There are some places in Manchester I don’t get to often enough.
And then when I visit them for the first time in ages, I ask myself why. Wine & Wallop is very high on that list. The staff are bloody lovely, the wine is divine, the beer is great too, and they have a good gin selection. Then throw in some of the most delicious nibbles I can get my mitts on, and I don’t know what to say. It’s even a stone’s throw (or half drunky stumble) to the tram stop, so I don’t even have that as an excuse.
I’m an idiot.
Whatever the reason(s)/excuse(s)I was recently back – it was Mr GFB’s birthday, and it just happened to coincide with a tasting of Californian wine. It was fate.
As soon as I could escape from the office, we were there. Yes, it means we were two hours early, but that gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy a platter of goodies, and a glass of wine before we started, to get us in the mood.
We opted for the French platter, salami, petite brie, Morbier,olives, and goats cheese with honey. As I’ve mentioned above, the platters in W&W are perfect – finger food that feels like a nibble, but actually is more substantial and will hold you in good stead for a few glasses of wine. The brie may have been so good that I ate it all to myself.
We’d also thoroughly recommend sampling the Iberico ham – creamy, nutty with caper berries to cut through the richness.
Thoroughly prepared for an evening of wine, we headed upstairs, to the event space on the second floor to take our seats.
The tasting was run by Majestic Wines, using Californian producers Chronic Cellars. Brothers Jake and Josh come from a wine making family in Paso Robles, California. After they graduated from college, they both returned home to join the family business. After ten years of learning everything they could, they decided to strike out on their own and using a term familiar to them for describing great stuff, “The Chronic” became a tangible idea. Great wine, but relaxed, informal.
Our first wine for the night set the scene perfectly. A fruity fizz, Spritz & Giggles was delicious, apples, pears, a hint of peach. I’m massively disappointed, however that this isn’t available in the UK. A change from the dryness of Champagne, or the crispness of Prosecco, this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot fits the bill.
Stone Fox, our only other white, was up next. A blend of 35% Grenache Blanc; 33% Viogner; 32% Picpoul, it takes it’s light bite of acidity from the Picpoul, salinity from the Viogner and the Grenache softens both, giving you a well rounded white.
We were now into red territory and sampling Dead Nuts – available at Wine & Wallop. Another blend, this features 78% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Tempranillo. Mild tannins, but lots of fruit, black cherries and a hint of redcurrants, with a touch of pepper on the tongue. One of our favourites of the night.
Sofa King Bueno, like Spritz and Giggles won me over with it’s name alone. Featuring 46% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 22% Petite Sirah, 3% Mourvedre, 2% Tannat this is another juicy blend, that features lots of soft fruit – black berries, raspberries, strawberries.
Mr GFB’s favourite was just around the corner. Purple Paradise with 70% Zinfandel, 14% Syrah, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Grenache has a distinct smokiness to it, hints of vanilla and pepper, chocolatey tannins.
For me, my second favourite of the evening was to come. Suite Petite featuring 87% Petite Sirah and 13% Syrah was like alcoholic Ribena. A dessert wine, it was obviously sweet, but not overly so, and had a lingering finish that meant I went back and asked politely for a second glass, even after I’d finished Mr GFB’s – disappointingly, again, this one isn’t available in the UK, hence my greed.
As ever W&W was fantastic – it’s always a pleasure to visit whatever the reason, and the opportunity sample some wines not available in Manchester was icing on the cake.
Now, if only we can get some Spritz and Giggles in the city…
With thanks to Wine & Wallop for the invitation to visit. I really, really, really don’t know why I’m not here more often. Perhaps because given the chance, I’d simply move in.