Tiny’s Blog

A wild mix of news, expert advice, and inane ramblings.

Scroll down for recent blog posts from the staff at Tiny’s.

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A Wild August

By Rachel, 1st of August

The past few months have been wild – the situation and various rules seem to be changing everyday and we barely know which way is up, and which is down. In keeping with these wild times, our picks for the month are all wild fermented (you see what I did there?) 

In beer, wine and cider, wild fermentation means that the liquid has been fermented using wild yeasts found naturally in the environment, rather than the brewer/winemaker/cidermaker pitching in yeast – it’s like the difference between sourdough bread and regular bread. Wild yeasts can be found in the air, on fruit skins (like grapes and apples), and they like to hang around in porous materials (like oak barrels). In most alcohol making, steps are taken to ensure that the wild yeast is made inert so fermentation happens with a specific chosen yeast (usually lab-grown), but with wild fermentation, the brewer/winemaker/cidermaker encourages this wild yeast and all the wild and wonderful flavours that come with it!

If you’d like to read more about wild fermentation, there’s more information on the previous, and on our pages about Natural Wine and Extra Special Beer.

August Staff Picks

Chateau Rochecolombe Cotes Du Rhone £15

An elegant and expressive red from the Rhone region. Made up of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, the grapes are manually harvested from old vines before undergoing natural fermentation. It’s unoaked and full of clean, fresh blackcurrant flavours, with hints of wild herb, liquorish, and a bretty spiciness. Pair with big and hearty food, like roast meat and vegetables, and mature cheeses.

Benimaquia Tinajas £21

Orange wine gets its beautiful colour from extended skin contact. In white wine making, the juice is normally separated from the skins before fermentation, but with orange wine, the grapes are fermented with the skins (like red wine) – this imparts colour, as well as extra flavours and textures from the grapes. This beautifully bright orange wine from Spain has been naturally fermented with the skins in tinajas (large clay amphorae). The result is a complex, funky, and zesty wine, with a touch of orange oil bitterness. Enjoy it as an aperitif, or with seafood. 

Valenciso Rioja Blanco £21

The grapes (Viura, Garnacha Blanca) are sourced from 80 year old vines on clay, stone soil in the North of the Rioja Alta area – these sustainable vineyards are of outstanding quality. After wild fermentation using indigenous yeasts, the wine is aged in oak barrels for 9 months. It’s a gorgeous white Rioja: a creamy texture, with complex notes of florals, preserved lemon, cashew, and apricot. Pair with creamy dishes, particularly those with fish.

Olivier Cousin Pur Breton Cabernet Franc £26

Unencumbered by oak, this is a wild and juicy celebration of natural fruit flavour. A mouthful of juicy black cherry, blackcurrant, plums and chalk tones with a naughty whiff of mushroom, undergrowth, and green pepperiness. It’s got a bright acidity, with a refreshing and light finish – a perfect red  to pair with a ratatouille and warm, slow evenings.

Trevviban Mill Pet Nat £22

Pettilant Naturel means ‘naturally sparkling’: these naturally fermented wines are also naturally fizzy. Pet Nat is bottled before fermentation has finished, and the CO2 created in the fermentation process is trapped in the bottle, making it sparkle (this differs from the champagne method, where a finished still wine is refermented in bottle with the addition of sugar). This one from Trevviban Mill in Cornwall is pleasingly orange coloured from the extended skin contact. It’s bright and tropical with notes of sweet elderflower. Pour carefully to avoid shaking up the yeast!

Pilton Max Lux £10

Pilton are artisan cider producers from Somerset and they make traditional keeved cider – that’s cider that is fermented naturally with wild yeast. Max Lux is a 2014 vintage cider – a particularly sunny year which produced gorgeous sweet and fruity apples. This was bottled while still fermenting to create fizz (like a Pet Nat). It’s dry, with tight champagne-like bubbles and complex fruity flavours. 

Tilquin A L’Ancienne Gueuze £18

Gueuze is like the champagne of the beer world – it’s celebratory, complex, fizzy, barrel aged and blended (and often comes with a ‘top shelf’ price tag!) This quintessential Belgian style is made from spontaneously fermented beer – lambic. Lambic is made when the wort (that’s the unfermented malty and hoppy liquid) is exposed to wild yeasts in a large open-topped vessel called a coolship (it looks like a beer swimming pool!) Once inoculated with wild yeast, the long and slow wild fermentation takes place in wooden barrels, and gueuze is a blend of one, two, and three year old lambics that are refermented in bottle (like champagne). This gueuze from Tilquin is lemony tart, with notes of biscuit, spice, and funk. 

