How to Pair Your Wine with Thai Food

Thai food perfectly balances many flavours. Sweet, sour, salty and spicy all work together in perfect harmony. While this creates delicious food, it can make it harder to find a wine that perfectly matches all of these different notes. Looking for wines that pair with such intricate food is difficult, balancing the bitter and the aromatic. Here are Ideal Wine Company’s top choices to serve with Thai food.

Ideal Wine Company wine and Thai food
Thai food perfectly balances many flavours, here are Ideal Wine Company’s top choices to serve with Thai food.

Pad Thai and Riesling – sweet and sour

Pad Thai’s sweet and sour noodles bring together a wide range of flavours harmoniously. To perfectly match this, an off-dry Riesling brings a welcome balance. With its dynamic tropical fruity flavours, there is a perfect amount of sweetness and acidity to cut through the spices of the dish.

Look for a Riesling that features jasmine in its bouquet. Picking up on the aromatic notes of the food, jasmine will add an interesting note.

Thai fresh rolls and Torrontés – fresh and lean

These delicious rolls are known for their fresh, crisp and crunchy vegetables rolled together. Due to the simplicity of this healthy snack, as well as the lack of fat, try pairing this dish with something a bit different. A Torrontés brings a sweet smell that works well with the freshness of the vegetables. However, the taste is drier than expected. The lean lightness of this wine brings out the flavour in this healthy choice.

Tom Yum soup and Grenache Blanc – complementing spiciness

A complex, spicy dish such as Tom Yum soup incorporates a lot of flavours and spices. With so much going on, finding a perfect match to incorporate and enhance these flavours presents a challenge. Try serving your soup with a Grenache Blanc. The similar flavour profiles of both dishes help to bring a consistency between wine and food that complements. Both contain flavours of lemongrass, kaffir limes and galangal. An unoaked version of the wine, slightly chilled, makes a perfect match for this delicious Thai dish.

Red/green curry and Gewürztraminer – focus on fragrance

These classic Thai dishes are among the most popular choices for Thai food. Through these two curries are different, they traditionally have the same base of coconut milk, with the colours of the chillies being the key separator. This changes the spice of the dishes, while the general fragrance remains the same across the two dishes. A top tip for matching Thai food and wine is to focus on the fragrance. A Gewürztraminer is perfect for fragrant food. This aromatic grape has an inherently sweet flavour and lower acidity, the lightness of this wine is sure to handle the spices of your curry.

Thai spring rolls and sparkling Rosé – balance your bitterness with sweet

Spring rolls make a great starter for a Thai feast. These light and crispy rolls contain a delicious bitter vegetable filling and can be served with a slightly salty sauce. To brighten up and bring balance to this dish, try opting for a sparkling Rosé wine. This will impart a good amount of fruity sweetness onto your palate, which can cleanse your palate between bites. The bubbles create a refreshing and delicate sip that uplift your spring rolls to new levels.

With Thai food, the fragrance is key. This aromatic mix can help you decide what wine works well, so focus on this. As a careful blend of these flavours that emphasizes the balance of ingredients, look for a wine that harmoniously works with the whole dish rather than single flavours.

How to Serve Bold Reds with Vegan and Vegetarian Food

With January assigned as the month for resolutions and change, many of us are trying to go without meat this month. But as the ‘Veganuary’ campaign encourages more of us to try a vegan diet, we’re met with the assumption that wine pairing with vegan or vegetarian food is limited. Ideal Wine Company is here to dispel this myth. This week, we’re bringing you top tips and ideas for pairing vegan and vegetarian food with bold reds.

Ideal Wine Company wine and vegan and vegetarian food
Here’s our guide to serving bold reds with vegan and vegetarian food.

Think of wine as an ingredient

Trying to incorporate wine into your dish can be difficult. While we’re met with an extensive list of wines that pair with meat, removing this element makes the process a little bit harder. Breaking down wine into its structural taste components, such as sweet, bitter sour, will help you to understand what the wine is bringing to your meal. Treating it as an ingredient will ensure that you approach wine as something actively involved with your food. As the goal of pairing wine and food is to balance out key flavours, knowing what your wine is adding to the mix is key.

Know the taste profiles of a bold red wine

Bold red wines bring a great deal of power and flavour to food. To pair a bold red with vegetarian or vegan food, it is important to understand the fundamental taste components of the wine.

  • Bitterness: You can discover how bitter your wine is by looking at the pigment and tannin. High quantities of these two elements add bitterness and astringency to wine, which has a palate cleansing effect. The features of bitterness need to be offset with your food. Try pairing caramelized roast vegetables with a wine with a slight bitterness to balance the dish.
  • Acid: Full-bodied reds are typically acid, so often contain a fundamental sourness. Take advantage of this by letting your wine act as a balancing force. With acidic wines, baked grains, fruit and roasted vegetables are key ingredients that offset sourness.
  • Intensity level: There’s no doubt that a full-bodied red is a bold choice. To compete with your wine choice, your meal will need to have a similar level of intensity.

