The five fine wines to invest in now

More and more investors are looking for fine wines to invest in. They see them as a stable, profitable option, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And it is no surprise. In times of economic and social turmoil, the fine wine industry feels like a sound investment, at least compared to other asset classes. To find out why, read Ideal Wine Company’s recent blog post here.

The fine wines to invest in now

However, it has been a difficult year so far for many producers. With Covid-19 hitting an industry that relies on exports, global trade and face-to-face marketing events such as tastings.

With that in mind, if we were asked to select five wines to invest in today, where would we start? Here is our guide to fine wines worth investing in now.

1. Bordeaux wines

Bordeaux and Burgundy are both suffering under US tariffs, but remain hugely influential within the global wine investment markets. And with a long history of winemaking, Bordeaux is particularly well regarded. This region alone accounts for around eight in every 10 bottles traded globally. Where do you find value in such a crowded market?

Our pick: Chateau Angélus is one of the most prestigious winemakers in the region, with a number of great vintages (notably 1990, 1995 and 2001) behind it. Our choice is a bottle of Château Angélus 2015 Saint-Émilion, a wine that will age beautifully over time.

2. Champagne

Champagne has long been a safe bet for investors, and 2019 was yet another good year. According to the experts at Liv-X, their Champagne 50 index grew by a steady 2.2% last year. Sales have remained pretty stable through 2020 too, accounting for around 10% of overall market share. The region has also avoided US tariffs, unlike Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Our pick: A fine champagne such as the Louis Roederer Cristal 2012 has done well over the last few years and we see no reason for that not to continue – it’s a vintage that is well worth adding to your collection if you can.

3. Burgundy wines

Like Bordeaux, Burgundy remains one of the most popular regions for those of us who want to invest in the very best wines. It is an area with a rich tradition of winemaking, with makers such as Chateau Rosseau Chambertin creating wines for collectors of the highest quality. Their 2013 Grand Cru wines in particular have done well in the last couple of years, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

Our pick: Our investment choice is the 2006 Chambertin-Clos De Bèze – created not far from the Chateau Rosseau Chambertin – a powerful red wine that is well worth picking up.

4. Italian wines

Over the last six months of 2020 Italian wines have performed brilliantly on various. For example, Liv-ex offered a one-year return of 3.9% up to March. We see no reason for that not to continue, and wines from Piedmont in particular remain active among traders.

Our pick: There are many great Italian wines to choose from. For growth potential the 2013 vintage of the Barolo Reserva Monfortino is a good pick. It’s a special wine, with real fruity intensity and a big personality.

5. Natural wines

We’ve posted elsewhere  about the current trend in natural wines. They’re hugely popular at the moment – but does that mean they are a good investment?

Our pick: Whether we should add a bottle of Lalalu Cabernet Franc 2018 to our cellar just yet is debatable. But we’re including natural wines as it’s a growing section of the wine market worth watching for investment purposes.

Looking for the best barbecue wines? We’ve got you covered

This year has been a strange one so far thanks to COVID-19, but the sun is finally out. Lockdown is easing and people are gearing up for a hot few months in the UK. Which means it’s barbecue time!

Barbecues are never complete without the ideal drink to go with the food. Ideal Wine Company have come up with wines for just about every barbecue food, from sausages to salads. So, whether you are looking for a red wine to go with your burger or a white wine for your chicken, there’s something ideal for you.

Best barbecue wines for meat dishes

When it comes to matching wines with sausages, you’re looking for the little extras. Look at the spices and herbs in the sausage mix and match your barbecue wine to that.

A shiraz or sauvignon blanc goes well with sage flavoured sausages and pinot noir is ideal for a Cumberland sausage. If your sausage is pork based with leeks or herbs, go for something like a carmenere. And if you are planning to enjoy a rustic Toulouse sausage, a rueda from Spain or pinotage from South Africa will liven up the al fresco treat.

If you include pork chops or steaks in your barbecue menu, then you’re in luck when it comes to wine matching. Pork goes with lots of wines, so choose from syrah, pinot noir, shiraz or Beaujolais. If you want a white wine, then a Chablis is a good bet but if you’re garnishing with apple sauce a Riesling from Germany would work well too.

Steaks are probably the easiest to pair with the ideal barbecue wine. You don’t have to choose a super heavy red wine if you want to keep it lighter due to the weather. Try a Malbec, red zinfandel or primitivo from Southern Italy. Lamb chops also love red grapes like tempranillo or garnacha. Take your pick form merlot, cabernet sauvignon or your favourite rioja.

Best Barbecue wines for fish and chicken dishes

While you might immediately head for white wine with tuna steaks, it works really well with reds too. Go for something that isn’t too oak aged and consider a shiraz, Malbec or carmenere. If you prefer white wine, try an Australian Semillon or vernaccia from Italy. Chicken breasts or kebabs will go with plenty of wines, but particularly well with merlot, Frascati or sangiovese. Take your pick!

