JWL Issue #152: What are "thoils"? Plus 3 great value supermarket wines

August 17, 2021

Last week, with Isabelle back from her covid spell in July, we relaunched our monthly live tastings. Thank you to the hundreds of you who have tuned in.

We tested out a new format – splitting the tasting between an intro 20 minutes where we explain how to taste wine and use our tasting cards; and a longer 40 minute section focused on the wines themselves. Please share your feedback here.

Mixed cases have continued to be popular for us – with our heatwave four flying off out the door ahead of this heatwave – whether it's arriving or not.

Inside a London wine bar this week, Fiona saw an item stating: "Mystery wine - one bottle offered if discovered." We asked our Community groups whether you would have a go and how you might go about answering it.

It's made me wonder about blind tasting more broadly. I've had a lot of fun trying – and very little luck being successful. Would you be interested in a similar blind tasting game if we were to do one?

In Learn this week, we discuss something you might find in your sauvignon blanc called thiols! As ever, if you've got reader questions that you want answering, then let us know.

If we select your question, we'll give you a free bottle with your next order.

Let us know – and happy tasting,



Three really well priced wines out there right now

Tying in with Learn below, this New Zealand sauvignon blanc is a great example of the thiols compound. Clocktower (M&S, £12) is full of the classic passion fruit, blackcurrant and grapefruit flavours that Marlborough is known for.

Miraval (£17 from Morrison's) is a classic Provence rosé. Unlike some of the cheaper, wafer thin rosés, Miravel carries some weight and texture to it. Still noticeably rosé, this is a delight all summer long.

Finally for a bottle which is good for the price, Aldi has a new sub-£5 Beaujolais from Pierre Jaurant. At £4.49, this is a simple wine, but with 60 minutes in the fridge, it'll treat you well indeed. Bubblegum and juicy fruits throughout.


Is that garlic in my sauvignon blanc?!

We previously talked about methoxypyrazines in wine. The other distinctive characteristic of sauvignon blanc - particularly New Zealand ones - are thiols.

A thiol is an organic compound. A large amount of them in wines give flavours of blackcurrants, grapefruit, passionfruit and guava. Too much of them, and it is a wine fault, making the wine taste like garlic

Thiols are produced in greater amounts when vineyards have a lot of UV rays, and when they are machine harvested. New Zealand has a gap in the ozone layer meaning they have a lot more UV rays present. They also have many large scale wineries which employ machines to carry out the harvest too.

Thiols remain a curiosity in winemaking. There’s still little known about why and when they appear. We have much more to learn about them.

Browse our wines with Sauvignon Blanc

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