Yonder Boshi £6

Yonder a modern farmhouse brewery and blendery based in Somerset. They specialise in low-intervention and mixed fermentation brewing, using local ingredients. Boshi is named after Japanese fermented plums – Umeboshi. For this beer, local salted plums have been added to wild ale, resulting in a moreish sweet and sour beer with a luscious syrupy texture. 

De Castilla Antique Fino £25

Sherry styles and flavours depend on the flor created by wild yeasts. Young wine is placed into porous barrels and wild yeasts produce a waxy film on the surface of the liquid – this is called flor. As well as adding characteristic yeasty-bready flavours, flor also controls the oxygen in the barrels. Little or no flor will give oxygen access and the wine will undergo oxidative aging, resulting in amontillado or oloroso sherry, but a good flor covering will create a protective cap, which means the wine will age anaerobically and create manzanilla or fino sherry. This Fino from Jerez is rich and complex, with a salty tanginess – pair it with paella and olives. 

Have a wild and wonderful August, everybody!

Lots of love,

Tiny’s crew x

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Natural Wine: A Quick Explanation 

By Rachel, 17th July 2020

Natural wine is quite a loose term, but to briefly describe it, natural wine means low intervention wine. It is wine that, from grape to bottle, is made with the philosophy of allowing natural processes to determine the eventual product.

Growing
Natural wine often starts with an organic and biodynamic vineyard. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are eschewed for more environmentally minded methods. 

Fermentation
Most wine is fermented using yeast strains chosen by the winemaker, but natural winemakers often forgo this control and their wine is fermented using yeasts and bacteria naturally present on the grapes and in the air. Natural yeasts convert sugar into alcohol and, alongside natural bacteria, create flavours specific to each strain. The flavours of natural wine can range from incredibly weird and funky, to pretty much indistinguishable from “normal” wine: the key difference is that natural winemakers allow the grapes to ferment and develop flavour naturally, rather than tightly controlling the process. 

Sulfites
Sulfites are chemical compounds that are naturally produced during fermentation, so all wine has some sulfites, but natural wine has far less. Sulfites have the effect of killing or deactivating yeast and bacteria, so most winemakers add them at many stages of winemaking. Sulfites are used to get rid of the natural yeasts and bacteria before adding the winemakers chosen yeast, they are used as an antioxidant to prevent unwanted oxidation flavours, and they are commonly used to help clean equipment. Unless you have an allergy, sulfites are harmless and have been used in wine making since Roman times, but natural winemakers want to encourage natural fermentation, so they do not usually add them. 

Mechanical processes 
There are a myriad of mechanical processes used during most winemaking – the fermenting liquid is stirred, sieved, pumped over, etc. to help with the fermentation/oxidation or create specific flavours. These steps are skipped by some natural winemakers. Again, this is done to encourage the natural development of flavours, rather than controlling them. 

Fining
Most wine is also fined to some degree – yeast and other particles are removed before bottling using bentonite clay, isinglass, or egg albumin. Natural wines are often unfined – this means that the wine can be slightly cloudy. Keeping the dead yeast cells and other materials in the wine also means that there can be flavour differentiation between bottles, even between bottles from the same batch! But this is all part of the fun for natural wine.

You might have noticed me using the words “often”, “sometimes”, “usually”, and other vague descriptors, because truthfully, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to natural wine. Pop in to say hello if you want more information, or you want our natural wine recommendations, but I hope this quick explanation comes in useful when you want to impress someone with your wine knowledge!

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Farmhouse Beer Styles

By Rachel, 14th July 2020

‘Farmhouse’ is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of styles, the most famous of which are saison, grisette, and bier de garde. These beers have their roots in the ancient European tradition of farmers producing beer for themselves and their workers. These beers were highly individual to the area, and even specific to each farm: the malt, herbs and other ingredients used for the beer were often from whichever crops the farm was producing, and the many indigenous yeasts produced many different flavours. Today, the beer style is just as varied as it’s historical counterpart – they can range from light and dry, to sour and funky, and often use unusual malts and other flavourings.

