Posted on

Wine tasting, Thursday 2nd March: “The Aussies are back in town”: Showcasing Top producers wines from Tasmania, McLaren vale and The Great Southern

Just before Christmas I imported some delights from Tasmania, McLaren Vale and The Great Southern in Western Australia. Stefano Lubiana makes some of the most sublime wines down under, let alone Tasmania, “The Apple Isle”. His Primavera wines are a pure delight and that night we will kick off with the Chardonnay 2014 and follow it with the Pinot Noir 2014. To follow we will then taste two Shiraz’s one from ” 3 drops” in Mount Barker, way down south of Perth not far from Cape Leeuwin where the Southern ocean meets the Indian: followed by a Brick Kiln Shiraz from McLaren Vale south of Adelaide in South Australia where I picked grapes for a $ a bucket in March 2000! We these last two wines we shall have some theatre and  use the Ifawine air system to emphasise the importance of air before drinking bigger heavier reds.

7.0opm to 9.00pm: £30 for four 75ml measures plus snacks. Please book by emailing A minimum of 10 people and maximum of 20 for the event will apply. Payment must be taken before the event.

Posted on

‘Hallo-wine and Bonfire night Tasting’, Thursday 3rd November 2016

Hallo-Wine” and Bonfire night tasting!!! A tasting of wines that have that Smokey Autumn feel as well as a little Horror movie feel!

Thursday 3rd November

‘Amity” Gewürtztraminer 2008, “ Sunnyside Vineyard”, Willamette, Oregon

Willespie “ Margaret River” White, 2011, Western Australia

Mehofer “ Organic” Zweigelt-Cabernet 2013, Wagram, Austria

Kabminye “ Irma Adeline” 2003, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Riberach, “Anti-These” 2006, Riberach, Roussillon

7-9pm, 22 Ritherdon road, London, SW17 8QD

Please book in advance:  0208 672 2572

£20 per head for five 75 ml tasting glasses plus snacks.

Posted on

Whirly Wine tasting – 25th Feb

The first Whirly Wine tasting on 25th February went down a storm with my wholesale clients! These included ‘Hakkasan Restaurants‘, ‘The Palmerston‘ in Dulwich, Balham’s ‘Lambert’s‘ and ‘The Exhibit‘, ‘The Hood‘ Restaurant on Streatham High Road and ‘The Begging Bowl‘ in Peckham.

The outstanding wines of the day were the Willespie Margaret River Red 2010 and White 2011 and Jean Michel Sorbe’s Quincy 2014. But to be honest, all 20 wines shown on the day were showing extremely well.

Don’t worry if you missed out, Whirly Wine’s is constantly sourcing exciting, individual wines from small producers from all over the world consequently we will be hosting another trade tasting at the end of the summer.

Mr Whirly

Here is the list of the wines tasted:

Bernard Remy NV, Allemant: “ Carte Blanche”, NV Brut: £18.30

“ Lemoss” Vino Frizzante Bianco, Non Filtrato, Ca di Rajo, Treviso: £7.50

“Domaine de Prevote”, Amboise. Sauvignon Tourraine, “ Les Tonnes Barils” 2014: £8.95

Jean Michel Sorbe, Quincy, Cher sur Loire 2014: £15.00

Luc Percher, Cour- Cheverny, Loire, VSIG Blanc,  Organic and Bio ,“ Racines” 2010: £13.25

Villa de Puppi, Friuli, IGT Venezia Giulia, Sauvignon Blanc 2014: £11.90

Luc Percher, Cour- Cheverny, Loire sur Cher,  Organic and Bio, VSIG Blanc 2012: £11.90

Veyovis, 100% Verdejo, Rueda, 2014: £9.45

Perusini, Friuli Colli Orientali, Friuli, Pinot Grigio 2014: £13.50

Perusini, Friuli Colli Orientali,  Friuli, Ribolla Gialla 2014: £13.60

Lillypilly, NSW, Australia, “Tramillon’ 2014: £10.30

Villa de Puppi, Friuli, IGT Venezia Giulia, Taj Blanc ( 100% Fruilano) 2014: £11.95

Graziano, Montevolpe, Redwood valley, Mendocino, USA,  Tocai Friulano 2013: £13.45

Willespie. Margaret River,  Western Australia, Margaret river white 2011: £11.90

Graziano, Redwood valley, Mendocino, USA, Chenin Blanc 2011: £13.40

Luc Percher, Cour- Cheverny, Cher sur Loire, “ Mosaique” 2011: £13.25

Zivo, Eola Amity Hills, Willamette valley, Oregon, USA, “ Whole cluster Project ” 2009: £32.90

