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New wines just arrived from Greece: August 6th 2017


” Greece is the word!”

Its great to have some some new exciting wines in the shop and having had the wines in the shop now for a week I am pleased with the way they are tasting and being received. The range is good too, since I am now able to offer wines for as little as £8.50 for the Ionos White and Rose from Achaia, made from ancient Greek grapes, Roditis and a little Muscat and Syrah. The middle wine in the photo is a fragrant elderflower and Thyme dry Muscat, well worth the price tag of £11.95 then you have two reds, a 100% Agiorgitiko, a herbaceous, earthy and slightly bitter red, 2010 that needs a little time to get going but is another worthy cork opener at £13.75 then on the far right the Cuvee 111; a blend of Agiorgitiko, Mavrodafne and Cabernet, quite rich and with some ripe berry fruit but delicious with some big red meats, £14.70. So do come in soon and give these Greek gods a whirl, they are well worth a splash out of the bottle and a whirl!

 

Mr Whirly

 

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Wine of the Month: August 2017

” Greece is the word”

Its a difficult choice to be honest since we have imported so many wines this last few weeks. However I shall keep the focus in August on Greece and focus on the Peloponnese wines and in particular the Ionos White from Cavino, a non vintage wine but at £8.50 a real bargain and easy and delicious to consume.

Its tough nowadays to find wines at this price point that are easy to drink. By that I mean most wines at this price point you have a glass of and you in no way would care for another. That’s the simple objective with these wines, to simply create the desire to want more! The grapes for this wine is Roditis, an ancient grape that dates back to the 1st Century. Its a citrus rich grape, very limey with a hint of chalkiness and a little Muscat that fills it out a little and adds some weight and fragrance. Its the perfect accompaniment to shellfish and classic pan fried fish for example. I urge you to come into the shop in the coming weeks and taste it. At the whirly wine shop you can actually taste a great deal of wines before you buy them, guaranteeing that you, the customer are not wasting your money! Not many wine shops offer that do they, the supermarkets certainly don’t, so come on in an taste before you buy!

Hoping to see you at the whirly wine shop, 22 Ritherdon Road, SW17 8QD soon but be warned the shop is closed a great deal between 10-22nd August so look at the shop hour post on this site to check when I am open. The bottle is second from the left with the forest green label.

 

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Reduced Shop Opening Hours in August….

Due to holidays and people being away in the local area Whirly wines will be running reduced hours at the shop since I shall be away on business seeing restaurant clients in Wales and Scotland. Please note the shop hours below for the next 2-3 weeks:

3-4th August:closed

5th: Open later at 3pm

10-22 August- closed

Except for Saturday 12th when open from 3pm to 9pm & open on Sunday 20th August when then shop will open from 12-3pm.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused but if you do require wines outside of these hours please call me on 07821 968111 and I can arrange delivery of wines for a small delivery charge from my warehouse.

Mr Whirly

 

 

 

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” Greece is the Word’: new Greek wines here in SW17!

We are going back to the roots of wine showcasing some really individual indigenous varietals. They bring to Whirly wines some quality wines at very clever prices which is a much required need nowadays ( fab wines at fab prices, the Ionos white and rose are only £8.50 here in the shop, yes £8.50!). So come on down and support your local small wine importer, there’s no excuse for you now not coming in and tasting some Whirly wines. You can even taste here in the shop before you buy, how many wine shops can you do that in? I have wines at the same price point as my illustrious competitors around both corners and the quality is so much better. In fact I have always had this. I have my wines from La Bouysse in Corbiere that are Organic and Bio-dynamic and they are only £10,50 a litre which works out at about £7.60 a 750ml bottle. So come on down local residents in the Heaver Estate,  come on down to Whirly wines and support your local wine business before its too late and I am gone. I need your support!

