Why We Use Champagne Flutes
If you’re enjoying a glass of champagne, you might wonder why the flute is used as the glassware of choice for sparkling wine. Read on to find out why we use champagne flutes and the importance of choosing the right glass for your drink.
Whilst you could drink wine out of any glass if you are simply having a casual drink, if you are looking to really taste wine then you need the right glassware.
The right glassware means that you can see the color of the wine properly. This is all a part of the tasting experience. It will also allow the aroma of the wine to be released properly and give you space to enjoy it. Whether you have selected the right glass will depend on both the size and the material of the glass.
There are four main parts of a wine glass:
The foot of the glass is the base that allows it to stand upright.
The stem is where you hold the glass. It stops your hands from warming the wine and avoids smudges on the glass.
The bowl is the actual cup of the glass. This is where the most variation exists between wine glasses because the different sizes are suitable for different wines.
The rim of the wine glass is important because it enhances the experience of drinking the wine. A thin rim that is smooth to the touch will let the wine flow out of the glass easily.
A sparkling wine is usually served from a tulip-shaped glass or flute. This is because the upright, narrow glass retains the carbonation and flavor of the drink.
Flutes create a steady stream of fizz and preserve the bubbles in the wine. A tulip-shaped glass or a narrow-mouthed white wine glass will usually help you to enjoy the aroma and taste of the wine more. Furthermore, stemmed glass prevents the temperature of your hands from affecting the temperature of the wine.
You will often see Prosecco served in a tulip-shaped glass, whilst Champagne will be found in a flute or coupe. However, a tulip-shaped glass is actually the best for any sparkling wine that you are enjoying. When filling a glass, pour in a little, let it settle, and then top it up.
In terms of material, crystal is usually the best for serving wine. It is very strong and can, therefore, be spun into thin glassware. This has the effect of creating a very smooth rim and refracting the light well. This helps you to better enjoy the color of your wine. However, the main decision will depend on whether you are able to maintain fragile crystal glasses. They are the best for tasting wine but may not be the best to purchase if you are worried about them breaking.
So, there you have it. That’s why we use flutes for sparkling wine! We also find it just makes us feel happy to be a little fancy every now and again!
What’s your favorite sparkling wine? Let us know in the comments below.
Health Benefits of Drinking Wine: FAQs
Last week, we brought you some of the health benefits of drinking wine. Today we are answering some of the frequently asked questions about this.
Is a glass of wine everyday good for you?
This is a difficult question because the answer will be different for everyone. In general, however, a glass of wine a day should allow you to enjoy the health benefits without encountering too many of the risks. If you are struggling to moderate your alcohol consumption, then seeking help from a professional can help you to get back on track.
Is wine fattening?
Wine does have a high calorie content, so drinking too much of it could cause you to put on weight. Sticking to the guidelines of one glass per day will help reduce this risk, but it you are on a calorie-controlled diet you may wish to cut out wine on some days.
What are the risks of drinking too much wine?
Just like any other alcohol, drinking too much wine can negatively affect your health, social relationships, and career. Excessive consumption can even threaten your life. Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of some cancers including breast, mouth, throat, liver, and bowel cancer.
Which is better for you: red or white wine?
Whilst white wine will certainly have some of the benefits listed above, many of the healthy qualities of wine are derived specifically from red wine because of the use of the grape skins. Whichever you prefer to drink will have some benefits, although this should always be in moderation.
Which wine has the least amount of sugar?
The sugar in wine comes from the fermentation process as the grape sugars are turned into alcohol. The residual sugar depends on when the fermentation is stopped. If this happens earlier, there will be more sugar left. To find wines with low sugar content, look for a dry wine or an extra brut champagne. Whether red or white, dry wines will have the lowest sugar content. By contrast, a dessert wine or champagne labelled as demi-sec will have a high sugar level.
We hope these facts about the health benefits of drinking wine have been interesting to you.
Please do remember to drink responsibly!
Health Benefits of Drinking Wine
Lots of us love drinking wine, but we’re also concerned about staying healthy. Luckily, it turns out that you can do both! We put together a list of some of the health benefits of drinking wine.
Antioxidants protect your heart
Polyphenols in both red wine and white wine have antioxidant properties. These can protect you against cardiovascular diseases and have anticarcinogenic effects. These polyphenols mainly come from the skins of grapes, making the levels higher in red wine, although rose wine will also contain some.
Wine can raise your omega-3 fatty acids
Usually found in fish, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to protect us against heart disease as they lower the level of triglyceride blood fat. Red wine appears to raise the blood level of omega-3 fatty acids when drunk regularly in moderation. These good fats can also relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce levels of depression.
Improvements in short-term memory
Resveratrol, one of the active ingredients in wine, has been shown in plants to fight off bacteria and fungi. It is found in the skin of red grapes and therefore only found in red wine. It has been shown to improve short term memory in participants asked to retain words over a short period of time.
Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Research has suggested that having one to three glasses of red wine per day can be linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. This is because of the antioxidant compounds which protect brain neurons against damage and destruction. When the neurons are protected, they may be less susceptible to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Whilst this is still very difficult to treat, anything that helps to prevent the problem seems like a great idea.
Help your gut health
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt are praised for their health effects on our gut bacteria. Wine is also a naturally fermented product, allowing it to help produce and promote the healthy bacteria in our gut. These bacteria help us with digestion, boost our immune system and can help us to stay at a healthy weight.
Protect against diabetes
Moderate red wine consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Another study also found that moderate alcohol consumption could reduce the risk by up to 30 percent. This might prevent diabetes but if you already have it you’ll need to be more cautious as alcohol will affect your blood sugar and could also interact with any medication you are taking.
Prevent vision loss
Resveratrol in red wine can also prevent vision loss caused by blood vessel growth in the eye, it has been found. Angiogenesis, the overgrowth of blood vessels, is a leading cause of blindness in Americans over 50. This research could change how people experience vision loss, including those who have complications associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Keep your teeth healthy
This might be one of the most surprising benefits on the list if you’re used to worrying about whether you have red wine on your teeth or lips. A Spanish study tested bacteria that cause dental diseases in various liquids and found that red wine was the best at removing the bacteria. You’ll still need to drink in moderation and make sure you’re cleaning your teeth, though!
Increase bone density
Your bones naturally become more brittle as you get older, putting you at risk of osteoporosis. This condition weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break. As you get older, this can create complications as healing becomes more difficult. The high levels of silicone in red wine increase bone mineral density, reducing that risk.
Prolong your life
Resveratrol, the chemical that helps with memory and vision loss, could also help us to live longer. It suppresses molecules that cause inflammation and stops compounds in the blood that interfere with insulin production. Combine that with the benefits listed above and it can all lead to a longer, healthier life.
We’ll certainly drink to these health benefits of drinking wine!
Please do remember to drink responsibly.
How to Choose Wine Glasses: Part 2
After part 1, where we explained the different parts of a wine glass and how to choose the right material for your glasses, we return with part 2.
How to Choose Wine Glasses: White Wine
White wine glasses usually have a small bowl which helps to preserve the floral aromas and bring out the acidity of the wine. The smaller glass also helps to maintain the cool temperature necessary for the enjoyment of white wine. The lighter the wine, the smaller the opening of the glass should be to make the ‘finish’ of the wine slower.
How to Choose Wine Glasses: Red Wine
Red wine should be served in a larger glass with a wider mouth. This directs the wine towards the tongue ready to taste it and delivers the aroma to your nose without the strength of the alcohol. The wider opening also makes it taste smoother. The largest glasses are best with a bold red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux. These are usually called Bordeaux glasses. Smaller red wine glasses may be used for lighter wines such as a Pinot Noir. These are often called Burgundy glasses.
The large bowl of the glass directs the wine towards the tongue ready to taste it. Red wine glasses are also taller than a white wine glass as this maximizes the flavor. A Bordeaux glass delivers more aroma to the nose without the strength of the alcohol and the wider opening makes it taste smoother. Sometimes spicy red wines may be served in a smaller glass as the flavors are softened when they hit your tongue more slowly.
Sparkling Wine Glasses
A sparkling wine is usually served from a tulip-shaped glass or flute. This is because the upright, narrow glass retains the carbonation and flavor of the drink. Flutes create a steady stream of fizz and preserve the bubbles in the wine. A tulip-shaped glass or a narrow-mouthed white wine glass will usually help you to enjoy the aroma and taste of the wine more.
Rose Wine Glasses
As rose is similar to white wine, it is acceptable to serve rose wine in a white wine glass. However, there are specific glasses that are more suitable for rose wine. Generally, a short bowl with a slight taper or a flared lip is the best for these wines.
The flared lip allows the wine to run out of the bowl straight onto the tip of the tongue. This is where our taste buds are most sensitive to sweet tastes, which you will find many of in rose wines. A more full-bodied rose wine can be served without the flared lip.
Dessert Wine Glasses
When serving dessert wines and fortified wines such as Port, a small glass with a narrow mouth is best. This reduces the evaporation of high alcohol wines. As these wines are extremely sweet, the small glasses direct the wine towards the back of the mouth which avoids an overwhelming sweetness. The smaller glass is also more suitable for such a high level of alcohol.
We hope this is helpful to you when you’re selecting wine glasses. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!
How to Choose Wine Glasses: Part 1
How to choose wine glasses can seem like something of a mystery. When shopping, we are presented with so many options that it can seem overwhelming. If you need help to decipher which glasses are right for you, you’ll want to read on.
Why do I need to know how to choose wine glasses?
The right glassware will enhance the experience of tasting wine and elevate a glass at dinner time to something that you can really savor. Firstly, a good wine glass means that you can see the color of the wine properly. This is the first thing that you examine when tasting wine, along with swirling it to see the sugar content. It will also allow the aroma of the wine to be released properly and give you space to enjoy it. Whether you have selected the right glass will depend on both the size and the material of the glass. Today we will help you to select the right material.
