Celebrity Chef Risks Angering French Wine Enthusiasts


If there’s one thing France are renowned for it’s their wine making. That’s why the Ideal Wine Company is unsurprised at people’s reaction when Gordon Ramsay started stocking British wine.

Bordeaux wine making

Bordeaux, located on Western coast of our neighbour across the channel, is undoubtedly the French wine production industry’s crowning jewel.

Figures collected by Wine Cellar Insider indicate that Bordeaux is the most popular wine region in the world. It produces a staggering two billion euros-worth of wine per year – the equivalent of almost 450 million bottles! This means that Bordeaux produces roughly 39 million cases of its famous red wine per annum, such as the Chateau Lafleur 1990, which you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company.

Le Pressoir d’Argent

As such, it’s no surprise that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently decided to open a new restaurant in Bordeaux. Called Le Pressoir d’Argent, it’s located in the in the five-star Grand Hotel de Bordeaux Hotel and Spa, and features a wine list mainly composed of classic Bordeaux vintages, according to the Daily Mail.

However he’s now revealed that Le Pressoir d’Argent’s wine list will also feature English sparkling wines. Apparently Gordon has started serving sparkling wines from Kent, Cornwall and Sussex in his restaurant. Noted vintages that already appear on the list include Gusbourne Estate from Kent, Ridgeview from Sussex and Coates & Seely from Hampshire.

Wine epicentre

Speaking to Decanter, the celebrity chef explained: “We are working with several local winemakers, but it’s hard to single out a particular growth or wine – this is an oasis of magical growers that can’t be matched anywhere in the world.

“My objective is to have the wine to become our epicentre. The wine list will be mainly from Bordeaux, but we have gone outside the region also. And we had to include English sparkling wine. We haven’t had a riot yet.” Maybe not Gordon, but you’ve decided to feature English wine in Bordeaux of all places – who comes to Bordeaux to sample a vintage they can get back home!

Try a Bordeaux

At least Ramsay’s planning to take advantage of his fantastic location and feature Bordeauxs on the wine list at Le Pressoir d’Argent. If you want to see why we’re so relieved by that, why don’t you buy the Chateau Austone 1988 from the Ideal Wine Company, so you can sample a fantastic Bordeaux today!


Researcher Studies Premox in Red Wine

The Ideal Wine Company has learned that a Bordeaux-based researcher has started studying premox in red wines, after having previously identified some of the reasons it sometimes occurs in whites.


Premature Oxidisation, also called ‘Premox,’ is a flaw that’s mainly found in white wines. It’s noted to occur when vintages reach an acceptable age-ability, but have been exposed to oxidisation, rendering their contents undrinkable.

Researchers have strived for years to determine the causes of premox. It has long been believed that the main cause is a loosely fitted cork in a bottle of wine. The theory goes that a loose cork lets air into the bottle, oxidising the liquid inside.  However, many experts disagree and a recent study conducted by Dr Valérie Lavigne, a Bordeaux-based researcher, has shown that it’s a lot more complicated.

Studying premox

Lavigne examined the causes of premox in white wine. Her research determined that it comes down to three overriding factors. The first was the vigour of the vine; she noted that “you need a very vigorous vine with no hydric stress” to avoid premox in wine.

Lavigne also cited pressing quality as a cause. The expert argued that when a must with sufficient solids is extracted during pressing, it can limit the number of nutrients available to the yeast. This can lead to a slow start to fermentation or premature termination, which can both induce premox. Finally, Lavigne argued that a long period between primary fermentation and the conversion of malic to lactic acid through bacteria, can also cause wine to suffer from premox.

Turning to red wine

Drinks Business has reported that now the Bordeaux-centred researcher has decided to turn her attention to Bordeaux red wine. Explaining her decision, Lavigne said that “we are considering premox in Bordeaux and elsewhere because we believe there is a problem connected to the fact that more people are harvesting later.”

She went on to elaborate that if the grape bunches are left on the vine for a long period of time, “more grapes are overripe, and we think that this means that the wines are losing their ageing ability.” Valérie also said that this is “a particular problem in Bordeaux for the Merlot,” one of the region’s most beloved grapes.

Buy a Bordeaux

Here at the Ideal Wine Company, we can’t wait to see what Lavigne discovers when she finishes studying premox in Bordeaux red wines. Her findings may provide wine makers in the region with the knowledge they need to ensure they produce a greater supply quality vintages. In the meantime if you want to try a great bottle, why don’t you buy the Chateau Petrus 2001, a standout Bordeaux, from the Ideal Wine Company!

How to Store Cognac

A delicate drink with a carefully calibrated balance of luxurious flavours, Cognac must be stored correctly to preserve its unique character. With this in mind, the Ideal Wine Company explains how to store Cognac.

Fabulous tipple

Cognac is a protected brandy made in or around the French town of Cognac, from which it takes its name. Under legal guidelines, it must be made through a special process involving double distillation in copper pots, and two years of aging in French oak barrels from Troncais or Limousin.

If you buy the Remy Martin XO Champagne Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company and learn how to taste Cognac, you’ll soon discover that this tipple will provide you a drinking experience like no other. However, Cognac must be stored correctly if you wish to enjoy its fabulous qualities; much like wine if you store Cognac incorrectly, you’ll ruin the quality of the finished product.

