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The Perfect Wine Pairings for a Vegetarian Christmas

With the meat-heavy offerings at Christmas, vegetarian dishes and their accompaniments can sometimes get overlooked. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we’ve got the perfect wine pairings for vegetarian Christmas favourites. From party snacks to main meals, our guide covers what to serve and what wine to serve with it so that you can make the most of a vegetarian Christmas – and even impress vegetarian guests!

Ideal Wine Company vegetarian food and wine
The perfect wine pairings for a vegetarian Christmas!

Halloumi and Prosecco

Halloumi is such a versatile and popular choice. This firm and salty cheese works well grilled and is an easy and tasty snack for parties. Due to its flavours, try pairing halloumi with a sparkling wine, such as Prosecco. Its light flavour won’t be too strong against the bold tasting cheese, rather complementing it, while providing a welcome burst of sweetness.

Vegetarian Christmas Roast and Cabernet Sauvignon

This meat-free alternative to the classic roast brings with it some new flavours to match. When pairing wine with a turkey dinner, we advise matching the wine to the meat. With a vegetarian option, focus on what the dominant element is. From nut roast to mushrooms, there’s a wine to suit your course. With mushrooms, almost any full-bodied red is ideal. At Ideal Wine Company, we recommend trying a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon. The earthy flavours of the mushroom are brought out and balanced by the fruit heavy notes of the wine. Again, the wine provides a depth to your dish and rounds out the hearty flavour. A nut roast can also work well with a Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if it contains cheese. With this, look for one that has aged a couple of years.

Caramelised Onion and Lentil Wellington and Barbera

This wellington pie is a welcome addition to any vegetarian feast and impressive to serve tableside. The caramelisation of the onions and tang of lemon add a sweetness to the dish that must be taken into account when pairing it with wine. To keep the pairing balanced, try opting for an Italian red. These wines typically have a higher level of acidity than other wine, cutting through the sweetness. A good choice would be a Barbera, as this will offset the dish perfectly.

Savoy Cabbage Timbale of Leeks, Cabbage, Cheese and Cream and Chardonnay

This vegetarian option originates from Ireland and is a delicious main course. Although the timbale contains many strong flavours, the cream is the key element that requires focus. Traditionally made with a Jerusalem artichoke cream, it has a savoury taste similar to an aged parmesan. For this, try pairing with an aged white wine. Chardonnay works well, as its light and fruity taste counteracts against the richness of the dish. If you’re looking for a more decadent alternative, opt for Champagne.

This festive season, there are many meat-free alternatives to classic festive dishes. While pairing wine with vegetarian dishes could feel intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Remember to focus on the same concepts: fat, acidity, body, sweetness, tartness, and flavour all play a crucial role in pairing vegetarian food with wine. And don’t forget to focus on the dominant element of your dish when choosing your wine.

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Perfect Wine and Party Canapé Pairings

Are you planning on hosting – or attending – a party to celebrate a special occasion with family or friends? Or perhaps you’re simply looking for an excuse to get a party started? Whatever your reason everyone loves a party and Ideal Wine Company have put together a quick guide to some perfect wine and party canapé pairings just for you.

Ideal Wine Company Wine and Canape pairings
Our tips for pairing the perfect wine and party canapés this festive season.

Canapé pairings

  • Vegetarian canapés and Gavi

When pairing wine with vegetarian canapés, it is best to look for a light and refreshing option. This white wine is the perfect accompaniment for vegetables. The Cortese grapes tend to be grown in chalky soil, providing a complexity to this Italian wine. It will provide a crisp, yet juicy flavour, with notes of pear and is a delicate yet flavourful pairing.

  • Cured meat canapés and Cava

While sparkling wine is already a popular choice this time of year, it works particularly well with cured meats. Acting as a counterbalance to the salty boldness of the meat, this rich and complex drink offers a creaminess to the dish. Cured meat is perfectly set off.

  • Fish canapés and Sauvignon Blanc

The traditional Sauvignon Blanc grapes offer a flavour of zesty lemon peel entwined through minerality. Its purity acts as an ideal palate cleanser for any stronger fishes that are enjoyed. In addition, this wine provides a delicacy that won’t overwhelm the fish dish. It’s sure to be a hit at any party.

