French wine harvest likely to be at historic low

Plenty has been written about the adverse weather conditions during the spring and early summer of 2017, and their likely effect on wine harvests. Officials are now in a position to estimate the damage done to French wine production.

Experts have predicted that the wine harvest from 2017 will fall to ‘historic lows’ because of the frosts during the early spring. The French wine harvest for this year is predicted to fall by 17%, down to between 37m hectolitres (the equivalent to 4.9 billion bottles) and 38.2 million hectolitres. The figures for 2016 stood at 45.5 million hectolitres.

Ideal Wine Company french harvest
French wine production has been impacted this year due to poor harvests.

Lower than average

This would make the 2017 vintage a historic low and a full 16% lower than the average over five years. It will be worse than the vintage from 1991, which was also hit hard by frosts and bad weather.

What will this mean for buying certain French wines? The poor harvest could mean that specific wines are more difficult to track down, and therefore more expensive. The poor harvest is compounded by the fact that, for some regions, it’s the second year in a row when the vineyards have been badly affected by frost and hail.

Bordeaux production cut by half

A recent report shows that the production of Bordeaux this year could be hugely impacted, with a likely 50% fall in production.

Some estates used their extensive resources to mitigate the weather with frost avoidance techniques, such as circulating the air over vineyards with helicopters. And it’s not all doom and gloom with some on the Right Bank reporting positive flowering and ripening. It’s expected also that the Champagne harvest will increase by 8% this year, and while this is positive news it’s still 9% down on the 2012-2016 average.

Frost and hailstorms

Among the worst affected by frost are the Côte de Nuits and some parts of Chablis, while hail decimated parts of Fleurie. Over in Alsace, it looks like production will fall by 30% when compared to 2016, with the Gewurztramine variety hit hardest thanks to the fact that it buds early.

Hard frosts also damaged vineyards in both the Hérault and Aude regions, with production falling by 6%. Similarly, production has been cut by 10-40% in some parts of the Loire, but overall this region’s growers are in luck as production is set to rise by 7% over 2016, as last year suffered from frosts too.

Early summer weather was hotter than average, which has brought the growing season across the whole country ahead of the normal pace, something that could help the grapes that have survived to fully ripen.

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Dive Into Luxury With the Louis Max Mercurey 2012

We aim to supply you with only the tastiest of wines here at the Ideal Wine Company, so you get real value for money. We have a fantastic vintage for you today – the Louis Max Mercurey 2012, a truly fabulous vintage that’ll allow you to dive into a world of luxury with every divine sip you take.

Ideal Wine Company Red Wine
Louis Max Mercurey Wine

Quality wines

We specialise in providing fine wines, which are a true treat for the taste buds. Ideal Wine Company sells vintages produced all over the planet, from iconic old world regions ala Bordeaux, to innovative new world regions such as California, which are fast-becoming popular, at prices your wallet will love.

If you want something top-of-the-range, we suggest that you head to the Burke’s Peerage Selection section of our website. On this list, you’ll discover outstanding vintages once owned by some the most prominent, historic families on earth, with everything ranging from Prosecco to Chablis featured. One wine you should definitely try on this list is the Louis Max Mercurey 2012, a decadent Burgundy red.

Mercurey wine

To give you an idea of the Louis Max Mercurey 2012, we’ll need to introduce you to Mercurey. This is a style of red wine named after the place it’s made, the village of Mercurey in the Côte Chalonnaise, Burgundy. Mercurey is often overlooked in favour of two other reds produced in the Côte Chalonnaise – the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, but it is every bit as good and actually offers better value.

Mercurey wines are often made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. This is actually the predominant grape produced in Burgundy, and is also cultivated in many places around the world. The grape is known for making light, fruity red wines, which often boast hints of cherry, cranberry and raspberry. It’s really versatile, pairing well with everything from salmon – unusual for reds, to richer meats such as duck.

Louis Max Mercurey 2012

This particular Mercurey was produced by Domaine Louis Max in 2012. Established in 1859, this brand is one of the most prolific makers of Burgundy red wine and is known for producing excellent Pinot Noirs. The Louis Max Mercurey 2012 is a classic example of Domaine Louis Max’s work, as it is an extremely light, fruity wine, famous for its cherry red colour and deep, dark translucent nature.

