Monday, 27 April 2015

Scientists Analyse Champagne from 170 Year Old Shipwreck

The Ideal Wine Company recently discovered that a team of scientists has analysed bottles of Champagne found among the ruins of a 170 year old shipwreck in 2010. What they discovered gave us just a small glimpse into the mysterious world of historic winemaking.

Jackpot discovered in the Baltic Sea
Picture this. You’re a diver who has swum down to the cold dark depths of the Baltic Sea. It’s darker than the dead of night, but you think you see something down below. Then, you stumble on a stash of unbelievably well preserved champagne.

This is exactly what happened in 2010. 168 bottles of Champagne were discovered in a shipwreck from the 1840’s, 50 metres below the Baltic Sea off the coast of the Aland Islands in Finland. 47 of these bottles were Veuve Clicquot, a Champagne named for the famous French Champagne House that has been credited as the first to ever produce rose Champagne.

The secrets of historic winemaking
A portion of the discovery was sold at auction in 2011 for tens of thousands of euros, but the BBC reported that some of them have now been investigated by scientists. A study led by Prof Philippe Jeandet, from the University of Reims in Champagne-Ardenne, France, sought to discover the secrets of historic winemaking by analysing three of the Veuve Clicquot found in the shipwreck against bottles recently produced by the luxury Champagne house.

The study’s findings were published in the PNAS Journal. They show that the Champagne’s composition was surprisingly similar to that of its modern cousins, but it had “astronomically high” sugar levels of 14%. This is higher than most modern dessert wines. It also contained traces of arsenic, which you certainly wouldn’t see in wine today as it’s a highly dangerous substance.

“It was fabulous.”
Professor Jeadet noted to the BBC that he only got to taste a mere 0.1ml of the find, but what he did taste provided him with a once-in-lifetime experience.

The academic commented that "it was impossible to smell," "but it was fabulous - just tasting 100 microlitres." He went on to suggest that the Veuve Clicquot boasted flavours of leather and tobacco and that "the taste remained for two or three hours." He was especially surprised by how well the wine had been preserved during it’s tenure at the bottom of the Baltic.

A window into the past

This is amazing. How often do we get to look at a historic rare Champagne and use it to open up a window into the past? This find has shown us how our ancestors developed the winemaking techniques that were the forebears of the ones we use today. It’s like we’ve found a missing piece in the puzzle of how modern Champagne came to be! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Why is Rose Wine Pink?

Today the Ideal Wine Company has decided to tackle one of the most annoying wine myths known to man. We’ve geared ourselves up to ask: why is rose wine pink?

The rise of rose wine
Go back a decade or two and rose wine was nothing more than a novelty. At best, it was the bottle you would only break out on a particularly scorching summer’s day. At worst, you wouldn’t have even heard of it.

However you can buy some stunning rose wines. A good pink wine manages to mix the bright, fresh characteristics of an un-oaked white, with the rich berry-fruit flavours of a hearty red. People have started to catch on in the last decade, and now you’re just as likely to see rose on the supermarket shelves as you would it’s darker and lighter equivalents.

It’s not a blend!
The rising popularity of rose wine has only more people curious. A lot of wine enthusiasts don’t know how their pink drink of choice is made. We want to take a minute to clear something up. Rose wine is not a blend!

White wine is made from white grapes (mostly). Red wine is made from red grapes. This leads people to believe that rose wine is made by blending white wine and red wine. No.

From clear to pink
It’s usually made with red grapes. In the EU it must be made with red grapes. Did you know that grape juice is clear when it’s first pressed? It’s the skin of the grape that makes wine a certain colour.
This means that white wine is made from grapes with light skins. It can also be made with dark-skinned grapes if the skin is separated out before the juice is left to ferment. Red wines are left to ferment with the skins of the dark grapes they’re made from to attain their famous colour.

Now we get to rose. Rose receives it’s colour in a similar way to red. Dark-skinned grapes are lightly crushed and allowed to macerate with their skins for a short time during fermentation, to provide the tipple with a lovely pink blush. The juice is then separated out and fermented in tanks.

How was your Dom Perignon Rose 1996 made?

So next time you break out a bottle of Dom Perignon Rose 1996 bought from the Ideal Wine Company, stop and think. This decadent rose champagne isn’t a crude blend of white and red grape juice. It was lovingly made to provide you with the shining pink glow that no rose-drinking experience is complete without!  