All the wines are from the Peloponnese Peninsula west of Athens. This wine region is an old historic region for wine, the Roditis grape that is the main component of the Ionos white wine, dates back to the 1st century. It’s great to have some new wines and some unusual indigenous varietals from this country, the oldest of the old wine making countries. Varietals like Roditis, Agiorgitiko, Mavrodafni, Muscat of Patras. It’s these grapes that emphasise the importance of Wine today: up until a few months ago Mr Whirly had not tasted these grapes before and they bring something new to the palate, which happens to be a delight, especially if you have some food that you feel would match the wine as I did a few nights ago ( matching the 100% Agiorgitiko Nemea with lamb and Greek feta salad, which was a joy! The menu this week shall show a little Greek feel, so do pop in for a home- made Greek salad with tomatoes and Oregano from my garden soon won’t you, its pretty damn good!

The new wines are:

Ionos White, NV, PGI Achaia: £8.50

Ionos Rose, NV, PGI Peloponnese: £8.50

Mega Spileo, Moschato 2016, PGI Achaia: £11.95

Mega Spileo, ” 111 Cuvee” 2014, PGI Achaia: £14.70

“Nemea”, 2010, PDO Nemea, Peloponnese; £13.50

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Whirly wine Menu 23rd June- 30th June 2017…..inspired by recent wine tour of Sicily

Menu

( Lunch is served from Thursday to Sunday, midday to 3pm)

( on Saturdays I serve street food from the barbeque from midday too! Siena sausage and fish kebabs)

 

Baby Courgette soup with Basil, Parsley and Parmesan: £4.50

Caponata with toasted Ciabatta: £6.00

Sicilian Salad: £5.00

Wild rocket, radicchio and Watercress salad: £4.00

Piedmontese Peppers: £5.00

Parma ham with Charentais melon: £7.50

Vignole Bruschetta ( Peas, Broad beans, artichokes and mint): £7.50

Sardinian Artichoke, potato and parsley stew: £5.50

Vanilla rice pudding: £4.50

Polenta cake with Almonds: £5.00

Gelata and Sorbetto: £2.00

 

 

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June 22nd 2017! New rose from Molhiere just arrived, by the litre bottle as well as 750ml bottle

 

For the first time Mr whirly has imported some rose for you to have by the litre! From the fabulous Blancheton Brothers in Cote de Duras, a stones throw from Cote de Bordeaux, we have a their new 2016 Cab Franc and Merlot rose, very light in colour with hints of summer fruits. Hand pressed, plunged and made its a truly lovely rose for the money. I only have 120 litres for you for your litre bottle for the summer so once its gone its gone! Price for the Litre is £11.90 and for the bottle its £10.50….you can try it before you buy it too! I Look forward to welcoming you to the the whirly wine shop soon at 22 Ritherdon road, London, SW17 8QD…

 

Mr Whirly

 

 

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WHIRLY WINES NOW SERVING LUNCH THURSDAY TO SUNDAY, 12-3PM as well as Ice creams from Ice cream union now back on the menu!

Following a recent trip to Sicily, written up below I was inspired by the street food in Palermo which is the best in Italy, or so they say! So from the 1st June we are serving lunch from Thursday through to Sunday and we will of course be open for Mr Whirly’s Italian inspired farmhouse menu in the early evening too.

The Menu this week!

Piedmontese Peppers: £5.00

Sicilian Pepper stew: £6.00

Caponata: £6.00

Sicilian Salad: £5.00

Napoli Salami with Capers: £7.50

Pecorino Cheese with Truffles: £7.50

All the dishes are handmade by Mr Whirly and with some great Whirly wines by the glass that start from £2.00 for a 75 ml measure of Organic and Bio Viognier or Carignan from La Bouysse in Corbiere, the same wine you can fill up your 1 litre bottle for only £10.50, it really does go to show that Whirly wines is not in anyway an expensive place to eat and drink wines that have been carefully chosen for you from the smaller producer.

I look forward to welcoming you to the Whirly wine shop soon!

