Get a free lesson & the best of the supermarket in your inbox every Tuesday at 8am.
Everyone is talking about coronavirus and its fallout at the moment. Exponential growth is a hard concept to unpick, so I always think of different markers and milestones.
Two weeks ago, Alice joined The Wine List as the first employee, and we visited three trade tastings that week. Today, we’re fully remote and adapting to this new world. A lot can change in two weeks. And it makes me wonder where we’ll be in another two.
I’m personally really impressed by some of the innovation that’s spurred up almost overnight. Lots of London restaurants, butcheries and shops are now switching to home deliveries. From meat-lovers heaven Turner & George, to my old north London favourite Provisions is too. Meanwhile Peckham Cellars has started same day wine delivery at absurd value: get their white Burg: you won’t be disappointed.
But it’s not just bricks and mortar finding their way online. I’ve seen more pub quizzes take place in the last seven days, than I have in the last seven months. Everyone has taken to video calling: whether via Zoom in the day, or via HouseParty at night.
We have adapted very quickly, and despite all the uncertainty, that’s provided me with some comfort.
Naturally, wine remains centre for many of those things for me.
For the first time, we’re sending out larger boxes to customers ( six and twelve bottle cases). We expected to sell maybe a dozen of these but stocks were depleted almost instantly. Seems there’s some huge demand for larger mixed cases and we’re going to see how we could adapt to this more permanently. (If you still want to upgrade to a six-bottle case this month, let me know).
In the mean time, ahead of your next deliveries, here are three absolutely tiptop supermarket wines I’ve drank recently.
Outlook Bay Gimblett Gravels Syrah (£9.99 from Lidl) is a brilliant, brilliant syrah. This is like smokey bacon crisps with crushed black pepper and red fruits beneath it. It feels like a fresher Rhone syrah, and well worth popping to Lidl for.
If you want a good syrah side-by-side comparison, then their Barossa Valley Shiraz (£5.99) is also worth a look in too. This one feels a bit more suited to food than the Kiwi number above, but still with some great definition. Chocolate + pepper dominate here, and would suit meat stews at this time of the year.
Finally, last week I mentioned the rare grapes range Waitrose currently has on the go. Their Mencia is the latest I’ve tasted (£9.99) and it’s an absolute delight. Tasting after the Lidl syrahs, this was a fresh and light and fragrant experience: redcurrants and cherries on the nose. The acidity reminds me of Beaujolais. Lovely, lovely wines.
Where is Gimblett Gravels?
Our star wine this week comes from Gimblett Gravels in New Zealand.
This district is within New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay. It’s very new and grown incredibly quickly. Since 1991, it’s grown 30x and is now internationally recognised for its syrah. Unlike many appellations, there aren’t strict winemaking criteria for how wine has to be made, but 95% of the grapes must come from the region.
Despite the great red that Lidl has out, 2017 was actually quite a rainy vintage overall and so it wasn’t as consistent as previous years. If you like syrah, then keeping an eye out for a syrah from here will treat you very well.
If you want to get the April delivery of Wine List, you’ve got just seven days left to be guaranteed an order. We’re receiving a lot of demand at the moment, so will likely put a further order in – but we might be out of the wines by that time. As a sneaky peak, a German white & Sicilian red are on the cards.