamy. Both wines are priced at £7.99 yet offer some really lovely drinking for this price. The white is delicate and so easy to drink, made from 70% Colambard and 30% Vermentino. The red is made from in a similar vain, soft sweet tannins and so, so easy to drink. Made from 35% Mourvedre, 35% Syrah, 15% Grenache and 15% Carignan. Black fruit and Gamay undertones.

I have also put together my Christmas Hamper that includes some lovely Venison Charcuteries and Chorizo, Spiced Cranberry sauce, Black Gold Ale Mustard  from the Cairngorms and Seville Orange Marmalade; mixed in with this some amazing Oloroso Sherry from Don Gonzalo, some Glengoyne Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, Visciole NV ( Cherry and LaCrima  grape pudding wine perfect with Chocolate) as well as some delightful LeMoss Prosecco from Ca di Rajo in Treviso. Oh! I forgot theirs an amazing Dundee cake in there too!  Price: £110.00 ( above is a photo of the hamper and tree!)

Also just in some lovely Harveys beers from Lewes in Sussex. 500ml btls priced at £3.25. Also if you would like a polypin for Christmas I can order them for you. 32 Pints at £2.75 a pint ( £88.00). Great fun if you are having a Christmas party!

New wines have just arrived this week from Willespie in Margaret river: this is the home of Cabernet in Australia, they ” hang their hat ” on this grape and I have a Margaret river red that introduces this  Premium red wine region at £14.20. Its 2010 and its made from Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz. I also have some lovely Margaret river white made from the four White grapes this family vineyard grows: Verdelho, Semillon, Sauvignon and Riesling. Another delight to drink and again priced at £14.20.

Lillypiilly ( great name!) make lovely pudding wines ( stickies as the Aussies call them) and this is what they are famous for. They are based in Leeton on the Sturt highway that loops across NSW and South Australia from Adelaide to Sydney. I have new Shiraz 2012 prices at £12.20,  a caramel wine yet with some lovely juicy notes  and not at all overpowering,; some delightful Sauvignon Blanc 2014 priced at £12.20 and at last Tramillon is back! This demi sec wine is a real wonder wine and I have done so well with it over the years. Its a blend of Gewurtztraminer and Semillon and is pretty good with Thai curries as well as Foie gras. The new Noble Harvest 2012, a botrytised wine made from four tropical grapes is also here in this parcel of wines and priced at £18.95. I also have older vintages of this wine and its a wonder with a steamed ginger pudding or something tropical if you plan to have a desert like this over Christmas then please come in and have a chat about it. Lastly, the Fiumara 7 is here, a blend of the best cuvees of fortified wines that date back to 1982 when the winery opened and grapes included are Shiraz, Cabernet and Chambourcin to name but three. A fab wine with Christmas pudding and very special indeed. £19.50

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night when we can talk wines, beer, food and hampers and maybe even Christmas since its not too early to talk about this now.

Thanks for reading this!

 

Mr Whirly

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Whirly wine tour of Macon and Southern Rhone, 16-17th April 2014

On collecting my little Fiat 500 at Lyon airport I whizzed north to Macon and west ten kilometres to “ La Roche Vineuse” a little village just north of Pouilly and Fuisse ( these are separate villages, contrary to most thinking). As I searched for Alain and Sylvain Normand’s property I spotted a man on a little tractor and was about to ask for directions. It turns out to be Alain, with a big smile on his face we say “Bonjour “ and we meet back at the house.

Its bottling time and Alain is hands on with everything in the vineyard so he hands me over to his wife Sylvain. She happens to speak little English and I little French so what ensued was quite a comical yet successful little tour of the vineyards around the village that Alain owns and all in a little Peugeot 106 that covers the rocky terrain like a range rover and at a 20th of the price! What a wonderful vehicle: then again in Nigeria in the Eighties most of the taxis were battered Peugeot 504’s and they went on and on.