The cherry is a predominant theme, when it comes to the Louis Max Mercurey 2012. It is one of the enticing aromas that you’ll get with this wine, along with sweet cassis and strawberries. Meanwhile, the wine has a good acidity and its taste profile is dominated by fruity sour cherry hints, with mild tannins, serving as a delight for the taste buds. Many people agree, as it’s a popular Mercurey wine.

Try the wine today

If you’re looking for a fruity little number, that’ll wow you with every sip, without overwhelming your taste buds, then the Louis Max Mercurey 2012 is for you. We offer the Louis Max Mercurey 2012 at Ideal Wine Company for just £15.99 per bottle, ensuring that you can enjoy a fantastic product!

Your Introduction to Chablis Wines

The wine industry its own language and you may want to become fluent, to collect wine like a pro. Many insiders often refer to wines by the name of the region they’re produced in, with Chablis being a classic example. If you’re curious read on, as Ideal Wine Company introduces you to Chablis wines.

Chablis region

We use “Chablis” for wines made in Burgundy’s most northerly wine region, appropriately called Chablis. People have been making wine here since medieval times and over the centuries, Chablis has become one of the world’s most famous wine regions, boasting 4,900 hectares of vineyards.

Chablis experiences the perfect summers for wine-making. But it sees poor spring and autumn weather, which can pose difficulties for growing grapes here. The region is really known for its brilliant Chardonnay grapes and it’s an ‘Appellation d’Origine Controlee.’ This means that wine’s bearing the name ‘Chablis’ must be made under certain conditions e.g. they must be 100% Chardonnay.

Chablis wine

Chablis wines are 100% Chardonnay, dry white wines. They typically taste different to most Chardonnays you’ll encounter, because unlike their cousins, Chablis’ are typically not aged in oak barrels, bringing about taste and style variations. Chablis are often highly acidic and are especially known for their flint-like minerality, which comes about due to the region’s limestone soil makeup.

As such, industry publication Wine Folly notes, you’ll rarely taste hints of butter in Chablis, as this is a characteristic of oak-aging. Instead, Chablis wines are beloved the world over for their light-bodied flavours. This can include pear, citrus and minerals. The style is also known for its aromas of citrus and white flowers, often making Chablis wines very pleasing to the nose.

You may also be interested to know that Chablis wines are a foodie’s best friend. They were once the dry white wine of choice for cooking, due to their complexity, and they make great bases for many dishes. Also, if you’re looking to pair Chablis with food, take its high acidity into account, to get the most complementary matches. It pairs well with white meat such as chicken but is particularly great with sea food, such as cod, scallops, sushi and other raw fish dishes, and also works with spicy dishes.

Buy Chablis

If you decide to go with Chablis, therefore, you’ll get a delicious, fruity dry white wine that’ll give you an experience you’ll never forget. Are you looking for a great Chablis? Try the Bersan Chablis Bourgogne Blanc 2014, which you can buy from Ideal Wine Company for just £14.99. Part of our Burke’s Peerage range, this is a quality Chablis wine, which will light up your world with every sip!

Try the Chateau Dudon Sauternes 2012 – our latest Burke’s Peerage Wine

We guarantee that’ll you’ll only get the finest of products, at reasonable prices, here at Ideal Wine Company. We wanted to take this opportunity today to introduce you to the Chateau Dudon Sauternes 2012, a robust, delicious red that’s the latest wine in our Burke’s Peerage Selection.

Burke’s Peerage

If you’re looking for something extra luxurious, browse the Burke’s Peerage Selection on our website. The London-based Burke’s Peerage is a definitive guide to the genealogy and heraldry of some of our world’s most prominent family dynasties. Set up way back in 1826, Burke’s Peerage includes lords, royals and even presidents, and you can buy wines that were once owned by the individuals from us.

