Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What happens to a wine when it’s aged under the sea?

We at Ideal Wine Company were interested to hear recently that vintners in California have produced the first wine in America that has been aged under the sea.

Who’s responsible for this idea?
This unusual news from the world of wine is surprising to say the least, and you’re probably at this point wondering who came up with the idea. 

The credit can go Jim Dyke, who runs Mira Winery in Napa Valley. Jim decided to break from the conventional wisdom of aging wine in a cellar and instead decided to experiment aging forty-eight bottles of his 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in the ocean.

The wine was stored in custom-built steel cages, secured to wooden boards with their necks sealed with wax. They were then left 60ft below the Charleston Harbour in South Carolina for 12 weeks.

The harbour was selected for its stable temperature of around 13°C – the same temperature at which wine is typically aged on land.

So what were the results?
After the three months were up the wine was tasted by advanced sommelier Patrick Emerson and Mira’s wine-maker of twenty years’ experience, Gustav Gonzalez.

After only a short period of being aged in the ocean, the wine had a singularly different taste to the same wine that was aged in their cellars. The deep sea conditions appeared to have accelerated the aging process.

In the words of Mr Dyke, “Ocean wine tasted older, much more complex, and the tannins were more rounded. 

What happened next?
After shocking result of the first experiment, further tests were conducted, doubling the aging period to six months and using hundred bottles. Of the 147 people who tasted the finished product, a remarkable 140 mistakenly believed they were tasting a completely different wine to what had been aged in a cellar.

Despite laboratory tests showing that the wines had almost exactly the same chemical composition, the precise reasons why the wine that aged underwater tasted so differently is not yet fully understood.

Will it take off?

This news will certainly come as a major shock and the questions on many peoples' lips will be whether or not this takes off. Whilst we at Ideal Wine Company unfortunately don't have the answer to that question it will be interesting to see if and how this develops. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

World’s First Sonic Wine Bar Opens it’s Doors

This month the world’s first sonic wine bar officially opened for business, leading the Ideal Wine Company to ask this week; what does this mean for the wine drinking experience?

Enhancing the Wine Drinking Experience
As a supplier of fine wines for wallet-friendly prices, the Ideal Wine Company has never failed to understand the complexity and versatility of wine.

 As such, wine enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and technological whiz-kids around the world strive at a breakneck pace to introduce new innovations to enhance the wine drinking experience. Such motivation has led to the opening of the world’s first sonic wine bar.

Welcome to the World’s First Sonic Wine Bar
According to Drinks Business, wine writer Jo Burzynska has recently decided to open the world’s first sonic wine bar in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Situated in the magnificent C, the establishment looks to enhance the oral and aural experience of drinking wine by taking a multi-sensory approach. By running a series of theme nights, the 35-seater bar looks to diversify and enrich the wine drinking experience by pairing different types of music with various styles of vintage.

“A Profound Effect on the Perception of What You’re Tasting.”
Drinks Business went on to reveal that the wine writer has recently commented on the science behind the concept of the sonic wine bar. Burzynska noted: “There are strong synergies between sound and taste, with recent scientific studies confirming that what you listen to when you taste as a glass of wine has a profound effect on the perception of what you’re tasting.” 

The wine writer went on to talk about the rising popularity of wine-music matching events, saying: “While wine and music matching events are gaining popularity around the world, as far as we’re aware this is the first bar entirely devoted to this concept.”

Setting Music to Wine for a Unique Experience

In other words, the opening of the world’s first sonic wine bars provides wine enthusiasts with the unique opportunity to explore a growing trend in as much depth as they desire. Setting music to wine has been shown to enhance it’s flavour, meaning the opening of the world’s first sonic wine bar could provide the wine drinkers of the world with a whole new way to appreciate their favourite tipple. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

House of Lord’s Veto Merger over Cheap Champagne

Whilst we love a good glass of bubbly, at the Ideal Wine Company we think the House of Lords went too far recently, when they vetoed a measure because they believed it could lower the quality of their champagne.

The House of Lords is No Ideal Wine Company
As buyers and sellers of luxury drinks for affordable prices, Ideal Wine Company understands the value of quality champagne. Indeed, we have a range of fine champagnes just for you.

Yet if we were ever given the power to oversee policy, we don’t think we’d veto one just to protect the quality of our favourite upscale tipple. The House of Lords, however, is no Ideal Wine Company.

We Want Our Luxury Champagne!
Believe it or not according to the Huffington Post, the House of Lords vetoed a services merger with the House of Commons because they feared that the quality of their champagne would suffer.

The ridiculous revelation was disclosed recently by Sir Malcolm Jack, who served as the clerk of the Commons between 2006 and 2010. Jack informed the Whitehall committee tasked with exploring the administration of Westminster that the Lords believed that if they were forced to merge catering services with the Commons, they’d be left with no choice but to drink cheap sparkling wine.

