JWL Issue #129: Red Wines to Try & What are Legs?

February 16, 2021

A few months ago, I purchased one of the old Nicolascatalogues from eBay. Nicolas is a brand some of you may recognise. Growing up, I remember the yellow and red logo without knowing what was inside.

The catalogue I have is from 1967. It details many legendary growths of both Bordeaux and Burgundy for between 15 and 30 francs a bottle. It's a real joy to read through (at least for a wine geek like myself), but it's also made me wonder whether the wine catalogue has a place in the modern world. What do you think?

Jura – the home of funky wines

Jura is one of my favourite regions. It has many styles of winemaking – from the classic, where it offers Burgundian-esque wines at a slightly lower price. Through to the weird and wonderful.

I sat down with Isabelle to discuss our shared love for Jura while she introduced five distinct styles of wines. Watch the video here. If you want to taste along with us, head to our new mini-Jura store. We've got four bottles of each left so hurry.

Wine List Lives – Burgundy, Champagne, and natural wine

We've got three Wine List Lives on the horizon. This Friday, it's our introduction to Burgundy – at £90 it's our most expensive tasting yet, but also features two of our most special wines.

Next Friday, we get to know Champagne (£45). Our Michel Gonet takes centre stage here. I've tasted a large number of Champagnes and sparkling wines over the last year, and this still outperforms almost everything I've tasted at twice the price.

And finally, we've got a primer on natural wine (£41) at the end of the month with an aligoté and the Samuel we imported back in November.

By The Glass going into beta this week

We've been discussing it for months, and will be finally launching By The Glass this week. In these early days, we'll be keeping spots limited while we iron out the teething issues and get it to the right state quickly. Keep your eyes peeled.

Taste this week looks at three reds from across the spectrum, while Learn asks what legs actually mean. Happy tasting!



A spectrum of red

Mercurey is one of Burgundy's lesser-known regions. The result? Way better value. At £14, Tesco Finest's has the brambles and cherries aroma any serious Burghound is after, at a fraction of the price.

If you love your Australian shiraz, again the Tesco Finest range really hits home. Baraossa Shiraz (£10) is fairly typical of the region. Full-bodied, but without anything too jammy going on. Expect blackcurrant and black pepper, well balanced throughout.

Lidl's Chianti Reserva (£5.99) was a real surprise. This has loads of dried fruits in it, as well as soft spices and some great tannions. This is a bargain for under £6. Don't just take our word for it, it picked up a bronze at the IWSC recently.


Are legs a good way to judge a wine's quality?

You often see people swirling their glass to look if the wine has ‘good legs’. The legs are the streams of wine flowing down the side of the glass. They look like rain on a window.

In the past, it was thought it showed a wine’s quality. But it’s actually just surface tension. Alcohol evaporates on the sides of the glass. The higher the alcohol percentage, the more drops will form and the more legs there will be. The temperature and humidity in a room greatly affect it. The same wine will show different results on different days.

It’s an unreliable method to measure alcohol percentage. Instead, we think about that little burn at the back of your throat. The same sensation when you drink whiskey or do tequila slammers. Can you guess the abv percentage of the next bottle you drink just based on that little burn?

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