Alain has 33 hectares of vineyards altogether, divided between here, Pouilly Fuisse, Macon Village ( Salutre and Chaintre) and St Veran. Since 2009 he has been semi organic: farmed under the practices of “ Le Trei Lutte Raisonnee) and Terras Vitis, sustainable and common sense farming of the land with total control and hands on attention by Alain. Here in Macconias they are unique in being allowed to grow two grapes for their red wines; Gamay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir grapes are the first vines I lay my eyes on with Sylvain and there is much grass evident in between the vines here; Alain wants to limit the amount of grapes so he keeps this grass growing during the whole summer. This increases the quality of the grapes too. Its a wonderful sight seeing the first sprouting leaves and some very tiny grapes appearing on the vines: the wonder of the green springing forth amidst a country of rocks, chalk and clay. Its quite the sight.

The Chardonnay grapes are pruned using the “ baguette” method, with a twisted semi circle and down onto the same piece of wire. The majority of grapes here in Macconais are Chardonnay. There is a lot of “Calcaire” dotted amongst the vines, big pieces of rock surround the edges too. It has not rained here at all in 2014, so this is a little worrying. The clay plays a big part in retaining the water when it falls so the vines can survive the hard months of the summer. The younger Pinot Noir vines that we come across later had the grass ploughed so that the energy is not take away from the infant plants. From the top of the hills here there was a fabulous view south to Beaujolais.

The top vineyard is called “ La Croix de Mortceau”. In the tasting room a few minutes later and after seeing Alain busy in the cellar getting the wines ready for bottling the next day ( Alain is totally hands on and in control of all parts of the winemaking clearly) we sat down and tasted some wines. First up was the Pouilly Fuisse 2011 in steel and very serious it was too; lean, clean, subtle fruit and long mineral tones with some real freshness too. My kind of wine. My kind of Chardonnay. The wine is from a new vineyard to Alain, in 2010 he acquired from Sylvain’s parents. Old vines though. So new but old, which is great.

We also tasted his 2010 Pouilly Fuisse in oak Barique. Sensational. It was during this conversation and tasting that Alain explained to me that history of the Premier Cru status. It started during the occupation of France by Germany during the 2nd world war. They occupied burgundy but only as far south as Chalon: they requisitioned wines from the french winemakers, except for their “First Growths”, which they were allowed to keep. Hence the Premier Cru status started but not as fas south as Macon since the occupation of France had not come that far south. Alain explained to me that St Veran and Pouilly Fuisse were soon hoping to get their Premier Cru status.

Lastly we tasted Alain’s Gamay from La Roche Vineuse, to me his signature wine in many ways: Gamay from Macon is unique, and its also, as we were to find out, a little more austere and richer than its counterparts a little further south. Twenty years ago, Alain explained to me this wine was simply called “ Macon”. These vines are his original vines, his pride and joy. Now they are vines from his own appellation, the only winemaker in “La Roche Vineuse”. The wine is a joy to drink. Trust me, its what Gamay should be. From here Mr Whirly booted south to Carpentras to visit Campagne Bacchus, a small “Organic’” winery owned by Richard and Diane Bacchus.

I arrived just as the sun was hiding opposite Mount Ventoux and a special sight it was too. The little green buds dotted the brown vines and landscape of the Cote de Ventoux land. The wind was pretty fierce yet there is a calm about this place that is serene and beautiful. Diane cooked a simple yet lovely pasta and tomato dish and we tasted their wines. Their Matines 2011 made from 75 % Grenache and 25 % Cinsault, lovely strawberry nose like a Pinot Noir, harvested early and a very long maceration of eight weeks called a Souple where they have the malo and alc fermentation together. A wonderful trip indeed followed by a little cafe in the square of Beaume de Venise the next morning.

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Mr Whirly in Galicia, March 2014

Mrs and Mrs Whirly take Galicia

Mr and Mrs Whirly’s second tour together, where my wife kept on saying how good she was in Spanish with the words

“ Huevos Fritos con Jamon! “

From Porto we drove north to the Spanish border and onto the centre of Riax Baixas country, Cambados in the region of Val do Salnes. This is the region where all wines are made from 100% Albarino, one of the most exciting new grapes to come into the wine world.