Perusini, Friuli Colli Orientali,Friuli,  Refosco 2013: £13.95

Cobaw Ridge, Macedon ranges, Victoria, Australia, Shiraz- Viognier 2003: £25.00

Meloso, de calvo Arroyd, Tempranillo 2014, Ribera de Duero: £9.20

Graziano, Montevolpe, Redwood Valley, Mendocino, USA, Sangiovese 2010: £13.75

Willespie, Margaret river, Western Australia, Margaret River red 2010: £11.90

Velenosi, Marche, Italy, “Rosso Piceno Superiore” 2010: £24.75

Passing Clouds, Bendigo, Victoria, Graeme’s blend 2010: £15.95

Willespie, Margaret River, WA, Cabernet 2001: £45.80

Spring Mountain, Napa, USA, Organic Napa Cabernet 2009: £65.00

Graziano, Montevolpe, Mendocino, USA, Late Harvest Tocai Fruilano 2011: £16.45

Lillypilly, Leeton, NSW, Fiumara 7: £16.25

Posted on

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


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


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

pinot noir

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


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



Posted on

Brick Kiln, McLaren Vale

Brick Kiln represents my first venture into McLaren Vale, a wine area just south of Adelaide and I am really excited since I have at last found a straight Shiraz to really yell about! After my experience here in February 2000 when I picked grapes during vintage at a dollar a bucket for two days (that’s all I could handle, it was a real scrum) I had a slightly tarnished view that this wine region did not care for its grapes and land very much. This wide valley that is the vale is not far from the area that I have just written about, the Adelaide Hills, but the climate here could not be more different: they grow Shiraz, they grow a lot of Shiraz, therefore its hot here, as simple as that. It’s also a lovely place to spend a few days wine tasting since they love their food down here, there is a strong Italian influence and many of the wineries have lovely restaurants too. Do check out the Salopian Inn if you are ever down here.

Malcolm and Alison McKinnon, Garry and Nancy Watson and Ian and Pene Davey rescued the site for this wonderful wine when in January 2001 they bought it since the Nine Gums Vineyard, just over the Brick Kiln Bridge, was in a state of disrepair and needed some serious TLC. Eight years on the vineyard produces soft, ripe, luscious fruit and this 2004 Shiraz is now sold out in Australia, which is not surprising. It is Shiraz how it should be and I have been searching for such a wine for well over 2 years and over the last 3 years its created quite an impression.

2004 Shiraz

The climate in 2004 was cold from January through to March then it warmed up. There was little rain. Fruit was picked over a two week period from the end of March onwards at beaume readings of 14.8 and 15. The wine was matured in Oak (20% French, 80% American) and bottled on the 10th May 2005.

“ The 2004 Brick Kiln Shiraz is already showing signs of being an exceptional wine, with a high degree of elegance and balance, a peppery finish to the palate and the full body one has come to expect from Brick kiln Shiraz”

Malcolm Mckinnon, co-owner

“ A voluptuous, rich array of dark chocolate and bright red plum and blackberry fruit; fruit driven, minimal oak, carries 15% alcohol easily”

James Halliday

New 2011 vintage here in early 2014

Alcohol: 15.0%

Mr Whirly says

“ Brick Kiln has indeed turned out to be the Shiraz I desired as my first example of this varietal ( on its own that is), that has in many ways put Australia on the map in terms of quality mid to top end price range wines. It is softer than some Shiraz’s further north and not so sweet and sometimes “overheated”. It has a sublime richness with lingering perfumes of vanilla pods and rice pudding! Yet it is fresh and robust with delicate blackberry, cassis and redcurrant intermingled with cocoa, almond and five spice. The wine deserves a decanter as well as a deep, large glass and it also possesses a deep crust at its bottom, so please be careful when pouring the last few drops into your decanter.”

Posted on

The Barossa Valley and Kabminye Vineyard

The Barossa Valley and roads to it….

I have fond memories of the Barossa valley. I arrived here in March 2000, slightly bedraggled after a five week tour of New South Wales and Victoria vineyards and then a drive up the gorgeous coast highway past the Twelve Apostles and into South Australia. I was keen to get involved in the ensuing vintage that was about to envelope this region and also running out of cash fast.

After driving north from Adelaide I arrived in the valley at the Southern most point and started asking for work, by literally going from door to door. It did not take me long to find it since it was early March and  picking is about to start so there should be much need for quick hands. I met a lovely man, looking in my journal back from 2000, his name was Ross Koch and he owned a number of vineyards just south of Grant Burge that were contracted grapes for vineyards like Grant Burge. He was of German heritage ( Silesia to be exact) as are many here in the Barossa, when in the mid 1850’s they fled their homeland ”en masse” protesting against certain new religious formalities.

