Monday, 28 September 2015

Writer Launches Wine School for Cooks

Answering the prayers of dinner party-throwers everywhere, the Ideal Wine Company has learned that a wine writer has decided to open a new school to teach amateur cooks about wine.

Tough choice 

We’ve all been there; you’ve decided to throw a dinner party and you want to pick the perfect wine to go with your dish. But wine is such a complex drink and there are so many varieties – white, red, rose, sparkling, sweet, etc. – that you have no idea which vintage to choose. 

Your choice could determine the success of your night. You can pair wines with practically any dish from chicken to fish to lamb, but there isn’t one wine that goes with every type of cuisine. If you make the right choice you can highlight the subtle flavours of your cuisine, but make the wrong choice and you’ll strike a particularly stark contrast that’ll leave your food tasting horribly unpleasant. 

Wine for foodies 

Don’t worry dinner party people help’s on its way, as celebrated food and wine writer Fiona Beckett has decided to open a wine school for cooks. The Drinks Business recently reported that she and Itamar Srulovich will hold a series of pop up “wine for foodies” classes at his restaurant, Honey & Co., near Regent’s Park, London.

The classes are aimed at amateur cooks, who in Beckett’s own words are “passionate about food but nervous about wine.” She went on to say, “I’ve lost count of the number of good cooks who have told me they know nothing about wine. Of course they do, it’s just they don’t feel relaxed about it.”

Course syllabus 

Starting 11th October, each class will talk students through six particular wines. Ultimately, they’re designed to leave attendees feeling more confident about how to order a wine in a restaurant, as well to how to choose a tipple to accompany a homemade meal. 

The first class will focus on white and orange wine, which Beckett believes pairs fantastically well with Middle Eastern food; we’d love to be a student in that class! Meanwhile the 1st November session will be centred on rose and red wines, as well as the aging of wine. Furthermore the class Beckett and the restaurant’s owner plan to hold on 6th December will teach students about sweet and sparkling wines. 

Put it into practice

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in and you live in the area, why not go check out the Beckett’s “wine for foodies” classes? Then, you can take everything you learn about red wine to determine what dishes to pair with stellar vintages such as the Chateau La Conseillante 2007, which you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company today.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Will Wildfires Damage California’s Wine Industry?

As the California wildfires rage on, gigantic flames have already destroyed wide swathes of the Golden State. This has forced the Ideal Wine Company to ask; will wildfires damage California’s wine industry? 

Golden state wine making  

California boasts the most prominent wine making sector in the United States, known the world over for producing quality vintages. Today famous California regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County produce some of the globe’s most sought after wine, made from high-quality grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot.  

California now comprises almost 90% of the US’s total wine production, and recent statistics show that there’s no sign it’ll slow down anytime soon. Data quoted by The Drinks Business indicates that the region enjoyed record grape harvests in 2012, 2013 and 2014, yet some experts believe that the wildfires that have recently hit the Golden State could damage California’s 2015 grape harvest.  

Assessing the damage  

According to CBS News, at the time of writing the fire has burned across 67,000 acres of California countryside; mostly in Lake County, but also in Sonoma and Napa Counties. It has destroyed a variety of wineries in the region, such as Shed Horn Cellars in Middletown, Lake County.  

It’s hard to assess the damage just yet, according to Jacque Lynn Johnson, district director of the California Farm Service Agency. She said "we don't know how many acres have been burned, nor do we know if there has been smoke penetration to the remaining fruit, affecting its quality.” Johnson added, "due to evacuation orders, many growers have not been able to visit their ranches to assess what damage, if any, has occurred." 

Smoke taint 

Johnson raised the issue of smoke taint, and some experts are really concerned about it. Andrea Smalling, chief marketing officer of Foley Family Wines in Middletown, which was damaged by the fire, was one. Smalling commented that "it's likely that we won't be able to harvest the remaining grapes due to smoke damage, but our winemaker is doing some lab work to confirm.” 

However the California Wine Institute has expressed confidence that the majority of wineries that lie within the fires path may yet avoid the scourge of smoke taint. They explained: “The smoke has not lingered in the vineyards because of winds and many grapes are already picked because of the abnormally early harvest. Smoke taint impacts grapes that are in a growing stage of rapid expansion, (but) the grapes are well advanced at this point.” 

Try California wine 

It’s hard to assess the impact of the California wildfires, but it appears as though they will inflict at least some damage on the region’s booming wine industry. If you want to see why people want the Golden States’ wine industry to pull through, try the Ideal Wine Company’s California wines today. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Australian Bottle Named Best Wine of the 70s

The Ideal Wine Company was not the least bit surprised to learn recently that one of Australia’s most famous vintages was named the best wine of the 1970s.

New world wine maker

Long gone are the days where wine making was seen as the sole province of ‘old world’ countries such as France, Italy and Spain. Since their colonisation, many new world countries including the US, Chile and Australia have established roaring wine trades.
Cultivated over 200 years, the Australian wine industry has evolved to become one of the most successful on the planet. According to the Australian government, the land down under now boasts 60 wine making areas including well known regions such as Barossa Valley, Yarra Valley and Mudgee.

Best wine of the 70s

Produced in South Australia, Penfolds Grange is often regarded as the land down under’s most collectible wine. Typically made from Shiraz grapes delicately blended with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, these hearty reds will knock your socks off. The brand’s most famous bottle is the 1971, a standout vintage which was recently named the best wine produced in the 1970s at an event sponsored by European Luxury Magazine, FINE.

