JWL Issue #084: Supermarket Shiraz, Apple-y Chardonnay and Bell Pepper Aromas

February 4, 2020

I’ve heard some wonderful things about last month’s wines: the skin contact Sketta & Damien Coquelet’s 2018 Beaujolais. We start shipping the February package this week – if you’ve missed out previously, there’ll be a few boxes leftover if you order in the next few days.

The next iteration of The Wine List will be landing around April.

What does this look like? Along with the existing experience, we’ll be shipping a structured wine course to learn all of the core fundamentals about wine each month. If you’ve never studied a formal wine course before and wouldn’t mind answering a few questions, please hit reply and let me know.

It’s one of the big tasting peaks of the year at the moment, so I’m currently tasting lots of different wines both for these emails and subscription itself.


Les Autres Terres (November TWL, £16 Victoria) has a clean and cooling aromas instantly. Here’s theres apples and peaches, with a crisp citrusiness and no sign of oak. Mineral? Check. Really lovely chardonnay – and finally had my bottle of it this week.

I was in Dublin last week in the Ely Wine Bar, tasted Domaine Zinck’s Pinot Blanc (£8-9 / glass @ Ely, and £14 bottle here). Peardrop, lemon peel, and some slight earthiness came together elegantly here with wonderful length.

I’ve mentioned it before but Hedonist Shiraz (£14.49 from Waitrose) is a delight. Silky tannins, black fruits, and spice – lots of it! A biodynamic wine from a supermarket feels rare, and this ones very well made indeed.


How does a wine have a bell pepper smell to it?

Another question that sprang from my trip in Dublin.

Green bell pepper might not be the first thing you think when you think of wine, but once you smell it, you know.

Green bell pepper can be smelt in a variety of wines including sauvignon blanc, carménère, and malbec. Though, I find it easiest to detect in cabernet franc. But where do they come from?

The aroma stems from a compound pyrazines, which is in a selection of Bordeaux-originating grapes. It’s most present in cool climates, which is why cabernet franc from Loire can often be very prominent. Science has revealed that these compounds originate from the leafy parts of the vines, and so different types of pruning will affect this aroma.

Green bell pepper is one of its more prominent aromas, but if you ever seen green peppercorn or herbal notes, it could be relating to pyrazines. The level of greenness you like will come down to personal preference, but why not seek out a cool climate cabernet franc and give it a go.

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