Best barbecue wines for salad and vegetable dishes

Any vegetables with a hint of natural sweetness, such as root vegetable or carrots go well with slightly sweet wines. Try a Riesling or vinho verde, for example. Usually, you’ll find white wines work better than reds to go with a big summer salad or light vegetable dish.

If you like to char sweet peppers with your barbecue meat, then they go well with both red and white wines. Match the wine colour with the pepper, so red peppers work best with beaujolais or shiraz. Yellow and green peppers go well with albarino, dry muscat and gewürztraminer whites.

Try orange wine for a different drink this summer

It’s likely that the uptick in enthusiasm for orange wine is linked to the growing trend of natural and organic wines. Whether rosé wine has had its day is debatable but for some people at the forefront of wine trends, switching to orange wine is the thing to do.

Tastes do shift over time and wines tend to come in and out of favour, but rosé will probably stay pretty popular this summer. If you are looking for something a bit different though, consider trying one of these orange wines.

Could orange wine replace rosé wine as the ideal summer drink

There are, of course, some great quality rosé wines on the market, and particularly if you are looking at fine wines for summer. Unfortunately, many of the easily available rosés are mass produced and tend to be on the sweet side. If you’re looking for a wine made with natural principles and is between red and white, then orange wine could be for you.

Orange wine is basically white wine with a different production process. During winemaking, there is an extra step where grape juice is left to rest on the grape skins. How long this process goes on for determines the final product. Winemakers maintain that this extra step adds complexity, depth and body as well as the colour. You can expect honey stone fruit flavours as well as spicy and sour notes.

Natural and biodynamic winemaking practices always include additional production principles. For example, many natural winemakers will use traditional methods such as using terracotta pots called amphorae to ferment the wine in the same way Romans and Greeks used to. These ancient methods allow the wine to spontaneously ferment, rather than our modern-day practice of adding stabilisers and commercial yeasts.

This also means that making good quality orange wine and other natural wines takes a high degree of skill. There is a fine line between leaving the skin in contact with the juice for just long enough and too long. One will give you a refined, high-quality wine and the other a sharp, vinegary flavour.

Look out for different shades of orange wine

The longer the wine rests with the skin, the deeper in colour the orange wine will be. It’s a bit like steeping tea, so the more time on skin leads to a more complex wine with properties that could remind you of sherry, for example. Deeper coloured orange wines will have more acid, and this can be useful if you are serving a rich meal. If you’re drinking it unaccompanied, a lighter colour would suit better.

Look out for orange wines made in regions like Georgia and Slovenia. They have a long history of making natural wines, but you can find loads of varieties from all over. Don’t avoid sediment either as this indicates an unfiltered wine that will be packed with flavour.

Check out these 3 orange wines this summer

  1. Under £15 – Ciello Baglio Antico Orange Wine 2019

From Sicily in Italy, Baglio Antico Bianco is one of the best value orange wines made by experts in natural wines – Ciello. The wine is made by macerating white catarratto grapes with their skins during fermentation. And the end result is a nicely balanced, easy drinking orange wine that works with and without food. Expect citrus peel, ginger and herby flavours, with a rich texture.

  1. To look like an expert – Pheasant’s Tears Buera-Grdzelmtevana W, 2018

Georgia is well known for celebrating its traditional past and growing popularity as a tourist city. This wine is made by John Wurdeman who is an American who decided to live in Georgia and produce wines made with the ancient techniques of the country. This is a blend of Grdzelmtevana and Buera grapes that are aged in qvervis (traditional wine amphorae) for six months. The resulting wine is deep amber in colour and has a deep yet exotic fruity flavour.

  1. Most Instagrammable orange wine – Vino Bianco IGT Slatnik Radikon 2018

While Serragghia Bianco by Italian wine expert Gabrio Bini is a popular choice for the ‘Gram, this Radikon Slatnik is great too. This is partly thanks to its distinctive graphic label and long, narrow shape. It’s also delicious and made by the Radikon family, who are leaders in natural wine making.

How the European wine industry is working towards its sustainability goals

Climate change is affecting every industry around the world, as we collectively work out ways to combat the worst effects. For the wine industry, the escalation of the effects of climate change have had a direct effect on the product. From unstable weather patterns throughout Europe to new wine regions springing up in the UK thanks to hotter temperatures, there’s no doubt that environmental factors are key for the world’s wine industry.

European wine industry joins movement to increase glass recycling

To further the goal of reducing emissions and waste, the Comité Européen des Enterprises Vins (CEEV) recently announced it has opted to join other European bodies that have the aim of increasing glass recycling to 90% by 2030.

The group of European organisations was set up by the European glass packaging federation (FEVE) and is called the Circular Economy Platform for Glass Collection & Recycling. Other members of the group include Municipal Waste Europe (MWE), Spirits Europe, the European Federation of Glass Recyclers (FERVER) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe.