As we discovered the wines are best young although some of the wine can be aged a few years with a little oak. At “ A Dispensa de Ribera” we tasted some lovely Albarino from “ La liebre lyla Tortuga” ( with a hare and a tortoise on the label!) so I am presuming this is what Liebre and Tortuga mean as well as Alberto Nanclares, much less vibrant and a 2011 vintage, possibly oaken and with an “ organic” certification so with minimum sulphites. It did grow on me I must admit.

The next day we visited the family owned vineyard, ‘ Tanuda de Castro”  and we met Elizabeth the owners daughter. We had been recommended to visit the vineyard by Jose at the Vinoteca in Cambados, so off we sped in our little Fiat Punto, a few miles across country to the little village of Ribadumia. Once again we witnessed the very old style of vines being grown in a “ Pergola” formation, high up and along a canopy with one vine in each of the four corners. I had previously witnessed this way of vine system in Vinho verde in Portugal.

We tasted the new 2013 Albarino out of tank which was vibrant and clean. It compared well to some very good wines from the night before. The 2012 from the bottle, was their present vintage and it was drinking really well with some lovely vibrant fresh fruit and once again was wonderfully clean and fresh. Clearly the wine business in Spain is having a tough time with many problems in payment from what was once their core market; restaurants and bars in their local towns and cities. So they are now looking to gain an export market more and I think this wine would go down very well this summer in the UK, so I am hoping to export this wine soon. Albarino is a great wine to go with fish and shellfish. Its pretty serious too in terms of its makeup and mouth feel. Its one of those grapes that oozes class. the romantic stories of it arriving here with pilgrims from Germany on their way to Santiago de Compestel might not be true and but there is no doubt the grape has similar qualities to Riesling and Pinot Gris. I also visited the Organic vineyard of Nanclares but he was away in Barcelona at an Organic wine meeting.

After Jamon and Cafe con Lecce with Murcia at cafe Murcia next to the fish market in Cambados we headed across the mountains to Ourense and Ribeiro to meet Brais and Jose Manual Blanco Perez at Val de Souto ( see picture above) in the DO Ribeiro. It was great to meet these two people at last and it emphasised to me the importance of the small vineyard and control of the vineyard space. the vines here are located high up on the steep hills that rise up from the River Mino to the east of the river. In the village of Souto there are 14 families that live and have lived here for many years. They  own all the land up here and the vineyards are therefore confusingly arrange with one small plot belonging to Jose Manuel then another next door belongs to someone else. They are very small little plots of land too and Jose vineyard is called a Colleiteiro, which means that they do not buy in any grapes at all. A Bodega can buy in grapes if they wish.  The best way of seeing where Jose’s small plots finish is that one piece of vineyard is covered with grass and Jose’s has been recently ploughed. Down on the flat level are grapes like the Triexudura and the red grapes, Mencia and Brancellao and up on the hills, the vines are much closer together so some have to be picked by hand; here are Godello grapes. The younger vines have been planted further apart form each other that give great grape quality and flavour as well as being passable in between by a small John Deere tractor. With the help of Brais translating and a large plate of Octopus with Paprika we discussed the present market in Spain and the fact that Jose Manuel had to look to export his wines too, in order to survive. He makes clean, fresh wines from 3 grapes: Godello, Treixudura and Lourieria. The ethos behind my business is highlighted through this small family wines business. hard work and total control of the vineyard; Jose manuel will work the land 365 days of the year, he cannot leave this little valley of Souto and nor does he want to. His life is here and he is very happy to have the fortune to do this I feel, inheriting the land from his father, grandfather. great grandfather.

He cannot afford to be Organic and certified here. He does not have the money for that. But he sprays very rarely and only when he needs to, if after a great deal of rain then he will spray a little Sulphur. Some wineries with out control he explains will spray Sulphur every week. This they feel will give them more grapes! Yet sulphur will harm the grapes and the wine: its why commercial wines made without control will give you a headache since they are full of Sulphur and it perfectly highlights the need for control of this. Val de Souto offer me wines that are vibrant and full of energy and they are a pure delight. They are not organic but they don’t need to be: they are very good and made with the care and attention that wines from small hands on vineyards with the owner winemaker at the helm will always produce.  With a smile on his lovely face Jose Manuel realised that we understood him and his philosophy so well.