This time last year, Wine List was still a team of two people operating out of a co-working space in Peckham. It's incredible to think what we've managed over the last year.
But simultaneously, we wouldn't be Wine List without looking further to the future. So much of what makes up the Wine List experience today wasn't here a year ago.
Hundreds of you are now studying our digital Wine Roots course. The first chapter focuses on How to Taste wine led over 20 videos via our head of wine, Isabelle Lynch. Not watched it yet? Watch our video masterclass here.
We've been inviting some of you to join our Community Groups. These small groups bring others on their learning journeys together. Wine is better with others, and it's easier to learn when you've got a place to ask questions freely. If you're not in a group yet, hit reply and express your interest.
And we now import half a dozen wines every month.
We originally only intended to import one or two, but there are so many incredible winemakers out there that we've got so many wines to choose from.
Last year, I visited the Lot Valley – a part of the southwest of France, which I was blown away by. As well as discovering Nicolas Carmarans, I also discovered Domaine Domaine Odyssée.
Domaine Odyssée is led by Vincent Carreras, and makes a number of incredible wines. This month, we've got 78 on offer to you. 78 is so-named because it combines grapes from Roussillon (zip code starting 66), and Aveyron (zip code starting 12). Blended together you get 78. An incredible offering bold and dry grenache, blended with juicy and crunchy fer servadou. What a wine. We've got it in bottle, but more excitingly in magnum.
Next week is bank holiday Monday, so the newsletter will be skipping a week – but if you're missing us, head over to Instagram and YouTube.
Taste this week focuses on M&S – we attended their press tasting last week. Tastings are back! There's some great wines out there at the moment and we've highlighted a top three for you today. Learn looks at vineyards and why they look the way they do.
There were some stand out supermarket wines at the M&S annual tasting last week
Tblvino Qvevris (M&S, £10) is a traditional Georgian orange wine. Orange wines are so hard to find in supermarkets. This one is deep in colour, intense orange flavour with bitterness like an Aperol. With all of this it still manages to feel incredibly fresh and clean. Great for a cheese board.
Gavi is made for pasta and pesto. Hailing from the same region, they have evolved to be a perfect match. Gavi del Comune di Gavi (M&S, £12) is lemony citrus with body and herbs.
A Barossa Valley shiraz is always full bodied. Ebenezer & Seppeltsfield Shiraz (M&S, £14) has really concentrated berries. It has a little vanilla but isn’t overly complex. Some wonderful tannins to sit well with a meal.
Why do vineyards look the way they do?
Most of us know the typical vineyard as row upon row of neat little vines, all growing along a trellis system.
Trellises are designed to make the vines as efficient as possible. They are at the right height to get maximum sun exposure to each plant, with the perfect distance for roots to grow beneath the surface.
The damp region of Rías Baixas has different needs for their vines. With so much rainfall and high humidity, they train their vines to grow high up, sometimes 10ft high. They then take a right angle going across to meet the next vine, creating a ceiling.
They act as their own shelter from the rain, allowing dry air to pass through underneath.
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