Wine suggestions

  • White wine

When you’re looking for a white wine to pair with light canapés, it is best to try an unoaked option. This will help to prevent the wood from impairing with saltiness and becoming too obtrusive for some. Try a Chablis, as the silky and honeyed flavour with notes of candied citrus are ideal for a wide range of people. Alternatively, a white Sauvignon Blanc brings enough freshness to keep all your guests refreshed.

  • Red wine

Red wine is always a popular choice at parties and it’s clear to see why. Its bold fruitiness is a warming delight. It’s key to look for a bottle with softer tannins. Try a Sangiovese from Tuscany for a core of acidity. For a classic choice, look for a Chianti, as its fragrant cherry and violet aromas perfectly work with many dishes. This means it won’t overwhelm small bites, while still being a delightful drink.

  • Sparkling wine

A popular choice for any party, sparkling wine can go with many canapés. Look for something with a concentrated lean and mineral option, with lots of complexity. From English varieties to Prosecco, Cava to the classic Champagne, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these options.

No matter what canapés you choose, you can be safe in the knowledge that there are many perfect wine choices all your guests will love, whether you prefer red, white or a sparkling option.

Perfect Wine and Cheese Pairings for the Festive Season

Winter is the perfect time for indulgent and delicious snacks and we can’t think of anything better than pairing luscious wines with tasty cheeses. The festive season provides the perfect opportunity to have a wine and cheese tasting party with friends and family at Christmas. And Ideal Wine Company has some great tips to help you host a fabulous wine and cheese pairing party this winter.

Ideal Wine Company festive wine and cheese
The perfect wine and cheese pairings for the festive season.

Planning ahead is the key to success:

  • Choose a variety of cheeses: Your guests are sure to have a wide range of tastes, so you should cater to those. To help you get something for everyone, think of the cheese as categories and choose a selection from each: fresh cheeses, for example, goat’s cheese; soft cheeses, such as brie; hard cheeses, including Beaufort; and blue cheeses, like Bleu d’Auvergne.
  • Match your cheeses to your wines, and we’ve got some suggestions for you below.
  • Serve your cheese at room temperature – not straight from the fridge. You should take them out of the fridge around half an hour before serving.
  • Start your pairing party with lighter cheeses and wines, moving onto the heavier varieties to prevent your palate being overwhelmed. It’s also a good idea to serve neutral-flavoured bread and crackers to let the cheese and wine shine.

4 of the best wine and cheese pairings:

Goat’s Cheese and Sauvignon Blanc

A slightly salty taste, with tangy notes and a rich texture, goat’s cheese is extremely fresh tasting. To pair with this, try a Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s clean, acidity and fruity taste will provide much-needed balance. Its ability to cut through the richness of the cheese helps to prepare the palate, to avoid the cheese being overpowering.

Brie and Chardonnay

Starting with a clean, fresh milky note, Brie ends with a hazelnut and light mushroom aftertaste. Its creamy texture means that it usually pairs well with wines that have more acidity. Try serving your brie with Chardonnay. With most Chardonnays, you can expect notes of citrus and oak. These light notes help to counterbalance the creaminess of the cheese and provide freshness.

Blue cheese and Cabernet Sauvignon

While each variety of blue cheese has its own flavour profile, you can guarantee that it will have a bold taste. This sharp and salty cheese can be hard to pair with wine, as they need to have a sweetness that can balance out the strong and salty flavours of the cheese. Try serving a Cabernet Sauvignon with your blue cheese, which will compliment your cheese and provide plenty of its own flavour. One of the most universally popular options, this red wine includes flavours of vanilla and currants, with strong tannins. It will provide the perfect accompaniment to your strong cheeses.

Camembert and Côtes du Rhône

Camembert is an earthy, full-flavoured and creamy addition to any cheese board. By pairing it with a Côtes du Rhône, a contrasting flavour profile is created. The wine’s full-bodied and acidic taste pairs well with the creaminess of the cheese, adding depth and providing balance to the richness.

You might also want to add in a few other accompaniments including gourmet olives, peppers, fruit, nuts, chutneys or dips. Fresh fruits go well with cheese but only if flavours balance out – think grapes, figs and berries for milky and creamy cheeses. Apples and pears work well with harder cheeses.

Which Corkscrew is best for you?

For many people around the world, a glass of wine is a welcomed treat. But you must get the bottle opened first. Due to the popularity of cork topped bottles, a corkscrew is an essential for any wine lover. There are many wine openers to choose from, each ideally suited for a different skill level and budget. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we’ll guide you through the choices available, so you’ll always find the perfect corkscrew for your needs.

