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Wine of the Month: October 2020

” Sustainability and Individuality: “Organic” and “Vegan “wines imported for the Autumn of 2020.”

It’s been a busy few months and despite the very tricky times in our lives, one still has to believe that one is doing the right thing. And standing still is not an option. After the importing of some delightful Organic wines from Mehofer, please see the blog for the write up on Jancis Robinson’s website, Whirly wines have recently imported another new ” Organic and Vegan ” wine from Spain!

Red wine for Tapas” 2019, “Organic and Vegan”

750ml

13.0% alc vol

Mr whirly says:

” Soft and gentle Tempranillo and Syrah. A delight to taste. Rich in plum, blackberry and cherry. Soft tannins. Great gentle Autumn wine for only £10.75.”

Click on the link below to buy!

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Mehofer: ” Organic, Sustainability and Individuality for over two decades.”

Recently, Jancis Robinson ran a competition on her website for wine writers articles on “Sustainable” vineyards. This is the feature on Mehofer and Stefan Mehofer, the young winemaker whom I have been working with for over 10 years now, importing their unique and beautifully created wines.

‘My name is Helena Jordan and I am 28 years old. I am from Austria, been trained as a sommelier in Vienna and have been working in the restaurant business for almost 10 years now. After some stations in Switzerland, Spain and the US I am currently working in Norway. I have been writing blogs on the side and also translated a couple of winemakers’ websites from German to English. My position at the moment could be easiest described as Consultant and Project Assistant for a seasonal company on Stokkøya called Stokkøy Strandbaren and Bygda 2.0. Sustainability has been a big part of my project work here for a small bakery, so this was a perfect match. I will be going back to restaurant work after the summer though, moving back to Vienna and working for Juan Amador as a Restaurant Manager Assistant.’ With her (unedited) entry to our writing competition, Helena takes us to a tiny family winery in Wagram, Austria. See this guide to the entries so far published.

In recent years we have seen a couple of positive changes when it comes to awareness of customers. Awareness and interest where their food or wine is coming from, if it’s good for their body, healthy and additionally environmentally friendly. Many industries are now trying to meet the need for this new market, the new aware generation of customers. And they are good customers. Happy to spend a little more money. Happy to stay faithful to a product they enjoy and believe in.

Hence, sustainability sells! Now when something sells, all the marketing managers of the world will not shut up about how important this or that trigger word is for their brand, their company. You know that thing that you want to hear. Was it organic? Yes, we do that. Sustainable? Sure! Let’s ask my friend Wikipedia here, to explain this more clearly. It says greenwashing is a form of marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly and therefore ‘better’.

Why do I point that out? Because the true heroes of sustainability are the ones that cared about our planet and the environment long before it was hip to do so. Because – not only but very much so in the wine industry – greenwashing is starting to become – let’s face it – very common.

And this is where I want to ask Stephan Mehofer to join me on stage here. He is a shy guy, so I have to drag him in front of the heavy silk curtain into the spotlight for once. It’s not going to hurt, Stephan!

Let me tell you about Mehofer Neudeggerhof, a family winery in Wagram, Austria which is run by humble Stephan here, with the help from two full time local vineyard employees, one full time office employee, two to five seasonal vineyard workers and his sister Judith who is working on export markets, marketing and strategy. Together they work 23 ha vineyards in and around Neudegg. The winery has been in the family for ten generations and still uses the same house, cellar and vineyards like their forefathers. And like their forefather before, they think sustainability small. Small, like in family but also including direct community. The heating system that is 100% based on wooden chips produced from their own forest on the local mountain, heats not only the winery and their private home but also their direct neighbor’s house. Their own solar and photovoltaic systems combined produce a third of the energy the whole winery and private house needs. The plan is to be self-sufficient by 2022.

Stephan Mehofer
Stephan Mehofer

‘Sustainability is thinking in generations.’ Stephan said one time. So together with his family, he is making conscious decisions for the sake of his son Simon and all of his – many – nieces and nephews. They are between one and a half and nine years old and couldn’t care less about water usage or solar panels. Still, their future is his motivation. In the strong belief that his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents thought the same way about him back then. Talking about youth and the generation from tomorrow: never underestimate the power of education. The family made it a goal for themselves to educate people around them about the special environment in and around Neudegg. Reaching tourists and day guests through an interactive educational exhibition that is paired with art; but also, being part of different research projects together with the ‘Federal College and Institute for Viticulture and Pomology’. Lately Slow Food acknowledged their and their regions efforts to work on the local indigenous grape variety Roter Veltliner. The Slow Food Presidio Roter Veltliner Donauterrassen is now an official community that works together emphasizing and researching this old grape variety.

