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Perfect Wine Pairings for Summer

The weather is getting better, the nights are getting longer and there’s a lightness in the air. There’s no mistaking it – summer is on its way. With this changing season comes more opportunities for al fresco dining. From picnics to barbecues, these outdoor meals are begging to be paired with the perfect wine. And that’s where we come in. Here at the Ideal Wine Company, we’ve got all the pairings you’ll need for summer dining. Let’s get started…

For salads, cold vegetable dishes, and light appetizers:

These delicate and light dishes are the ideal option for summer. Whether you’re packing them for a picnic or using them as a delicious way to kick off the barbecue, you can expect to see a lot of fresh vegetables on your plate in summer. What better way to match this natural and light option than with an equally delicate wine? Try opting for a Prosecco – it’s refreshing but not quite as dry as Champagne. You’ll find that this option is just as crisp and bubbly as Champagne, but with a slightly sweeter and balanced flavour profile. Most importantly, it won’t overpower delicate vegetable salads but can cut through the richness of picnic favourites like potato salad and French onion dip. A big bonus – Prosecco perfectly captures the festive atmosphere of summer dining!

For seafood, veggie burgers, or chicken dishes:

When we think of light summer food, most of us tend to venture towards white meat and seafood. These light offerings are perfect delicate flavours for warmer months and can often be found on a barbecue or picnic spread. In general, white meat (without a sauce or marinade), seafood or even veggie burgers work well with a Sauvignon Blanc. Tart and citrusy, this wine is a welcomed refreshing hit on warmer days. The citrusy, grassy flavours and crisp acidity will balance the minerality tones in the shellfish without upstaging them. Perfect for lighter meat!

For steaks, burgers, brisket and sweet sausages:

A mainstay on most barbecues, red meats such as steak and burgers are perennially popular. Red wines that balance stone fruit notes with lush earthiness, like Sicilian Nero d’Avola, bare the ideal wine pairings for your summer red meat dishes. With ripe cherry flavours and a smooth tannic finish, you’ll find that the wine will highlight the umami flavours in steaks and burgers perfectly. This slightly sweet fruitiness will provide the perfect depth for rich meat.

For ribs and hot dogs:

Ribs and hot dogs are quintessentially summery for many of us – which means we can expect to find them at many summer parties. With these dishes, you’ll need to note that the meat is usually fattier or spicier, and – with ribs – often coated in a barbecue base. To match these characteristics, look to pair with a Malbec. The rich black fruits and cocoa notes will highlight the spices in hot dogs like no other wine can, while the tannins will cut through the fattiest of short ribs beautifully. Malbec will give your dishes the balance they’re in need of.

Summer is a time for relaxing and enjoying the – hopefully – beautiful weather. Whatever you’re eating, make sure to make it with a drink you enjoy. Remember, there’s always a perfect wine out there, no matter what you’re bringing to the picnic or barbecue!

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How to choose white wine

Wondering how to choose the right white wine? Picking a style of white wine that matches the occasion and pleases everyone is no mean feat. With so many different varieties and terminology to get your head around, a lot can go into the decision-making process! This week, at Ideal Wine Company, we have some top tips to help make it a bit easier for you.  Let’s get started…

Ideal Wine Company choosing white wine
Wondering how to choose the right white wine? Here’s our top tips!

Know your varieties 

With white wine, there are ‘The Big Eight’ varieties to bear in mind. These are the classic white wine options that you’ll usually find, made up of:

 

 

  1. Chardonnay
  2. Sauvignon Blanc (also called FuméBlanc)
  3. Riesling
  4. Gewurztraminer
  5. Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio
  6. Semillon
  7. Viognier
  8. Chenin Blanc

After you’re aware of these, make sure to know their alternative names. Sometimes you will hear a white wine referred to by its regional or Old-World name.  For example, a white Burgundy or Chablis is simply Burgundy’s white wine made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes or Bordeaux’s Sauternes is a sweet, full-bodied white wine made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle.

Important terminology you need to know 

When you’re shopping for a bottle of white wine, you may notice the same phrases coming up again and again. It’s useful to know what these mean as these are your best guides for finding a wine suited to your taste. With so many varieties of white grapes, it’s important that you know its character. Let’s have a look at the terms used to describe this…

  • Crisp: If a wine is crisp, it means that it is fresh and slightly acidic.
  • Creamy: A wine is referred to as creamy if it has a smooth texture, andis not acidic.
  • Dry: A dry wine is one that is devoid of sweetness.
  • Oaky: Wine that is aged in oak barrels and has a distinct flavour similar to vanilla.
  • Round: This is a term used to describe wine that has a smooth texture.

