The Perfect Wine for Toasting Your Fabulous Mum This Mother’s Day!

We don’t need an excuse to celebrate mums, but this Mother’s Day brings the perfect opportunity to make them feel special. Ideal Wine Company have some great recommendations for choosing the perfect bottle of wine for your mother, something for every taste!

Ideal Wine Company Mother's Day wine
Here are our recommendations for choosing the perfect bottle of wine for your mother!

Shiraz – for the mums who love bold flavours

If your mum loves big flavours, there’s no better option than a Shiraz. This big and brooding red wine is known for its powerful black fruit flavours, savoury undertones and high ABV. This wine isn’t for the faint-hearted but is the perfect warming drink for this Mother’s Day.

Merlot – for mums who like a fruity wine

For a smooth, lush and less aggressive wine choice, Merlot is a safe and reliable choice. With upfront fruit flavours, moderate tannin and balanced acidity, this wine works for any occasion. You can expect to be met with flavours of black cherry, plum, chocolate, dried herbs and cedar, all coming together for a truly delicious sip. Merlot is the perfect crowd pleaser that’s sure to go down well.

Sémillon – perfect for mums who like a honeyed finish

If you’re looking for a full-bodied white wine this Mother’s Day, look no further than a nice bottle of Sémillon. This Bordeaux-borne grape is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc, giving an otherwise lush, mouth-filling wine a welcome hint of zippiness. The light and zingy notes elevate the notes to bring a refreshing finish – perfect for the beginning of spring! Try looking for a variety with some age or oak on it, as this gave give some truly delicious notes of honey, almond, and an unctuous texture.

Saignée – for mums who love rosé – with a twist

Saignée is like no other rosé. Considered a by-product of red winemaking, this unique style of wine us often darker and bolder in colour than any other rosé. You’ll find this wine ranging in shade from deep pink to light purple, with bold and fruity aromas. Key flavours you can expect to find include sweet raspberry and cherry, leading into savoury notes of white pepper and bacon. If your mum is looking to branch out from the usual rosé, this is certainly one to try!

Prosecco – for celebrating mums in style

When it comes down to it, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a glass of bubbly. This Mother’s Day, why not break out the Prosecco to toast to your mum? This dependable Italian fizz is perfect for a variety of events and is sure to go down a treat. Most Prosecco is classified as extra dry, meaning you can expect medium acidity, sherbet sweetness and a floral freshness in each sip. With soft bubbles, serve your Prosecco ice cold and in tulip-shaped glasses – the perfect receptacle to appreciate those delicate white flower aromas!

This Mother’s Day, there are plenty of wines to choose from. Whether your mum is a fan of white, red, rosé or something sparkling, there’s something for every mum.

Understanding Wine Vintages and Why They Matter to You

Wine can be dramatically affected by its vintage. The same grapes from the same vineyard take on distinctively different characteristics depending on the year they were harvested. We all know we should try good vintages to maximise our tasting experience, but first, we need to know what we’re looking for. Ideal Wine Company is this week breaking down how vintages can change wine and what to seek to get the best out of the experience.

Ideal Wine Company wine vintage
We’re breaking down how vintages can change wine and what to seek to get the best out of the experience.

What is a wine vintage?

First of all, the vintage of wine is the year it was produced in. When the grape was grown and harvested leads to many changes in flavours. The taste and quality can be affected, primarily because of the different weather. These conditions alter the vines and how they are growing throughout the year. The vintage date is found on the bottle, label or even cork.

The defining feature of a vintage is sunshine. If the year has seen plenty of sunny weather, the grapes are given the best chance to reach full maturity and optimum ripeness levels. However, too much heat, defined as too many days above 33 ºC, and the grapes will dry out which can lead to bitter tannins in your wine. If the year is particularly rainy or cloudy, the grapes do not fully ripen. This makes them prone to rot and disease, delivering lower quality grapes.

Wines without a vintage date are usually made by blending multiple years together. If you opt for a non-vintage wine, you’ll usually find more consistency. They are typically a house style wine that is good value but does not offer unique distinctions from year to year.

Signs to look out for

You can determine how good the vintage will be by looking out for signs in the weather. Each season has key features that can change how your wine tastes.

  • Spring: Look out for early snow and hail-storms, as these can break off flowers and buds. This could potentially reduce the crops by 100%. A sunny spring is perfect for growing wine -and drinking it!
  • Summer: For both us and grapes, rain in summer can put a dampener on things! Wet weather during the simmer can cause disease which ruin grapes. In addition, droughts and exceptionally hot weather can cause vines to pause their growth. A mild but sunny summer are the ideal conditions for a good vintage.
  • Autumn: Harvest time is the most important season for grapes. Bad weather in this period can greatly reduce the quality of the vintage. Rain can cause grapes to swell, which means they can either lose concentration or even rot. Cold weather will stop the grapes from ripening.