Certified organic since 1992, the family already have had some time to find their way in this complicated organic/sustainable/bio-dynamic wine world. ‘We chose to not put our efforts into satisfying different manifestos in order to get more certifications. We much rather find our own way, choose what we believe is necessary to be sustainable for our region and our winery’, Stephan tells me. ‘The question here again is: who are we really doing it for? Working sustainably that is. It is so obvious; I don’t even want to put a sticker on it.’

Additionally, to obvious choices like sustainable energy, thoughtful water usage and recyclable packaging material, a lot of thoughts go into the vineyard work. The vineyards on the beautiful terraces of the Wagram region go without irrigation all year and in summer everything around the grapevines blooms. A walk through the vineyards is almost like a walk in the park. Just with more wildflowers. And maybe more insects. Actually, the carefully selected seed mix for the cover crops is intending exactly that: different root lengths of plants to aerate the soil naturally and a mix of early and late blooming flowers to have as many insects living in the vineyard as possible. They love insects so much, they found it is better to roll or press the cover crop instead of cutting it. ‘When you cut or mulch the grass you lose 80% of the insect population’, Stephan explains to me. ‘Additionally, with rolling you save the floor from evaporation, meaning you keep the soil nice and moist and don’t expose it to the sun.’

Sustainability. What a word. It might seem clear in the beginning but when you take a closer look, it’s pretty complicated and hard to understand. It means different things to different people, at different places. It means leaving a safe and healthy world for future generations for Stephan and his family. ‘Sustainability is thinking in generations’ might be my favourite definition of the word and I wish more people would live after it.

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New wines: Late summer and Autumn 2020

Despite the tricky times Mr Whirly has been very busy in the summer of 2020 sourcing some fabulous new wines from vineyards that I have worked with in the past as well as new vineyards too!

Summer 2020

Imported in the last few months the following wines from Chateau Molhiere, Cote de Duras and Mehofer in Wagram, Austria who makes wonderful ” Organic ” wines and have done for almost 30 years. The Mehofer vineyard is featured on Jancis Robinson’s website too.

https://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/guide-sustainability-heroes

More details to follow.

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Wines of the Month: September 2020

” This month is a time of change for all of us. The season’s are changing and so are we, as human beings. One thing I have learn’t from the last six months is the importance of eating and drinking well. Shopping for good food and wine locally. In the last few weeks there has been a lovely fishmonger open up on Moyser road and it’s such a joy to walk down there and purchase something some freshly caught fish or prawns or urchin from someone as passionate as you about their product. Check them out below & support them if you can.

https://www.lifeof.fish/

I have discovered so many new recipes from old cookbooks tucked away on the shelf and matched that perfect wine! So, let’s this September match the perfect wine with two styles of cooking. Let’s look at two completely different styles of Gruner Veltliner from Austria, their main white varietal and a grape they ” hang their hat on” in this up and coming wine country.

The wines we are going to look at are from two small vineyards, “Mehofer” in Wagram about an hour north west of Vienna, and their newly arrived 2019 Gruner Veltliner Klassik. Mehofer are ” Organic” & have been so for over 20 years. They make beautiful wines that are a joy to drink.

The other wine is from “ Beyer“, another small winery in Austria, made by Josef Beyer in Roselfdorf, Lower Austria ( south of Vienna). This wine could not be more different. The grape was picked later, In November rather than now, when the Mehofer grapes are being collected. This difference in harvest time means the grapes have more sugar within themselves. This equates to more sugar in the wine and also slightly more alcohol. But don’t let ‘ Mr Whirly” put you off, I know how we in England run a mile when we hear the word sweet with wine. Open up to this!

These two wines could not be more different. But with the delight of food and the different cultures of food we now absorb, I would love you all to enjoy these wines with something outstanding!