These are a great starting point for knowing what your wine will taste like. By checking the label for this terminology, it can save you valuable time if you’re looking for a specific variety.

Keep the situation in mind

Your wine should usually enhance whatever situation you’re drinking it in. If you’re enjoying white wine outside on a spring day, it should be light and citrusy. Likewise, if you’re buying wine to serve alongside food, you should always keep the dishes in mind.

When it comes to serving white wine with food, there are a few basic rules that can be helpful. Dry white wines work well with light meals, usually lighter in spice, which consist white meats, salads, cheese, fish or pork. If you’re serving a dish like this, try opting for Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc, as both are light and mineral wines that won’t dominate the flavour profiles.

If you’re looking for a white wine to go with flavoured and spicy fare, then you can safely opt for Gewürztraminer. It is a full-bodied wine with an aroma of its own that makes it the perfect wine to go with Asian dishes, pork, and beef.

As a rule, sweet wines like Rieslings and ice wine best compliment desserts, fruits or anything that’s sweet. This makes it perfect for the end of a meal.

While many will look to tailor their white wine to specific dishes, these wines work well for a broad range of options. Make sure that when you’re choosing your wine, you’re keeping these suggestions in mind and balancing the flavours of your food with your wine.

Taste your wine

This is a vital – and fun – step! The more you taste different varieties of wine, the more you’ll learn and develop your palate. This will help you get familiar with what you like – and what you don’t – in a white wine. You can never be sure of the character of a wine until you sample it, so trying before you buy can make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want. The best white wine, after all, is the one that appeals to you and your taste buds!

With these tips, you’ll be able to find your perfect white wine for any occasion. Don’t be afraid to try something new or mix it up – you may be pleasantly surprised!

Our Starting Guide to Choosing Red Wine

What red wine is the best? This is perhaps one of the most loaded questions about wine, and the most subjective of answers. But the honest answer is that there isn’t a ‘best’ one.

What is best to one person is not best to the next. Our enjoyment of red wine comes down to where and when – and with what – we’re drinking it. This can make shopping for the ‘best’ red wine a daunting prospect. Which is why this week, at Ideal Wine Company, we’re giving you a helping hand with some things to think about so you can find your ‘best’ red wine.

Ideal Wine Company red wine guide
What red wine is the best?

What makes a great red wine?

A great red wine is ultimately subjective – what you love, others may hate. It all comes down to personal taste. However, there are some basics qualities that popular red wines all share. A great starting point for finding your ideal variety is looking out for these features:

 

  • High levels of tannin
  • High levels of alcohol
  • Heavier body
  • Complexity
  • Acidity

These are ultimately the factors that separate red wine from white and rosé. All these qualities come from the fermentation process, where the grapes skins are left in the tank along with the juice. To find out more about what qualities your wine will have, its best to look to the grape used and the region. These will tell you what flavour you can expect.

What wine has your favourite quality?

Next take the qualities you’re looking for and find a match. Here we’ve taken the most popular qualities a red wine can have and matched it to the perfect red wine for you.

  • Acidity – Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the perfect red wine for understanding acidity, making it a great starting point. When you taste Pinot Noir for the first time, you’ll experience a puckering sensation in your mouth, as though drinking a fizzy drink. This is the acid at work. A good bottle of Pinot Noir has exactly the right balance of tannins and acidity to compliment the fruity nature of the wine.

Also try: If you like Pinot Noir, the chances are you’ll enjoy other highly acidic red wines such as Grenache.

  • Body – Syrah/Shiraz

The body of red wine tends to be heavier than white because of its composition. If you’re after a full-bodied red wine, Syrah – or as it’s known in New World varieties, Shiraz – is an excellent example. This should give you darker flavours, such as plum, chocolate and tobacco, adding to its velvety texture.

Also try: Malbec is also a delicious full-bodied wine, so is always worth trying.

  • Tannin – Cabernet Sauvignon

Tannins leave your wine feeling a little bit dry. If you’re after a tannic wine, look for a Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s perennially popular in the wine-drinking world, because of its rich, spicy flavour and complementary pairing with red meat.

Also try: If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll also enjoy Merlot, Chianti and Rioja, which have similar qualities.

