Burgundy To Open Wine Museum

Looking to rival fellow French wine-making region Bordeaux, Burgundy recently announced that it will open a new wine museum, across three sites, by 2020. Ideal Wine Company reports

Bordeaux’s museum

France is the ideal wine travel destination. It boasts some of the top ‘old world’ wine-making regions on earth. This includes Champagne, where the eponymous French sparkling wine is made, Bordeaux, which is the country’s most prolific wine-making region and Burgundy in the east. The latter two areas are both known for producing full-bodied, dry reds, albeit from different grape varietals.

In June 2016, Bordeaux opened the Cité du Vin, a wine-based theme park. Nicknamed the ‘Guggenheim of wine,’ for its resemblance to the museum of the same name in Spain, the venue is due to receive 45,000 visitors every year. It includes attractions such as an interactive worldwide vineyard tour, a 600m² wine cellar and a panoramic restaurant on its seventh floor.

Burgundy’s plans

According to Decanter, an industry publication, Burgundy wine bureau the BIVB, is now looking to open a rivalling venue by 2020. The plan, which was approved in a vote by 73% of the body in December 2016, will be called the Cités des Vins de Bourgogne and it will be spread across three locations. These are Beaune, Mâcon and Chablis, three premier Burgundy wine-making communities.

Commenting on the pan, BIVB said that the region’s officials want to “encourage tourists to venture further than the Dijon-Beaune axis, and to explore the wider wine region, to stay for longer, and to return.” The museum will also be designed to inform visitors about Burgundy’s terroirs, climats, and varietals, as well as its wine-making traditions, which in 2015 gained UNESCO World Heritage status.

Unlike the Cité du Vin, the Cités des Vins de Bourgogne will be regional-specific. It will focus exclusively on Burgundy, providing 70 regional wines for attendees to taste. People will also be able to buy wine selection packs at each of the Cités des Vins de Bourgogne’s three centres. Speaking out on the scale of the project, BIVB President Louis-Fabrice Latour said that “it will affect an entire generation.”

We should also note that the largest of the Cités des Vins de Bourgogne’s three centres will be the one that’s based in Beaune. It will form a part of a massive development initiative in the area, which will also include two restaurants, a shopping mall, a large reception hall and a new five star hotel. It will also see the construction of the Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne, a regional wine education centre.

Sample Burgundys

When it opens in 2020, the Cités des Vins de Bourgogne will give you a great opportunity to find out more about Burgundy wine, allowing you to appreciate some truly fantastic vintages. If you can’t wait until 2020, however, browse Ideal Wine Company’s Burgundy wines list. Here you’ll find bottles from some of the region’s top producers, including Clos Saint Dennis, at prices you can afford!

Image credit: Megan Cole

Is French Wine Better Than Italian?

Over their long and distinguished histories, both France and Italy have cultivated world-famous wine making traditions. Recently, the leaders of both countries reignited a debate that has raged among the international wine enthusiast community for years; is French wine better than Italian?

Fighting talk

The Italian city of Verona recently held its world famous wine festival. Attendees included the Italian Prime Minister himself, Matteo Renzi, as well Jack Ma, the founder of mega Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Speaking at a press conference with Ma, Renzi was quoted by City A.M. saying that Italian wine “is better than French wine.”

According to City A.M., Renzi admitted in the press conference that he made similar comments to French President Francois Hollande in a recent meeting. So how did Hollande respond? Reportedly the French President rebuffed Renzi’s provocative claim, jokingly suggesting that “perhaps, but ours [wine] is more expensive.” We need to look at both countries’ wine making traditions in a little more depth to determine which leader made the better point.

French wine vs Italian

France is often regarded as the wine making capital of the world. Regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy are known for making standout reds and the country is the source of many grape varietals e.g. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, which are now planted around the world. Data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), a global industry body, suggests that France led the world in terms of wine exports by value in 2015.