So for September, if you buy a bottle each of these wines I shall give you a massive 30% discount on the bottle price! £33. 95 slashed to £28.30. I will also send you the perfect pairing menu for each wine so you can enjoy cooking and matching the wine. One of the most important and enjoyable experiences in life is to find that perfect match! Delivered free to your door in local SW postcodes!

Here is the link below for the two wines to buy in this September deal!

Stay safe

Mr Whirly

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Wine’s of the Month, July 2020 ( two Organic gems from Mehofer in Austria!)

Mehofer, ” Organic” Rosé, ” La vie en Rose”, 2019 and Gruner Veltliner 2019: Just arrived July 2020!

Winemakers tasting notes:

We can at least wish for it: La vie en Rosé
Fresh, wild strawberries, ripe raspberries and hints of papaya unite with lime and green apple. A very pleasant creaminess in the finish. Juicy and refreshing at the same time. Certainly, one wants to have more!”

Variety: 100% Zweigelt

750ml

10.5% alc vol

£13.95 ( pre-order online now, wine arrives 15th July 2020)

Wine tastings notes for the Gruner Veltliner to follow. This wine can also be pre- ordered now online, the link is below)

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Wine of the Month: June 2020

Moscato D’Asti, ” Azienda Agricola Terrabianca”, DOCG, 2016

Mr Whirly says:

“Summer wines are wonderful. Are they not? It’s early June and the middle of summer, the longest day will soon be on us. I am going to take on another British fashion with wine and champion the slightly sweet, or even half dry, ” demi sec” wine now, since in this country, as soon as we say sweet we complete 3 doughnuts in our vehicle and head in the opposite direction. Why? Because rather like the colour of our rose we are averse to thinking anything slightly sweet is nice and enjoyable to drink. Moscato D’Asti is the most delightful and classy of wines, it really puts most Procecco in this country ( in the supermarkets at £7-£14 a bottle) in its place, since its so delicate and full of passion. This wine, from Asti in Northern Italy has so much class and on a joyful, happy June evening, sipping with some some close family and friends, in the garden, before you sit down for dinner it could not be more perfect. This wine is DOCG, a very specific and guaranteed area for the grapes, its like an elderflower frizzante, with summer flowers such roses and Jasmin too and its only 5% alc vol so perfect for a hot summers day or for my Mother in law to sip at over 80 years old too.”

Give it whirl, click on the link below to buy.

Give it a whirl, don’t let ” demi sec” or sweet put you off!

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‘The Perfect Pink? Why are we so obsessed in the UK by the colour of our rose?”

Rose. It’s the time in the year when all the UK wine people think about the rose they want to taste for the summer. Whispering Angel? Tempier’s Rose? Bandol? Rock angel? Yeah right! The common theme here is Angel! No let’s get serious about this. That is, that it has to say ” Cotes de Provence” on the label and it has to be as pale a pink as it can be. Correct sir! Why are we, the English, so obsessed by the colour of the rose? I agree colour is important. Years ago I imported a Greek rose and it was almost Red in colour. It could and would not sell so I ended up giving most of it away. But pale pink rose does not equate to quality and nor does ” Cote de Provence” either.

As Elizabeth David says in her marvellous book, ” French Provincial Cooking” first published in 1960 when she was well ahead of the game in terms of food she was discovering apricots in the 1960’s in St Remy de Provence:

” The meal in the hotel had been indifferent and the wine, one of those pink Provencal ones which one’s drinks because one is very thirsty after a dusty drive. But the apricots made up for everything.”

Clearly she was ahead of the game in the 1950’s, about Provencal Pale rose too! My point is just because it says Provence and its pale pink does not mean its good wine. I agree there are some good Provence rose’s my favourite are Domaine Ott, Tempier or my own Bandol from Chateau D’Azur. But the former two cost £25-30 a bottle! Let me ask you, is that value for money? No is my simple answer. So don’t be mugged by the colour of the rose and the word Provence this summer. Seek out other exciting wine regions that produce dry pale rose, and see if you can find something that drinks just as well but costs half the price. I leave it at that. Oh and one other thing, don’t buy 2018! I see so many online sites selling 2018 vintages for £25 plus a bottle. This is a rip off! The wine will not be drinking well, it will be tired and flabby.

