Ideal Wine: Five Questions You Should Ask Your Sommelier

If you want to secure a spectacular vintage the next time you eat out read on, as the Ideal Wine Company clues you into five questions you should always ask your sommelier.

What is a sommelier?

A sommelier is a wine waiter at a restaurant. It’s their job to cultivate the establishment’s wine list, oversee wine service and train other staff in the mysterious ways of wine. They’re also responsible for suggesting wines to diners that would go perfectly with their meal.

Yet if you’re reading this blog we bet you’ve had a somewhat mixed record with sommeliers. There are some truly fantastic sommeliers out there, however there’s also some who should never be let near a wine list. If you find yourself confronted with the latter, often you end up with a vintage that contrasts so sharply with your chosen dish that it ruins the entire meal.

Five questions to pose to your sommelier

This is why it pays to see if your sommelier knows their stuff before you take their advice. Here are five questions you should ask your sommelier before you choose a wine:

  • Where does the wine come from? If the sommelier suggests a particular vintage, they should be able to recite its history at will. The source of a wine’s origin can tell you about its character, grape variety and flavour, so if your sommelier doesn’t know where the vintage came from, they most likely don’t know the vintage at all.

 

  • What does the wine taste like? This is basic but it needs to be asked. The shoddy sommelier will use generic terms but their talented equivalent will be able to get into the complexities of the vintage they’re suggesting to you. If they sound like they know what they’re talking about, they probably know what they’re talking about.

 

  • What’s on your wine list? Simple but effective. You don’t want to utilise the services of a sommelier who’s memorised a few easy-to-remember bottles, as this means you won’t get the chance to sample the full range of vintages on the restaurants wine list.

 

  • What goes with this dish? If you pick a wine that complements your dish it can transcend your meal to new heights. A trained sommelier should be able to suggest a wine for whatever dish you throw at them. They should have worked it out through trial and error; that’s their job.

 

  • What’s your favourite wine on the list? The true sommelier is a wine enthusiast. They love what they do and if you ask them about their favourite wine on the list, they should be able to rattle off their chosen vintage before you can pause for breath. If they can’t, they lack the passion it takes to take on the considerably hard task of a sommelier.

Be your own sommelier

A sommelier’s job is to choose the wine you need to set your meal off right and have the night of your life. If they can’t do that they’re useless; dismiss them immediately, choose your own wine and become your own sommelier!

Everything You Need to Know About Fortified Wine

If you’re thinking of buying the Fonseca Vintage Port from the Ideal Wine Company, you may be interested to learn that it’s a fortified wine. If you don’t know what this means, keep reading as we’ve decided to devote a whole blog post to explaining what fortified wine is, how it’s made  and why it makes a fantastic after dinner tipple.

What is fortified wine?

A fortified wine is a wine that has had a grape spirit such as brandy added to “fortify” the final product. This brings the alcohol content of the end product up to around 17% – 20%.  The most well-known types of fortified wine are Sherry, Madeira, Marsala and Port.

You may be interested to learn that producers first started to fortify wine because they believed that adding stronger alcohols such as brandy would preserve the final product. This is true if the bottle remains sealed, however fortified wine won’t last more than a month after it’s been opened.

How is fortified wine made?

Through trial and error wine makers discovered that timing is everything when it comes to making fortified wine. The grape alcohol needs to be added to the base wine during the fermentation process. This can be used to control the sugar content in the final product.

This is because once the grape spirit is added, it stops the yeast converting sugar into alcohol. Therefore when the producer wants a dry or a less alcoholic fortified wine, they let the fermentation process run its full course before adding the brandy. However, if they want a sweeter or more alcoholic product they’ll add it once the base wine has fermented for a day and a half. After fermentation, fortified wine is aged in oak wood casks.

Why should you drink fortified wine?

The truth is that there’s no one reason why fortified wine makes a fantastic after dinner treat. The tipple’s production process has a lot of variables and this means that there are a range of fortified wines on the market and they each have different characteristics and qualities.

Yet most fortified wines have one thing in common. Even when we’re talking about a “dry” variety, fortified wines are stronger and sweeter than other wines. This is why it has traditionally served as a desert wine and can be paired beautifully with after dinner staples such as chocolate desserts, fruit torts and cheese platters.

 

China Has More Vineyards Than France!

New data has shown the Ideal Wine Company that China has now displaced France to become the country with the second largest vineyard area in the world.

The rise of Chinese wine

Once upon a time, China wouldn’t have even been a blip on the Ideal Wine Company’s radar. The People’s Republic never used to have much of a taste for wine. However, people across the one billion-plus strong nation are starting to develop a liking for our favourite tipple.

In 2013 China became the biggest market on the planet for red wine consumption, according to the Guardian. Furthermore, the emerging global superpower is evolving into an up and coming wine maker. The BBC reported that China was the eighth largest producer of wine in the world, as of 2013, and is predicted to become the largest by 2016.

China becomes second largest vineyard area in the world

New statistics from The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (IOVW) suggest that the People’s Republic is now well and truly on its way to becoming the largest wine producer on the planet. The IOVW has said that the Asian nation now has 799,000 hectares of land devoted to vineyards.