 

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New Wines for the Summer 2017…

After recent tours to Sicily, Slovenia, Croatia and Friuli, Mr Whirly is looking forward to importing a whole bunch of new wines for the summer months for you to get into and whirl frantically.  Below are a list of wines by country that I expect to have in the UK over the next 2-8 weeks ( written 17/05/17)

( all prices are with VAT included)

Greece

Ionos white, a blend of Moscato and Roditis and a wine from a larger producer but a great summer wine and will be around £8-9. Also some Moscato from Patras and some Mavro Dafne from Nemea, a big red wine. Price point on these final two will be around £12

Sicily

Following a trip last week to Siracusa and Castelveltrano the plan is to bring in some new wines for Bag in Box this summer. Some Lovely  Nero D’Avola/Syrah blend and Bianco Siciliana that will sell at £10.50 for a litre. Also from Castelveltrano some Vermentino and Syrah from “ Donna de Coppa” at around £11.00. From Siracusa and Cantine Gulino some very special wines:  Albanello, Fiano/Inzolia blend, Nero D’avola and Syrah/Nero blend. Oh and some sumptuous sweet Moscato de Siracusa. These wines will cost between, £14-£20 a bottle depending on the wine.

France

My old favourite Chateau Molhiere will be providing me with some rose for the 1 litre bottles soon which will cost £11.50 for a litre.  Although be warned I am only buying 120 litres so it wont last that long.I shall also have their rose by the bottle for £9.95. Its very good and the right colour, pale pink and dry! From “La Bouysse” their Organic Cyprius is a blend of Vermentino, Macabeau and Grenache Blanc. Simply stunning summer white. “Chateau D’Azur” and their Bandol rose ” Jardin de Soleil” 2016 will be purchased in small parcels as well as a little Jurancon Sec from “Camin Larredya”, discovered last July. Another summer delight!

Italy

From the mainland and Velenosi in Marche I shall soon have some of their very simple but good Rosso Piceno 2016 and also their Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2016, which will both be priced at around £10 a bottle, I hope just under. Also their Organic Rosso Piceno 2016 which is a delight at £12-13 full of fresh berry juice. Some La Crima 2016 too I hope, an old favourite since its a great wine for the summer chilled as well some some of their White Passerina. Both will be priced around the £14 mark.

Sardinia

After a couple of visits from “Tenute Olbios” I simply have to have a little of their wines for the summer since they are so good. Their Cave rose is a very funky yet lovely rose and the Lupus in Fabula is possibly the best Vermentino I have ever tasted. These wines are also Vegan friendly. Great wines but like most wines from Sardinia they are mid priced. The rose will be around £16 and the Lupus close to £20.

Thats should keep you busy this summer. Pop into the shop soon, the first wines from Greece and Cote de Duras should be here in a few weeks….

 

Whirly

 

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Whirly tour of Sicily, 11-14th May 2017

Day 1, Thursday 11th May

I love coming to this island. Its people are very different from the mainland I find. Thats all I am going to say on this front. But the island is full of passion, history and wonderful architecture too. Oh and quite old temples. I am here on this trip to find wines at that crucial £10 mark that I talk of at the end of my last tour to Croatia and Slovenia in March. So its a big trip. Will I succeed? Buono Fortuna amico mio.

First stop is Alcamo and an old friend or two. Not wines for the £10 sticker but wines that are natural and a little more expansive shall we say. Bosco Falconeria are an Organic vineyard and they now make natural wines. Yeah, here we go again, on the  ” Natural wine world trail!‘ They are located high above Alcamo in the rolling hills and to get there the drive is along a dirt track and some crazy corners. But when you get to Bosco its heavenly and tranquil, a massive contrast to the rubbish and abuse of the environment that one experiences on the S113 to get here ( this is my one gripe about Sicily I am afraid, its worse than SW16 where I live). Natalia and her family live I feel a very special life that they have created. Sadly Mary her mother is in New York, her birthplace so I missed her ( she came here in 1969 met Tony fell in love and stayed, just like that!)

