JWL Issue #112: A Sainsbury's Special, Plus - Oak in Winemaking

September 22, 2020

It's an incredibly exciting week at Wine List HQ. Tomorrow, we launch our first ever Wine List event: our paired dinner in collaboration with Peckham Cellars. There'll be lots more planned here in coming months so watch this space. For those coming, expect a three-course dinner paired to some of our wines.

On Thursday, we're launching our first public Zoom for our customers. We've been testing this format with Teams (i.e. our version of a corporate tasting) for the last few months. This Thursday, we'll be doing a tasting of the Israeli colombard Levant, and Ode d'Aydie Rouge – the robust red from the south-west of France. Last three tickets are here – order before midday today to take part.

Learn to cook with top chefs

Today we also announce our partnership with Banquist – an online cooking academy. They partner with a top chef, the chef puts together a menu using more unusual ingredients, then sends you those and videos teaching you to cook it. Banquist are the Wine List for food, or vice-versa.

Next month, Adam Handling is the chef at the helm. He's prepared a dish of lobster tagliatelle, 'wagyu' pork and salted caramel tarte tatin. We've paired the wine it, with special videos prepared to learn along with. Enter WINELIST at checkout to get £15 off. Banquist sold out their last menu in seven minutes, so this pre-order link is like gold dust.

Best question gets a free bottle

Last week, we announced that all questions which get published will now get a free bottle! This continues – if you've got wine questions, just hit reply and ask away.

September Answers

For those looking for the most recent answers, look no further than here: September Answers. We're planning an SMS rollout of this service soon: easy ability to get the answers on-demand, and then order more of the wines you love. Feedback before we start building is needed so what do you think?


Sainsbury's special

Sainsbury's currently have a buy six, get 25% off selected bottles. These three are all in the offer and are some historic favourites.

I love white Rioja. Cune (£10 without the offer) is a great example if you've not had it before. Four months lees ageing in oak, means this has some good body to it with tropical aromas plus some apple too.

Roussanne is one of the main white grapes from the Rhône. This South African take (£10.25) is whole bunch pressed and treated very delicately,. The result? A white wine full of peach and white flowers with a rich honeyed back note.

Furmint is a Hungarian grape made most famous by the sweet wine Tokaj. But in more recent years, dry furmints have started to be exported around the world. Taste the Difference (£10) is a great way to get a first taste of the grape where you can experience quince and pear with a deeply herbal background.


When did oak start to play a role in wine production?

The first wines in the world were made in large clay qvevri or amphora. These historic pots have since grown in popularity amongst natural winemakers, as we discuss in Wine Roots 3: Vessels.

But what about oak's history?

The Roman Empire, who were huge producers and drinkers of wine used to rely entirely on amphora. These heavy pots were not practical, but the Roman Empire's ownership of slaves made this less of a problem. It was the Romans invasion of France, where they encountered the use of wood. These wooden barrels made storage and transportation of wine far more convenient. And was soon adapted across many winemaking cultures.

While driven by practical convenience, wine lovers soon realised oak was beneficial to the wine as well. Oak is porous and will lead to oxygenation. It softens tannins and concentrates aromas. Importantly, it can also directly affect flavours, with vanilla, coconut, caramel, and toast aromas all potentially stemming from the oak. The Romans discovered these new aromas and considered many of its wines to be improved. Oak has remained with us to this day.

Thanks to Andy for this question – a free bottle is on its way to you. What would you like to know?

Last week. we incorrectly described Lidl's Outlook Bay as "Aussie pinot." Outlook Bay is in fact a winery in New Zealand. We apologise for the mistake – and thanks to Paul for the spot

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