Thursday, 28 November 2013

World’s Oldest Wine Cellar Discovered in Israel

At the Ideal Wine Company we concentrate on providing you with the types of luxury wine you are proud to store in your collection. Wine collecting is hardly a modern practice; it goes back centuries. It goes back to the ancients, to the days of mythology. For those of us in the wine trade, the history of the wine making industry is fascinating; you can use it to chart the history of society, of the human race itself. In this way wine acts as so much more than a drink; it’s a link to our past, our ancestors. That’s why we’re excited by the discovery of what is potentially the world’s oldest wine cellar.

The Mirror Newspaper reported last Saturday (23rd November) that experts had discovered a wine cellar that is around 4,000 years old in Israel. Tel Kabri, Israel plays host to the fantastic discovery which had 40 amphorae like jars each containing 50 litres of strong sweet wine and the cellar dates back to around 1,700 BC. It was believed to have been produced by the ancient Canaanites, the people who were known to have inhabited Palestine before the Jewish peoples of the Old Testament.

It’s an amazing discovery and it can tell us much about the ancient art of wine making. Already we know that the jars contain wine flavoured with cinnamon, mint, honey and psychotropic resins and this tells us a lot about the culture of the time, however archaeologists were also surprised to discover that the cellar discovered in the ruins of Tel Kabri is not in fact that much different from cellar’s in Israel’s modern day wineries; it suggests a strong tradition that has remained undented by the ravages of time.

In the article Professor Eric Cline, chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations at George Washington University, who was involved in the excavation and research on the site, said that researchers have already excavated a three foot long jug they have nicknamed ‘Bessie.’ In further comments he said that “we dug and dug, and all of a sudden, Bessie’s friends started appearing-five, 10, 15, ultimately 40 jars packed in a 15-by-25-foot storage room.” He concluded by saying that “this is a hugely significant discovery - it’s a wine cellar that, to our knowledge, is largely unmatched in age and size.”

For those of us with an interest in wine, like all of you out there, there is so much that this discovery can tell us. We have already discovered the types of ingredients people were using this early and how their wines tasted. We still have to find out their methods and this discovery should yield some fascinating findings yet. What it does already tell us is that wine collecting is a time honoured tradition and it is so much more than a hobby; it’s a cultural link back to our roots as a species and it should be celebrated as such. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

What Makes Fabulous Red Wine?

Here at the Ideal Wine Company we are a fan of all types of wine, from white to red to rose and this week we wanted to shine our spotlight specifically on red. What makes a good red wine? What are the qualities that you should be looking for when picking that perfect bottle? Like with all wines, there’s nothing that you could call absolute definitive; at the end of the day it’s all down to personal preference; not everybody is going to enjoy the same things and cherish the same qualities. However, like with anything else there are some overarching principles that can certainly act to help you on your way in picking the bottle that’s right for you.

Of course, it’s not quite the same for each grape and for each vintage and this is only a starting point but these top tips will at least give you a starting point in what you are looking for in determining which bottle of red is right for you. When it comes to reds, it’s best to remember that they can be overpowering in certain circumstances and it’s best to drink them around the autumn, winter period as they are the perfect drink to keep you warm when there’s a chill. It’s also good to have them with heavier meat based dishes as the characteristics of a good red work perfectly with these types of meals. So what are the characteristics you should be looking for in your Red?

Colour… When it comes to wine the older the vintage the more enjoyable it will be to drink. This is because it has been allowed time to mature. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but when it comes to luxury reds; it’s usually a good one to follow. Colour can be a fantastic method to denote age. With reds, the darker it is, the younger it is.  An older red will be tawnier in colour and this makes it a fantastic drink.

Price… When it comes to red wine, the old adage that you get what you pay for is a great way of determining quality as it’s often true. The more expensive it is, the more time and effort the wine has received from the provider. However it’s also important to note that cheaper reds aren’t always necessarily a bad thing.

Smell… Reds are often varied and rich and this often comes out in the smell of the bottle. If you want a really satisfying red, then you want a drink with a rich fruity smell that knocks you for six and ensnares the senses. Trust your nose; it won’t lead you far wrong.

Reputation… Often you can tell the quality of a truly fantastic red from what other people have already said about it. Red is a wine that draws many experts around the world to its charms and its always a good idea to have a check online as there will be an expert review somewhere you can draw the opinion of in picking your perfect choice. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

ABC: Ideal Wine Company Explores the Concept of Wine Trends

Anyone who’s in the wine game will know that this world of luxury wine can be a fickle one at the best of times. Like most markets, it relies on the mood of the customer and this can mean that a type of wine or particular vintage that was in fashion one moment becomes taboo the next. This means that when it comes to choosing the wine to buy for your collections, it’s best to look at the wines that have stood the test of time; these wines are the ones that have proved enduringly popular, and are likely to stay that way.

At the Ideal Wine Company, we recognize that when it comes to standing the test of time, we need to stock wines that have proved themselves over the years. A top example of this is the Tokaji; the Hungarian wine that is centuries old and has survived political upheaval, a changing social fabric and even a phllyoxera epidemic to become one of the most celebrated wines in our collection. So, what separates a timeless vintage such as the Tokaji from one that ends up simply being consigned to the annals of history, forever branded a wine trend?

For this we have to look at an example, and what better example is there than Chardonnay? Chardonnay became such a popular type of wine, and grew to have such prominence in such a short amount of time, as it was only really a label attached to white wines a few decades ago, that it saw a huge backlash among wine enthusiasts. It was like anything, once it becomes too popular there is a reaction against it. Through this backlash, the phrase ‘Anything But Chardonnay’, often shortened merely among wine drinkers to ABC, came to emphasise the move away from the popular brand of dry white wine. Although the ABC era has seen its heyday among wine enthusiasts, there is still a certain stigma attached to drinking Chardonnay.

So in this case it seems to be a mix of two elements. The first of these is the need for selectiveness and exclusivity amongst the wine community. This is hardly a quality that is unique to wine enthusiasts, it’s something that everyone from music enthusiasts to art dealers possess; they like to set themselves apart from the less knowledgeable public by disdaining the more popular product in favour of the less well known one; which in turn creates the next trend. The other contributing factor has to be the speed of ascent. Chardonnay became so popular, so quickly, that it was the wine world equivalent of an economic bubble. All bubbles burst, and the Chardonnay bubble indeed burst dramatically.

These are the reasons that the Ideal Wine Company tends to stay away from providing vintages that form part of the latest wine trends. We instead offer bottles and vintages that have proved their value and endure. This means that they are sure to add value to your wine collection for years to come.