Monday, 13 April 2015

Prosecco Becoming Increasingly Popular in the UK

New figures show that Brits are flocking to stock Prosecco in their supermarket trolleys in increasing numbers. Evidence suggests that wine drinkers across the UK love Prosecco because of its modest price tag but you can buy decently priced Champagnes from the Ideal Wine Company.

The Rise of Prosecco
Champagne is the drink of luxury. When you want to celebrate something, when you want to make it a special occasion, it’s British tradition to break out the bubbles. Yet Champagne is a protected name (your bog standard fizzy wine can’t call itself a Champagne) and this can push up the price you have to pay for a bottle of France’s finest to exorbitant levels.

This is where Prosecco comes in. It’s Italy’s version of Champagne; the finest fizzy wine the land of pizza, pasta and Pisa has to offer. Prosecco differs from Champagne in a number of ways, for example the Italian vintage is slightly sweeter than its French equivalent. It differs in one key way for consumers; it’s cheaper.

Brits ditch Champagne for Prosecco
According to the Independent, experts suggest that the average bottle of Prosecco costs just £6.49, whilst the average bottle of Champagne will set the consumer back £16.23 a go. This is why, according to the publication, British drinkers spent more on Prosecco than Champagne in 2014.

British consumers spent £181.8 million on Prosecco in supermarkets in 2014. This was double the amount they shelled out in the previous year. In contrast they spent £141.3 million on Champagne throughout 2014, according to market researchers Kantar. The Italian fizzy wine proved particularly popular with women and young people.

“Prosecco is really a wine for all people.”
Italian author and wine expert Alfonso Cevola explained to the publication why Brits are leaving Champagne in favour of its sweeter Mediterranean equivalent.

Cevola said: “Prosecco seems easier than champagne. Champagne has built up its reputation as a luxury product, while Prosecco is really a wine for all people. You don’t have to wear fancy clothing, no hushed lights and no special celebration needed.”

Find Champagne at the Ideal Wine Company

Yet it’s possible to find a decently priced Champagne for all occasions if you know where to look. You can purchase a range of quality Champagnes from the Ideal Wine Company for prices you can actually afford. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Can Red Wine Help With Depression?

The Ideal Wine Company have heard it all now. A new study has found that red wine may be able to ease the symptoms of depression. It all has something to do with the wonder compound otherwise known as resveratrol.

The wonders of resveratrol
We’ve all heard the old wives tale. Drink two glasses of red wine a day and you’ll live to a ripe old age. However every day there seems to be a new study, a new piece of research, which shows us that it’s more than just an old wives tale.

Red wine is supposed to be good for you because it contains a compound called resveratrol. Let’s list the wonders of resveratrol. Scientists from the University of California found that resveratrol could be a cure for acne. Researchers from Canada discovered that the wonder compound could be better for you than an hour at the gym, improving muscle strength and heart function. A study in Texas suggested that it may be able to help you ward off age-related memory decline, making it a potential treatment option for conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Resveratrol can prevent inflammation in the brain
Now scientists at the South Carolina School of Medicine have published a report which indicates that resveratrol could ease the symptoms of depression.

You need a bit of a history lesson to understand why. Earlier this year researchers stumbled on a game changing revelation. They found biological evidence which links depression to inflammation in the brain. The team at South Carolina School of Medicine conducted research which illustrated that resveratrol can ward off inflammation in the brain and thus, ease the symptoms of depression.

What happens when you give rats resveratrol?
They conducted two experiments with rats to prove their point. In both exercises they persuaded one rat to “bully” the others. The first time around some of the bullied rats developed depression-like symptoms along with brain inflammation, whilst others showed no sign of either.

They changed one thing the second time around. They dosed the bullied rats with a daily helping of resveratrol. The research’s lead author, Susan K. Wood, Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience at University of South Carolina School of Medicine explained to Yahoo Health what happened:

“We measured neuroinflammation and tested for anhedonic behaviours (a prevalent symptom of major depressive disorder) at one time point — five days after the final stress exposure, which was also five days after the last treatment of resveratrol,” she explained. Wood elaborated that “it was at this point that resveratrol-treated rats had no evidence of anhedonia or inflammation compared with rats treated with a vehicle, meaning a placebo.” 

Drink up

Don’t treat this as gospel truth. Mental health is a serious issue and if you have a mental health problem such as depression, drinking copious amounts of red wine won’t do you any good. However this study shows that a glass or two of Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche 1983 from the Ideal Wine Company could be good for your mental health!