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the wine list: a wine tasting experience, direct to your door. plus 30% off your first box.

Did you know that wine is the most popular alcoholic drink in the UK? According to The Wine List, half of adults actually drink it every month. From fans of Pinot to lovers of Lambrusco, ask someone who loves wine their favourite, and they'll come straight back to you with an answer. But perhaps they wouldn't be as forward with an opinion. I know I'm like that anyway, I know I love dry white wines and citrus flavours you'd find in a Sauvignon Blanc. I know that New Zealand varieties are said to be better. And if I'm enjoying a steak or cheese board, I'll have a fruity red, please. But like many others, I shy away when it comes to technical tasting notes, knowing all about aromas and the perfect pairings.

That's where The Wine List comes in. And with home-based experiences becoming increasingly popular lately, that's another big tick. The Wine List is essentially a wine course, at home. As well as receiving two premium bottles of wine (worth £16 each) a month and interactive tasting notes for £39. It's totally flexible too, so you can opt in for 12 months or just try it for one, with your first box at 30% off. The team sent me a complimentary first box to review and share my thoughts with you. So without further ado...

Get 30% off you first box here


The branding is undeniably beautiful, with a premium feel and expensive wines. So for £39 it would make a great gift for someone into wine, or perhaps just for yourself. It arrives well packaged to protect the wines, but without too much excess for your recycling bin, a minor point but big tick from me. The notes themselves are printed in an appealing font on thick card, something appreciated if you love good design or stationery.

In this case (both meanings here), I received a bottle of red and white. This is totally random and is based on what the winemakers are producing for the box, so you need to go in with an open mind. This was a good test for me because I dislike most Chardonnays and, being a warm weekend, I really didn't fancy red. But I was ready to learn something new, and I'll try everything once.

As you taste the wines, there are cards that you can chat through and guess at their characteristics and aroma profiles. For the red, Cara Sucia, we wrote down "Floral scent, cherries, light for a red, plums, prunes, dryness of cranberries." and felt it was light, fairly sweet and light in colour. We did struggle with the "finish" and "tannins" as I don't actually know what this is. So a glossary would be really helpful here - though as the same time people interested in wine might already know this. So surprisingly, we were right on some points. The wine is made with a Cereza pink-skinned grape, which actually means cherry. It produces light styles of red wine with plummy aromas. It actually revealed it suited being chilled, and so I put the rest in the fridge and enjoyed it cold.

For the second wine, Massaya White, our scribbles reveal, "Sweet but bitter, sharp aftertaste, metallic, lemons, olives." It was a hard one as neither of us particularly liked it, and couldn't put our finger on the mystery aroma. At the same time for me it was a bit like Marmite, as I liked the taste but not the aftertaste, and so it made me want to go back for another sip. It turns out that the full-bodied wine has mineral aromas due to the chalky clay soils and high altitude. These include hints of stone, steel and wet wool - something I didn't know could be part of a wine's flavour profile before.

Overall, it was a fun activity and we can't deny we learnt something new. It would make a beautiful gift for a foodie or wannabe wine buff, which definitely feels like a special event. The wines do have recipe ideas with them, though some are quite unusual, such as Choripan, an Argentinian sandwich and Lebanese grilled fish with citrus and coriander. Whilst I appreciate again I learnt something new, I think to improve it a small snack, like chorizo bites or coriander crisps, would have really set it off. 
It's definitely inspired me to try more wines and I genuinely feel more confident in testing out new flavours. I'll especially be paying attention to any reds with the Cereza grape.

Get 30% off you first box here


Would you try a wine tasting experience at home? What are your go-to wines?

In collaboration with The Wine List


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