Catering is an Absolute Classic
When examined later by the committee’s chair Jack Straw, who asked; what about "the champagne? We heard a few things yesterday," retired clerk of the house Sir Robert Rogers had one response:

“No, I am not going into the quality of the champagne. People are very possessive about some services. Catering is an absolute classic." This just emphasised the Lords’ attachment to the £265,770 worth of first class Champagne the Upper Chamber bought between May 2010 and March 2014.

Feel Like a Member of the Aristocracy
In some ways, we agree with the Lords. Quality champagne shouldn’t be thrown under the bus. That’s why here at the Ideal Wine Company, we have a range of luxury champagne’s for reasonable prices that’ll make you feel as though you’re a member of the aristocracy!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Does Oak Have an Influence on a Glass of Wine’s Aroma?

Last week, the Ideal Wine Company heard of the launch of a new experiment that could answer a question we’ve been asking for years; does oak have an influence on a wine’s aroma?

This Vintage is ‘Oaky.’
When we’re describing one of the bottles of fine wine that we offer to you at very reasonable prices, Ideal Wine Company does sometimes resort to the same type of language that most in the wine industry rely on every time they’re confronted with the task of writing a new blurb.
One of the most commonly used words to describe a stellar vintage is ‘oaky.’ Yet can a wine really have accents of oak? Does lying in a barrel actually add to its flavour and aroma? We’ve never really known the answer, but thanks to a man commonly heralded as the ‘nose of Bordeaux,’ that answer may finally be in reach.

An Unnamed Cellar in Bordeaux
According to Decanter, winery consultant and trained perfumer Alexandre Schmitt has kicked off a three year experiment designed to determine whether oak barrels have an effect on the aroma of the wine they’re used to store.

Keeping various wines under the same conditions in an unnamed cellar in Bordeaux, Schmitt, along with barrel maker Charlois, will conduct a serious of tests to determine the effect different oak treatments have on their aroma. Initial tests will be performed on 40 barrels of Merlot 2014; this will progress to 60 barrels for the 2015 vintage, and 80 barrels for the 2016 label.

Choose the Exact Barrels Best Suited to Them
Charlois holds hopes that this experiment will provide them with the knowledge they need to exert more control over the effect oak treatments have on the aroma of wine. Charlois’ Group President, Sylvain Charlois, expanded by explaining:

“The molecules transmitted to wine by oak are known, but how they are affected by how the barrel is made, the width of the grain, the method and level of toasting, or the provenance of the oak is less known. We want to develop a molecular reference so our clients can choose exactly the barrels best suited to them.”

An Answer Three Years in the Making
Honestly, at the Ideal Wine Company we’re pretty curious to see how this experiment turns out. Yes, we know that oak has some influence on the aroma of a fine wine, but we don’t really know what that influence is. Maybe in three years’ time, we will.

Monday, 1 December 2014

What Could Immigration Reform Mean for the US Wine Industry?

Comments made by experts hailing from California wine country have prompted Ideal Wine Company to ask this week; what could immigration reform mean for the US wine industry?

Fixing a Broken Immigration System
If you ask a politician on either side of the partisan divide, they will be the first one to readily admit that the US immigration system is broken. However, each time they try to fix it they find themselves unable to, because advocates from both parties disagree on how the immigration problem should be dealt with.

This inaction has now spurred President Obama to wade into the immigration debate, acting where Congress could or would not. He issued an Executive Order which could save over 5 million immigrants from deportation.

Stopping Skilled Workers at the Mexican Border
The Californian wine industry, easily the biggest in the land, depends on immigrant labour – documented or undocumented – to pick its grapes. That’s why some in the sector are now suggesting that Obama’s executive action could hurt, rather than help the Californian wine industry.

Experts in the region including John Aguirre, President of the California Association of Grape Growers, and Nat DiBuduo, president of Allied Grape Growers, are suggesting that the one of the measure’s components – stepping up law enforcement on the Mexican border – could deprive them of a skilled labour force.

The Onset of Mechanisation
According to Wine Searcher, DiBuduo argued that "agricultural labour is skilled labour, whether you're doing pruning operations or running equipment," further suggesting that "if we don't get more workers, we're going to force more mechanisation. But it takes skilled labour to run the machinery, and some tasks are not adaptable to mechanisation."

Aguirre noted that "we could see a bifurcation in vineyards between very large vineyards that can be mechanically harvested, and very small vineyards that can afford to hire enough workers." He went on to suggest that "the mid-sized vineyards could be pushed out of business."

Immigration Reform Has No Chance of Passing a Republican Congress
What DiBuduo and Aguirre are really suggesting is that the US needs to put comprehensive immigration reform in place if it wants to protect its most lucrative wine industry. With Republicans set to take control of Congress this January, that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.