  • Alcohol– Zinfandel

Most red wines are high in alcohol, which tends to give it a bolder taste.  Zinfandel is one of the highest. A good bottle is around 15% ABV – the upper end of the scale. The high alcohol content causes Zinfandel to have bold and full – in other words, more intense. High alcohol levels come from a high amount of sugar in the fermentation process, which the yeast converts into ethanol. You can taste this sweetness in Zinfandel through its ripe, fruity flavour.

Also try: Shiraz and Madeira are other high-alcohol wines.

These tips should help you to find your ‘best’ red wine. Put them into practice and step beyond your comfort zone to try new things and – you never know – you might find a new ‘best’ red.

The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your Wine For Serving

When it comes to serving wine, we’ve all been given differing advice. Every expert seems to have an opinion– which can be confusing and difficult to follow. This week, Ideal Wine Company is breaking it down and giving you a step by step guide on the perfect way to serve your wine. Whether you’re enjoying a white in summer or a red in winter, we’ve got all you need to make the process as simple as possible!

Ideal Wine Company Serving Wine
When it comes to serving wine, we’ve all been given differing advice – here are our top tips!

Look for the perfect temperature

Before you even open the bottle of wine, temperature comes into play. We all know that red should be served warmer than white, but what’s the best way to achieve this? Our advice is to leave everyday reds and whites until the day you need them, but bring your finer reds up from a cool cellar the day before to bring them gently up to room temperature. This should guarantee that your wine is at the optimum temperature before serving.

Uncorking the bottle

For this stage, it’s all about your personal preference. From the winged ‘butterfly’ corkscrew – the most commonly available option – to the impressive but tricky waiter’s friend, it’s important that you have the right tool for you. Opt for one that you feel comfortable using, starting with a basic option if you’re new to this.

Let the wine breathe

When you have pulled out the cork, some restraint is needed. Let the wine interact with the air, it helps the aromas develop and eases out the flavours. You may even want to further this process by decanting the wine to help fully set the process off. This will give a bigger surface area and allow the wine some much-needed rest and dispersion before you drink it. At this stage, patience is key.

Temperature

As a rule of thumb, keep white wines to a maximum of 11°C – cooler for light, acidic still and sparkling. While we often focus on the temperature of whites, we need to remember that reds can be just as sensitive. Keep them to a maximum of 18°C – which you’ll want to be cooler if you’re opting for one of the more mature wines. While most reds need to be slightly warmer, there are some varieties that can benefit from a chillier temperature. Don’t be afraid to try chilling your Beaujolais or Loire reds.

When it comes to chilling your wine, our top tip is to use a bucket and iced water. You’ll find your wine reaches your ideal temperature faster than in a fridge. Perfect for parties or when you’re short on time!

If you’ve followed these steps, you’re now ready to serve your wine. Take care to pour your beverage slowly into the glass, letting it gently trickle out. You’re now ready to enjoy that delicious glass of wine!

How to Find the Perfect Wine for Your Goat’s Cheese

We all know that cheese and wine is a match made in heaven – but do we know what to do if that cheese is made from goat’s milk? With goat’s cheese becoming more popular, we’re here to help you understand what works best for this alternative option. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we’ve put together our top tips and favourite pairings to make choosing that perfect wine as simple as can be.

Ideal Wine Company Goats Cheese
We all know that cheese and wine is a match made in heaven, but what about goat’s cheese and wine?

Top tips to follow

With goat’s cheese, you can expect a few characteristics that carry across all varieties. Typically, you’ll find a creamy texture with a slight saltiness. This gives us a few helpful tips for pairing it with wine. This isn’t a pairing that you need to overthink too much, as simple rules will guide you most of the way.

Firstly, always remember the classic rule: what grows together, goes together. Look at where the goat’s cheese has been produced and look for any wines that come from this region. Chances are, you’ll find a great match this way.

Secondly, there are already some classic choices that can work for all occasions. Using the first rule, we can use the fact that the most popular- and common – variety of goat’s cheese comes from the Loire Valley of France. There are some great wines produced in the region, but 2 stand out as the perfect classic pairs for goat’s cheese.

