I’ve been wanting to know more about wine ever since I saw the Sideways years ago, but despite how much I’ve drunk (hint: probably too much!) I’ve never managed to actually learn much about it.
I’ve tried most of the wines in my local supermarket. I’ve even strayed into my local wine shop and tried a few there. But more often than not I end up buying the same three or four generic wines which gets boring after a while.
I’ve visited vineyards before too. I went to Chapel Down and learnt how English Sparkling Wine is produced just like Champagne. But that hasn’t helped too much with what to choose to drink on a Wednesday night.
I was, therefore, incredibly excited to read about The Wine List a few months ago. This wine startup is focused on learning as well as drinking. Not only do you get new and exciting bottles delivered straight to your door, but they also help you learn about the specific wines and the techniques to drinking them. I’ve found myself becoming a bit of a sommelier as a result!
How does it work?
The idea is that you get sent a wine education to your door. That means each month you get wine lessons alongside some high quality wine to discover and learn about.
The first month is a guide on how to taste, which is great for learning how to smell aromas properly and learn what to look for in the mouth. They give you this technique for checking acidity where you open your mouth and lean forward – definitely not one to try for the first time in a restaurant!
After that the lessons vary on things like how grape skins change the character of a wine through to how different climates change it. Each lesson adds to your knowledge and helps you gain a more rounded understanding of wine.
Then there’s the wines themselves. These. Are. AMAZING. Genuinely, every month I’ve been sent two of the best wines I’ve ever tasted. After my first delivery I was delighted with the wines I’d received but wondered if it had been a bit of a fluke but several deliveries later I can honestly say these are the most delicious wines I’ve ever tasted. There are wines I’ve never heard of from countries I’ve never tried anything from and they are absolutely fascinating to try. Best of all, I’m finding that I’m really starting to be able to discern between different tastes and subtleties.
They never just send you the regular wines you’d get at Tesco, it’s always something a bit interesting like a white wine from Macedonia, or Rioja that can’t legally be called a Rioja because they don’t adhere to the ageing requirements there.
The wines come with cards as well. These feature great information like local food pairing suggestions, trivia on the winemakers, and also some more complex lessons for those interested although admittedly I usually skip over those. On the back there’s tasting wheels which help you identify aromas you want to look for.
At £39 per month, I wasn’t sure how long I’d stick around. I usually buy wine at about £8-12 from the supermarket, but do often spend more when out or on special occasions.
So far I’ve found it great value. The two wines really are worth the £39 (probably more) and the learning material makes it an incredible experience for me and my girlfriend as well.
My first delivery had a chardonnay in it. I was really surprised as the one thing I had always heard about wine was ‘anything but chardonnay’ turns out, there’s no truth to that. In fact this chardonnay was absolutely delicious. I learnt that this chardonnay hadn’t been oak-aged, which meant it wasn’t heavy and cloying like the typical chardonnays we grew up on.
I’m three months in now and absolutely love this. As well as the monthly delivery you also get a weekly email of bitesize lessons and tasting notes sent to you. There’s even more features to come in coming months such as life events, and even more detailed lessons – I can’t wait.
Conclusion – 5/5 – Best wine delivery company I’ve come across.
My love for wine has become a bit of an obsession now. I’m loving the monthly delivery from The Wine List, but I’m also really enjoying other wines I buy too. I’m trying as many different wines as possible and whenever I do, I’m making notes and thinking about it using the tasting wheel from the cards. It’s been an absolute joy to use this so far and can’t wait to see where the next few months take me.