We taste 2015 wines. All are almost sold out and the 2016 are not ready to taste but they will be ready for Whirly to import in September this year. First we taste the Cattarato 2015 white label. I have imported this wine before but back in 2012. Its evolved a great deal as a wine since then though. totally natural yeasts; does not stay on skin contact at all, a very little sulphite in the beginning. Natalia explains to me,

” I d0n’t like the definition of natural so much.I don’t think its the best definition. I prefer a wine that respects the grape and the terroir. What we do with the wine depends on the year.” She goes on to explain that they use bentonite, a form of clay to clean the wines, but again not every year. The wine has great depth and character, a great deal richer than all other Cattarato’s I have tasted. Next wine is the ” Peregrino” ( the yellow label below). Three days maceration on the skin. This is a red wine version of the Cattarato, but picked at the same time as the first Cattarato. ( 13% alc vol) Lastly Nero D’Avola (15% alc vol) very expressive, much more so than I can remember in the past, this is a very “bright and happy wine,” I remarked at the time. Nine months in tank, ” It’s better for the wine’ says Natalia, ” the earlier you bottle it, it will need sulphites since its not stable.” I say goodbye to Natalia and Tony and drive back down the gravel track with a happy smile on my face.

Next stop, Castelvetrano, just north east of Marsala. I know exactly where to meet Gaetano and Sebastiano and as I walk into the bar opposite McDonalds just off the the A29. They spot me and are very surprised to see me. I could not call on the way and had emailed  that morning to say could we meet earlier at 1.30pm. Gaetano could not be more different from Natalia and Tony, he is as far away from the ” Natural” set up in Alcamo as one could be removed: he’s a local farmer, hard working and eager to sell to me and he owns 42 hectares of vineyard land as well as olive groves, so a substantial area of land. We race around in Geatano’s beaten up Fiat Punto and he shows me his vineyards, on a road I have travelled many times on the road to  Porto Palo, a windy and also beaten up road, that passes across a long valley of flat farmland with a bridge of enormous proportions taking vehicles east to Agrigento and west to Marsala. Under this bridge is where I find myself in the vineyards of ” Donna de Coppa”. We then visit his olive groves and where he packages the olives and finally his bottling and winemaking plant. Its a middle sized set up, larger than most wineries I work with but in tasting the 2016 wines out a tank I am convinced they are wines that I can sell to my customers at around the £10 mark and they will be enjoyed. They are very good wines indeed. This is what Sicily can offer, some really fab wine at fab prices. We taste ” Bianco Siciliana” 2016, a blended wine of Trebbiano and Cattarato and probably some other white local grapes out of the tank, then a Vermentino 2016 out of tank, a Syrah 2016 and finally a Nero D’Avola-Syrah 2016 blend. All are bright and expressive and well made. I manage to finally get back to me car ( Gaetano wants me to stay for dinner)  and say farewell with another big smile on my face. I have achieved what I came here to do. Four hours later at 8pm I arrive in Siracusa on the east coast of Sicily, just in time for dinner. If you have never been to Siracusa go. Ortigia is the most wonderful place and as I discover over the next 2 days the birthplace of civilisation as we know it.

Day 2, Friday 12th May

I am here to meet Simona at Cantine Gulino. It turns out that the vines are just at the back of the hotel I am staying at. I meet Simona and Sabastiano Gulino, the family owner who explains to me, after a walk around the Muscato Bianco and Nero D’avola vineyards ( 7 hectares) both famous for being varietals with their origins in this area. This is the home of both grapes. The vineyard has been in the ownership of the family since about 1600 but in the 20th century with the onset of the industrial revolution, the discovery of the the natural springs  that meant vegetables were planted and vine ripped out, the vineyard site fell away and very much into disrepair. In 1995 they started to restore the buildings and its now the way it is now. They show me, high up above the floor the original vats where they would press the wines with their feet. The picture below of the arch shows the pipe in the ceiling where the juice would run free.