  • Sauvignon Blanc – a classic for all occasions

Your average piece of goat’s cheese is a blank slate. Although tart and earthy, it is ready to be impressed upon by other bolder – complementing – flavours. Across the board, Sauvignon Blanc wines are the perfect choice for this. Its acidic, mineral-driven and citrusy flavours are the perfect counterbalances for the creaminess of goat’s cheese. As well the extra herbal flavours of Sauvignon Blanc help to prepare and cleanse the palate. No matter what goat’s cheese you choose, Sauvignon Blanc is a light and refreshing option for all occasions.

  • Cabernet Franc – the perfect red wine alternative

While Sauvignon Blanc may be the perfect option, sometimes we’re just in the mood for a red. If you’re serving goat’s cheese with a red, Cabernet Franc is a great alternative. The Loire Valley produces lighter styles with more herbaceous notes and tart acidity. Bigger, fruitier wines may sound nice with this gamy cut of curd, but in practice, it overwhelms the soft, impressionable nature of goat cheese. Cabernet Franc is a safe bet for goat’s cheese because of its subtle and delicious taste. It’s definitely worth trying!

While these options work well generally, you may want to tailor your wine if you have a specific goat’s cheese in mind.

Goat cheddar – perfect with Pinot Noir

For an alternative to traditional cheddar, goat cheddar is a unique and tasty option. The tangy flavour of goat milk helps to give this cheddar a strong and distinctive taste. For pairing this with wine, look to Pinot Noir. The earthy flavours of this wine work well to loosen up the equally earthy cheese, complementing its firm texture.

Herb Chèvre – works well with Vermentino

This log of goat’s cheese is rolled in herbs and lemon zest to bring out the creamy flavour of fresh goat’s cheese. With the addition of herbaceous notes, you’ll want to reflect this in your wine. Try for a Vermentino. Bringing many of the same characteristics as Sauvignon Blanc to the cheese, the added complexity works to balance the herbs. With its medium-high acidity, it’s the ideal choice for a Herb Chèvre.

Goat Gouda – look to cool-climate Syrah

This firm, dense and smooth option brings together nutty and milky flavours to produce a delicious cheese. When pairing with wine, opt for a Syrah from a cool-climate location. This will give the firm and nutty cheese a much needed deliberate, delicate touch. A perfect pair!

Pairing goat’s cheese with wine couldn’t be simpler – if you know what you’re doing. Following these simple tips, you’ll find the perfect wine for your goat’s cheese in no time!

The Perfect Wines for Stepping into Spring

The days are getting lighter and the weather is – slightly- warming up. This can only mean one thing: spring is on the way. With this, we can expect lighter meals, new seasonal vegetables and maybe even a few meals al fresco. But most importantly, it’s time to welcome in a new range of wine. This week, Ideal Wine Company is focusing on our favourite wines for spring, made up of whites, rosés and lighter red wines. Here are some of the best for when the weather gets warmer…

Ideal Wine Company Spring Wine
Spring is on the way, so we’re focusing on our favourite wines for spring, made up of whites, rosés and lighter red wines.

Riesling – crisp and fresh

There’s no denying that the crisp, fresh flavours and moderate alcohol level of a Riesling make it perfect for spring sipping. This wine is usually made up of fruity flavours, so expect to find notes of apricot, peach, pear, lime and nectarine. With a high acidity, this wine is perfectly clean and will act as the perfect palate cleanser for any light meal. Spices of honey, honeycomb and citrus blossom add the perfect levels of natural sweetness without becoming overwhelmingly sweet. You can expect this wine to range in colour from pale straw to a deep yellow, depending on its origin. Make sure you serve this wine ‘fridge cold’ – around 6 ºC – and you’re good to go!

Sangiovese rosé – a burst of red fruit

A good rosé is a classic drink of the season. If you’re a fan of rosé, a great choice is a Sangiovese variety. In this, you’ll find flavours of sweet cherry, wild strawberry, raspberry, allspice, clove, cinnamon and cumin. In particular, an Italian Sangiovese is a burst of red fruits that are complimented with subtle meaty spice notes. This wine is unexpectedly bold, making it the perfect pairing for difficult food. If you’re looking for a rosé to pair with Chinese, Thai curries or even a Caprese salad, look no further than a Sangiovese.

Prosecco – sweet and sparkling

This sparkling wine has become a popular favourite over the past few years and is the perfect choice for spring. Most Prosecco varieties are usually produced in a dry style, which offers fruity flavours of green apple, honeydew melon, pear and honeysuckle. These flavours make it seem sweeter than it is, so be careful to look out for the variety you prefer. A good Extra Dry Prosecco offers a great balance between fruit flavours, acidity and a subtle sweetness. Serve it chilled and enjoy!