With wine making traditions dating back to the 2nd Century B.C., Italy boasts some of the oldest wine producing regions on earth. Known for its broad range of products, Italy possesses every possible micro-climate required for fine wine production. Wines produced in noted Italian wine making regions such as Piedmont and Tuscany rank among some of the best on earth. OIV figures for 2015 indicate that Italy was the second biggest wine exporter by volume last year, ranking only behind Spain.

Expert opinion

As wine resource Bottlenotes writes, “Italy produces countless superb wines and truly is France’s closest rival in terms of quantity and quality.” In other words, it is hard to determine whether French wine is better than Italian. Speaking to French news site The Local, British wine expert Rosemary George summed up the difficulty in answering this question.

Commenting on the debate, George said: “France has set the international standards – if you make sparkling wine in the New World, you look to Champagne; if you grow Pinot Noir, Burgundy is your benchmark, and so on… In contrast, Italy has a wealth of unknown and obscure grape varieties, and very few with any international recognition, though that is slowly changing.”

Conduct a taste test

Truthfully, we can’t answer the question is French wine better than Italian. Every wine enthusiast has their own unique taste preferences, so the only way you can answer this question is by conducting a little experiment. We suggest that you buy the Clos Saint Dennis 1996,  a robust French Burgundy red and purchase the Vega Sicilla 1999,  hearty Italian red, from Ideal Wine Company and do a taste test to determine whether you think French wine is better than Italian!

Burgundy Wine Estate Wins Major Honour

The Ideal Wine Company has learned that a celebrated Burgundy wine-making estate in France has topped Sotheby’s annual wine rankings for the third consecutive year.

Wine at Sotheby’s

Headquartered in New York City, Sotheby’s is one of the planet’s largest brokers of luxury items such as fine wine. The world-class auction house has now released its sales figures for 2015. Industry publication Decanter reports that in 2015 the company’s auction receipts equalled US$60.4 million (m).

This is decrease of 7.5% on 2014, despite the fact that Sotheby’s put on a range of high-profile, single owner auctions and ‘direct from the winery sales’ last year. The latter category represented over half the company’s turnover, US$33m. This suggests that over the years, wine has become a vital component of the Sotheby’s business model.

Top wine estates

For the last three years, Sotheby’s has released a list of its top ten wine estates. This is calculated based on sales at Sotheby’s fine wine auctions and retail operations. The ranking is designed, according to Decanter, to create “a high level snapshot of global demand for fine wine.”

If the Sotheby’s list is to be believed, Burgundy vintages were in high demand throughout 2015. While Bordeaux accounted for 46% of Sotheby’s sales last year, Burgundy wine comprised 40%. Burgundy wine estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) topped the rankings for the third year in a row, accounting for 17% (over US$10m) of Sotheby’s’ sales in 2015.

The top grossing lot of 2015 was a six bottle case of DRC 1990, which was sold in Hong Kong for a staggering US$158,000! Overall sales of DRC at Sotheby’s rose by 16% last year. Other Burgundy wine estates which saw their Sotheby’s sales increase in 2015 included Armand Rousseau (up 88%) and Georges Roumier (up 113%).

Burgundy wine

In other words, the latest figures from Sotheby’s suggests that the world had a big appetite for fine Burgundy wine in 2015. Here at the Ideal Wine Company, we can see why. One of the most celebrated wine making regions in the world, Burgundy is known for its stunning dry Pinot Noir reds and delicious Chardonnay-based whites!

The Ideal Wine Company sells a selection of Burgundy vintages. Have you tried the Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2000 which boasts hints of cherry, plum and oak spices? This stellar dry Burgundy red will blow you away!

Four Interesting Facts About Rhone Wine

Situated in the Rhone Valley in the South of France, the Rhone wine making region has a reputation for excellence. We sell Hermitage Rhone Wine here at the Ideal Wine Company. To show you why you’re destined to love these rich, complex vintages we thought we’d reveal four things you need to know about Rhone wine…

Time honoured tradition

Rhone wine making dates back to the region’s Ancient Greek and Roman periods. The latter’s introduction of sophisticated production techniques allowed the Rhone Valley to develop one of the most advanced wine making traditions in the ancient world. Rhone wine experienced a renaissance in 1737 when French king Louis XV declared its celebrated Côtes du Rhône varietal a recognised brand, and has since become increasingly popular around the world.