There is an incredible amount of money flowing through the Burke’s Peerage family lines, so as you can imagine, this selection of wine is diverse and of very high quality. On the Burke’s Peerage page of our website, you’ll find everything from Chablis and Proseccos, to Chardonnays and Gewürztraminers. It’s also really good for top French wines, such as the incredible Chateau Dudon Sauternes 2012.

Chateau Dudon Sauternes

This wine comes to us courtesy of Chateau Dudon, a wine-maker based in the village of Sauternes, Bordeaux. It was originally set up by two counsellors in Bordeaux’s parliament, Bernard Dudon de Boynet and his son Blaise, in 1655. Chateau Dudon grew from there, somehow managing to survive the bloody French revolution in-tact, and is now known for making some of Bordeaux’s finest wines.

Sauternes, situated in Bordeaux Graves district, is famous for its prestigious, expensive sweet desert wines. Any bottle to carry the ‘Sauternes’ label must fall into this category by law, with only bottles from the region using alternative names. Wines made in the Sauternes-style boast an intense golden colour, which turns to amber with age and has aromas of blossoms, stone fruit and honeysuckle.

The grape blend for these bottles is Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. This is the most commonly produced wine blend in France is particularly popular in the Graves district. A versatile, classic white wine blend, the Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon mixture is incredibly crisp and dry, which is unusual for sweet desert wines. This blend gets its structure and mouth-feel from Semillon, while the Sauvignon Blanc brings a vibrant acidity and grassy aromas to the table, resulting in an extremely tasty wine.

Buy the 2012

The Chateau Dudon Sauternes 2012 is a classic example of what a Sauternes Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon sweet dessert wine is supposed to be. It is rich and sweet, with just enough crispness and dryness to resist being cloying, making it a great pairing for desserts such as crepes and caramel cream and Roquefort cheese. You will usually get a bottle of Chateau Dudon Sauternes 2012 for around £20 but here at Ideal Wine Company, we sell it for just £16.99 so you can get real savings if you buy it with us!

Bordeaux Wine Output To Reach Seven Year Peak

Bordeaux is one of France’s most reputable and prolific wine-making regions. New reports confirm that Bordeaux’s 2016 wine harvest will allow the region’s wine output to reach a seven year peak, as it escaped the adverse weather conditions that hit the rest of France’s iconic wine-making regions.

Adverse weather

According to industry body the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), wine output is due to decline worldwide, due to a lacklustre 2016 harvest. Globally, production should drop by 5% (or 259m hectolitres), from the year before, making 2016 one of the worst harvests since 2000.

OIV predicted that this decline will be particularly strong in European wine-making nations like France, due to long dry summers, which caused draughts. Also, certain French regions experienced adverse weather phenomena, for example, a vicious hailstorm damaged between 6% and 8% of Cognac’s vineyard land. French output will fall by 12%, but it will still be the world’s second-largest wine-maker.

Bordeaux output

However, the Daily Mail notes, Bordeaux largely escaped these “severe weather hiccups,” which have hit wine output in other French regions. Along with Alsace, Bordeaux is one of the only French wine-production areas which is destined to see a rise in output, due to beneficial weather conditions.

Commenting, regional producer group CIVB’s Chairman, Allan Sichel, said: “We are extremely pleased today about the 2016 harvest, mainly for its quality but also for the yields, more generous, which will bring us near a total output of 5.7m hectolitres of AOP wine, something we had not seen since 2009.” These AOP wines, which are legally protected, comprise 95% of Bordeaux’s total wine output.

This is fantastic news for Bordeaux’s wine makers. Many producers in the region are still recovering from Bordeaux’s catastrophic 2013 harvest, when output dropped to its lowest point since 1991, coming in at 3.84m hectolitres. Considering the fact that regions ranging from Champagne to Burgundy all saw significant output falls, Bordeaux’s 2016 wines could come to dominate the market.

Buy Bordeaux wines

Demand for Bordeaux’s 2016 wines could be high, due to the region’s incredible reputation. It features some of the world’s most iconic wine brands, from Chateau Lafite Rothschild to Chateau Latour, which are famous for making gorgeous red wines, primarily with Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. If you want to see what the 2016 vintage has in store, browse Ideal Wine Company’s Bordeauxs list, where you can buy top notch fine Bordeaux red wines at reasonable prices.