All group members collaborate to achieve its overall goal of achieving a 90% bottle-to-bottle closed loop of glass bottle recycling by the end of the next decade. Currently, the glass packaging recycling rate across Europe is at 76%.

Sustainability is a key priority for global wine industry

And, despite the challenges the industry faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEEV is clear that recycling and the promotion of a circular economy “remains a key priority for the wine sector.”

As most (more than 90%) of the wine made in Europe is packaged in glass bottles, there is a specific focus on the wine industry’s sustainability goals. Ignacio Sanchez Recarte is the secretary general of the CEEV. He says that by contributing to the wider goal of improving the glass packaging chain’s sustainability score, the wine industry’s score is also automatically improved. He goes on to say: “While there are so many kinds of wines… glass is one of the few common and universal values we can use to transmit to our consumers our sector’s engagement to preserve the planet.”

There are, of course, a number of alternative packaging options for wine producers, ranging from boxes and cans to tubes and kegs. However, consumer platform Friends of Glass conducted a survey that shows 80% of European consumers still want to buy wine in glass bottles. Furthermore, consumer spending on glass packaged products has risen by 51% since 2017.

Working together to achieve common goals

The wine sector is one of the glass packaging industry’s leading market segments, and it is growing every year. For this reason, says Adeline Farrelly, FEVE secretary general it’s vital that collaborations like this go ahead so that both industries can support each other’s sustainability efforts. She says: “The Close the Glass Loop platform is one way to achieve our shared goals. The more recycled glass that goes back into our production loop, the lower the negative environmental impact of the bottles.”

Another part of the Close the Glass Loop initiative includes improving the quality of the recycled glass they produce. This will ensure a greater amount of recycled glass goes into the newly formed production loop. For example, at the moment 76% of glass is collected for recycling, but just 52% actually makes it back into the production loop.

Is Madeira one of the best Portuguese wines?

For many, Madeira wine is used primarily for its versatility in cooking. But it can also be delicious to drink on its own. Here’s a quick history of one of the most underpraised Portuguese wines, and a few of the fortified wines to try.

Madeira’s history as one of the best Portuguese wines

The Portuguese Madeira Islands are just off the coast of Africa, and the famous wine comes in a number of styles. From dry versions that are nice to drink on their own, to sweeter Madeira wines that go perfectly with dessert, there are plenty of varieties. Some of the cheaper versions used primarily for cooking are flavoured with pepper and salt.

Madeira’s winemaking history goes way back to the end of the 15th century. At that time Madeira was a stop in port for ships heading out to the East Indies or the New World. The local winemaking industry made wine for the ships, and to preserve it on long sea journeys, mixed in neutral grape spirits. When a consignment of unused wine returned to the island after a long round trip, the winemakers discovered that the heat and movement of the journey transformed the wine’s flavour.

They then began storing the wine in special rooms exposed to the hot sun, so that the wine would replicate these changes. Into the 18th century, Madeira became more and more popular. All the way around the world, from Brazil in the New World to the colonies in America, people developed a taste for it.

Fall and rise of Madeira wine

The Madeira boom ended somewhere in the middle of the 19th century, after various mildews and moulds began to blight the wine. By the start of the 20th century, sales had risen again, until American Prohibition in the 1930s and the Russian Civil War after the revolution destroyed two major markets for the fortified wine.

During the rest of the 20th century, Madeira continued to lose some of its popularity as a drinking wine. It became known as a lower quality cooking wine. In 1988, a Portuguese family invested in the owner of many Madeira brand names – the Madeira Wine Company. They relaunched it and marketed specifically towards America, which was the start of the wine’s rebirth.

Producers began to focus on higher quality Madeira again by replanting the noble grape varieties of Malvasia, Bual and Sercial. Today, the major markets for Madeira are France, Germany and Benelux, with growing markets in the US, Japan and the UK.

Madeira is one of the great Portuguese wines – here are three to try

  1. Barbeito Rainwater Reserve Madeira

This Madeira is really delicious as a cooking ingredient, but it’s too good not to enjoy on its own. It has a combination of nuttiness and dried citrus flavours with an acidity overtone. This Rainwater blend is medium-dry and relatively light.

  1. H&H 10-Year-Old Sercial Madeira

Madeira has the added advantage of staying fresh for ages, no matter how long it’s been open it will retain its character. And while it’s often assumed this is the same with other fortified wines, Madeira holds up better than Sherry or Port after being open for a while. This longevity is down to the production process that uses heat to age the wine.

  1. Blandy’s Alvada Madeira

This Madeira is rich and sweet and ideal to drink with dessert, showing just how many varieties there are. The high alcohol content of Madeira puts some people off considering it a wine to drink rather than cook with. It goes up to about 19%, but for a sipping dessert wine it’s absolutely perfect. Maybe it’s time Madeira came out of the pantry and went back on the table where it belongs.