Burning Sky – Saison Provision £16
Based in an old farmhouse in the South Downs, Burning Sky are a British take on age-old Belgian Brewing tradition. This beer is fermented in oak foudres with saison yeast and then with a blend of Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces. The result is tart, crisp, slightly sour and incredibly refreshing. Enjoy with light meals like salad and simple seafood.
Burning Sky – Saison De Fete £17
This beer is light, tart and crisp, with a tight bubbly texture and a subtle spicy character from hops, spices, and spelt. Fermented with their unique mixed fermentation culture and aged in wine barrels for a year.

Brew By Numbers – Farmhouse Bacchus Blonde Ale £12.50
Brew By Numbers (BBNo) are a London based brewery well known for their delicious pales and IPAs, and they also produce some excellent wild and barrel aged beer. This Farmhouse is inspired by English Wine – Bacchus is a grape often grown in the UK and it produces tropical-tasting white wine. The beer was fermented with saison yeast, grapefruit zest and tropical tasting hops before being bretted and aged in wine barrels. It’s gently tart, full bodied and full of fruity notes.
Against The Grain – Fruitus The Farmer Beescake £18
American brewery, Against The Grain, is all about fun experimentation and looking at beer differently. This beer is part of their ‘All Funked Up’ series of sour wild ales. It’s a bretted – melon and honey – wine barrel aged – spelt saison (a bit of a mouthful!) The spelt and saison yeast add subtle spicy notes while the honey and melons (honeydew and cantaloupe) add fresh and fruity sweetness. Pair with Moroccan food.

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The New Normal

By Rachel, 1st July 2020

The last few months have been a bit weird for everyone – us included. And as we all adjust to this “new normal”, we’ve got another small change to introduce you all to: our new normal opening hours!

Opening Hours
Monday: closed
Tuesday: 12-7pm
Wednesday: 12-7pm
Thursday: 12-7pm
Friday: 12-8pm
Saturday: 11-8pm
Sunday: 12-7pm

We’ve been slowly increasing our opening hours over the last couple of weeks, but we’re now going to stick with these ones (no more, the trials and tribulations of wondering whether your local wine shop is open!) 

We’re also still offering the pre-order service – just send your order to tiny@tinystipple.co.uk. All of our products are listed on our website for you to choose from, or you can just ask for our recommendations! 

We look forward to seeing you all (from a safe distance, obviously!), but if you need further encouragement to pop in and say hello: have a wee look at our staff picks for July!

July Picks

Domaine du Pre Semele Sancerre Rose £22

This elegant and crisp Rose is perfect for those warm and summery afternoons. Domaine du Pre Semele is in the beautiful Loire Valley, and run by brothers Julien and Clement. The 100% Pinot Noir grapes are picked at optimum ripeness and gently pressed to capture the delicate flavours and aromas. Wild strawberry, zingy citrus, and fresh cherry are balanced with sophisticated wafts of floral and herbal notes. 

Quinta das Arcas Conde Villar Alvarinho £16

Produced by a family owned vineyard in the north of Portugal, this wine was made to suit warm, slow afternoons. With a generous, yet soft body, and luscious notes of orange blossom, lemon and peach. And as an added extra, the bottle is bloomin’ gorgeous too. Serve lightly chilled whilst reclining in the sunshine. 

Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino £25

This Umbrian winery takes its name from an exorcist who used to live nearby (from scacciare – to banish, and diavoli – devils), and this wine is devilishly delicious. Sagrantino is an unusual, highly tannic grape, and it has created this powerful and punchy wine. Intense notes of ripe plums, red berries, herbs and spices, softened with leathery barrel flavours. It’s big and juicy, and tastes like the most Italian wine you’ve ever had – more Italian than an Italian driving a Ferrari, drinking espresso and wearing Gucci. Pair with pizza. Obviously. 

Squawk Brewing Pavo Pale Ale £5.20

Local brewery, Squawk, name all their beers after the scientific names for birds and this 3.8% pale is named after the Indian Peafowl. This beer has the malty and biscuity backbone of a traditional British cask ale, but with an exotic twist coming from the grapefruity hops. It’s a perfect session pale for your ‘back-garden beer-garden’. 