Young Pinot Noir – bright with raspberry notes

When you’re drinking red wine in spring, it’s important that you’re looking for lighter – and younger – varieties. You don’t want to be brought down by heavy, rich and bold reds, so opting for a more spring-appropriate wine is your best option. A young Pinot Noir is full of bright and intense flavours, showcasing a pure raspberry fruit note. Naturally, it is a lighter red due to its low tannin, but if left to age can produce richer and deeper notes. This isn’t what you want for spring, so look for a more recent vintage. It’s simple yet delicious.

Now is the perfect time to drink up any lighter wines. Make sure you’re tasting around to find out what type of wine works for your tastes. The more pronounced acidity and palate weight of lighter wines may not be to your taste. But, with the right kind of food and setting, you’ll see how perfectly tuned they are to the flavours of spring.

Wine and Dine: Top Tips for Ordering the Perfect Wine When Eating Out

Going out to dinner with family and friends is always great. But when the wine list comes out, problems can start to arise. There’s so much more to choosing your wine than simply opting for a red or white. You must narrow down the grape type, wine region, price point and make sure it goes with the food you’re ordering – all of which is a big undertaking! Even the most seasoned oenophiles and wine connoisseurs can struggle.

Whether you’re ordering a glass for yourself or a bottle for the whole table, Ideal Wine Company have several fail-safe rules for mastering the wine list. You’ll be well prepared to impress your companions with these useful tips, so let’s get started…

Ideal Wine Company choosing wine in restaurants
Whether you’re ordering a glass for yourself or a bottle for the whole table, here are the fail-safe rules for mastering the wine list.

What grows together goes together

When it comes to deciding what region your wine should be from, there is a simple trick you should be following. This is done by looking at what type of food you are eating. For example, if you’re eating in an Italian restaurant, an Italian wine should work well with this. The rule ‘what grows together goes together’ rarely fails. The type of cuisine you’re eating will help guide your decision.

Obviously, there are some exceptions to this rule. You may be hard pushed to find a good wine for every type of food. However, if you can find a match, it’s usually a safe bet.

Consider the climate

Knowing where the wine is from will tell you all you need to know. The climate that the grapes are grown in makes a huge difference, so is what you should be focusing on. Cooler climates tend to produce fresh and crisp wines, while warmer spots make for bolder and rounder wines.

For example, if you’re ordering Pinot Grigio from a relatively cool area in northern Italy, the wine is likely to be crisp and refreshing. If you know what type of wine you’re after, climates can provide a great guide!

Ask the sommelier

There’s no better way to find the best wine than asking an expert. If a restaurant has a sommelier, don’t be afraid to ask them what their choice would be to pair with your meal. You can even give them an idea of what you look for in your wine or similar varieties you like to guide them. These sommeliers know the food and wine of the restaurant very well, so use their knowledge.

If the restaurant doesn’t have a sommelier or a waiter who can help, the menu can provide a guide. On this, you can usually identify the most popular regions on the menu. These are usually highlighted as they’re the areas the director feels strongly about, either because it goes well with the food or offers great value. Taking suggestions from the experts can give you the best possible choice for you.

Check for spoilage

When the wine is brought to the table, you’ll be asked to taste the bottle. This is your opportunity to look for any flaws in the wine or the bottle. When the label is shown to you, make sure you’re carefully reading it to see it is the bottle and vintage you ordered.

With the tasting, there are several factors you should be looking for. These include cork taint, volatile acidity and Brettanomyces – a type of yeast that indicates spoilage. There are several tell-tale signs your wine has been affected by these, so check for unpleasant smells, brown colouring in the wine, a vinegar or chemical taste, or even a bland taste. Trust your sommelier – they can notice mistakes you might miss.

Make the most of your budget

Just because a wine is expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s good. While some people may use the price of a wine as a guide for quality, it isn’t the best method. You should be using other tips on this list over cost. Your palette – and your purse or wallet – will thank you.

With these tips, you’ll be able to conquer the wine list. If you know what to look out for, you can be assured your ordering the perfect glass for your meal and setting every time!

What Are the Best Ways to Preserve Your Wine?