Image courtesy of Michael Clarke stuff

Celebrated Burgundy Wine Ambassador Passes Away

Throughout his career, Charles Rousseau became one of the world’s most significant Burgundy wine ambassadors. Ideal Wine Company would like to take this opportunity to mark the passing of the celebrated burgundy wine ambassador earlier this month.

Producing amazing wine

France is perhaps the most famous wine making country in the world. From Bordeaux to Champagne, various regions throughout France have cultivated reputations for producing standout red, white and sparkling wines, as well as fabulous luxury goods such as Champagne and Cognac brandy.

Burgundy, which is located in the Eastern reaches of France along the Saone River, a tributary of the Rhone, is a premier wine making region. Although lesser known than the likes of Champagne, Cognac and Bordeaux, Burgundy has cultivated a reputation for releasing fantastic dry reds, with its pinot noirs proving particularly popular with wine enthusiasts.

Wine ambassador

No one person has contributed more to the popularisation of Burgundy wine than Charles Rousseau. After graduating with a degree in oenology from the Université de Dijon in 1945, Rousseau worked with his father who in 1954, purchased a parcel of the Clos Saint Jacques vineyard and established the Domaine Rousseau wine making company. Following his father’s death in 1959, Rousseau went on to build up his father’s venture into a major wine making business.

Rousseau purchased a range of Grand Crus. He also acquired plots of Chambertin Clos de Bèze in 1961, 1989 and 1992 and plots of Chambertin in 1983, 1990 and 1993. Yet Rousseau is perhaps most famous for developing the commercialisation of Burgundy wine around the world, particularly in the US. At a time when most Burgundy wine makers sold their products to traders, Rousseau said that “we affix our name on the label… we must be the best possible,” ushering in the era of ‘high fashion’ viticulture.

Rousseau’s legacy

Industry portal Decanter.com writes that Charles Rousseau has now passed away; he is survived by Eric, his son who manages Domaine Rousseau and Corrine, his daughter. Decanter.com Burgundy wine critic Gérard Basset OBE MW labelled Rousseau “a tireless ambassador of the wines of Burgundy,” and “one of the best [makers of Burgundy wine] of the 20th Century. Going further, Basset said of Rousseau that “a legend has died today but his wines are always there to make us dream.”

With Rousseau’s passing, the world has lost a man who devoted his life to Burgundy wine. Honour Charles Rousseau’s life and legacy by trying one of the Burgundy wines he helped to popularise. Buy the Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2000 from Ideal Wine Company and raise a glass of this scintillating Burgundy red to the memory of Charles Rousseau!

What’s the Difference Between Brut and Sec Champagne?

Before you peruse Ideal Wine Company’s Champagnes, it’s worth finding out more information about this fabulous French sparkling wine. To ensure you can find a great bottle, Ideal Wine Company distinguishes the difference between Brut and Sec Champagne.

Sweetness levels

If you want to become a true connoisseur of this king of French sparkling wines, we advise you to learn how to read a Champagne label. A Champagne’s label provides you with a wealth of information, which you can use to learn more about the vintage. For instance, it will feature a two letter code showing you which type of Champagne producer made the vintage.

You use also use a Champagne label to tell you how sweet the vintage is, or how much ‘residual sugar’ it contains. The sweetness content in a Champagne works on a scale, ranging from 0 – 3 grams of sugar per litre (g/l) at the extremely dry end, to 50+ g/l at the extraordinarily sweet end of the scale.

The industry uses a set of terms to denote the sweetness of Champagne, ranging from Brut to Sec to Doux.

What does Brut mean?

In this context, ‘Brut’ refers to dry Champagnes, as in those which don’t possess high levels of residual sugar and don’t taste that sweet. There are three types of Brut Champagne, with sweetness levels ranging from 0 g/l at the driest end of the spectrum to 12 g/l at the sweeter side of things.