Ideas for pairing:

Malbec – robust tannins perfect for bold flavours

Bringing fruity notes, a medium to full-bodied is known for flavours of blackberry, cherry and plum. These rich and dark notes are often complemented by notes of leather and a sweet tobacco finish. With these strong flavours, a Malbec will stand up well against spices. Opt for pairing your Malbec with Cajun flavours, baked potatoes or black pepper.

Try serving Malbec with a cauliflower steak. Simply a large cut of cauliflower that is roasted, it can be treated similarly to a steak and paired with seasoning and sauces of your choice. A Malbec will easily handle any spices and provide a welcome pep to your dish.

Pinot Noir – fragrant and herbal

This silky red is known for intense flavours of ripe cherries, summer berries and wild strawberries. This lush tasting wine works well with mushrooms, legumes and fruit-based sauces. Suited to light food, a Pinot Noir is ideal for Mediterranean and Asian dishes.

This means a Pinot Noir will pair perfectly with a green lentil curry. The fragrant and herbal notes of the wine will complement the spices on offer in the hearty Indian dish.

Beaujolais cru – juicy and acidic

Made with Gamay Noir Grapes, this French wine has primary flavours of raspberry, tart cherries and cranberries. With notes of mushroom, smoke and violet, this wine provides a good balance of earthiness to your dish.

Try pairing your dish with ratatouille. The collection of vegetables in the dish, from tomatoes to aubergine, are matched perfectly by the smokiness and slight fruitiness of a Beaujolais cru. This allows the variety of vegetables to interplay perfectly, while the wine still provides balance.

Just because your diet is meat-free, it doesn’t mean you must give up red wine. These dishes can definitely stand up to a bold red, so don’t be afraid to be bold with your flavours too. It’s also important to remember to also look that the wine itself is vegan or vegetarian. With all this in place, your vegan or vegetarian diet can be complemented by the perfect red.

Exciting Ways to Use Your Leftover Wine

The jubilant excess of the Christmas period usually sees us stocking up on wine for all the festivities. Moving on from this period, you may find yourself with many bottles of unopened and unfinished wine. Rather than letting this go to waste, Ideal Wine Company has plenty of tips to put your leftover wine to good use.

Ideal Wine Company leftover wine
You may find yourself with many bottles of unopened and unfinished wine. Here’s how you can put your leftover wine to good use.

Red Wine

When it comes to leftover red wine, its best to remember that you can still drink it for up to 5 days. But after this, it’s time to repurpose that wine for better use. Here are a few options we use to prolong the life of our favourite reds.

  • Boil it – ideal for sauces: A standard tip for leftover wine, but a useful one. Try boiling down your red wine until it is concentrated. From here, pour the mixture into ice cube trays to make handy portion sizes and freeze. This means that you have red wine handy to add to your sauces throughout the year without having to open more bottles and create waste. As well as saving wine, giving your sauces a depth of flavour is made simpler.
  • Poach with it – perfect for leftover fruit: If you find yourself with leftover fruit, poaching it in wine creates a simple yet delicious dessert. Pears and prunes, for example, are great vehicles for a good red wine.
  • Mull it – brings new life: Mulling your red wine will undoubtedly uplift your old wine into something enjoyable again. The addition of spices brings a warming quality to your red, while the citrusy notes keep it interesting.
  • Cook with it – great for leftovers: With all the meats at Christmas, many of us choose to make a casserole with the leftovers. A good slosh of red wine can liven up any dish and bring new life to your food.

White wine

White wine can last up to 7 days once it’s open but can turn brown or take on a vinegary taste after this. Therefore, it’s best to act sooner to avoid this. The same principles of red wine generally apply to your leftover white wine. It’s worth remembering that white wine generally pairs better with lighter food, so here are a few tips on how to adjust these standards for white.

  • Leftovers – stick to white meats: While white wine can work well with different hot meats, it is best to stick with white meats like turkey when cold. This lightness works well with a delicate meat, but may be overwhelmed by red meats. This same rule applies if you are making a casserole or pie out of your leftovers.
  • Cooking with it – wonderful with fish: As the new year comes around and we try to be healthy, a lot of us may see an injection of fish into our diet. When cooking fish, a splash of white wine can bring acidity and zesty flavours. Your leftover white would be useful here.

Sparkling wine

While this may be the wine of choice around the festive season, it can be hard to know what to do with leftovers. Champagne can last up to 5 days after opening, while Prosecco is good for a shorter period of 3 days. Proper storage in the fridge with a cover is key and you should act fast.

While sparkling wine can follow the advice of white wine, it is not a great showcase for the wine. Try making a delicate jelly with your leftover sparkling wine. This still gives the flavours a chance to shine, while prolonging the life.

In general, the golden rule to remember with using leftover wine is how much did you enjoy it. If it is leftover because no one liked it, it’s not worth saving. Similarly, if it has gone bad and the flavours have changed dramatically, it may be beyond saving.

The Perfect Wines for Your New Year’s Eve Party

What better way is there to ring in the New Year than with friends, family and a good glass of wine. No matter what your preference is, see out the year in style. From reds to white to sparkling, Ideal Wine Company has amazing suggestions for the final party of the year!

