JWL Issue #131: 3 Wines from Sainsburys

March 2, 2021

It's a big week at Wine List HQ. We've switched our internal packaging this week away from the plastic airsacs towards cardboard inserts.

Airsacs have long been a necessary evil in our deliveries. It's fantastic to finally move away from them. The March packaging has its downsides too, and we're going to be experimenting a lot in coming months. But it feels good to make the change.

One of the unspoken truths of environmentally-conscious wine selling is that the biggest factor is importing thousands of glass bottles around the world. There are options here. We can import in giant plastic bags and then re-bottle in the UK. These have a far lower impact, despite the plastic. Let us know what you think as feedback is essential here.

Same-day delivery Fridays

Last Friday, we ran a trial launch of same-day deliveries in London. We're working alongside Pedalme who deliver everything on electric bicycles. For the London deliveries, if we hit a minimum number of sales in the day, we can cost it in line with DPD.

Every Friday from now on, will be a Same-Day Friday. To begin with, this will be zones 1 and 2 only, but we look forward to increasing to the outer zones as time goes on. Outside of London, we deliver next day for all orders before 1pm.

Save the date – the March tasting

With your March boxes now with you, you can get ready for our March tasting. This takes place a week on Wednesday on YouTube Live from 8pm. Head over here to subscribe to our YouTube channel now. Hit subscribe and you'll get an alert when we're live.

Taste & Learn

Taste this week looks at three Sainsbury's wines, with a dual focus on furmint. Meanwhile, Learn explores autolytic aromas.


Three great wines from Sainsbury's

Furmint from Hungary is typically known as a sweet wine from the region of Tokaji (pronounced tock-eye). However, you can increasingly get very good dry versions too.

Hungarian Dry Furmint (currently £8.50 from Sainsbury's) is a brilliant example. This is full-bodied and savoury, making it just as good as an aperitif wine (i.e. one to drink without food) as with a cheeseboard. Isabelle wants you to know it’ll go fantastically with a pork pie.

If you’re keen to try the sweet version, then Royal Tokaji Late Harvest (£12) is a great starting point. Invented by mistake, it became the favourite tipple of royal families across 17th century Europe. Concentrated honeysuckle and apricot are matched with refreshing acidity. Perfect with blue cheese.

And if you loved the Stefano in the February box, then this Austrian Taste the Difference Zweigelt (£9) is a great direction to head. This has a real grit to it, and an earthiness that makes it go brilliantly with food. Its flavourful but not over the top, especially given the weather is turning.


What are these bready/toasty notes you keep writing about?

On Friday, we ran our Introduction to Champagne using some of the last bottles of Michel Gonet we have.

One thing that came up recently outside of that tasting was a question on where these bready or toasty notes come from.

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 too.

The reason is because during winemaking the lees (the deposit of dead yeasts) are left in the wine. It has a few impacts.

Noticeably, it gives the toasty or other autolytic flavours, but it affects mouthfeel too. The creamy texture that you find in some premium white wines, is derived from these lees.

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