Its now September and the wines are beginning to flow, in more ways than one. All over the Northern Hemisphere the grapes are beginning to be picked and the year of hard toil in the vineyard culminates into the anxiety and relief of the next few weeks, one hopes. Its an exciting time for the winemaker but also a worrying one. Last minute storms and rain are not in anyway a desire.
For me as the importer its also a really exciting time since there are so many new wines to look at with the change in season from summer to Autumn. Its the major change on wine lists throughout the country and whereas the focus for the last five months has been on rose and white suddenly the focus now changes to reds with the already the wonders of Grouse on the menus of top restaurants around the UK and soon in October with the shooting season the added joys of duck, pigeon, partridge and pheasant. With such delights I long to match the succulence with a juicy, honest red and this wine performs this job admirably. Its a young Tempranillo, no oak and its full of energy and delight, with plums and Autumn blackberry prevalent yet velvety soft tannins. Ribera de Duero is fast becoming one of the most exciting red wine regions of Spain and with this wine you can see exactly why. It oozes class and value at £12.45 per bottle, available here in the Whirly shop on Ritherdon road, SW17 8QD so do pop in soon and give it a whirl!
October: new wines! So many to choose from but has to be the Post referendum wines out of the barrel from Corbiere! So two wines but heh they are both a real joy!
Recently, following a failed attempt to get there in May, I visited the home of the two great red varietals of Italy, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, Brunello de Montalcino and Barolo. Despite the miles in between the two towns and the crazy late night driving along the Mediterranean curve near Genoa, I had a fabulous time visiting both towns. They are held in so much admiration in the wine world of Italy and indeed the whole world and this reputation is growing every day.
After the most delightful night in Siena watching the people in the main square and not going un-noticed was the lovely sight of young people not looking at their i-phones but talking to each other enthusiastically! Wow it would be lovely to see a bit more of this in London. But what a city and Square this place is: I love the way it is hidden up and above the town so that if you did not know there was a beautiful city with the most amazing panoramic square that is beyond belief in terms of atmosphere and feel. Do go if you have never been.
( Manzone Single Vineyard wines above the highlight of which is “Il Castelletto 2011”, the small vineyard around the Castle)
I skipped Chianti the next morning and headed to the smaller yet to me, far more individual grower of the best the Sangiovese can offer in Italy, Montalcino, which received its DOCG status in the 1970’s. Another beautiful little hillside town, as many wine towns are, Montalcino is located about 20 miles south of Siena on the small road to Rome! It took be about 2 hours to find ” Terralsole” and the vineyard of Mario Bollag and his lovely wife Athena, since the signs are very difficult to follow and no one knows the vineyard when asking! Its not surprising since when I eventually do get on the right road its down the end of a gravel track of about 3 miles, as seems to be nearly always the case!
( The view from Monforte D’Alba across to Serralunga D’Alba and below the cellar at Manzone)
As Athena shows me around the house and cellar ( Mario is tasting 2012 vintages before blending with some of his consultants or friends) she explains to me that Mario was the black sheep of a prominent Basle family in Switzerland and he was an artist who studied at ” Ballata” in Florence in the 70’s. He fell in love with wine as well as art and worked his first vintage in Montalcino in 1990. However ” he wanted a bigger palate” so he bought the land we were walking on in 1993 as well as some land called ” Fonte Latta”, meaning “milk fountain”, since legend has it that if you were short of breast milk for your baby you drank the water from this fountain and the milk would flow. In 1995 he started planting the vines up here and built the house I stood in which was built from scratch.
Mario uses 600 litre barrels of French oak from Alier,for his wines and somehting about 220 litre wines and they are nowin the second year of conversion into Organic status. They also have higher elevation vineyards here in Montalcino which means the grapes are far more expressive and these vineyards are called ” Pian Bossolino” up to about 410 metres.
What I like about this whole set up is the clear passion for producing some of the most individual Brunello’s that one could possibly wish to find. They are up there in price too mind you but the quality and precision behind the winemaking is wonderful to witness. Mario also does not release his wines too early. Their present vintage is 2006; 5 years ageing in barrel and two in the bottle.
We tasted some 2012’s wines that were at present single vineyard wines. His Reserva 2012 was very soft and elegant, the Trio 2008 was a blend of grapes from other countries, Cabernet franc, Merlot and Syrah and velvety too. The 2013 ” Milk Fountain” was out of the barrel as well as the 2013 ” Pian Bossolino” which is a special cuvee of “Sangiovese Grosso”. The last wine we tasted was my personal favourite and was called ” Anata” and was a blend of the two vineyards and is clearly going to be an excepttional vintage, very bright and light.
(Mauro with his delightful father Giovanni)
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!)