When vintage should matter

The wine vintage will play the biggest role in regions where the climate is very variable. If you’re buying a bottle from northern Europe, such as France, Germany or Northern Italy, you should be paying attention to the vintage.

If your wine is from a predictable climate, such as Portugal, Argentina, Australia, California and Southern Italy, you’ll see more consistency year-on-year. This makes vintage less important.

Knowing the vintage of your wine can be important, but may not be your biggest concern. If you’re buying a wine from a region where there is a lot of difference between vintages, however, it is one of the most crucial factors you should know before you buy. A little bit of research here can go a long way!

Find your perfect burger wine pairing!

Burgers are so versatile, making them one of the most popular meals for many of us and because they are so versatile there are so many wines to be matched with them. This week, Ideal Wine Company brings you the ultimate guide to the perfect wines to pair with your burger…

Ideal Wine Company Wine and Burger
Ideal Wine Company bring you the ultimate guide to the perfect wines to pair with your burger…

For a classic burger – balance sweet and bitter

Most of us are familiar with the classic burger, with meat, lettuce, tomato and onion, it’s a universal favourite. The best wine to pair with a classic burger is one that has an element of bitter and sweet, to create the perfect balance.

For this, we recommend trying a Grenache. This red wine pairs perfectly with grilled meat and suitably showcases the beef of the burger. The berry-flavour and spice of the wine create a great balance between bitterness and sweetness that rounds out the flavour and is soft on the palate.

Take your cheeseburger – focus on tannins and savoury notes

Similar to the classic burger, but with cheese, bringing tang and creaminess to your meal. When looking for a wine to pair with this, the level of tannin is a key element. This acts as a palate cleanser and lightens the heaviness of the cheese. As well, cheeseburgers tend to work well with savoury notes, as this will help to prevent the creaminess of the cheese from becoming overwhelming.

Cheeseburgers are perfect with Cabernet. The good levels of tannins in the wine refresh the palate and keep the flavours harmonious. The flavours of tomato, roasted pepper, blackcurrant and dried leather are savoury enough and better complement the cheese and ground beef combination. A perfectly balanced experience!

If a barbecue bacon cheeseburger is your favourite – look for dark fruits and spice

There’s a lot of flavour in a barbecue bacon cheeseburger. Although there is a lot of intensity loaded into each bite, a good rule to follow is to focus on the sauce. With barbecue, you’ll want dark fruit and some spice.

For this, there’s no better option than a Syrah. The smoky, earthy red works well to bring together the flavours of the burger. It really showcases the sweetness and spiciness of barbecue sauce and creates a good balance between the two strong flavours.

Bite into a mushroom Swiss burger – with something nutty and sweet

This vegetarian option is made up from grilled mushroom and a slice of nutty and buttery swiss cheese. The earthy flavours of these two key ingredients need to be matched by an earthy sweetness to round out the flavours and lighten the dish.

For this, try opting for a Merlot. The fruitiness of the wine is inherently sweeter, which is perfect for pairing with earthy flavours. With aromas of black cherry, berries, plum, chocolate and some herbs, as well as soft characteristics, a Merlot won’t overpower the subtle flavours of mushroom and swiss cheese.

When it comes to burgers, there are plenty more to choose from. A good final tip is to stick to red wines when the meat is beef and consider the sauce on the burger when looking for the perfect pair. White’s work well with white meat and you can pair both white and red well with vegetarian burgers.

Top Tips for Serving Wine with Red Meat

As a general rule, most of us accept that red meat works best with red wine. As red wines are usually heavier in body and have a bolder taste, it is usually our first choice to match the richer taste of red meat. But with so many varieties of both red meat and wine, what should you be serving with each type of red meat? This week, Ideal Wine Company is bringing you our favourite suggestions for serving wine with red meat.

Ideal Wine Company red meat and wine
With so many varieties of both red meat and wine, what should you be serving with each type of red meat?

Lean meat – go light

Due to the higher tannic value, alcohol content and antioxidant density, bold red wines are perfect for red meat. The fat content of the protein-dense food takes us a while to digest and is, therefore, best met with a heavy red wine. A rich cut of red meat, such as a prime rib, pairs nicely with a bold and high tannin red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Should you be using a relatively lean cut of red meat, try using a wine with lower tannins and a lower alcohol percentage. A rule worth remembering is the leaner the meat, the lighter the wine.

Lamb requires delicacy

Unlike most other red meats, lamb is delicate in both flavour and texture. As a result of this, you’ll want to adjust your wine match slightly to accommodate for this. Selecting a bolder red wine with a smoother tannin should work well. A Syrah or a Malbec are perfect options for lamb.

A top tip to remember is that lamb often takes on the flavour of any sauce that is paired with it. This means you should pay close attention to whatever sauce is being served with the meat before choosing your wine.