Good Food recently reported that the Magazine gathered together a panel of judges from nine different countries to assess various wines worth in excess of $500,000. They awarded the Penfolds Grange 1971 a near perfect score of 98.5 out of 100, whilst French wines secured eight out of the other top ten spots on the list. Chateau Y'quem 1975 from Sauternes, France was awarded second place, securing a score of 98 out of 100.

Incredibly proud moment

Penfolds’ head wine maker, Peter Gago, commented on the victory. He said that it’s an “incredibly proud moment” for the land down under’s most famous vintage, adding that he “almost fell off his chair when I heard.” Gago went on to say: "this isn't just competing with wines of one vintage or from one country.

“This is competing with the greatest wines from an entire decade, sourced from the whole world, and including some of the greatest vintages in the history of Bordeaux and Champagne. It was a blind tasting, too, with an international panel of judges, which removes any suggestion of bias.”

Try a Penfolds Grange

The 1971 is an amazing wine, but it isn’t the only standout bottle produced by Penfolds Grange. You should buy a Penfolds Grange from the Ideal Wine Company today if you want to learn how this estate has produced some of the best reds the world has ever seen. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

2015 Could be a Standout Year for Port

Producers throughout Northern Portugal have started speculating, the Ideal Wine Company recently learned, that 2015 could be a pretty amazing year for port wine.

What is port?

Port is a fortified wine that’s produced in the Douro Valley region of Northern Portugal. It’s made with a variety of grapes traditionally grown in the Iberian Peninsula including Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. Port is a protected product under the European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines, meaning that only vintages that are made in a specific way are allowed to use the label ‘port.’

As with other fortified wines, port is sweeter, heavier, richer and more alcoholic than standard wines. If you learn how to prepare port, the Iberian tipple will provide you with a drinking experience like no other. However the final quality of the drink often depends on the vintage; if the grapes used to make the port were grown in a year that boasted favourable weather, it’ll taste amazing!

Great year for port

It looks like we’re in for some pretty amazing port this year. Decanter recently reported that despite the fact that not a single grape has yet been picked, port producers expect the 2015 vintage to be a good one, due to the hot dry weather that hit Douro Valley this summer. The reason for this hope was explained by the head wine maker at the Fladgate partnership, David Guimaraens.

He compared the 2015 growing season to 2011’s, which according to critics produced outstanding vintages.  Guimaraens said: “Conditions are similar to 2011. Both years experienced warm dry springs and summers, although the winter preceding 2011 was wetter. The ground water reserves this year are fine so we are hoping for a very good harvest, although it will be starting earlier than usual. We expect to receive the first grapes at the Quinta da Nogueira winery during the last week of August.”

Antonio Magalhees, the head viticulturist at Fladgate, also explained that they’ve already seen signs which suggest that 2015 will be a great year for port. Magalhees said that “a very good indicator of an early harvest in our vineyards is the development of our Touriga Nacional. It is always a late developer but it has already changed colour to a deep purple.”

Trust Taylors, Croft and Fonseca Port

Fladgate Partnership is the company which owns Taylors, Croft and Fonseca Port. They’re famed for making some of the best ports in the world, including the Fonseca vintage Port sold by Ideal Wine Company. You can trust them when they say that 2015 could be a standout year for port!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Our Latest Wine: Antinori Tignanello Toscana 1990

If you’re looking for a wine that’ll knock your socks off, you should buy the Ideal Wine Company’s latest wine; the Antoni Tignenello Toscana 1990. It’ll blow you away!

Italian wine

Throughout their long and varied history, the Italian’s have developed a robust wine making tradition. According to Life in Italy, wine making was exported to the boot-shaped peninsula from the Hellenistic world during the age of antiquity. The practice was quickly taken up by the Romans, who proceeded to plant vines across Europe.

The Romans may have fallen at the close of the 5th Century A.D., but the rise of Catholicism ensured that Italian wine making survived their demise. The importance of wine in the Catholic ‘mass,’ ensured that various regions throughout Italy, such as Tuscany, developed vine growing industries which have lasted right through to the modern day.  

Toscana IGT

The Central Italian region of Tuscany has developed one of the most famous wine making traditions on the planet. Today it cultivates a variety of popular grapes including Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.

The Italian government has created an appellation system, comparable to similar programmes in France, to protect certain Tuscan wines. In the 1970’s, the government created a new classification called Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). The “super Tuscan” vintages that fall into this category, such as the Toscana IGT, are considered high quality wines that deserve their extremely high price tags.

Antinori Tignanello Toscana 1990

If you want to try this standout vintage for yourself you’re in luck, as we’ve recently added a stunning Toscana IGT wine to the Ideal Wine product list. This is the Antinori Tignanello Toscana 1990, which you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company for only £331 per bottle!

The Antinori Tignanello Toscana 1990 is a hypnotic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Tuscany’s flagship Sangiovese grapes. This classic red wine is a structured, well-balanced vintage, which boasts an effortlessly calibrated flavour that evokes the spirit of ripe cherries and succulent wild berries.

Buy our latest wine

Does this sound like the wine for you? If so buy the Antinori Tignanello Toscana 1990 from the Ideal Wine Company today. You’ll soon see that like the rest of our Italian wines, this ruby-red vintage is imbued with a robust flavour that’ll set your taste buds ablaze!