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.

How to Perfect your Mulled Wine

You know Christmas is close when you’re enjoying a warming glass of hot, fragrant mulled wine. The traditional festive beverage, usually made with red wine together with various mulling spices and raisins, can be served hot or warm. With its heady aromas of sweetness and spice, this fruity drink is synonymous with Christmas. While it is a treat that many can’t wait to enjoy, it can be difficult to perfect the right balance of flavours being a struggle for many. At Ideal Wine Company, we’ve gathered our top tips to help you make sure your mulled wine is a winner this winter.

Ideal Wine Company Mulled Wine
Here are our top tips for perfecting your mulled wine.

How do I make mulled wine?

Start with a classic recipe – there are hundreds available free online – and they’re easy to follow. While you’re looking make a note of the spices used in them. The more traditional mulling spices are cinnamon, star anise, cloves and nutmeg. But others also include allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, vanilla or ginger.

What wine should I use?

One of the most common questions for how to make mulled wine is what type of wine you should use. While there are many varieties that can work, we know that it is best to look for certain characteristics. The ideal reds to use are young, bright, fruity and unoaked. These will create a good base to build on, while still bringing a rich taste. We recommend using very fruit driven wines, as these tend to make the best mulled wines. Try using an Italian red, a Southern French or New World Merlot. A Shiraz would also be a wonderful choice.

It is also worth noting that quality is important. Always use a wine that you would enjoy drinking. However, it may be best to avoid anything too expensive, as the spices will overpower the subtlety of the wine and that would be a waste.

What flavourings should I use?

After you’ve chosen your wine, add sugar or honey to sweeten it, but be careful not to use too much as overly sweet wine can become overwhelming quickly. Then you add your spices to give it festive flavour. These should include cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and ginger. Make sure you’re careful when you put in the spices – a little at a time so that it isn’t too strong – you can’t take it back out again. Try gathering the spices in a muslin cloth to avoid small floating spices in your drink.

In addition to these classic flavours, try adding a spirit to compliment the flavours. You could add sloe gin, Cointreau or Grand Marnier for added kick.

How do I mull wine?

When you’ve added your spices, it’s now time to mull your wine. The time spent on the heat is very important. You need to infuse the wine long enough for the spices to take on the flavour, but must be careful not to boil it. This will bring out the natural bitterness of the wine that will overwhelm the entire drink. By lightly simmering it, you will emphasise the wine’s fruitiness, perfectly rounding out the flavours. We recommend serving your mulled wine comfortably warm.

Mulled wine is the perfect comforting choice for a cold December. Nothing says winter like a steaming mug or glass of festive mulled wine.

Fireside Red Wines to Try this Winter

The festive season is nearly upon us, the perfect excuse to enjoy a glass or two by the fireside. Here at Ideal Wine Company, we have our perfect picks for you to enjoy with family and friends.

With fireside wines, we’re always drawn to big earthy powerful reds. The cold weather is naturally paired with a robust red, with the body and structure to compete with hearty food. Fruitiness, weight and richness help to provide much-needed warmth.

Ideal Wine Company festive red wine
Here are some of the best fireside red wines to try this winter.

Amarone – bright and juicy

An iconic Italian wine, this typically dry red is made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina. The blend is fermented then refermented, giving the wine rich and complex flavours. Concentrated redcurrant and cherry flavours can be detected. The brightness of these fruits pairs well with the subtle notes of clove, cocoa and spiced vanilla. This provides a structured taste, with juicy tannins providing a satisfying finish.

Ribera del Duero – smooth and luscious

This full-bodied red offers a real flavour of the Spanish countryside. The oak ageing adds notes of vanilla to the wine’s natural blackberry and herbal flavours. Its smooth and luscious structure provides a long finish. This wine is perfect for firesides or with a hearty casserole, ideal for the colder weather.

Syrah – complex and fruity

Providing plenty of character, intensity and complexity, this variety produces an inky depth of flavour. By nature, it is a big red. Its strong fruit flavours bring the rich and sturdy structure a delicious warmth. Try pairing this wine with a meat dish or even a mince pie, as the juicy fruit provides the perfect counterpoint to heavily spiced dishes. The acidity, tannins and richness create a mid-palate complexity that will be well-received by all your guests.

Bordeaux – fragrant and ripe

A great and classic choice for the festive season. This wine is a fine accompaniment to festive meat, with its fragrant and ripe taste. With a great balance and a velvet finish, it offers notes of chocolate, black cherry, spice and vanilla. An ideal combination for winter’s spiced treats.

Carignan – warm and intense

Originating from southern France, this wine is famous for its robust and intense flavour. This blend is perfectly balanced with concentrated aromas and flavours of blackcurrant, plums and brambles from the Grenache. A warm clove spice creates a rustic and smoky nuance. The full-bodied fruitiness, aroma and tannic structure create a warming wine choice. This wine is a perfect match for a charcuterie or cheese platter, making it the perfect choice to try for a festive party.

Carmenère – a subtle spiciness

This medium-bodied French wine is often noted for its smoky, spicy and earthy aromas. Its berry and mocha notes provide a richness that is rounded off with a subtle blend of spices. Working well with hearty dishes such as casseroles and chilli, this wine is the perfect winter warmer.