We all love wine, but sometimes we simply can’t finish a full bottle in one sitting. What do you do if you’re done after a few glasses? As we all know, wine tends to have a relatively short life once opened and the thought of wasting wine isn’t one any of us would relish. This week, Ideal Wine Company is bringing you our top tips for preserving your wine. You’ll never waste a drop again!

Ideal Wine Company preserving wine
We’re bringing you our top tips for preserving your wine – you’ll never waste a drop again!

Why does wine need to be preserved?

If wine is left on its own, it can go bad fairly quickly. Red wine only has a life of 1/2 days once opened, while white holds up for around 3 days. This is due to air getting into the bottle and oxidising the wine. Exposure to air can be detrimental to your wine. Let’s look at the best preventative methods you can take…

Re-cork your bottle – a short-term solution

Perhaps the first method that springs to mind, recorking your bottle is a useful tip for a short-term solution. However, this obvious method won’t do too much for preserving your wine for extended periods of time. As you’ve already uncorked the wine, you’ve allowed air to get into the bottle, which can start the process of spoiling the wine. This is possibly one of the least effective methods.

Try this method if: you’re drinking white or rosé wines. These wines are likely to see some results from recorking the bottle with the original cork. With red and sparkling wine, it is unlikely that you will see satisfactory results.

Move to a smaller bottle – to reduce exposure

One of the first moves you should make when trying to preserve open wine is to decant it into a smaller bottle. Through doing this, you’re cutting down the exposure to air, meaning that it is less likely to become oxidized as quickly. To do this, you’ll need to keep clean half-bottles – a plastic bottle will do – ready to pour the wine into. Keeping this bottle refrigerated, you should see a slowdown in any deterioration.

Try this method if: you’re only storing your wine for a few days. While this method does work, most people will start to notice unfavourable changes after about a week, depending on the wine. This is a worthwhile method of preservation, but you shouldn’t expect it to show long-term results.

Use a wine preserver – create a vacuum

As wine usually spoils faster through exposure to air, a great device is combatting this is a wine preserver. This works by placing a rubber stopper on top of the bottle and pressing a hand pump that removes the air. The device will begin clicking once all the air is removed. This sealer and pump device features an indicator to let you know whether your bottle of wine is still protected from the air.

Try this method if: you’re after a foolproof method. This simple device is easy to use and can lead to reliable results. You can expect your wine to last a few days longer and the taste to be preserved. However, be aware that not all preservers work as well as others. Look for a decent quality of preserver and you can expect the best results.

No matter what steps you take to preserve your wine, it is unlikely to last forever. You’ll probably notice that once it gets past 7 to 10 days, it is usually undrinkable. We recommend finishing your wine before this. If that’s not an option, why not try using your leftover wine for cooking?

How to Choose the Best Champagne for You!

Big occasions deserve to be celebrated with the perfect bottle of Champagne. But what is the perfect bottle? Well, it’s all a question of personal taste. Plus, there’s the fact that there are different production methods, regions and jargon to decipher. It can be quite intimidating to know what to choose, which is why Ideal Wine Company is here to help. This week, we’re highlighting what you should pay attention to when choosing your bottle from Champagne that’s dry, lean, crisp or creamy…

Ideal Wine Company choosing the best champagne
Big occasions deserve to be celebrated with the perfect bottle of Champagne, we’re highlighting what you should be paying attention to.

Get to know the ‘sweet’ spot

The sweetness of Champagne is unlike any other wine’s sweetness. This is because it is added at a much later stage, the second fermentation, to balance the acidity. Champagne usually has a high acidity, so the added sweetness is there to make it the delicious drink we all love.

All Champagne is labelled with a word or phrase that indicates the level of sweetness:

  • Brut Nature: Bone dry. There is no added sweetness.
  • Extra Brut: Bone dry. The producers add a touch of sweetness to balance Champagne’s naturally high acidity.
  • Brut: This is the average Champagne dosage of sweet, usually around 6–10 grams of sugar per litre of wine. This adds body to the Champagne although, coupled with the high acidity level, it will taste dry or even bone dry.
  • Extra Dry: The level of sweetness is still low enough that Extra Dry Champagne will usually taste mostly dry, but with a distinctly more fruit-forward character.
  • Dry: Off-Dry. This fruity and somewhat sweet style of Champagne offers a richer body and texture.
  • Demi-Sec: A noticeably sweet style of Champagne. Try serving this option alongside desserts or cheeses and nuts.
  • Doux: As this wine is the sweetest option, this makes it perfect for pairing with puddings. It is a dessert-style of Champagne that is now relatively rare to find. It offers very sweet fruit flavours and pairs nicely with creamy desserts, but doesn’t work as well with chocolate-based desserts.