Burning Sky Saison de Fete £17

Saisons were historically brewed in Belguim as a thirst-quenching drink for summer farm labourers – so this one is spot-on for labouring (or not!) in your garden. This one is from Burning Sky in Sussex. Light and crisp, with a tight bubbly texture and a subtle spicy character from hops, spices, and spelt. 

Masons Peppered Pear Gin £46 (paired with Steep Soda Co. Rhubarb £2)

This Dry Yorkshire Gin was made in a still called Steve. The pears and pink peppercorns add an elegantly fruity and spicy twist. Pair with plain tonic for a refined aperitif. Or if you have a sweet-tooth: drink with a tart and sweet Steep Rhubarb soda (the rhubarb is also from Yorkshire, so this makes this an extra-Yorkshirey tipple – there’s nowt like it).

Enjoy your summer.

Lots of love,

Tiny’s crew x

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Business As Usual? Working During Covid19

By Rachel, 24th March 2020 (excerpt from a separate blog)

I’m one of the few people in retail that still has a job to go to, but suddenly turning from shop worker to “key worker” wasn’t a straightforward task.

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We’re trading, albeit, with a number of changes made to the business. Here are my tips for small independent retail still working during Covid19:

Plan and take stock of what is really important: 

We spent a couple of days talking about what would be best for not only the shop and the staff, but also what would be best for our wider community. We are allowed to trade as normal, but we have decided not to, instead only operating as a collection service. We also have a daily meeting first thing to make sure we are all still happy to work. 

Use this time wisely:

You can now do all the little odd jobs that normally fall by the wayside. Re-paint your shop window, spruce up your website, plan for the future! Or, you can just as wisely use this time to have a proper rest so when this is all over, you can come back again re-energised!

Find new ways to reach people:

Use the internet and social media to your advantage – we’re holding our guided tasting events online! It’s a great way of connecting with people when you can’t do it face-to-face.

We’re all just trying to get through these weird times and we need to do it together. I’m keen to see tips from other people working customer-facing jobs during this time – particularly the absolute heroes that work in food retail.

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Coronavirus Update

By Rachel, 18th of March 2020

We are taking the current situation seriously – there is plenty of hand washing and sanitizing going on, but we are open for the foreseeable. Follow our Twitter and Instagram feeds for up-to-the-minute info about our shop.

Community is what will get us through these hard times, and our new shop window takes its inspiration from our community. We are so proud to be part of Chorlton.

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We would like to thank everyone coming through our door. We are a small, independent business and the next few weeks are going to be tough, so we really appreciate your custom.

We all have to look after each other – check on your neighbours, donate to food banks, support your local area, wash your hands, and keep safe!

Lots of love,

Ed, Rach, Michael, and Murphy x

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Spring Marching On

By Rachel, 1st of March 2020

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Spring is nearly here. I know, I know – it is still well too cold to even think about leaving the house, but trust me: Spring is nearly here, and with it new and exciting things like plants growing and sunshine (heard of it?)

In the spirit of Spring, we are abundant with newness here in the shop. We have a load of new wines and even a brand new wine section: English Wine (thankfully they’re a lot nicer than the English Weather!) And don’t forget to check the beer room – there’s a load of new exciting things in there too!

We’re saying a fond farewell to Callum, who’s been the Assistant Manager at Tiny’s for a couple of years, and we wish him all the best for the future. But, continuing on the theme of newy newness, we have a new Assistant Manager: Rachel. Rach has been working in the beer industry for a few years (some of you might recognise her from pulling pints in various city centre bars), and she’s excited to see what this wine thing is all about. Rachel likes big and fruity French reds, oaked whites, wild and wonderful beer, and speaking about herself in the third person. Come and say hi!

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We’re here to help you through this trying time of change. Don’t let the weather get you down – grab a bottle, settle indoors, and remember that Spring is nearly here. 

March Picks

Bolney Pinot Noir £26

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One from our brand new English Wine range – this one comes from West Sussex. The pinot noir grapes are hand picked, crushed and fermented on skins. The resulting wine is fresh, dry, and full of tart dark fruit (think blackberries and cherry). This light and refreshing red would go nicely with roasted vegetables and rich game. 

Clos La Cariziere Muscadet £18

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This is a beautifully soft and easy-drinking white. Made from 100% hand harvested Melon de Bourgogne grapes, this wine is fermented with natural yeasts before being aged on fine lees for 8-10 months. It’s full of grape and dried fruit flavours, with a refreshing minerality in the finish: perfect with seafood and salads.

