JWL Issue #037: How do you find aromas? Some Tips

January 22, 2019

I missed a podcast last week: I accidentally deleted my voiceovers which meant needing to re-record. Rest assured you can listen to the South West episode this Thursday. You’ll hear interviews with Natt McConnell, from Bluestone Vineyards, Sam Lindo, from Camel Valley, and the infamous Steven Spurrier, from Bride Valley.

It’s had two press mentions so far. Vineyard Magazine featured it quite early on in this month’s issue, while Drinks Business covered it just after Christmas.

How many of you are doing dry January this year? Or the other marketing horrors: tryanuary? I’ve had limited tasting this month, but got plenty of good feature ideas coming up. Interested in a certain grape or region or merchant? Let me know.


Some of the best value in white wines I’ve found in recent years has been with aligoté. This grape is the lesser known grape of Burgundy, but also works in other cool climate regions (English producers I’m looking to you!). 

Louis Chenu makes a very good one which I drank at St John (<£20) before Christmas. There was strong minerality, a slight banana note and sour apple note on the nose with lovely acidity.

Le Grappin, a winemaker who splits his time between south London and Burgundy produced the first Burgundy Aligoté I tried. It's slightly pricier that others, but it has lower acidity and fantastic mouthfeel. The 2019 skin contact vintage from the winery's natural offshoot, Du Grappin, is available for £24.

Domaine Felix’s Burgundy Aligoté is a lemony, fresh, tart quaffer, which I bought from Wild & Lees for £14.95 is a stony quaffer. 


I’ve had emails recently asking for tips for better aroma finding. 

Every few months I do a tasting night with some friends. In advance, we agree on a grape, a category, and a couple of price points. Last time it was Australian cabernet. The first time was Chardonnay (which should have been narrower) and then old world Vs new world pinot. 

The eureka moment for me comes when you have two similar wines which noticeably share characteristics but one has a distinct difference. Perhaps it’s a vegetal note that in isolation becomes immediately apparent compared to the rest of the similar characteristics. 

Aside from anything else this is also some of the most fun you get out of wine. So pick a region and a grape. Choose one wine that’s ok the £6-8 category and another that’s maybe £15-20.

The narrower you can go the better when starting out so you can start to identify where the similarities are as well as the differences. 

Perhaps an aligoté taste off?

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