JWL Issue #120: Why do reds age better than white? Plus best Tesco wines with 25% off

November 24, 2020

I've found walking past endless empty pubs and bars and restaurants pretty disheartening recently. Turns out a pub that's been closed for two weeks has a similar look to a pub that's been closed for two years.

But this time allows us all to look forward and consider the things we miss. Festivals, huge communal dinners, quick working lunches, after-work pints, and hours spent in the very best wine bars this city has to offer. The end to this chapter feels very much in sight.

I've been reading the Noble Rot book recently, and the story of their fete du Beaujolais sounds not too dissimilar to the event we had planned this year. All eyes ahead to 2021.

All of this comes at a time when everything is happening at the same time at Wine List HQ. We're building our digital product as quickly as we can. We're hiring across four roles and have our third hire joining this week (hi Fiona 👋).

We've just got our new tote bags back, which have been designed by illustrator Rose Blake. Every order over £100 will get one of these free throughout December – and we'll be selling them the rest at £10 each. Single print run, super limited.

We started crowdfunding last week and hit 100% on day one. We're now in overfunding with plenty of room left to go.

We've launched our Six Drinks of Christmas box last week – this is a £200 extravaganza of the very best wines you'll find this year. And we've got an extra special December box that comes in at a much higher than usual value too.

Wine gifts this Christmas

Many of you have asked about gifting. Well we've just launched our gifting page. As well as gift cards for your Wine List subscription, we also have Jancis Robinson wine glasses and decanters, our very own Everyday wine glasses, Le Nez du Vin, aerators, and some other stocking fillers too. View gifts today.  

Last tasting this month

We've had an action-packed calendar full of Zoom tastings this month. These are a great chance to get to learn a bit more about and and get to know other members of our community. The very last tasting of the month? Join our Canned Wine Tasting this Friday.

Want a Wine List Christmas Party?

We've got a lot of bookings already for December – but we've still got some spaces. We're the perfect get together for teams from 10 to 100 – get wine delivered, learn how to taste and have a great time all in one. Hit reply to enquire.


Three from Tesco's 25% off

When you buy six bottles or more at Tesco at the moment, you get 25% off – here are our top four picks thinking forward to the next few months.

Tesco Finest Chablis (£11.25 in the offer, down from £15) is lightly oaked leading to a precise chardonnay that's mineral without being too austere. Loads of lemon and apple sing on the nose mean a great price point for Chablis.

Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir (£9.75 from £13) under offer becomes the rarity – a good sub-£10 pinot noir. This is velvety smooth on the palate with plenty of concentrated red fruits with just a touch of cooler climate undergrowth.  

For those who want reds with more strength, Finest Ribera del Duero will tick all the boxes. Just £9 in the offer, this is a fantastic Spanish red – rich with spicy richness. If you've only ever had Rioja, this is a great red to try from elsewhere in Spain.  

And finally, Finest Premier Cru Champagne is available in a half bottle for £9 where available. With mixed house socialising all but banned – a half bottle of Champagne is the perfect way to start a meal between two.


Why do reds generally improve with age and whites do not?

Another reader question this week – with a bottle on its way to Georgie for this one.

While ageing is definitely more common with reds, it's sadly not something which we could say happens across the board. If you stick a bad wine in the cellar, it'll become a bad old wine when you take it out.

But it is true that more reds are ageworthy than whites. Why is that?

Well there's two core reasons: acid and tannins. While whites can be high in acid, they rarely have tannins (which come from the skins). Tannins are one of the core components in ageworthy red wines. The same is also true of acidity. Both tannins and acidity mellow over time – so wines which feel highly tannic in their youth can ease out of as the mature.

The whites that do age well are grapes like chardonnay, semillon, and chenin blanc. All of which have good acidity and structure to help the wines age.

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