Regional split

The wine making region can be split into two areas. The Northern Rhone – which lies north of the Rhone River, is known for producing hearty red wines, although these are sometimes blended with whites. In contrast the Southern Rhone – which lies on the other side of the river is more versatile, with its wineries producing reds, whites, roses and an array of blends. The Northern Rhone has a continental climate with harsh winters but warm summers. It’s cooler than the Southern Rhone which means the two regions have developed their own distinct grape growing traditions over the years.

Rhone grapes

Grapes commonly grown in the North include Syrah (by law all reds from this sub-region must be made with Syrah grapes) and the white varietals Marsanne and Roussanne. Meanwhile with its more Mediterranean climate, the South is famous for growing a wider variety of grapes. Its most celebrated red vintage, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is a blend of 19 varieties! The region’s varietals include the white grapes Ugni Blanc, Picardin, Carignan Blanc and Clairette Blanche. The Southern Rhone is also known for producing a number of red grapes including Syrah, Grenache, Terret Noir and Muscardin, which is exclusively found in the Rhone Valley.

Global consumption

Rhone wine is incredibly popular throughout the planet. Figures quoted by Planet Rhone, a Rhone wine information site, show that 400 million bottles were consumed around the world from 2012-2013. Meanwhile, evidence suggests that a bottle of Rhone wine is consumed every 13 seconds and the product was enjoyed by wine lovers in a staggering 159 countries in 2013.

Over the years the Rhone Valley has cultivated a rich, varied wine making tradition that continues to prove popular with consumers across the world to this very day. Why not follow the Ideal Wine Company on Twitter to find out the latest wine-related news and information on a daily basis?

How to Choose What Wine to Bring to a Dinner Party

Do you have a dinner party coming up and no idea which vintage to bring with you? If so read on, as this week the Ideal Wine Company explains how to choose what wine to bring to a dinner party.

Wine and dinner parties go hand in hand

Convention demands that when you’ve been invited to a dinner party you bring something with you as a thank you for your host. Beer is too cheap and low brow, Vodka is too reminiscent of those nights you spent at the local park when you were 17 and whiskey and brandy are too decadent.

Therefore most people choose to bring along a bottle of wine when they’re invited to attend a dinner party. Wine is luxurious, goes hand in hand with expertly prepared cuisine and is expensive enough not to make you look cheap.

Four tips for choosing what wine to bring to a dinner party

Yet there are so many wines out there; which do you choose? Which will make the right impression? Try these four tips to help you choose the right bottle of wine to bring the next time you’re invited to a dinner party…

  • Pair with food: Dinner parties centre around the dishes the host has chosen to serve for dinner. It’s seen as incredibly bad form to bring a bottle which clashes with every dish served. Find out which dishes the host has decided to make so you can ensure you pick a wine that complements the flavours of at least one.

 

  • Splash out: Whatever you do, don’t head down to Tesco and snag a bottle from their ‘special offer’ section the next time you’re invited to a dinner party. It’s the ultimate faux pas; it makes you look cheap. Show your appreciation for the effort the host has gone to by spending decent money on the wine you pick. You might, for example, want to bring a superb Bordeaux from the Ideal Wine Company.

 

  • Use what you know to your advantage: You can’t exactly ask the host what to bring, that’s just awkward. However you know them. You know what they like. Use your knowledge to your advantage and pick a bottle that’ll go down well with the host the next time you attend a dinner party.

 

  • Pick something you know: How can you expect other people to like a vintage that you don’t even know whether you like yourself? Pick a wine you’re already familiar with if you want to make sure you select a vintage that’ll go down a storm the next time you’re asked to attend a dinner party.

Think about what other people will enjoy

In other words there’s one trick that’s almost guaranteed to ensure that you’ll select the right wine to bring with you the next time you’re invited to attend a dinner party. Think about what other people will enjoy; do that and you won’t go far wrong.