Dieting: wine gets the go ahead!

For many of us our one true love and biggest downfall is wine. When it comes to spring time the majority of us frantically rush to the nearest gym to start shaping our summer bodies, in an attempt to lose the bellies gained over Christmas. Soon gone will be the days of looking like a literal pig in blanket (after eating them continuously for a steady month) and in will be the beach bodies ready to show off. Ideal Wine Company deciphers, should wine be cut out from dieting plans altogether?

Ideal Wine Company Dieting
Can wine be included in your diet?

In or out?

The answer is no, wine can be enjoyed whilst dieting as new advice has shown. Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., creator of the F-Factor diet claims there is no need to cut wine out whilst dieting. Whilst speaking to Women’s Health Magazine she said “the key is to count calories like you would any snack” – a sigh of relief for wine lovers!

Tanya recommends: Chardonnay, Riesling, White Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc for white wine – all under 85 calories, 2.6 grams of carbs and one gram of sugar. For red wine, she suggests: Merlot, Pinot Noir or Rosé – less than three grams of carbs, one gram of sugar and 88 calories. She advises avoiding sweet dessert wines/sweet wines like marsala or sherry which have more than 14 grams of carbs, eight grams of sugar and 164 calories.

Alternative

For those that don’t want to stray from their strict diets, several producers now offer ‘Skinny Wine’. Produced by G.Tribaut, it has only 275 calories in the whole bottle compared to 500 in a normal bottle wine. In a standard 125ml flute it holds 50 calories in contrast to the usual 80-90 calories. Shockingly it has fewer calories in the whole bottle than a single large glass of some red wines.

Tips and tricks

So, what can we do to prevent overindulging? Walking in the early evening helps to keep metabolism up and slows down the body’s ‘need to feed’ impulse. Wine also increases metabolism for 70-90 minutes; however, it should be noted that it is important to drink water when you consume wine to maintain the balance of water in your cells.

Drinking wine before eating has been shown to increase appetite when it is consumed 30 minutes before eating – we suggest saving wine for a meal. If cooking whilst enjoying a glass of wine is a common occurrence, try splitting the wine into 2 servings of 3 ounces each.

Alcohol behaves much like carbohydrates; therefore, it is advised not to drink late at night. As well as this removing indulgent foods and drink from the house will reduce the temptation to have it. If it is out of sight it is said to be out of mind, resisting buying high calorie food and drink and rather swapping it for a lighter alternative.

Five Foods to Match with Cognac

If you’re about to host a dinner party you might want to stick around. The Ideal Wine Company has revealed five foods that taste fantastic when matched with Cognac.

Why buy Cognac? There’s one very good reason why you should buy a Delamain Pale & Dry XO Grande Champagne Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company. The Cognac-style of brandy is a fantastically complex drink that boasts a subtle array of flavours, which are destined to light up your taste buds.

However, it’s notoriously hard to serve Cognac at a dinner party. This is because the protected-French brandy works wondrously with some dishes, but disastrously with others. If you get the pairing wrong, you could bring down the entire tone of your dinner party – leaving your guests distinctly unsatisfied.

Five Cognac and Food Pairings

So how do you choose the right food to pair with Cognac? Why don’t you start with the Ideal Wine Company’s following list of five foods you can pair with this king of fine brandies?

1) Chocolate: It’s traditional to serve Cognac with chocolate-heavy deserts, as chocolate perfectly matches the famed smoothness of this luxury French tipple. We’d suggest you go for a nice dark chocolate if you want to strike a scintillating balance.

2) Cheese: Pairing cheese and Cognac can be just as difficult as matching wine and cheese, but the results are fantastic. We’d suggest you opt for Brie, Fromage Frais, Cheddar or Roquefort to attain the saltiness you need to master this pairing.

3) Duck: Another popular food pairing for Cognac is duck, and many people like to match a particularly good Cognac with foie gras. Basically, the rich, fatty, full-bodied texture of duck lends Cognac a sumptuous round, velvety texture.

4) Sushi: You may not believe it, but Cognac works fantastically well with raw foods like sushi. The tipple’s precise balance of acidity and fruitiness brings out the best characteristics of the sushi to make for a killer pairing.

5) Mushrooms: There are a lot of people who believe that the best food to pair lighter Cognacs with is mushrooms. These Cognacs boast a subtle array of flavours that underpin the complex character of wild mushrooms with effortless grace.