Ross allowed me to put my little one man tent right in the middle of his vineyard: it was close to a lake which I bathed in at night time after 10 hours picking and I had a lovely three weeks living out there. The truck would pass at dawn, or very soon after, and pick me up and off we would go to meet up with the gang. I shall recite a few words from my journal:

“….worked all week picking grapes. Hard work, back killing me. A week of sirens waking you up and rounding off your day, quite surreal in some ways, SMOKO (this basically means cigarette break in Australian wine pickers lingo), sirens for lunch and sirens telling us we can go home. Hard work but great fun: fellow workers are incredibly odd but lovely, laughing at the same things every day whether it’s the tractor, siren, buckets or grape clippers. All seem to grow grass, in the hope that they might make $20,000 and then live a life of luxury for a few months.”

After a few weeks here, I must admit I needed a change, but it was a wonderful experience and Ross Koch’s kindness and trust in me showed me that the people in this region are kind and good. I then landed on my feet, came up smelling of roses, when I traveled north through the valley to the north and to Truro. Here I found a little café called Zilm’s and a winery called Craneford, owned by John and Bev Zilm. I then spent the next two weeks working with John in the winery, pressing and mixing grapes and also spent some time in the café with Bev re-designing their service strategy. With this came a lovely bed, a double, and a bath which was most welcome!!

We spent the next three weeks rising with the sun, to avoid the intense heat that would kick in after ten in the morning, picking grapes in little nooks and crannies dotted around the Barossa valley before returning home in the early afternoon, tired and bedraggled, like a tuk-tuk driver in the far off city of Varanesi in India and then beginning the crushing and pressing of the grapes we had picked. We would generally finish at twilight. It’s a long day in the vineyard during vintage. One eat’s, washes and collapses watching Australian rules, which in this part of the world means the Crows from north Adelaide. I found it difficult to get into this game despite John Zilm’s urgings. Much more of interest was tuning into world service on short wave on my battered yet faithful Sony radio, trying to find out what was going on in the outside world and in the world of sport too. I remember one night soon after this as I toured the impressive Flinders ranges which is north of Barossa heading up into the outback, where I walked around Flinders Ridge which was a good days hike and listening to Liverpool, my team, beat Newcastle 2-1 at 2 am by the light of my campfire out in the wilderness. Shouts of joy from inside the tent lit up by a candle in the middle of this vast red soiled landscape, could be heard for miles around!. These were fun times. By the way if you ever get up to the Flinders do try to visit the wonderful Prairie hotel at Parachilna where there’s a great menu and wine list. I ate Emu pate and a burger and then remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable by the looks from the local’s when I ordered a Ricard! Stick to beer up here Simon! From here I ventured up the Oonadatta track as far as the falcon would take me and until the smell of sulphur and loneliness propelled me back south. Also, rain from Queensland were on the way, gushing west along old creeks now flooded with water and this was no place to get stuck!

I enjoyed most of all, picking grapes one morning in an old Grenache bush vineyard which I seem to remember was almost one hundred years old, at least they are now, ten years later. The grapes were few and far but the quality was gorgeous and it stuck home that this wine area has some history and stature behind it. I also remember one morning, driving over to Ardrossan ( of Ayrshire heritage I presume) on the Spencer gulf, on a road which heads west to the Nullarbor. John Zilm had promised me a day of crabbing, for large angular blue crabs on the beaches. Fun I thought and indeed it was. Funny for John that is. He had only bought one pair of Wellington boots and the water was up to one’s knee’s which made it very difficult to move at speed. The hook that we used to catch the blue crab, by hooking it round one of the legs and putting it in the bucket, was harder than I thought it was going to be, and the problem was if you were unsuccessful first time the crab didn’t like you disturbing him and he therefore swung into attack mode with his large pincers spread wide in front of his body. The sight for John was wonderful I am sure, as I tried to flee the crab every few minutes whilst unable to move very fast in the water. I am sure John purposely forgot the Wellington boots. I caught two crabs in about an hour, spending most of my time splashing around in the water and John caught the remaining one hundred or so! We returned home, delighted and full of verve and cooked all the crabs up in a large pot and ate them with a homemade Thai chilli sauce washed down with some aged Semillon. It was a wonderful day. I have lost touch with John and Bev Zilm which is a pity. I know that he is no longer involved in Craneford wines, which is sad. If you out there or if anyone knows where they are please let me know.