First we have ‘Brut Nature,’ which has between 0 and 3 g/l of residual sugar. The driest of all Champagnes, a Brut Nature is often marketed as ‘diet Champagne,’ due to its low sugar content.

Then we have ‘Extra Brut’ and ‘Brut,’ which contain 0-6 g/l and 0-12 g/l of residual sugar respectively, indicating that that they are sweeter than Brut Natures. If you want to see why Brut Champagne has become so popular with consumers, purchase the Dom Perignon Brut 1993 from Ideal Wine Company!

What is a Sec Champagne?

On the other end of the scale, we have ‘Sec’ Champagnes. Confusingly the word ‘Sec’ is French for ‘dry,’ but it is used to refer to Champagnes which are noticeably sweet. There are three types of Sec Champagne you need to know about – ‘extra Sec,’ ‘Sec’ and ‘demi-sec.’

Containing 12-17 g/l, extra Sec is the driest of Champagnes in the Sec category. Moving on, Sec contains 17-32 g/l and demi-sec possesses 32 – 50 g/l., suggesting that these vintages are far sweeter than extra Secs and all Bruts.

At the extreme end of the scale we have Doux Champagnes. Containing over 50 g/l of residual sugar, these are sweetest types of Champagne that you can possibly buy.

France Dominates Global Wine Industry

New figures have indicated that France dominated the global wine industry last year, selling more wine in terms of value than any other country throughout 2015.

Global consumption figures

Global industry body The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) recently released worldwide wine sale and consumption figures for 2015. OIV’s data suggests that five nations are responsible for drinking half the world’s supply of wine. In descending order they are the US (31%) France (11%), Germany (9%), Italy (9%) and China (7%).

According to the OIV, American wine enthusiasts consumed an extraordinary amount of the tipple in 2015; around 31 million (m) hectolitres to be precise. The US was followed by France, at 27.2m hectolitres and there was a massive rise in wine consumption in China. In 2014, wine enthusiasts in The People’s Republic consumed 15.5m hectolitres, this rose to 16m hectolitres last year.

Wine sales by volume

Now let’s turn to wine sales. In terms of exports by volume, Spain was the most successful wine-producing nation of 2015. French news outlet The Local reports that the Iberian nation exported 24m hectolitres of wine last year. Italy followed, exporting 20m hectolitres of wine by volume in 2015,

With this, the Italian market share for wine now measures an impressive €5.3 billion (bn). If you want to see why Italian wine was so popular with consumers last year, buy the Dal Forno Romano Amarone della Valpolicella 2003 from Ideal Wine Company. This wonderfully vibrant, incredibly robust Italian red will absolutely blow your taste buds away.

Wine sales by value

OIV figures show that the global wine market grew 11% in 2015, meaning that it was worth a phenomenal €28.3bn by the close of the year. In terms of value, France was the most successful wine exporter of 2015. France’s market share value expanded to 29% last year, meaning that the country’s wine sector is now worth €8.2bn. At 14m hectolitres, France was third in terms in wine export by volume in 2015.

No country does fine wine like France, which is often regarded as the capital of the global wine making industry. From Champagne to Bordeaux, French wine regions have been making the tipple for centuries, honing their skills to ensure they can provide consumers with the finest wines in the world. This reputation for excellence allowed France to lead the world in wine exports by value in 2015.

Try our Bordeauxs

If you want to try the best that the French wine industry has to offer, look for a bottle produced in Bordeaux. Known for its scintillating reds, Bordeaux is a standout French wine making region whose products have proved consistently popular the world over. Purchase the Chateau Margaux 1993 from Ideal Wine Company today to find out what a superb Bordeaux wine tastes like!

What are the most popular wine regions in the world?

New international wine export figures have shown which territories are the most popular wine regions on earth.

Wine exports

 

New global wine export figures quoted by The Independent newspaper suggest that Spanish wine was the most popular on the planet last year. However, vintages produced in France and Italy were also popular with consumers during 2015. According to the Spanish Wine Market Observatory, the Iberian nation exported a staggering 2.4 billion litres of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and other wines in 2015.

