Monday 3 August 2020

The Wine List

Despite everything hideous going on with Coronavirus, and back when we were in the midst of the strict house-bound lockdown, one thing I really looked forward to were Friday nights in; cooking new recipes from legendary restaurants that had been shared on Instagram (Sugo pomodoro recipe, I’m looking at you…), turning the kitchen into a little bar and settling in for a night of garlicky pasta, a lot of wine and a Spotify playlist on really loud.

Throughout the lockdown we had some amazing ‘foodie’ experiences – Manchester Pasta Co and SixBy Nico were stand outs, and I was also approached by The Wine List to try their subscription service, which turned out to be another lovely way to pass a Friday evening at home.

For the past eighteen months or so I’ve kept a little ‘wine diary’ where if I like a bottle, I’ll peel off the label, stick it in the book and curate a little entry on what I could taste, what I liked about it, what I ate with it, who I was with, the occasion etc. It’s been really nice looking back at food and drink memories, and we have notably drank a lot more in lockdown (and coming out of the other side), so it was a bit like fate when I saw the message from The Wine List asking if I wanted to try it for a month.

The Wine List is very much a ‘night in’ event in itself. You get two premium bottles delivered from lesser known and often surprising vineyards (this red was from a small family run vineyard in Italy – it was abandoned until 2003 when owners Carlo and Laura restored it to its former glory).

My wine diary...

The Wine List has its roots firmly in discovery and calls itself a ‘discovery and education-focused wine subscription box’. It’s aimed at the ‘amateur enthusiast’ (love that phrase – definitely me… v enthusiastic, but not really a clue what I’m talking about!) who is looking to level up their knowledge.

It’s £39 and each month you’ll get;

  •          Two bottles priced around £15-20 each and they pride themselves on valuing lesser known regions, grapes and winemakers
  •          Interactive tasting cards to jot down your thoughts and to help guide you with wine aromas
  •          ‘Wine Roots’ – their wine course programme – one key concept explained over twelve months (our ‘lesson’ was wine vessels and how oak / stainless steel / clay barrels change the taste of wine – I love an oak aged rioja reserva so this was an interesting read!)
  •          Access to the Wine List community, including a really useful email newsletter with supermarket suggestions, a spotlight on particular vineyards and other recommendations.

So to be clear, it’s not a wine delivery subscription service where you get delivered 6 or 12 bottles at cost price, but it isn’t trying to be. Their brand is aimed at those curious about wine and offers a unique way to discover wines you probably wouldn’t choose yourself.


It’s great if, like me, you think you know a little bit about wine: you know what you like, but want to expand and learn more on taste dynamics, increase your knowledge on types of wine, and want something a little bit interactive to help you (how nice is the design and branding on the tasting notes cards – I love the alchemy style). 

For the night in question, we’d ordered from our favourite pizza place - Double Zero 00 (for about the third time in lockdown…) and it was a lovely balmy summer evening – the aforementioned Spotify playlist was on and we’d had a good chat (no phones) to try and replicate being out in a restaurant. Our holiday to Italy was cancelled in June and so through various means I’ve been trying to bring a slice of Italy to Chorlton (hence the Sugo, Manchester Pasta Co, Double Zero theme…) so it was perfect that this bottle was an Italian red!


Armed with our taste card, we set about swirling and sniffing before taking a sip and ticking items from the ‘aroma profile’. If you turn the card over you’re given a wine story, and this is where it gets really interesting, you learn all about the winemaker and also get The Wine Lists’ first impression and taste notes of that wine too – you could read this first if you wanted guidance, or do what we did and boldly go about ticking notes and then seeing if we’d identified similar flavours (it was close, but no cigar…). You’re also given food pairing suggestions, grape information and suggestions on how to look for a wine like this in the supermarket (v v helpful), amongst other things.

These interactive personal tasting note cards are a great way to encourage you to put your stamp on what you can taste and what you like, rather than feeling silly that you couldn’t taste the ‘dominant vanilla hue’ or something. It’s a great way to get yourself feeling more confident that you can identify fruits and flavours and styles and grapes.

We loved this novel way to explore new wines and as nights in at home are arguably now giving pubs and bars a run for their money, this is a lovely way to feel like you’re doing something a little bit different. It’s such a great idea, and I’ve safely stuck the taste cards into my wine diary to call on in the future.

Visit their website to find out more –

The Wine List sent me these bottles to review and as always, all views and opinions are my own.

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