The first wine we taste is called ” Fania”, 60% Fiano and 40% Inzolia, from grapes in ” Contrada Burgio” near to Noto. Inzolia is a native grape to this land, the Fiano’s homes is Napoli. Inzolia is ” the king of grapes”. Simona explains,” Its very difficult not to produce a wine here without structure. The structure here is bigger.” She means that its the perfect place to grow Fiano and other grapes, the sun shines and it rains very little. The soil is limestone and very fertile. Its all about sun, weather, limestone soil. “The land here was part of the African plate “ Simona goes on. The soil is full of marine sediments full of calcium and this mountain range  is called the ” Monte Iblei”. There are three other mountain ranges in Sicily: Madonie near Palermo, Pelottaani near Messina and Etna near Catania. All four form Sicily. Back to the wine. They make 30,000 bottles of Fania, its very dry with great acidity, very citrusy. “ Wines of the African plate are full of acidity and therefore keep fresh and last for at least 3 years in the bottle”. Good news. the grapes are de-stemmed. no skin contact, pressed, 24 hours maceration then seperate tanks for 6 months. Next wine is Chardonnay 100%, the only wine I don’t like. Made for a commercial export market and not indigenous.

The third wine we taste is the Albanello 2016 a grape typical of the Siracusa wine region and SE Sicily. Cantine Gulino are the only producer of pure Albanelle in Syracusa, the wine is very different with 24 hours on their skins, very quick and notes are both sweet and savoury with a little melon. I like it. Next ” Fanus” a red wine, blend of Syrah and Nero D’Avola ( 60/40). As I taste this the swifts are flying in and out of the barn where the wines are stored. Syrah loves Sicily and Sicily loves Syrah. A grape that Alessio Planeta used to put Sicily on the wine map almost 20 years ago flourishes in this hot, dry dusty land. This wine is macerated for 2 days on the skins, then 6 months in tank before being blended. No oak. Crimson red in colour and light on the rim, 30,000 bottles made, ” simple yet delicious”. Then a wine I tasted in London in January this year, and the reason why I am here, their 2014 Nero D’Avola, 12 months on oak, dried on the vine then a small percentage under the sun. This is a big juicy Nero D’Avola, a really exciting wine that needs time and will age well with plums, rich blackberries and a little sweet spice. 6,000 bottles made, delicious. The last two wines we taste are the Moscato bianco wines from the vines on the property that we walked a few hours earlier ( see picture below). The Don Nuzzo is made by drying some of the grapes under the sun. Its a fresh wine, full of figs and dried apricots. This is indeed a special wine in Italy and Sicily as Simona explains to me. The Jaraya is lighter in colour,as you can see from the picture below. The grapes are totally dried under the sun as well as on the vine, its a great deal sweeter than the first wine and also richer and full of apricots. Supremo Quality.
In the afternoon I decide to take a wee drive over to Noto to meet Theresa who I met in London in January when she was looking after the wines from Cantine Gulino and who now runs a new Enoteca called Enoteca della strada de Vino del val Di Noto”. The business in only a few weeks old but in a great site in a lovely square off the main street running through this gloriously beautiful town. Its not as old as Siracusa, so does not have the depth of time in its architecture, nevertheless the buildings are stunning and its so very well kept indeed. Below is a picture of one of the many churches in the town.

I taste some wines from local producers picture belkow and the Organic wines from Giasira and Riofarra stand out. What I am finding is that each grape, whether its Grillo, Cattarato, Fiano, Albanello or Nero D’Avola all show themselves in a very different yet exciting way depending on the where they are grown and due to the various soils in Sicily that are part of the four different mountain regions discussed earlier. This means we have a very exiting prospect for importing wines from Sicily in the future and one could have say 4-5 Cattarato’s that all show themselves to be very different from each other.

Day 3 Saturday 13th May

A drive back to Palermo then the most splendid Passajata for 4 hours around the town, ending in dinner at my favourite restaurant, Piccolo Napoli. Street food ( Palermo possibly has the best street food in Italy) old town Palermo, The Opera house , what a joy this place is.