In contrast, France exported two billion litres of wine across the planet last year. This suggests that vintages produced in wine-making regions such as Bordeaux continue to appeal to consumers worldwide. If you want to try a Bordeaux vintage of the highest calibre, why don’t you buy the buy the Chateau Cheval Blanc 1981 from the Ideal Wine Company; it’ll light up your taste buds with every sip!

Price comparison

Spain’s record wine exports brought €2.6bn into the Iberian country’s economy in 2015 and the Italians generated €5bn in wine sales. But the money generated by Spanish and Italian wine was dwarfed by the value of French wine exports, which hit a mind-blowing €8bn last year.

Experts suggested that this disparity can be attributed to Spain’s habit of selling wine in bulk. Consequently, the price of Spanish wine dropped by 2.9% in 2015, to hit €1.10 per litre. Speaking to the Independent, Spanish Wine Market Observatory Head Rafael del Rey said that “the situation is frustrating, but we know what we have to do to catch up.”

Continuing, del Rey said: “Italy was in the same situation as Spain 15 years ago, but now Italian producers have doubled their average price. We need to sell less wine in bulk to other producers and more Spanish wine that indicates origin. The Spanish wine industry will look very different in 10 years’ time.”

European popularity

Also, high demand from the US and China ensured that EU wine exports rose in 2015. Commenting on this news Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins, said “The EU remains the most important wine exporter worldwide and, after three years of relative stability, [it] attained its best ever performance in 2015.”

Therefore, evidence suggests that consumers continued to buy European Wine en masse in 2015. Established wine making countries like France and Italy saw the value of their wine exports rise last year. This indicates that consumers throughout the globe still have a taste for the high-quality bottles these nations are known for producing.

Fine wine at the Ideal Wine Company

Do you want to see why nations like Italy have a reputation for producing some of the finest wine on earth? If so, why don’t you buy the Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 1990 from the Ideal Wine Company? A stunning Italian red which boasts a wonderful blend of mouth-watering flavours, this vintage illustrates why people love sampling European luxury wine.

What to Expect From a Pinot Noir Wine

One eternal truth has governed the art of wine making since the dawn of vine growing; the grape dictates the flavour of the wine. With this in mind, the Ideal Wine Company explains what to expect from a pinot noir.

Pinot noir grapes

There’s no such thing as a standard grape. There are a wide variety of different grape species grown around the world, and each one boasts a distinct flavour which, when used in the wine making process, produces a unique vintage.

This leads us to the pinot noir grape. This is a red wine grape that’s grown in temperate countries around the world including France (Burgundy), the US, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina and Chile. The Wine Society notes that pinot noir grapes are “responsible for some of the world’s best red wines – and some of the worst.”

This is because pinot noir grapes are some of the hardest to grow in the world. If it’s too hot, the grapes ripen way too fast however if it’s too cool, they won’t ripen at all. The pinot noir grape is also vulnerable to a number of diseases which can render the entire crop unpalatable if they happen to strike.

Incomparable wine

But when you stumble on the right conditions, the pinot noir grape has the ability to produce a wine that’s incomparable with anything else on earth. Wine Folly’s profile of pinot noir wines notes that the grape produces a pale red vintage, which boasts a medium-low tannin level and a medium-high acidity.

It goes on to explain that the typical pinot noir is a standout vintage that typically boasts an array of subtle favours. These flavours include, but aren’t limited to, cranberry, cherry, raspberry, vanilla, clove, liquorice, mushroom, tobacco and caramel. A pinot noir wine is also usually aged in a French oak barrel, lending an extra layer of powerful flavour to the finished product.

It’s also important to note that pinot noir is a key grape in Champagne making. It brings the depth, structure and backbone this king of sparkling wines needs to shine. You’ll notice many of the Ideal Wine Company’s Champagnes feature the standout grape.

Buy a pinot noir

You can’t call yourself a true wine enthusiast until you’ve tried a pinot noir wine. This grape’s subtle balance of tantalising flavours produces vintages that are beloved around the world. Buy one of the Ideal Wine Company’s Burgundies today if you want to see what a pinot noir wine really tastes like.