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9th November 2021 by Rachel Wallhouse
A Very Special Place…
What an absolute pleasure it was to visit the Whalley Wine Bar to sample some great wines complemented by superb, continental-style sharing platters, writes Simon Smith.
It is amazing to see that those at the pinnacle of our hospitality industry have had the courage and foresight to open exciting new ventures. Tom Jones is one of those entrepreneurial visionaries who has planned a new venture – the Whalley Wine Bar – next door to his existing Whalley Wine Shop which he has run for 10 years.
The Whalley Wine Bar embraces Tom’s massive love and understanding of the wine world and he has brought it to life in the former Barclay’s Bank, which he has converted with a massive amount of planning and imagination.
The wine bar is beautifully designed and presented. Outside tables provide a great al fresco option while inside the bank’s old vault is now a space where guests can sample some of the more exclusive wine offerings and the main bar area is reminiscent of an Italian enoteca or Spanish bodega.
Along with friends, we were lucky to find our table in a prime position in front of the bar where we were presented with a very comprehensive wine choice – I believe over 350 wines to choose from! If that sounds daunting don’t be put off, Tom alongside his skilled sommelier and team, are extremely knowledgeable and are happy to advise, in a very informal way.
Judith and Sue are rosé girls and two glasses of Billecart-Salmon Rosé Champagne perfectly complemented the buzzing atmosphere. John and I decided to sample one of Tom’s small selection of superb craft beers, with two bottles of Sam Smiths lager that neither of us had sampled before, but it was agreeable in every way. Accompanied by smoked almonds, truffled crisps and very special Perello olives, we were off to a very good start.
The wine bar doesn’t pretend to be a restaurant, they serve a small selection of delicious food on platters and sharing boards, sourced from local suppliers with quality and provenance being their priority.
It was time to move on to wine and a quick chat with Tom had us eagerly drinking a South African Chardonnay, a lovely crisp wine and, as with all his wines, it was amazing value for money, by the glass or the bottle, proving that good wine needn’t break the bank! It was fascinating to people-watch as delighted customers popped in for drinks – Tom really has created something very special here.
Continuing our food journey, small plates of Ortiz sardines and Nardin Boquerones – anchovies in oil not salt – served in their tins with crusty bread, were absolutely delicious and a great accompaniment to the wine. Sharing boards of mixed cheese and charcuterie from some of Lancashire’s finest producers, were equally delicious.
We had the most wonderful night, great wine and food along with fantastic knowledgeable service in an amazing environment. Tom’s vision and execution are to be applauded – and most of all experienced!
This article first appeared in Live Ribble Valley by Simon Smith