JWL Issue #096: Smashable Park Wines + A Primer on Rhône Whites

May 12, 2020

One thing emerged from the PM's speech over the weekend and that's that we can now sit outside without worry that we're not exercising. For those of us without a garden or outdoor space, that is a godsend. It also means we can explore some park wines. Smashable wines that you can drink plenty of. I've included a couple in this week's Taste.

Just before lockdown had started, I had planned to visit Ben Walgate in Tillingham to taste through his wines. The last time he and I spoke was when I recorded the first episode of the English wine podcast. Since then he's now got a dozen different wines and even some ciders available. He's now shipping these direct to consumer – I'll be tasting my way through these over coming weeks and shall share the highlights when I do. And finally, we've got two new roles open at Wine List. We are hiring full time in marketing, and a summer internship in video production. If you want to check out either here.


Smashable park wines

Georges Duboeuf Fleurie has a special place in my heart (£10 from Sainsbury's). It was the bottle that got me to think a bit more about wine. So at times of comfort like this, it's easy to head back that way. Great at room temperature, but a 30 minute chill in the fridge just before you take it into the sunshine will make it perfect: silky, elegant, fruity, lovely.

Marsanne is a great white wine variety. Aldi have a really great display of it for just £6.99 and it's well worth diving in to if you can find some. A real white flowers and stone fruits treat that is easily quaffable and a great drinker on a hot day. They call them classics for a reason.

Waitrose currently has 25% off Nyetimber's Classic Cuvee (£27.49) . For this price point of sparkling wine, this is now hard to beat.


Rhône white primer

The Rhône Valley is highly recognised for it red wines: whether Cotes-du-Rhône or Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

But they also have – for me – some of the most exciting white wines in the world.

They suit fans of chardonnay, and that's because these are full-bodied and big wines. They're dry, with acidity at the lower end, and a range of alcohol levels.

Flavour wise, expect white flowers, stone fruits, honey, and lemon in abundance. It was in a Rhône white that I first ever discovered the beautiful combination of peach and jasmine in a glass, and fell in love ever since.

The grapes are often blended and can include viognier, grenache blanc, marsanne, roussanne and ugni blanc.

Famous names are: Condrieu, Hermitage, and St Joseph. But it's not just in these high priced names that there's great wine to be found.

As a starting point, the Aldi Marsanne is a great place to begin.

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