This makes China the second largest country on the planet in terms of land devoted to grape growing. The People’s Republic still trails Spain, which devotes 1.92 million hectares to vineyards but it did edge out France, a nation which is often regarded as the best wine producer in the world. Many of the Ideal Wine Company’s finest vintages come from France, especially Bordeaux.

China has a lot of potential

The amazing thing about the IOVW’s latest report is that it shows that wine production growth is far from over in the People’s Republic. It has the potential to eclipse Spain.

The report showed that the world’s largest growing economy accounted for a staggering 11% of global territory given over to vineyards in the past year. This is a meteoric rise from 4% in the year 2000. The sheer size of the country suggests that China has a lot more land it can devote to grape production.

One to watch

These figures show that China is the one to watch in terms of wine production. It already has more vineyards than France. At the Ideal Wine Company we truly believe that it won’t be long before they have more vineyards than Spain. China is making its mark on the world of viticulture and is evolving itself into a true wine superpower on the global stage.

What is Vinotherapy?

The Ideal Wine Company asks: what is vinotherapy?

Have you heard the term ‘vinotherapy’ bandied around at your favourite spa? If so, the Ideal Wine Company is about to slake your curiosity, as we explain how this radical beauty treatment uses wine to make your skin glow.

Drinking wine is good for you (in moderation)

Any reader of the Ideal Wine Company blog knows that wine is good for you. The old adage that you should drink two glasses of red wine a day has a ring of truth to it.

Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol. This has a number of health benefits. This means that if you drink red wine in moderation it can, according to various studies, be better for your health than the gym and improve mental health.

Vinotherapy

You can reap these benefits by drinking wine, but did you know that increasingly, spas and beauty treatment centres around the world and pouring wine over peoples’ skin as well?

This is known as Vinotherapy. This is a beauty therapy process where the residue of wine making, the pips and the pulp of the grapes, are rubbed into your skin. A typical vinotherapy treatment often involves a bath filled with hot red wine and strategically placed jets that are designed to boost circulation.

Why is red wine good for your skin?

Vinotherapy style techniques are utilised by The Allison Inn and Spa in the US state of Oregon. Tara Carlton, the director of this chic 5 star spa, recently explained why wine has the ability to make your skin glow.

Carlton was quoted by Yahoo Beauty explaining that “most people don’t understand the level of antioxidants within the grape skin and seed.” She went on to note that “when antioxidants called polyphenols get absorbed into the skin, they keep skin cells healthier, by helping them produce more collagen.”

Try vinotherapy with a bottle of the Ideal Wine Company’s finest!

In other words vinotherapy utilises the natural properties of wine to provide your skin with a fresh, healthy looking glow. If you want to try this amazing beauty treatment for yourself why not give it a go with several bottles of the Ideal Wine Company’s finest! If that doesn’t work, you can always drink them instead!

Ideal Wine Company Review the Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2007

The Ideal Wine Company review the Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2007.

Are you a wine enthusiast living on a shoe-string budget? If so, we have just the thing for you. This week, the Ideal Wine Company review the Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2007.

Wine-making in Bordeaux

We strive to bring you some of the finest vintages the world has to offer. As such, the Ideal Wine Company features a range of fabulous French wines on our product list.

France and wine go together like a horse and carriage. France is the wine making capital of the world. The French have been making wine since the Roman era, and as the world has speeded towards modernity, their vintages have only gotten better. Today, France boasts some of the most famous wine-making regions in the world including Champagne, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is a city in the south-west of France. The city and its surrounding valleys are known for producing some of the finest red wines in existence, yet they also produce a fantastic array of sweet white wines. The region’s enviable weather and temperate climate lends wine-makers in Bordeaux the ability to produce world-class Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet-Franc, Petit-Verdot, Malbec, Semillon and Carménère grapes, among others.

Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste 2007

Bordeaux is the home of the Pauillac wine-making region. Located on the left-bank of the Gironde estuary, Pauillac produces first-rate Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet-Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes. Some of the most amazing reds in all of Bordeaux are made in Pauillac.

One of these reds is the Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste 2007, which you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company. Grand-Puy-Lacoste wines are produced on a 90 hectare estate a few kilometres west of the town of Pauillac. Composed of Cabernet-Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, Grand-Puy-Lacoste wines have heady aromas, rich blackcurrant and cassis fruity flavours and velvety textures.

The 2007 is a particularly stunning vintage. Open this bottle and you’ll immediately be greeted with delightful scents of raspberry and blackberry. Take a sip and your palate won’t know what hit it. The Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2007 boasts rich tones of black cherry fruit with subtle hints of cedar to create a wine drinking experience you’ll never forget.

How much for the Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2007?

Why is this the wine for you if you’re living on a shoe-string budget? You’d expect a vintage of this calibre to go for what, £100, £200? You can buy the Château Grand Puy Lacoste 2007 from the Ideal Wine Company for as little as £42, including VAT!

Keep an eye out on for more reviews from the Ideal Wine Company on our blog.