Match the intensity

When it comes to pairing beef with wine, there are several variables that must come into consideration. With so many ways to serve the meat, this can alter your wine selection drastically. For leaner cuts of beef, look for a light or medium-bodied red wine. These should have a slightly higher acidity that is useful for cutting through the texture of the lean meat.

For fatty cuts of beef, look for a bold red wine with high tannin. As tannins are astringents that work as a palate cleanser, these tannins help to lighten your palate between bites. Our top choices for serving with fatty meats are wines like a Barolo or a Napa Cabernet.

Should you be serving your beef in a stew, you’ll want to match the intensity of the dish with a wine. For example, a top sirloin beef stew works perfectly with a slightly bolder, medium red. A Sangiovese is an excellent choice.

It’s all about the sauce

If you’re serving your red meat with a sauce, this becomes an important aspect to consider. These can drastically alter the taste of the meat and can even open up a wider range of wine for you to choose from.

  • Tangy sauces: Let’s take BBQ sauces for example, look for a fruity red wine. Lambrusco, Shiraz, Syrah, Zinfandel, Primitivo and Negroamaro are all good starting points.
  • Green sauces: Whether this is a mint sauce or a chimichurri, look for fruity bold red wines with smoother tannins. Try opting for a Malbec or a Monastrell.
  • Tomato sauces: The classic Italian Marinara sauce is often paired well with red meat. If you’re serving a tomato sauce, a medium-bodied red with good acidity is perfect, such as a Sangiovese, Merlot or a Bardolino.
  • White sauces: Creamy white sauces offer a variety of pairing options. From peppercorn sauce to a Béchamel, you’ll want to base your choice on the strength of the sauce. A peppercorn sauce works well with Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, due to their peppery notes. A Béchamel requires a medium-bodied red, such as a Valpolicella Ripasso. The power of the white sauce is key here, so it’s worth considering how powerful your sauce will be in the dish.

No matter how you’re serving your red meat, red wine will always make the perfect accompaniment. Match your intensity and concentrate on how lean your dish is and you’ll enjoy the perfect pairing!

Delicious Pairings of Wine and Chocolate

At Christmas, there’s always  a bountiful supply of amazing chocolate available. From chocolate boxes to desserts, it’s everywhere you turn! At the Ideal Wine Company, we’ve been working on the perfect wine and chocolate pairings to add to the indulgence this festive period. Here are our top tips for pairing the two.

Tips to pair your chocolate and wine successfully

  • Keep things simple: start with a wine that is slightly sweeter than the chocolate. As both wine and chocolate carry their own strong intensity, using a sweeter wine will allow the chocolate to dominate and the wine to complement.
  • Opt for a similar style and weight: when it comes to pairing wine and chocolate, look for similarities. A good rule to remember is the stronger the chocolate, the stronger the wine. As well, dark chocolate tends to pair well with dry tannin texture.
  • Taste from light to dark: similar to a formal wine tasting, it is best to move from light chocolate to dark chocolate if you are eating different varieties. Start with white or milk chocolate, paired with a light-bodied wine and move onto dark chocolate and full-bodied wines. Through starting with the understated flavours if white chocolate and ending on dark chocolate, your palate will not be overwhelmed. You will still be able to notice the subtle sweetness and notes of delicate chocolate and wine.

Ideal Wine Company autumn wineWhite chocolate – mellow and sweet

When pairing your white chocolate with wine, be aware of the high percentage of cocoa fat. This creates a smooth and buttery flavour and a creamy texture. Due to this mellowness, white chocolate works well with sweeter wines. Try a sherry or a Muscat, which will pick up the creaminess and highlight any subtle fruit notes within the chocolate.

An alternative route to take is opting for contrast. This bolder option takes the higher alcohol and full-bodied flavour of a wine such as a Zinfandel to oppose the mellow sweetness of the chocolate. Using the tannin content to soften the chocolate’s fat allows an unexpected balance.

Milk chocolate – light and silky

A popular choice, milk chocolate’s cream content provides a little element of fat. This addition helps it to pair well with wine. When working with these cocoa butter components and the smooth character of the chocolate, try pairing it with a medium-bodied red. The ripeness, silky tannins and lighter body of a Pinot Noir makes an excellent choice, while a medium-bodied Merlot will also work well. Their bright acidity and fruit flavours will accent the chocolate and hold up well against milk chocolate’s smooth and sweet profile.

Dark chocolate – bold and dense

Dark chocolates contain a high cacao content, which means that a wine must be able to handle this intensity. Ideally, you should be looking for a wine that offers a fuller body, intense flavours and robust aromas. Look for wines that contain bold fruit notes. A Zinfandel handles dark chocolate particularly well, due to its combination of spices and dense fruit flavours. Full-bodied wines are the way forward for dark chocolate.

The goal of this pairing is to balance the tastes, sweet or bitter. Whether you choose to try a wide variety of chocolate or indulge in your favourite, looking at what elements make up your chocolate make it easier to pair and enjoy.