Ideal Wine Company corkscrew
Which corkscrew is best for you?

The winged ‘butterfly’ corkscrew – inexpensive but unreliable

Undoubtedly one of the most commonly available corkscrews, this variety is found in most kitchens. It has two levers either side of the centre, which raise as the screw is twisted into the cork. This method allows for the cork to be drawn from the bottle in one smooth motion. The method is easy to master for most and the low cost of the item makes it a firm favourite for most novices. However, it does have a few detractors. The unreliable screw can sometimes shred the cork, making it difficult to remove. We recommend this as an ideal starter corkscrew, as it has potential and is user friendly. To get the most out of yours, look for a thin screw and be picky when choosing as a better-quality corkscrew will pay off in the long term.

The ’Bunny Ears’ lever corkscrew – easy to use at a higher cost

While the winged ‘butterfly’ option may be the natural first option, we recommend a ‘bunny ears’ lever for beginners. It is an easy to use option for all. With two long levers and two handles that hold the bottle in place, this method should make the cork pop easily. It even provides the satisfying pop of the cork. The negatives of this option are mainly its price and its bulky size. This is ideal if you’re a beginner looking for a promising investment.

The waiter’s friend – portable but requires skill

For serious wine enthusiasts, the waiter’s friend is the best wine opener. This option relies on a double hinge, providing extra leverage to make it easier to remove the cork. With its folded state resembling a pocket knife, this device contains all you need. A tiny blade is available to remove the foil, as well as a screw for the cork. Though this method takes some practice to perfect, it is quick, efficient and lightweight. Used by sommeliers and top waiters for decades, it is the perfect addition to a wine connoisseur’s collection.

The Ah-So wine opener – perfect for sensitive corks

This opener is a hard to use contraption but an essential if you often buy older bottles with natural cork. It is specifically designed to avoid damaging the cork, so is ideal for opening bottles where the cork may have become brittle. The two thin prongs attached to a handle are slid in between the cork and the bottle and twisted to remove the cork. You must be careful not to push the cork into the bottle. It is an elegant design, perfect for collectors of vintage wine.

The electric wine opener – easy to use for limited mobility

These battery-operated wine openers are simple to use and require no physical strength at all. As a result, they make the ideal opener for the elderly or anyone with limited arm mobility. By pushing a button, a corkscrew will insert itself into the cork. Your enjoyment of wine doesn’t need to be dependent on your age or ability.

The Best Wines to pair with your pizza

Pizza is one of the most universally loved dishes, with wine the perfect accompaniment to this. Due to the acidity and tannins, the wine cuts through the greasy cheese and brings balance to the acidic tomato sauce. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we’ve made some suggestions to find the perfect wine to compliment your favourite pizza.

Ideal Wine Company wine and pizza
Here are the best wines to pair with your pizza.

Margherita Pizza – a light and fresh pairing

A Margherita is a classic pizza choice. With its fresh basil, tomato and buffalo mozzarella, it’s best to use a fresh wine to compliment this. Try a dry rosé for the perfect pairing, mimicking the finesse and purity of the food. The red fruit in the wine compliments the tomatoes well, while also being a crisper alternative to a full-bodied red. This is perfect for a lightly flavoured pizza like a margherita.

Pepperoni Pizza – a strong wine for intense flavours

The flavours of pepperoni are often strong and bold. Traditionally made with a variety of spices including cayenne pepper, anise, garlic powder, paprika and sugar, this intense taste can be difficult to match. Due to its fat content, it imbues its flavour throughout the slice. This means you’ll need a strong wine to counterbalance this effect. For this, we recommend trying a Sangiovese, the most popular red grape of Italy. This medium-bodied wine gives enough acidity to cut through the richness of the sauce while being flavourful enough to avoid being overpowered by the pepperoni.

Hawaiian Pizza – a balance of sweet and acidic

This combination of ham and pineapple creates a balance between sweet and savoury. With this in mind, it’s best to choose a wine that compliments and matches it. We recommend trying a slightly sweet Riesling, which will pair well with the unusual toppings. The acidity in the Riesling acts as a palate cleanser and cuts through the saltiness of the ham, while the sweetness of the wine elevates the flavours of the pineapple.