“Drink Less, Drink better” Chateau Molhiere rose, 2019, Cote de Duras pictured below. £12.95 a bottle. Available online at the top of this page on Whirly wine online shop.

The Molhiere rose 2019 is super light in colour, very neutral and dry. On the palate its got real body, succulent mouthfeel and good length. So its a food friendly style and very hard to put down. Delightful stuff.Michael Rudko, Furzedown

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New wines! April 2020…

The Molhiere rose 2019 is super light in colour, very neutral and dry. On the palate its got real body, succulent mouthfeel and good length. So its a food friendly style and very hard to put down. Delightful stuff.Michael Rudko, Furzedown

It’s that time again, the winter is over, we are very much into Spring and its time to buy wine again. This year, of all years it seems more important than ever, as we are gripped by a virus that keeps us at home, home schooling can be taxing and so by the time we get to 6pm we actually crave something nice! Let’s face it we deserve it. So drink something nice, ” Drink less and Drink better” and make sure you buy a wine that is from a small vineyard, because you know what, it will be made so much better! Small is beautiful!

So what’s in the pot for the summer then….Well it has to be rose of course. “Just in” is the old favourite from the Dordogne, Chateau Molhiere, ” Terroirs de Ducs” 2019 Rose, 2019 Sauvignon Blanc and 2018 Cab Franc-Merlot red.

All these wine are now online to buy at £12.95 a bottle. They are great French country wines that offer wonderful quality wines from a small producer at a sensible price. The rose this year is extremely pale, paler than the last few years, in fact almost onion skin in colour. Its more versatile than a Provence rose, being a little fuller so will take food really well too. Give it a whirl! If you are local to SW16, 17, 19, 18,11 and SW2 you can order a couple of bottles and its “Free delivery to your door too”!

Click on the link below to order

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Wine of the Month: May 2020: Chateau Molhiere, “Rose” ” Terroir des Duc’s” 2019, Cotes de Duras.

The Molhiere rose 2019 is super light in colour, very neutral and dry. On the palate its got real body, succulent mouthfeel and good length. So its a food friendly style and very hard to put down. Delightful stuff.Michael Rudko, Furzedown

It”s got to be pink has it not? We are all, it seems obsessed by the pink stuff, as we enter Summer and the tinge and palest of pinks too it has to be ( Why are we so obsessed but this in the UK? I am about to cover this in my blog page, please have a read soon.) This is indeed pale! Very pale. It’s almost onion skin in colour even. Made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes, its very versatile and will take food as well as being a great summer aperitif style wine. It’s fuller than a Provence rose but ultra slick and dry.

Great value too at £12.95

750 ml 12.5 % alc vol

TO ORDER CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW

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April 2020, “Wine of the Month”: Stefano Lubiana, “Organic and Bio Dynamic” Chardonnay 2013, Primavera, Granton, Tasmania

Nice…very nice…..I thought it was about time I put up something exciting and different on the Whirly wine of the month page. Aussie Chardonnay, ok is not that different. But when its 2013 and from Tasmania, down near Hobart on the Granton river and its made by one of the best winemakers down under, it is different…..

Mr Whirly says:

“I have been luck enough to be working with Stefano Lubiana for over 10 years. This is sadly the last of the wines I have from this great winemaker so if you like Chardonnay that has the same cudos and feel of Burgundy but is clearly of its own identity, then you should try this. I only have a handful of bottles left.”

Winemakers notes

Stefano Lubiana:

Review, Patrick Eckel: 2013 Stefano Lubiana Primavera ChardonnayOctober 20, 2015 Wine Rating  90

Stefano Lubiana is a producer with a focus on biodynamics, and has been crafting some excellent wines from Tasmania for a number of years now, with the Primavera range the entry level for the winery.

The nose is restrained and gives a mineral expression of white peach with a touch of oak.

The palate is lean in terms of fruit, with an enjoyable mouthfeel created through the competition of racy acidity and grapefruit pith. There is enough stone fruit, oak spice and cashew like complexity that suggest this will get even better with time.

Price: £29.95

For local postcodes, SW16, 17, 12 and 19 and most SW postcodes…..” FREE DELIVERY TO YOUR DOOR”

TO ORDER CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO GO TO THE WHIRLY WINE ONLINE SHOP!