Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Wine tasting Subscription larks with The Wine List

2020 has witnessed, even for those not affected by illness, shifting priorities and perspectives. Focusing on the positives, people have learnt new skills and developed hobbies that range from the comfort of banana bread baking, to gardening projects, tackling reading lists and acquiring pets. Changes in work patterns and leisure opportunities have resulted in upsurges in activities that require practical application and head space. For me, most recently that has meant a chance to learn more about wines, thanks to a gifted subscription from

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

The Wine List is a monthly subscription service that sends out two bottles of good quality wine, about £15 a bottle, along with information about each wine on a taste card that you can fill in with your own notes. 

That, in itself, is a great idea. How many times have you had a bottle of wine but can't remember much about it? 

Receiving anything in the post is always a joy and what makes a subscription so much fun is the anticipation of what will come in the post. After I had provided my address, the wines that I'd been gifted came through very quickly. The next step was to decide when to drink them. Did I want to share these beauties? Well, of course.  

I decided that it would be a good opportunity to catch up with one of my great blogging and foodie friends, Chelle of

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

We met on Brighton beach on a breezy summer's evening and soon got stuck into our chilled bottles of wine and assorted nibbles. The wines I'd been sent were a Petite Fugue from Chateau le Payral, 2017 and a Barbera Vivace from Cantine Volpi, 2019. On the wine cards were information about the country, region, grapes and climate of each wine. In addition to this, the Wine List taste cards offered their first impressions, a section on the winemakers story, food pairing ideas (loved that), a local food pairing (loved that even more), information about the grape and region, a section called advanced learning and trivia. 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

Reading this info prior to tasting the wines gave me even more anticipation for what I should expect, for instance, the Barbera Vivace was the only winery in Volpedo, Italy and had been certified organic in 2018. I'm a huge fan of organic wines, partly because Ive read up about the health benefits of organic produce and partly because I've been told that you don't get a headache from organic wine. I don't know if that's true by the way.

Apparently, the Barbero Vivace pairs nicely with the Piedmont mushroom risotto, a traditional local food dish. 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

Further down the card the piece of trivia offered was that Vivace (viv-ah-che) means lively in Italian and refers to the slight effervescence seen in wines like this. "These were once ridiculed around the world but there are a growing number exported from Italy of very good quality." The Barbera Vivace had an ever so slight fizz, I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10, possibly a 3. 

On the other side of the card the subscription service becomes more interactive with a series of prompts to complete, such as scales regarding colour, tannins, acidity, sweetness, body and finish. In each instance it helped focus our attention on one aspect of the wine and consider where on the scale from low to high you would place the wine. Our next challenge was to identify aroma profiles with choices that ranged from blackcurrant and red, through to cherry and cinnamon as well as options such as liquorice, hazelnut and coffee. 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

Chelle felt the Barbera Vivace would make a nice mulled wine with a dash of cinnamon and we agreed it was our favourite choice out of the two wines that we tried. 

The second wine I was sent from The Wine List was the Petite Fugue, this time from Bergerac in France. The grapes were a combination of sauvignon gris and sauvignon blanc from a maritime climate. 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

Again, I enjoyed reading about the winemakers story. "Thierry and Isabelle Daulhiac took over le Payral in 1992 and began the process of converting the site to organic and biodynamic, opting to make wines with indigenous yeasts and long lees contact". 

Nestled between the appellations of Sainte-Foy and Monbazillac this background knowledge gave the wine a sense of context that I felt enhanced the wine tasting experience. For local food pairings the suggestion was a dish that made both Chelle and I make ooh and aah noises. "A dish of baked trout with creme fraiche and walnut sauce. Oven fry sliced potatoes in goose fat; slash fish skin, oil and season; stuff with thyme and lemon, roast for 12 minutes. Mix creme fraiche with crushed walnuts and horseradish. Serve." 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

In the advanced learning section we discovered that, this wine is aged on the lees for over 10 months. "Lees are the dead yeast cells produced after fermentation. By choosing to leave these in the maturation phase the lees will enhance a wine's structure, complexity and mouthfeel." 

Finally, the piece of trivia for this Petite Fugue was of particular interest to me as a history lover.
"Bergerac has a long and turbulent wine history. Henry VIII was a frequent importer, however nearby Bordeaux used its physical position to slow the export of these wines. For centuries Bergerac used the Bordeaux name until official designations were drawn up in the 20th century. Bergerac is just an hour east of Bordeaux where wine styles are similar, though price tags rarely are."

We scored this wine a little less than the Barbera Vivace but it still came in at a respectable midpoint on our scale. 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

At the bottom of the taste cards is a message that reads, Been given this by a friend? visit to start your wine learning journey and get £15 off with FRIENDS as your code. 

I certainly feel that this subscription service is a great way to spend an evening with friends or partner in a self distanced way, if necessary. This subscription was gifted to me. I have not been paid to write this blog post or told what to say. My views are my own. 

The Wine List review by modernbricabrac

I thoroughly enjoyed receiving this offer and would recommend it to lovers of wine.

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