Sausage Pizza – a strong red for a rich meat

With spices such as fennel, oregano, thyme and anise, a sausage pizza uses strong flavours. To pair with this, a full-bodied red wine works well, complimenting the richness of the meat. Try either a Syrah or a Pinotage with your slice, as these red wines help to intensify the pizza’s flavour. Both wines have intense dark fruit flavours of plum, blackberry and blueberry, which will work well with the fennel driven sausage.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza – fruit forward for a sweeter style

Straying from traditional tomato sauce, a barbecue based pizza has a sweeter smoky kick. With this, it is best to look to bolder varieties, such as an Argentine Malbec or a Portuguese Touriga Nacional. These two wines have strong fruit flavours, an important characteristic to look for when pairing with a sweeter style barbecue sauce.

Why You Should Choose a Rosé Wine in Autumn

Whilst summer is usually the peak season for rosé wine, the arrival of colder months doesn’t necessarily mean you must move on. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we believe rosé is a wine for all seasons. This pale pink wine is a perfect pair for many of your favourite autumn dishes. Looking particularly at varieties from Provence, rosé works well due to its light, vibrant and dry qualities. Whether you opt for Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, or a Coteaux Varois en Provence, you’re guaranteed a wine with a vivacious bouquet of aromas.

It’s for these reason that wine expert Amelia Singer describes rosé as the perfect option for this transitional season. Speaking on the matter, Singer explains that “it’s essentially a hybrid wine”. The appeal of a rosé is its combination of the fruitiness of a white and the structure of a red, which makes it great for pairing with food. Singer explains that “it can complement all kinds of cuisine and is great for the heartier fare during autumn and winter”. Here at the Ideal Wine Company, we’ve got many recommendations for the perfect meals to pair with rosé this autumn.

Ideal Wine Company rose wine in autumn
Why should you choose a Rosé wine in Autumn?

Roast Chicken – perfect for herbal undertones

A roast dinner is a perfect comfort food throughout the colder months, with a classic roast chicken with rosemary a popular choice. This needs to be paired with a fruit-driven wine, with warm fruit notes that compliment but don’t overpower the delicate flavours of the chicken or herbs. Rosé works well as the herbal undertones balance the chicken and rosemary, without being too strong. For this dish, try pairing the dish with a rosé from the North Valley. Made primarily from Pinot Noir, this wine is also infused with Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. This creates a fruity character and an easy-going flavour that will accompany the roast chicken perfectly.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes- balances the sweetness

A popular alternative to a classic roast potato, sweet potatoes are a fresh substitute for your autumn dinners. The seasonal produce is noted for his sweeter flavour and comforting quality. When pairing this side dish with a wine, try opting for a rosé. The refreshing and dry quality, combined with a red fruity taste, will balance out the sweetness of the potatoes.

Turkey and cranberry sauce- brings out the bright fruit flavours

Turkey is a classic of the season, with many households serving the meat at Christmas. As this is usually served with a heavy spread, roast turkey is often served with rich and buttery accompaniments. For this reason, it’s good to have a wine that brightens up your palate. Rosé is perfect for this situation, with its crisp, clean and refreshing taste preventing the dishes from becoming too overwhelming and rich. With turkey and cranberry sauce particularly, the fruitiness of the wine brings out notes that will lighten the dish and make it stand out from the heavier trimmings.

Why Swirling Your Glass Makes Wine Taste Better

Wine drinkers often swirl their glasses without thinking about why. So, what does it really do? Many wine experts claim the aroma of the wine is improved through swirling your glass, and a new study has proved them right. Researchers have shown how the method, favoured by connoisseurs, really works. While fluid experts have long observed that the action intensifies the smell, the science behind the action has been confirmed.

Ideal Wine Company wine swirling
Why does swirling wine make it taste better?

The Study

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland carried out a study to uncover the mystery of how the process, known as ‘orvital shaking’, allows connoisseurs to appreciate the aroma. The team filled up small cylinders in a range of sizes with different volumes of a merlot, then set them spinning. To keep things uniform, the researchers employed gyrating machines, commonly used to mix liquids precisely in biology or chemistry labs. Researchers studied the waves generated around the inner edge of the glass and found: “For a given glass shape, the mixing and oxygenation may be optimized with an appropriate choice of shaking diameter and rotation speed.” The action was found to churn the liquid as it travels, drawing in oxygen from the air and intensifying the smell.