Give it a go

These pairings aren’t set in stone. What might work fantastically with the Claude Thorin VR might be a disaster when paired with another Cognac. That’s why the when you buy a Cognac from the Ideal Wine Company, you should engage in a little experimentation to find the right pairing for your next dinner party!

What Does Smelling Wine Tell You?

To make sure you appreciate your vintage when you buy a fine wine from the Ideal Wine Company, today we thought we’d ask; what does smelling wine tell you?

Stereotypical wine drinker

Modern society has developed a very clear image of the ‘stereotypical wine drinker.’ When an expert drinks wine, they start by swirling the glass, then they take a good sniff before lifting the drink to their lips and taking a small sip.

Throughout the modern era we have mocked this pronounced image of the stereotypical wine drinker. We have dismissed people who act like this as wine snobs; dangerously out-of-touch members of the elite who know nothing about ordinary life.

Swirl the wine

This common perception may be somewhat accurate; there are many wine ‘experts’ out there who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. However, we would also argue that you shouldn’t dismiss the behaviour they display when trying a new vintage out of hand. You can learn a lot about a wine by swirling it and having a good sniff before you take a sip.

Berry, Bros and Rudd explain in their wine guide that there’s a very good reason you should swirl a glass of wine before you do anything else. This one simple act increases the surface area of the glass, exposing the vintage to the air. This allows the wine to evolve, unlocking the aromas and flavours that allow you to learn about the character and composition of your bottle.

Smell the wine

But what will you learn after you’ve swirled your wine and taken a good sniff? First, it will either smell ‘clean’ or ‘unclean.’ If it’s ‘unclean’ it will smell musty, and this is a sign that your drink is corked and that you shouldn’t lift the glass to your lips at all.

Second, it will smell ‘weak’ or ‘pronounced;’ the stronger the smell, the more likely it is that the grapes were grown in a hot climate. A strong smell can also indicate that the wine has a high sugar content, and thus, a high alcohol content.

Finally, smelling the wine will be able to clue you into the specific tastes that characterise the vintage. For example, it might smell of nuts, dairy, sugar, wood, flowers, herbs or even minerals. This is an indicator of age; older wines smell more savoury and spicy, whilst younger wines smell more fruity and flowery.

Learn about your vintage

Therefore, you can lean a lot about your vintage by swirling it in the glass and giving it a good sniff before you take your first sip. This one act can tell you whether the wine is safe to drink, what it tastes like, how strong it is, how it was produced and even how old it is.

Now we’ve explained why you should smell your wine before you drink, try it out for yourself! Buy one of the Ideal Wine Company’s most aromatically complex bottles, the Chateau Latour 1983 today, so you can put your new knowledge to practice!

How to Open a Bottle of Champagne

Have you recently purchased a Dom Perignon 2000 from the Ideal Wine Company?  If so, this is the blog post for you, as we explain how to open a bottle of Champagne.

Real Champagne

It’s practically a running societal joke at this point. If every television programme that’s ever been made is to be believed, then you must tread very carefully when you open a bottle of Champagne. The liquid will shoot up out of the bottle at the speed of light and the cork will hit you in the eye.

This is a myth, but it’s somewhat based in fact. A good Champagne, a quality bottle like the Louis Roederer Cristal 2000, which you can buy from the Ideal Wine Company, shouldn’t rush to escape the bottle after the cork has been popped out of its neck; that’s the sign of a poorly made vintage. However if you aren’t careful, a runaway cork can do some damage!

Step-by-step guide

That’s why you need to know how to open a bottle of Champagne. It’s not like opening a bottle of wine. You can open a bottle of wine with a corkscrew; a technique that would prove disastrous if you used it to try to gain entrance to the king of sparkling wines. Instead you should:

  • Gently unwrap the foil around the cork; it’ll usually have a tab you can pull which will allow you to do this really easily.
  • Point the neck of the bottle away from you and place your thumb on the top of the cork. This is vital because some corks loosen over time, so if you don’t do this the cork may pop out of the top of the neck before you’re ready to open the bottle.
  • Unwind the wire cage that’s wrapped around the neck of the bottle carefully. It’s vital that you keep your thumb on top of the cork at this point, to stop the cork flying out of the bottle.
  • Use one hand to twist the cork gently out of the bottle. Use your other hand to twist the bottle just as gently the other way to assure the cork is released safely.

Give it a go

Follow these steps and you’ll have everything you need to open your chosen vintage safely. Now you know what to do, why don’t you go ahead and buy that bottle of La Grande Annee Bollinger 1995 from the Ideal Wine Company that you’ve been eyeing for months and give it a go? Practice makes perfect!

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!