Grüner Veltliner, Mahi, Wine School & Txakoli

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Bit short on comment this week.  Absolutely nothing sport related to report upon, and it looks like this situation is going to continue well into next week. 

If only Andy Murray was in a semi-final at Wimbledon, or Bradley Wiggins was leading from the front, or the footballers were filling us with falsely high expectations… sigh, if only…

Wayne was telling me earlier how much he has been enjoying the competitive nature of the beach volleyball, specifically the Austrian team who, whilst coming from a land-locked country, seem to have adapted well to the concept of ‘beach’, even beating the Aussie’s apparently. Brazil also play, he informs me, and the USA.  Bikinis are far from obligatory, and in fact most of the gents choose to wear shorts and vests.

Frankel won yet again on Wednesday at Goodwood, with a fantastic starting price of 1-20, oh yes indeed, bet £20 and win £1 plus your stake back… time for him to move onto stud soon. 

Cricket is on in the north but, after my predictions last time, I have been obliged to refrain from comment.

Syria is also beyond comment, the banks, the government, the lawyers and the lawmakers are all holidaying on their yachts ,which makes for the usual August graveyard shift for the journos, so really all there is left to talk about is wine, and its consumption!

New in!

We don’t usually list new wines at this time of year, but these two pushed our buttons too hard to be ignored.

Türk Grüner Veltliner, Kremser Weinberge, Kremstal, Austria 2010 – £14.99  

Lots of words there, many of them quite difficult to get your teeth round.  The Krems valley is where the warm Pannonian climate from the east meets the cooler, oxygen-rich air from Waldviertel.  This warm/cool variation ensures the perfect conditions for the Grüner Veltliner grape.  The wine is elegant with great texture.  Grapefruit, pear and stone-fruit flavours linger on the palate that finishes deliciously crisp and fresh.

Try a bottle in place of your normal Sauvignon Blanc, see what you think!

Mahi ‘Twin Valleys Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Marlborough, NZ 2011 – £19.99

Wayne says:

‘I met Brian Bricknell from Mahi Vineyards in June, what a nice man!  He spent about 15  years making wine in various parts of the world, including a stint at Errazuriz in Chile, before heading back to Marlborough in 1996 with a plan (idea really).  He bought the Mahi estate with his wife in 2001, yet it was to be another five years before he gave up his job at Seresin Estate to focus on Mahi.   I was lucky enough to taste a few of his wines and was pretty struck with this one, if I’m honest.

The Twin Valleys vineyard is quite west, where the Waihopai and Wairau Valleys meet, situated on the upper terrace where it is quite cool.  The winemaking style is very non-intervention, using only wild yeasts (those already present on the grapes) and, for this wine, only the free run juice, which is then fermented and left to rest on its lees in French oak barriques.  The wine itself is lovely, with a really lively, zesty character, rich appley fruit, some oatmeal and oak notes (but not too fat!) with a great mouth feel and a long fresh finish!’

Wine School

Dozens of you have now enjoyed the 6 week wine school that takes place here in the shop.

You have had your eyes opened to grape varieties that you would have never considered previously, and you have confirmed the styles that you really do not enjoy.  You have considered food matches to different wines, and you have enjoyed bowls and bowls of water biscuits and breadsticks.  You have made new friends, and you have tasted over 60 wines.  You have woken up on Thursday morning saying to yourselves ‘I can’t wait until next Wednesday evening!’

For the rest of you who have not been on our course, details are attached. 

Simply put –

  • it takes place on 6 consecutive Wednesday evenings (19th September – 24th October inclusive)
  • evenings take place in the shop, commence at 8pm and usually wrap at about 10pm
  • cost per person is £150
  • aimed at the keen amateur eager to go beyond the Sauvignon Blanc/Merlot comfort zone
  • fun, informal, yet informative
  • maximum of 12 places available

The places are starting to disappear, so if this appeals to you, drop us a line before you go on holidays and give yourself something to look forward to for when you get back.

You can get hold of us on 020 8944 5224; email us on; or chat to us face to face on the shop floor (if you do that on a Saturday there’s always a danger we’ll ply you with wine whilst you’re here!)

Plying with wine this Saturday

We’re both guarding the shop this weekend which means that we’ll both need a glass of something to keep the conversation flowing…

We’re visiting Basque country for the white this week: the deliciously different and divisive Ameztoi Txakolina Txakoli 2011, Getariako Txakolina – £13.99. 

As you all know well, Txakoli is made from the local Hondarrabi Zuri grapes and is the perfect match for the seafood pinxos served in San Sebastian.  Fresh, appley with a delicious spritz, it has been likened to the wine equivalent of a wet sponge on a hot day – refreshing!

Sticking with Spain for the red, Albizu Tempranillo 2011, Rioja, – £6.99

Certainly one of our best-selling red wines this is made within the Rioja region but not declared as such because it has been made more as a table wine for immediate enjoyment.  Plenty of exuberant, primary red fruit character here without being over bearing, very juicy and a great all-rounder. To eat, a nice pork loin with plenty of garlic and some salad leaves always appeals.

The Albizu is one of the wines, in this month’s 6 bottle, Wine Club selection – so come and give it a taste and ask about the club.

To finish as I started, if only there was something to look forward to, some athletics perhaps, synchronised swimming even…

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