Dr Mohamed Farhat, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, says: “The formation of this wave has probably been known since the introduction of glass or any other kind of cylindrical bowl, but what has been lacking is a description of the physics related to the mixing and oxygenation.” The study was presented at a physics meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

Swirling your glass

Now that this method has been proven to boost a wine’s aroma, all wine lovers will undoubtedly adopt this technique. But what is the best method and how does it work? Here at Ideal Wine Company, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about this method:

Why do people swirl wine?

Most of the enjoyment of wine comes primarily from the aromas. As swirling the glass will aerate it slightly, it will potentially release more of these aromas. These will rest in the bowl of the glass as you raise it to your nose. Unless the wine needs heavy aeration, you do not need to constantly swirl a glass of wine, just enough to release aromas before your first sip.

How does swirling work?

Swirling helps release the hundreds of different aroma compounds found in wine. These compounds are the reason why wine has such an array of aromas. Taking a rich and powerful Californian Cabernet as an example, you might detect blackberry, vanilla and cedar notes at the same time. These tiny compounds float on evaporating alcohol into our noses, which delivers the aroma of wine to us.

How do you swirl?

The easiest way to swirl your wine is to place your thumb and forefinger at the base of a stemmed wine glass while it is on a table. From this position, draw small circles on the table while gripping the base of the wine. As you improve, you can try swirling the glass without the aid of a table.

Should you aerate or decant your wine before serving?

Many wine experts will agree that most red wines need to be aerated before they are consumed. This process exposes these wines to the air prior to drinking, usually opening their flavours and letting the wine comfortably settle into their own taste and character. Both a decanter and an aerator will help in this process, but what is the difference between the two and when should you use these techniques? Ideal Wine Company has plenty of tips to guide you through the process.

A decanter and an aerator both serve a similar purpose. They expand the surface area of wine, which allows the air to mingle with it. Whether placing the wine in a larger vessel, a decanter, or forcing air to be circulated throughout it, an aerator, the result is a wine with an expanded aromatic profile and softer tannins.  So, what’s the difference between the two?

Ideal Wine Company decanting or aerating
Should you aerate or decant your wine before serving?

Decanter – the preferred choice for many

Decanters are wide, tall, glass pitchers that are used to serve wine. They give the wine a wide surface area that is exposed to the surrounding air. As the wine mixes with the air, the process results in a reduction in tannins, chemicals which create a drying sensation in the mouth, as well as the development of the bouquet. Through doing this, it is easier to smell and identify the essence of the wine. Uncorking the bottle in advance of serving does not lead to this result, as it will not infuse enough air into the bottle. The wide surface area of the decanter is key to this process. This is the preferred method for many people, as it works slowly. This slow process allows air to mix organically with the wine and can last for hours without spoiling.

Old reds benefit from some amount of decanting. This is because some chemicals and tannins can begin to bind together and create sediment in the bottle after an amount of time in the bottle. This is generally a non-issue in wines that are younger than 10 years. However, after reaching the decade mark, sediment begins to be a concern and decanting can help separate it from the wine.

Aerator – a useful speedy tool

Although the decanter may be the preferred method for allowing wine to breathe, an aerator is still a useful tool. Much like a decanter, it serves the purpose of mingling air with wine. In this method, the wine is poured into a funnel-like device, which infuses air into the wine as it passes from the bottle to the glass. The main benefit of this method is time, as it is a much quicker process. Air is infused as it is poured, which has the benefit of highlighting the bouquet and tannins without the necessity of time.

Young reds often benefit the most from aeration, including Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon.

When should I use these methods?

Not all wines need to be infused with air to be enjoyed. As a rule, plan on decanting or aerating red wines and not white. This is because red wines have a higher tannin profile and will benefit from allowing air to infuse and mellow the tannins. However, there are exceptions. when a white wine is full bodied and dry, such as a White Bordeaux or Alsace, it should be decanted for 30 minutes before serving, being careful not to warm the wine.

Finally, there are some red wine groups that should not be aerated. This includes softer reds, such as Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, and lower priced wines.

How to cook with wine – 8 top tips from the Ideal Wine Company

Wine can blend beautifully with a variety of dishes, including meat, soup, risotto and shellfish. The rich notes of red wine or the delicate flavour both work to make delicious recipes, but what are the best techniques when using wine in cooking? The Ideal Wine Company has plenty of recommendations to help you when cooking with wine.

Ideal Wine Company cooking with wine
The best wines to use when cooking.

