JWL Issue #013: What are Toasty & Bready Notes?

July 31, 2018

“Taste your way out of the supermarket” is an ethos that could suit this readership quite well, but is also the slogan of Wine Car Boot.

WCB is an afternoon of wine tasting from some great merchant and makers in central London. It’s free to attend. There’s a dozen or so wine stalls, plus street food from Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano.

Social anxiety means that I can often feel apprehensive about new kinds of events. Various concerns cross my mind: will I say something incorrect and get corrected? Will it be too busy to talk to anyone? Will there be an expectation to buy something from every stand? If I feel it, then I’m sure others must feel it too.

Wine-pun tote bags @winecarboot

So we arrived early: just after 12 this last weekend. Turns out, I couldn’t recommend it enough and fears were definitely unneeded.

For £12 you get a wine-pun tote bag, a Govino glass, and then 5 taster tokens. A taste is just that, though each stand will sell you a glass for drinking if you like it (or a bottle to take away).

For those looking to taste more wines and perhaps see what spending £10-20 per bottle from an independent is like, this is a great way to start. Their next one is August 18th. Arrive early so the stalls aren’t too busy


Berry Bros & Rudd, one of England’s oldest wine merchants, has as series of their affordable own brand wines that have gained good notoriety. Their Good Ordinary Claret (£11.95) was a bit too dry for my liking, but their White Burgundy (£13.95) is a very good and well priced: expect fresh stone fruits, and a bit of smokiness. 

Lots of merchants are looking now at alternative packaging forms. there was plenty of box wine, including my personal favourites Bib. Their blaufrankisch (£33.50 for 2.25litres) is great chilled with a really fresh texture that encourages you to reach for another glass. 

I had my first can wine this weekend. Purchased from newcomer Nektar Wines, this Alloy Wine Works Chardonnay (£11 for 375ml) was very nice indeed. Strong vanilla, pears, and lemon, with a lees-driven autolytic note too. This smashed out any concern about flavour of wine in cans straight away.

And if you do visit WCB on the 18th, visit the duo behind Le Grappin and taste their Bourgogne Aligoté and Beaujolais: two of my favourite displays of the region I’ve tasted this year. Both unfined and unfiltered meaning vegan-friendly too!


Why are there toasty/bready/yeasty/cheesy flavours in my wine? Is that a beer flavour?! 
It’s one of the first aromas I notice when drinking Champagne or other traditional method sparklers. That immediate toasty/bready/yeasty smell. The jargon name for it is autolysis and it occurs in still wines as well. The reason is because during winemaking the lees (the deposit of dead yeasts) are left in the wine. This is called lees fermentation (though technically not a fermentation at all). It has a few impacts.

Noticeably, it gives the toasty or other autolytic flavours, but also combines with other processes such as oak maturation to change that flavour as well.It affects mouthfeel too. The creamy texture that you find in some premium white wines, is derived from lees fermentation as well.



While green fruit will refer to aromas like apple, pear, or gooseberry in your wine, the description ‘green’ is different. Green refers to underripe or vegetal tastes (which I appreciate is replacing one jargon word with two). In short: the grapes likely didn’t ripen properly, and so you make get aromas like green bell pepper, leafiness, beetroot, cabbage in your wine. Rarely a good thing though there are some exceptions.

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