Storing cognac

Cognac isn’t like wine; it doesn’t age once it’s bottled. However its quality doesn’t depreciate with time either if it’s stored right. However, we would advise you to ignore the old rumour that a Cognac should be stored upright so the liquid doesn’t come into contact with the cork. If the cork is completely dry it could spur oxidisation.

This is why, as the Cognac blog explains, the French brandy should be stored “in the shade and in a cool place with no extremes of temperature.” It’s vital that you keep the bottle in a place with a consistent temperature, as a dramatic shift can impact the quality of the drink. You should also avoid placing the bottle anywhere that’s extremely humid, in order to preserve the label.

When a bottle of Cognac has been opened, the liquid inside will keep for about six months. At this point the Cognac will start deteriorating and evaporating due to contact with air.  If you store the bottle correctly once it’s been opened, you may be able to somewhat halt this admittedly slow process.

Try our Cognacs

If you follow our instructions when you buy one of the Ideal Wine Company’s Cognacs, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be presented with a fine French brandy that boasts an array of rich, tantalising flavours that are destined to have you hooked from your very first sip!

Celebrate California Wine Month

Have you ever wondered why people love California wines? If so, you should join the Ideal Wine Company this week, as we take some time to celebrate California Wine Month!

History of wine in California  

The US state of California was first settled by Spanish colonisers hundreds of years ago. The Spanish settlers were Catholic, and they soon realised that they needed to produce wine for religious purposes. This inspired Spanish monks to plant the Golden State’s first grape vines over 240 years ago.

It didn’t take producers long to realise that California is an ideal wine making region. This caused the Golden State’s wine making industry to boom, turning the region into the largest wine producer in the United States by the end of the 20th Century.

Golden State wine making

Today, the Golden State boasts some of the world’s most famous wine makes regions including Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Paso Robles. Estates across California produce a wide breadth of grape varietals including, but not limited to, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel.

California vintages are typical new world wines. As the Ideal Wine Company recently explained, “the climates of new world wine regions are often warmer, which tends to result in riper, more alcoholic, full-bodied and fruit-centred wines.” With a description like this, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that California wines are some of the most popular vintages in the world.

California Wine Month

The California wine harvest arrives in September, and current Governor Jerry Brown has honoured the occasion by designated September “California Wine Month.” FINN Channel reported that California Wine Month 2015 will be the 11th annual Wine Month. Industry players across the state will celebrate the occasion with a series of festivals, wine tasting classes and other events.

Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute, spoke out on the imminent arrival of California Wine Month. He said that “we appreciate Governor Brown recognizing the contributions of vintners and growers to our state’s economy, culture and lifestyle.” Koch went on to comment, “whether you’re a novice or an expert, California’s diverse winegrowing regions offer plenty of activities in America’s leading wine destination.”

Celebrate with Ideal Wine Company

If you’re not planning to fly out to the Golden State any time soon, you may be wondering how you can celebrate California wine month. You can buy California Wines from the Ideal Wine Company; if you do you’ll soon discover why this sun-drenched region has become the largest wine producer in the United States!

Which Wines Need to Breathe?

If you leave a wine to breathe you could improve its quality, but there are some wines you should drink the minute you open them up. This is why Ideal Wine Company has decided to ask; which wines need to breathe?

Benefits of aeration

When we say that we’re letting a wine “breathe,” we’re not saying that we’re letting it breath the same way a human being does. Rather, we’re saying that we’ve opened its cork and exposed it to the air in a process called ‘aeration.’

Conventional wisdom holds that aerating a wine makes it taste better, and the people who first came up with this theory had a point. When some wines are exposed to oxygen, they release the array of flavours and aromas that are locked within their depths, allowing them to become more “expressive.”

Importance of tannins

This is because some wines contain ‘tannins.’ A tannin is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in grape skin and wood. It lends a bitter, acidic character to wine, that can make your favourite tipple taste far too harsh if you drink it after you’ve just opened the bottle.

Tannins soften when they’re exposed to air, and this is the reason we’re talking about them. It means that tannin-rich wines such as hearty reds, especially younger bottles such as the Two Hands Deer in Headlights 2004, which you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company, need to be allowed to breathe.

In contrast, you don’t need to let white wines and Champagnes breathe before serving. You definitely shouldn’t allow Champagnes to breathe because they’ll go flat, and no one likes flat bubbly. However, if a white wine has been aged for a significant amount of time in a wooden barrel it may contain tannins which means it should be aerated before it’s served.


However, if you open up a bottle of red and just leave it to aerate you’re not really doing it right. This is because the bottle of the neck is narrow, so you only expose the wine to a surface area that’s roughly the size of a penny, meaning that the vintage won’t receive the air it needs to breathe.

If you want to maximise your vintage’s ability to breathe, you need to pour it into a decanter. This allows your red to take a deep breath, and gives it the time it needs to filter out the sediment that can build up as a result of the wine making process. This is why you really need to learn how to use a decanter.

Rule of thumb

Take this as a rule of thumb. If you’ve decided to buy a Krug 1988 from the Ideal Wine Company, whatever you do, don’t let it breathe. However, if you’ve decided to purchase a Hermitage La Chapelle 1985, you should let it aerate, as red wines need to be allowed to breathe before they’re served.