Look out for different grape styles

For Champagne production, there are 3 types of grape used. These are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. How these grapes are used will determine the resulting style. If there is no style, you can assume that it has been made in the standard style, which is a blend of all three grapes in a blanc style.

Blanc de Blancs is a popular style that is made with 100% white grapes, traditionally being 100% Chardonnay grapes. This variety commonly has lemon and apple-like fruit flavours.

Blancs de Noir is made with 100% black grapes, typically a combination of Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier. You’ll find strawberry and white raspberry flavours in this style.

Rosé is a pink style that is made by blending blanc Champagne with a touch of red Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier wine. This provides the wine with pure fruit flavours such as strawberry and raspberry in the taste. In addition, you’ll find very little tannin and high acidity.

Find the regional classification

While we all know that Champagne must come from the Champagne region, not all wine in this area is created equal. The commune name on the bottle states where the grapes were grown. There are hundreds of communes, yet only 42 have Premier Cru vineyards and just 17 have Grand Cru vineyards. These classifications mean that the vineyards have demonstrated their ability to produce exceptional wine grapes and make high-quality Champagne. If you’re looking for the best, any bottle with these classifications will usually be a safe bet.

Champagne is usually the benchmark of quality. Make sure that you’re looking out for sweetness, style and any classifications to get the taste you want. If you look hard enough, you’re sure to find the perfect bottle for you!

What You Need to Know About Serving Wine!

Ideal Wine Company guide to serving wine
We take you through the best ways to serve wine to ensure your drinking experience is perfect every time! 

We all love to drink wine, but it can be confusing to understand the best way to serve it. The way it is served can have a dramatic impact on our drinking experience. From the size of the glass to the best temperature to serve different wines, there are so many variables to take into consideration. This week, Ideal Wine Company will take you through the best ways to serve wine to ensure your drinking experience is perfect every time!

  1. Know your glassware

A fundamental element of any drinking experience, the proper glass will make your wine taste better. A wine glass controls the tasting experience, so here are some basic rules to make sure you’re choosing the right glass for your drink.

  • White wine: look for a glass with a smaller bowl to help preserve floral aromas and deliver more aromas to the nose. The smaller surface area will also help the wine keep cooler for longer.
  • Red wine: go for a glass with a larger bowl to deliver more aroma compounds and diminish the burn of ethanol as it is further away from the nose. Likewise, the larger surface area allows the ethanol to evaporate. In addition, the wider opening allows for a smoother taste.
  1. Understand the ideal temperature to serve

A common rule to understand is that there are different ideal temperatures for serving wine. Some of the more delicate floral aromatics in fine wines are completely subdued at very cool temperatures or burn off too quickly when the wine is too warm. While we know that red should be served warmer than white, here are the temperatures to aim for when serving wine.

Red wine: tastes better when served slightly below room temperature. Aim to serve it around 12-20°C. Light red wines usually work best at the lower end of the spectrum.

White wine: look for a temperature between 7-14°C. Remember, zesty whites should edge on the cool side and oak-aged whites are more suited to the warmer side.

Sparkling wine: 3-7 °C is great for most affordable sparkling wines. Try serving high-quality sparkling wines and Champagne at white wine temperatures.

  1. Decant your wine

When it comes to red wine, decanting is one of the best things you can do! This simple move will greatly improve the flavour. Simply pour the wine into a glass pitcher or wine decanter and let it sit for around 30 to 45 minutes before serving. This allows the ethanol flavours to evaporate and the wine to get to the perfect temperature.  With the exception of very old red and white wine, almost no wine will be harmed by decanting. This is sure to improve your drinking experience.

  1. Hold your glass the right way

Once you’ve poured your wine, remember that how you hold your glass can still affect the taste. For red wine, hold the glass by the bowl. As your hands are naturally warm, this will gently heat up the wine and allow your red to be served at an ideally warmer temperature. For white wine, you don’t want it to be warm. Instead of holding the glass by the bowl, hold it by the stem. This allows the bowl and the wine to stay at a cooler temperature.

These basics are always great to remember and can apply to almost any glass of wine you drink. No matter what wine you serve, you’ll be sure to have the best experience possible with these tips.