JWL Issue #088: Wine Myths Debunked

March 10, 2020

I’ll be introducing a second main content email of the week shortly. Your Tuesday morning note will continue to be your longer read of affordable tasting notes and bitesize lessons. But I’m also going to introduce a Thursday afternoon sip-sized email email with jargon demystified in it.

The readers who have been around since day one will remember the jargon section used to be a regular section of this newsletter. But as the email got longer and longer, it sadly got cut. Look out for your Thursday sip later this week.

Coronvavirus has officially hit the wine trade. At a trade tasting yesterday, we were all handed out own personal spittons (read: paper cups) to spit into before emptying into the regular ones. A hint of damage control in what is otherwise quite a germ filled environment.

Country shutdowns like those that started in Italy yesterday, could eventually cause supply chain issues. The effect won’t be immediate, however, considering there’s already large reserves of imported wine already in the UK.


With the weather flitting between crisp sunshine, and grey and miserable, I’ve found my wine choices all over the place recently. For those colder nights, Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Languedoc Red (currently down to £6.50 from £7) will hit the spot. Open this an hour or two before you want to drink it (or decant), and it has a really nice balance to it. It’s full of black cherries and pepper and a very decent, affordable red that’s widely available.

Jean Cornelius’ Alsace pinot (£7.49 from Lidl) is practically our house pinot. The acidity in this creates a really bright and fresh red wine, which in turn suits the sunnier days with lighter meals.

For those wanting to splash out a bit, Tesco Finest Premier Cru Chablis (£15) is a fantastic chardonnay punching above its weight in price. Mineral, but with depth to that doesn’t disappoint.


Wine myths: debunked

You only decant red wines

Any white that can age well, can benefit from a hint of decanting. Decanting helps aerate the wine, which essentially speeds up some of the ageing process. So next time you open a white that can be aged, like a chardonnay or semillion, try sticking it into the decanter first.

‘Big indents in the base of bottles mean good wine’

Some logic could be explain that the bigger the punt, the more glass that’s needed, and therefore manufacturers must be willing to spend more on it. But: if we know this, then so do savvy marketing departments.

Netting on Rioja is a sign of quality’

While this stemmed from a time when counterfeiting was rife, as with the above – if we know now this, so too do marketing departments. One of the best supermarket reds I’ve had in the last year, sadly seems to imitate itself on a Rioja.

The Wine List HQ    

Alice joined The Wine List team this week in our operations role, as we start to really ramp up our service offering.

March shipments should have arrived on your doorsteps too. Customers, expect bottles of South African chenin blanc, and south-west German pinot noir to be arriving soon.

And we’ve got the last three bottles left of the instantly quaffable Petites Estones garnacha from Spain (£48 for three bottles). If you like your reds with silky tannins, you can’t get better than this.

Thanks for signing up!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.