Mr Whirly says:

“The southern Rhone experience and in particular Hermitage, yet this wine is from the famous Barossa valley in South Australia. Hand picked Syrah, Mataro (Mourvedre to us Northern Hemisphere’s), Grenache and the final “ Coup de Grace”, 10% Marsanne and Roussanne ( white varietals) with six years bottle age make this soft, alluring and spectacular for Autumn and winter drinking.”

Alcohol: 15.0%

Kabminye Vineyard, Barrossa valley

Kabminye is an aboriginal word meaning “Leading star”. This wine jumped out at me in February 2006 on my last day in South Australia before flying home via Perth to London. It’s a unique blend of Southern Rhone red varietals with a touch of the Hermitage influence, with the 10% addition of white varietals with some Marsanne, Roussanne and Ugni Blanc.

Irma Adeline 2003

This wine honours a unique woman: Irma Adeline Dallwitz.

Irma is descended from one of the first Silesian families to settle in the Krondorf area. The piece of land in which the winery nestles has been in her family since their settlement in the mid 1800’s. In upholding traditional Barossa valley family values while embracing modernity with enthusiasm she truly embodies Kabminye’s philosophy of celebrating the past, present and future of the Barossa valley.

This wine combines the Rhone philosophy of blending Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre with the Hermitage style of adding Marsanne and Roussanne.  Balanced flavours of plum, black cherry, marzipan and mocha.

This unique wine is made with 60% hand picked and pruned premium Shiraz from Tanunda with 20% Mataro ( Mourvedre) and 10% Grenache from Lyndoch, and the balance of white wine varieties including Marsanne, Roussanne, all from the Barossa valley. Each parcel of wine was matured in seasoned French Oak barriques for fifteen months. The result is a very complex fruit driven wine. Drink now or cellar for seven to ten years.

Posted on

Pinot Noir, “ The Bonython” 2007

Mr Whirly says:

“ A single vineyard Pinot Noir from one of the most intriguing cool climate Australian wine regions that is indeed a great area for this fickle grape. I love that this wine has a little bottle age and also that the intensity of the fruit on this wine combines with some really soft, subtle characters.  A little “farmyardy” on the nose but not oppressive. Only available, as are all wines from this vineyard in very small quantities. I expect this wine to be quite a long lasting wine that will only get better in the coming 2-4 years.”

Winemakers notes:

“ The Bonython is produced predominantly from the fruit of ten year old vines grown on our Bonython vineyard in the Piccadilly valley. A truly handcrafted wine from vineyard to bottle, it shows strawberry and cherry fruit characters with early complexity which will develop progressively with time. Unfined and unfiltered.”

Alcohol: 14.0%

Posted on

Merlot 2005

Mr Whirly says;

“ Mr Whirly’s first straight Merlot, moulded in Saint Emilion over centuries this wine is up there with some of the lovely wines from the right bank of the Gironde. Its a big wine mind.  It need’s a decanter!  I love the fact that it’s now almost 6 years old and when I tasted it recently it was still quite young in its makeup, surely a positive thing for a top quality Merlot from this great winery. Lovely intense autumnal berry fruit.”

Winemakers notes:

“ Grapes were sourced solely from the estate’s Bonython Vineyard planted in 1997. The wine was matured predominantly in French oak barriques prior to blending and bottling.”

Alcohol: 14.5%

Posted on

Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Voted second best Sauvignon Blanc by James Halliday in his wine companion for 2007.

Sadly this wine is now sold out, and a new vintage will I hope arrive in 2014

2009 Sauvignon Blanc ( arrived November 2010)

Mr Whirly says;

“This is probably the most beautiful compact wine region in Australia and possibly the most exquisite homestead to match. Benchmark, grassy and Bramley apple Sauvignon Blanc. Wonderful exuberant, mineral Sauvignon that impresses with its vitality from the single vineyard Bonython vineyard. I am not normally a massive fan of this varietal but this wine really does knock me sideways with its length and energy. Gooseberries on the palate big style!! This fruit is now so difficult to find in the UK it seems the only way I can get a smell of  it is to stick my nose in a bottle of this wine: it has  some Elderflower too with an added tropical pineapple depth. Gorgeous with a dozen Colchester or Belon natives down at my old haunt Bibendum Oyster Bar, which I managed for 4 years from 1994 to 1997.”

Winemakers notes:

“ A complex spectrum of aroma’s and flavours from grassy, herbaceous and citrus through to ripe tropical fruits will delight you. The Palate is fresh, dry and crisp. Grapes were hand-harvested from three small blocks on Stony rise, a south facing hillside at the Northern end of the Piccadilly valley.”

Price: (Sold out)

Alcohol: 14.o%