Ideal Wine Company New Year Wine
What are the perfect wines for your New Year’s Eve party?

Champagne – synonymous with celebrations

The ultimate celebratory tipple, champagne really is a great way to toast the new year. Whether you’re heading out to a party or staying in, this full-bodied wine with a rounded sweetness is a perfect choice. Its citrusy freshness adds a complexity to a fruity expression. Try a dry option if you don’t want something too sweet. Alternatively, you could try other sparkling wines if you want to break away from the seasonal norm. Prosecco, for instance, is less intense than its French counterpart and pairs well with light cheese and dark chocolate. Perfect for parties.

Unusual red blends – an adventurous change

This party season, why not try something completely new? A blend of red wine brings together all the flavours you look for in a wine into a surprising yet delicious glass. These create a memorable experience for all who try them, the layers of depth, complexity and rich flavours offering a twist on a classic. Try expanding your blend choices. A classic Cabernet and Merlot blend always goes down well. But if you’re feeling adventurous, the unique blend of Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Petite Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Cinsault currently gaining popularity is sure to be unforgettable!

Pinot Noir – a go-to for elegance and refinement

New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy the classic staples done well. This light-skinned grape offers a less intense red that pleases both red and white wine drinkers. Offering an exotic bouquet of ripe red fruit, Pinot Noir is a graceful addition to any party. Notoriously difficult to perfect, a well-made Pinot Noir is a truly delicious and memorable choice. Try finding a vintage from 2010 or 2012, both of which were good years for this variety.

Vinho Verde – a refreshing option

Gaining in popularity over recent years, Vinho Verde is perfect for those who enjoy a crisp and refreshing glass. This Portuguese white is light, fizzy and easy to drink. Look out for the more serious versions of the wine being created. These textural and dry offerings often include notes of citrus and pear. As a lighter option than most, this wine is perfect to enjoy with a heavier New Year’s Eve meal or if you want to stick to a less intense option.

This New Year, find a wine to suit your palate that mixes well with a variety of foods. Whether you want to toast to 2018 with unexpected red or white, or a classic glass of sparkling wine, there’s a wine out there to keep everyone happy and in a fine celebratory mode!

Delicious Pairings of Wine and Chocolate

At Christmas, there’s always  a bountiful supply of amazing chocolate available. From chocolate boxes to desserts, it’s everywhere you turn! At the Ideal Wine Company, we’ve been working on the perfect wine and chocolate pairings to add to the indulgence this festive period. Here are our top tips for pairing the two.

Tips to pair your chocolate and wine successfully

  • Keep things simple: start with a wine that is slightly sweeter than the chocolate. As both wine and chocolate carry their own strong intensity, using a sweeter wine will allow the chocolate to dominate and the wine to complement.
  • Opt for a similar style and weight: when it comes to pairing wine and chocolate, look for similarities. A good rule to remember is the stronger the chocolate, the stronger the wine. As well, dark chocolate tends to pair well with dry tannin texture.
  • Taste from light to dark: similar to a formal wine tasting, it is best to move from light chocolate to dark chocolate if you are eating different varieties. Start with white or milk chocolate, paired with a light-bodied wine and move onto dark chocolate and full-bodied wines. Through starting with the understated flavours if white chocolate and ending on dark chocolate, your palate will not be overwhelmed. You will still be able to notice the subtle sweetness and notes of delicate chocolate and wine.

Ideal Wine Company autumn wineWhite chocolate – mellow and sweet

When pairing your white chocolate with wine, be aware of the high percentage of cocoa fat. This creates a smooth and buttery flavour and a creamy texture. Due to this mellowness, white chocolate works well with sweeter wines. Try a sherry or a Muscat, which will pick up the creaminess and highlight any subtle fruit notes within the chocolate.

An alternative route to take is opting for contrast. This bolder option takes the higher alcohol and full-bodied flavour of a wine such as a Zinfandel to oppose the mellow sweetness of the chocolate. Using the tannin content to soften the chocolate’s fat allows an unexpected balance.

Milk chocolate – light and silky

A popular choice, milk chocolate’s cream content provides a little element of fat. This addition helps it to pair well with wine. When working with these cocoa butter components and the smooth character of the chocolate, try pairing it with a medium-bodied red. The ripeness, silky tannins and lighter body of a Pinot Noir makes an excellent choice, while a medium-bodied Merlot will also work well. Their bright acidity and fruit flavours will accent the chocolate and hold up well against milk chocolate’s smooth and sweet profile.

Dark chocolate – bold and dense

Dark chocolates contain a high cacao content, which means that a wine must be able to handle this intensity. Ideally, you should be looking for a wine that offers a fuller body, intense flavours and robust aromas. Look for wines that contain bold fruit notes. A Zinfandel handles dark chocolate particularly well, due to its combination of spices and dense fruit flavours. Full-bodied wines are the way forward for dark chocolate.

The goal of this pairing is to balance the tastes, sweet or bitter. Whether you choose to try a wide variety of chocolate or indulge in your favourite, looking at what elements make up your chocolate make it easier to pair and enjoy.