JWL Issue #150: Introducing the August Wines, plus Sancerre Special

August 3, 2021

I almost can't believe I've been writing this newsletter for 150 issues. For those who have come to Wine List over the last year or two, it was this newsletter that started it all.

Josh's Wine List kicked off with the intention of helping you gain a little bit of knowledge in an easy way. Bitesize lessons & short supermarket reviews of the best things we've tasted.

Fast forward and we've evolved how we approach that problem quite a bit, but the mission remains the same.

After the delays of July, we're very happy to say all the wines are here in our warehouse now. We will be distributing these as of today and with you in the next few weeks.

This month's red is called Vallechiusa. I first tasted this three years ago in Italy. We were there for a wedding, then zigzagged across Tuscany on our way back to Bologna. In a small town, which was part industrial, part old men playing bridge in the village cafe, we found this wine. Tuscan reds can be big, but this one is aged in concrete, giving it softening out the heaviness and keeping it fresh.

For the white, we head to Spain and towards Ribera del Duero. This region, known for its reds which rival Rioja, is home to a white grape called albillo. Made by Bodegas Arrocal, here the viticulture is sustainable and the vineyards 830m above sea level. The result a wine that with a lemon & citrus & tropical aroma profile, and a textural but crisp and zingy palate.

Case customers can enjoy natural French rosé, grüner from Rheingau in Germany, and a pairing of wines from Clos Rocailleux, a winery in Tarn – in the south of France.

More weekday natural wines

We've been paying attention to what you've liked over the last few months – and our latest drops should hit the spot. We've got six brand new low intervention wines between £13.50 and £15.50 in the shop. Whether you want sauvignon blanc, skin contact cataratto (one of my favourite grapes), chillable gamay, or old school sangiovese, we've got you covered.

Sancerre

There are few greater classics than Sancerre. Perfect with any seafood delight, and when well made, even better by itself. This month's Taste and Learn give a focus to this region in central France.

Happy tasting

Taste

Focus on Sancerre

The classic Sancerre is sauvignon blanc with a little lees ageing. ASDA Extra Special Sancerre (ASDA, £12) is entry level: it isn’t creamy, it’s very light in body with green apples, gooseberries and grass.

Menetou Salon is a great alternative to Sancerre. A village across the river, it’s name is far less famous so you can often get similar wine for better value. Le Prieure des Aublats (Waitrose, £18.99) is beautiful. So many flavours going on, a little body, long finish. This is a great wine to take to a dinner party.

Les Marennes Rouge Sancerre is a pinot noir from the village of Sancerre (Waitrose, £14.99). The area used to be famous for its red wines and it was only in the 1950s when it became more famous for its whites. Blackcurrants, pebbles and baking spice.

Learn

What is Sancerre?

From the archives: Issue #061

This was one of those wine ‘brands’ I knew before I knew anything about wine. Along with Chablis, Sancerre was one of those go-to whites for me who didn’t like or know much about white wine. And of course, in a similar breath I probably would have told you how I don’t like sauvignon blanc.

Sancerre is a small part of the Loire Valley, in the north of France. That makes it a cool climate (though global warming is heating it slowly), and therefore only certain grapes could grow here. The appellation is opposite Pouilly-Fumé, another of Loire’s famous exports.

Most wine produced here is white and made from sauvignon blanc. These wines are bone dry, aromatic and often have gooseberry and elderflower flavours. Pinot noir is the other grape representing about one-fifth of grape production, and it’s evenly split between red and rosé.

Interestingly, Sancerre historically was a pinot region that lost favour to sauvignon blanc. The mini-resurgence in the mid-2000s has been documented by Decanter.

Did you know?

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