Use Wine That You Would Drink                                                                                                                                       

The wine used in cooking needs to be drinkable, in that it is clean, fresh and not corked. If you have leftover wine, decant into a smaller bottle or container, to prevent it from oxidizing. A wine that has been open for 4-5 days is usually fine to cook with. If it has been longer than this, the wine will have lost all its fruit and will no longer add a delicious flavour to your cooking.

 

Avoid Cooking Wines                                                                                                                               

Wines labelled as cooking wines usually tend to be particularly poor quality and will not add an appealing flavour to your food.

Fortified Wines                                                                                             

Fortified wines, such as Sherry, Madeira and Marsala are ideal for cooking. A small quantity adds strength, depth and a welcomed sweetness. These have a much longer shelf life than most wines, making it a good option to have in your store cupboards.

Versatile Wines                                                                                                                   

If you are cooking with red wine, look for medium-bodied but not overly tannic reds, such as Merlot. For white wine, wines that are crisp, dry and unoaked, such as Pinot Grigio, work well. Wines with pronounced aromatic character, such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer, are less flexible, but work well with a creamy sauce. Experimentation will help you find an ideal wine for your dish.

Wine-Based Marinade                                                                                                 

A wine-based marinade will help to tenderize meat, but will often change the flavour. The meat takes on a ‘gamey’ quality if it is left to marinade for longer than a couple of hours. The marinade should also be discarded unless you’re going to cook it well.

Reducing the Wine                                                                                                                       

Reducing the wine through simmering will accentuate its dominant character. This will help to bring out the sweetness, tannin or acidity of the wine. It’s also the best method to use in order to concentrate the flavour when you only want to add a small amount of wine to a dish or dressing.

Slow Cooking with Wine                                                                                                                                   

The quality of the wine is less important if you’re cooking a slow-cooked dish than quickly deglazing a pan. To still achieve a delicious flavour, add a small amount of good quality wine at the end of a long braise, which will make it the dominant wine flavour of the dish.

Does The Alcohol Cook Off?                                                                                                                                 

There is a common misconception that cooking with wine will also cook of any alcohol. Unless you are cooking the dish for 3 hours or more, there will be always be a residue depending on how much wine you’ve used.

Is a cork better than a screw top bottle?

The cork versus screw-top debate may finally be over. While the wine community has long debated whether wine tastes better enclosed with a cork or a screw top, a recent Oxford University study has provided the answer. Wine really does taste better if it is sealed with a cork.

Ideal Wine Company cork or screw top
Cork or screw top? Which is better?

Although this news is no shock to wine traditionalists, who have long favoured the cork, the reason behind this finding is perhaps surprising. The scientists’ suggest that, rather than affecting the smell or taste of the wine, it is the sound of the cork that makes the drink taste better.

The study, by a team at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory, was supervised by psychologist Professor Charles Spence and included 140 participants.

In the experiment, they were each asked to sample two Argentinian Malbecs. First, after listening to the sound of a cork bottle being opened, and then after listening to a screw top bottle being opened. After this, people were then asked to resample the wines after opening bottles sealed with both cork and screw tops for themselves. Unbeknown to them, they were comparing the same wines, but the two bottles were sealed differently.

The two wines were rated on four factors: sight, sound, ambience and aroma. Based on this rubric, the bottles sealed with a cork were rated as 15 per cent better in quality to its screw top counterpart. Overall, 113 of the 140 participants said they preferred the choice of wine served with a cork. This compares to just 13 participants who favoured the screw top.

From these results, the study concluded that: “The majority of those questioned preferred the taste and flavor of the wine from a cork stoppered bottle.” As the wine remained the same, the results suggested that the enjoyment of wine was reliant on mood. The study drew a link between wine preference and auditory experience, hypothesizing that the sound of the cork was key to its positive results. They stated that: “These results are consistent with the view that the effect on mood might be driving part of the change in ratings elicited by the sound of the cork.” The study also found that the perception of the wine was further enhanced in festive settings, with the corked wine bottles more likely to produce a “celebratory mood”.

Professor Spence, author of ‘Gastrophysics: The new science of eating’, further argued this point. He states that: “The sound and sight of a cork being popped sets our expectations before the wine has even touched our lips, and these expectations then anchor our subsequent tasting experience.”

With over 12 billion bottles of wine sealed with a cork each year, the industry remains strong. This experiment only enhances the preference for cork, providing the first empirical demonstration that a cork closure really does result in a more positive drinking experience.