Forest Whisky 10 Year Old Caol Ila £90

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Our newest whisky, and it tastes just as good as the bottle looks. This bottle is one of only 396 taken from a single cask – the spirit was distilled in March 2009 before being rested in an ex-bourbon cask for ten years. This one is really peaty, with notes of honey, tobacco, and oak. Firey, but with a smooth and long lasting finish.

Loverbeer Cardosa £10

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This Italian brewery make exclusively wild belgian style beer, often adding surprising ingredients. For Cardosa, Loverbeer added cardoon to the boil (it’s a little like an artichoke), which adds a pleasant bitterness. It’s a spontaneous beer (fermented using only wild yeasts) and is then matured in oak vats for 6 months before being refermented in bottle. It’s lightly sour, with a herbal bitterness and a moreish saison-like yeastiness.

Enjoy your ‘spring’.

Lots of love,

Tiny’s crew x

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Love Is In The Air

By Callum, 1st of February 2020

It has been a long January. Those who partook in Dry January, we forgive you and still love you. Those who partook in Tryanuary, we love you. It’s been approximately 4563 days since pay day, and no one is pretending it was easy. However, fear not, the end is here and you’re safe to check you bank balance again.

February is our favourite month of the year. It’s a time to celebrate the end of January, the days getting longer, the sun threatening to shine and looking deep into the future and not seeing a glimpse of Christmas – what a time to be alive!!

It’s also Valentines Day.

Valentines Day is one of those times of year that no one really wants to say they celebrate but everyone does in fear of their spouse thinking they don’t love them. There. I said it. Those of us without a spouse pour scorn on the concept whilst secretly wishing someone was buying us a bottle of Champagne.

One thing is for sure, whatever side of it you’re on, beautiful food and drink is an absolute necessity this month – and we’re here to help.

February Picks

Manchester Raspberry Gin £41

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Yes it is pink and that is a massive cliche but it also tastes lovely – so get off my back. Manchester Gin have been producing top end gin for a few years now, and their Raspberry Infused Gin is soft and elegant, with just the right amount of fresh raspberry to give it a hue and that sweet and sour raspberry edge. The perfect pink gin.

Caol Ila 12yo £55

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Imagine sat by a cosy fire with your loved one (or alone) with a blanket over you and some soft slow-fi beats on. This is what that tastes like. Caol Ila is a peaty whisky but with a delicate touch. That bonfire smokiness is pronounced on the nose, but it isn’t overwhelming. It’s gentle and warm and gives way on the palate to soft stone fruits, almonds and a hint of heather. Stripped back Islay single malt at its very best.

Magpie Estate Sparkling Shiraz £22

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This sparkling wine starts life as a big Aussie Shiraz, aged for 12 months in oak before undergoing secondary fermentation in the bottle to give it its fizz. It’s a real showstopper with dark, delicious black cherry notes, hints of chocolate and pepper, all given a light freshness by those bubbles. A beautiful drop.

Domaine Bouchie- Chattellier Pouilly Fume ‘Premier Millisime’ £25

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For anyone who loves Sancerre this is the wine for you. The top cuvee from Bouchie-Chatellier sourced from an outcrop of silex soil – the soil which produces the best of the best in Sancerre. Ripe, herbaceous aromas are nettle and dill, balanced by crisp citrus fruit. The palate has a lovely chalky texture giving the weight to balance its complexity. Incredible stuff.

La Colombaia Amarone £29

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This rich warm red is made using partially dried grapes, which produce concentrated sugars and big, decadent, wines. Bucket loads of dark fruit,w it a big dollop of chocolate, caramel and vanilla. This red has an air of fruitcake with cream about it. It is decadent to the max.

Boon Geuze Marriage Parfait 2015 £11.50

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This vintage offering from critically acclaimed Belgian brewery Boon is an exceptional example of craftsmanship when it comes to blending Lambic beers. The finest three year old Lambics are selected to create a stunning beer which combines the fruitiness of lime zest and tangerine with soft notes of notes of vanilla, all with a slightly tart finish. Perfect Lambic at a brilliant price for a 750ml bottle.

Happy Valentines Day!

Lot’s of love,

Ed, Callum, Michael and Murphy x

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