What was on the wine list at the Royal Wedding reception?

The whole country has been abuzz with Royal Wedding fever over the last week. Plenty of street parties and wedding viewing parties up and down the country would have seen lots of wine, Prosecco and Champagne being quaffed in honour of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Whether you’re a Royalist or a Republican, or somewhere in between, it’s been a time for celebration and enjoyment. We’ve seen details of the bride’s dress (£200,000 custom made Givenchy), the ceremony itself and we know the contents of the goody bags given out to the lucky people invited. But what we really want to know is, which wines did they drink at the reception?

Pol Roger Champagne

On the day itself, the Palace confirmed one of the wines being served at the reception of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was Pol Roger Champagne. Steeped in British history and already with a Royal Warrant, Pol Roger was the Champagne of choice for Sir Winston Churchill. After his death in 1965, the producer added a black border around the labels of the bottles of Brut NV destined for the UK.

Pol Roger Brut Vintage is usually a blend of 60% Pinot noir and 40% Chardonnay, although this can vary. The wine at the reception at Windsor Castle was a non-vintage version, Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV.  It’s a blend of 30 base wines going across three vintages and is available for between £40 and £45 per bottle.

Royal favourite

It’s the same champagne that was served at the last Royal Wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seven years ago, so is clearly a Royal favourite. While we’d love to know the other wines served at the wedding, unfortunately this has remained a tightly held secret.

Speculation has included the chance of a Californian wine, as the Duchess of Sussex is known to like wines from various producers in her home state in the United States. It’s was also touted that an English sparkling wine might make the cut. Chapel Down was served at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, and Camel Valley from Cornwall has just been awarded a Royal Warrant, so perhaps either one of those were served to lucky guests.

Another wine that could have been included is the Great Windsor Park sparkling, which is known as the ‘Queen’s English Wine’ as it’s actually made on the Windsor Park estate, very near to the celebrations.

Tuscan wine

Meghan Markle has also gone on record as liking the ‘Super Tuscan’ wine Tignanello, produced by Antinori. Whichever wines were served at the 600-guest reception in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle, we know that beer pong was also on the menu for the American guests!

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Wines to enjoy with Spring food

After the Beast from the East and a few false starts, it looks like we’re finally enjoying some warm weather. In fact, we’ve just had the hottest May Day for around 20 years, which is perfect for some al fresco dining, barbecuing and picnicking.

It’s the time of year when we all start enjoying bountiful salads, more fish, grilled meats and fresh, delicious spring veg. We’ve put together some wine and spring food pairings that will help you enjoy the long, warm evenings.

Perfect for British asparagus

Although it was a bit delayed due to the bad weather in April, the official start of asparagus season is here. Notoriously tricky to match with wine due to its earthy yet metallic taste, we think it works well with sauvignon blancs and their zesty and herbal notes.

There are lots of sauvignons to choose from, and many people opt for the New Zealand Marlborough style. The New World flavour profile, including zesty, citric flavours and deep tropical fruits will work with your asparagus nicely. An alternative that works well is Olifantsberg Grenache Blanc 2006, which is from the Breedekloof region of South Africa. The oak ageing helps the complex white Grenache grape open up with a lime zest and fresh orchard fruits, with a rich, multi-layered finish.

Perfect for purple sprouting broccoli

It’s also peak season for this most delicious of greens, which works well with a sweeter wine. A good example is the Peter & Ulrich Dry Riesling 2015/16, with its zesty flavour including notes of peach, apple and apricot.

Perfect for wild garlic

Foragers already know the delights of wild garlic, which can be easily found in woodlands in the UK. It’s like a garlic flavoured spinach and can be used in many ways, from pesto to dressings or just steamed with grilled fish.

It works particularly well with crab, which is also in season. A wine that complements a dish including these two ingredients is Brundlmayer Ried Berg-Vogelsgang Gruner Veltliner 2016 from Austria. It has a delicate and refined flavour, with a lightly spicy smoked twist.

Perfect for Spring lamb

Lamb needs a good red to taste its best. The flavour profile of pinot noir works particularly well with lamb and a good choice, particularly for a special occasion, is Burn cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014. This is from a small, biodynamic producer and gives a complexity of flavours, ranging from cherries and summer berries to wild herbs and earthy, spicy touches.

A cheaper alternative for your lamb is the rich and spicy Tanners Super Douro, Reserva 2015. This is made from port grapes and the harder to find sousao grape, which gives a tone to cut through any fattiness. It works really well with barbecues and roasts too.

Perfect for summer berries

We’re almost in the midst of the British strawberry season, which is always exciting. A great match for strawberries is a chilled rose, just make sure that the wine is colder than the fruit. For richer puddings, a fruitier and deeper rose works better. Try something like the Basilicata Rosata Le Ralle Alovini 2016, which is made in southern Italy using the aglianico grape. You’ll get strawberries in your glass and on your plate!

Extreme weather continues to affect vineyard performance

Studies show that extreme weather is now the ‘new norm’. New research from one of the leading science agencies in Europe suggests the extreme weather that caused problems for so many wine regions in 2017 will not be a one off.

The data shows that flooding, droughts and wildfires are becoming increasingly common thanks to the damage caused by man-made climate change.

Weather more volatile

Data from the report by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) clearly demonstrates that weather has become more extreme, more unpredictable and more volatile over the last 36 years. The council consist of 27 national science academies across Europe and includes the Royal Academy from the UK.

Major flooding has quadrupled globally since 1980, while forest fires, droughts and heatwaves causing extreme damage have more than doubled over the same time period.

Continuing trend

The report was published in March 2018 and follows a continuing trend from its previous study five years earlier. It all adds to the clear evidence that climate change is responsible for higher temperatures and more volatile weather.

And while the risks to human life and our general way of life is a huge concern, it’s also going to affect the wine industry. Last year saw the global wine world endure a devastating mixture of extreme weather, and some have called it the most disastrous year since the introduction of the phylloxera pest in the late 19th century.

More frequent stress effects

Dr Greg Jones is an expert on the potential effect of climate change on vineyards. He said: “For wine regions, there is evidence that varies from region to region but ultimately shows that hail and heavy rain events are more frequent and that heat stress events are more frequent and longer.”

He started looking at the effect of climate change on wine in the early 1990s, and discovered that there were clear temperature trends, but that there were also trends to more variability in temperature.”

This means that the climate was warming, but also becoming more volatile. Since

those years, we have seen wider swings between heat extremes and cold extremes.

Urgent action needed

The EASAC has called for urgent and immediate action to try and mitigate the threats clearly posed by climate change. The programme director Michael Norton said: “Adaption and mitigation must remain the cornerstones of tackling climate change. This update is most timely since the European Commission is due to release its evaluation of its climate strategy this year.”

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!

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!