How to Choose Wine Glasses: Know the Parts
There are four main parts of a wine glass. Knowing the style that you are looking for in your wine glasses can help you to make a great choice.
The foot of the glass is the base that allows it to stand upright. The stem is where you hold the glass. It stops your hands from warming the wine and avoids smudges on the glass. The bowl is the actual cup of the glass. This is where the most variation exists between wine glasses because the different sizes are suitable for different wines. The rim of the wine glass is important because it enhances the experience of drinking the wine. A thin rim that is smooth to the touch will let the wine flow out of the glass easily.
How to Choose Wine Glasses: Buying the Right Material
A variety of materials are used to make wine glasses (yes, not just glass!).
- Crystal – this is very strong and can, therefore, be spun into very thin glassware. This creates a smooth rim and refracts the light well, which helps you to better enjoy the colour of your wine.
- Lead Crystal – known to have the best light-refracting properties for true wine appreciation.
- Durable Crystal Blends – blending crystal with materials such as magnesium makes it less fragile.
- Acrylic – whilst these are not technically glass, this can be a great option for taking outside during the summer.
- Glass – this is more durable than crystal and is a cost-effective option for wine glasses, but it will usually have a thicker rim.
Deciding what material is right for the wine glasses in your home largely depends on how you will maintain your glasses and how they will be used. If they are for occasional use and you are happy to hand wash them, then the crystal is a great choice. However, if you want to pop your glasses in the dishwasher because they will be for everyday use, then a durable crystal blend can give you the luxury of crystal with the convenience of glass.
Join us later in the week when we’ll explain how to choose wine glasses for different wines.
It’s National Red Wine Day tomorrow!
Tomorrow, August 28th, is National Red Wine Day!
According to the National Today Red Wine Day Survey, 15% of Americans love to enjoy wine with cheese. Judging by our customers, we’d say it was a lot more than that! If you’re one of those people, why not try our Red Wine Collection?
We’ve chosen a great selection of cheeses, perfect for pairing with red wines. This collection will serve up to 20 guests, so it’s perfect for those celebratory moments. Read on to find out which cheeses are included and our recommended wines for enjoying with them.
Asiago is an Italian sister of Parmesan cheese. It is aged anywhere from three months up to a year and will vary from semi-firm to firm. It is delicious eaten with crackers and fruits, such as figs, pears, and plums. We recommend drinking a Cabernet Sauvignon with this cheese. The tanginess and salty, buttery qualities of the cheese will cut through the dark fruit, tannins, and spice of the wine.
Danish Blue Cheese
Blue cheeses are made with Penicillium cultures which create the blue veins this cheese is known for. They are aged in a temperature and moisture controlled environment to replicate a cave. Danish Blue is moderate in sharpness with a creamy finish. Try it with a sweet wine like Port to cut through the richness, or open a robust wine such as Shiraz if you are serving up a dish with blue cheese.
Gruyere is a sweet and nutty cheese, which develops a salty earthiness as it ages. Grenache or Syrah works well with Gruyere as they are not too rich and will allow the cheese to be the star of the show.
Another Italian imported cheese, Romano Pecorino boasts a firm texture with a fantastic saltiness. Made from sheep’s milk, it has a very distinctive flavor that is an asset to any cheeseboard. For a full Italian experience, pair this cheese with a Chianti. This is a dry red wine with high acidity and plenty of fresh berries perfect for the salty flavor of this cheese.
If you are looking to add some extra cheeses to your red wine pairing board then Brick, Parmesan, Cheddar, Havarti,and Ohio Premium Swiss are all good options.
Ideas for celebrating National Red Wine Day
- Have a wine tasting. Ask your friends to each bring along a bottle of red wine and a cheese of their choice. Explore which go best together and enjoy pairing the flavors.
- Cook with red wine. It is a great addition to pies, stews, and even pasta dishes. Find a new recipe to have a go at or enjoy making an old favorite. We love to make a rich tomato sauce laced with red wine and slow cooked for maximum flavor.
- Have a glass of wine and a nap! Red wine contains melatonin which causes us to feel sleepy. If you don’t feel like socializing then this might be the quietest way to celebrate with a moment for yourself.
How will you be celebrating National Red Wine Day? Let us know in the comments below!
The World’s Most Expensive Wines
Do you know anything about the world’s most expensive wines? Today we’re sharing a list of some of them with you. Most of these might be out of our reach but it’s still fun to dream about what could be in your glass this weekend! Wine prices keep going up year on year as collectors keep seeking the most unusual and special bottles.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #1: Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France
This has an average price of $20,405 and a maximum price of a whopping $531, 419!
This is a Burgundy wine, made from Pinot Noir grapes. According to its tasting notes, it has a bouquet of berries, oak and plums. The taste has spicy notes of ginger and cinnamon, alongside luscious red fruits. It would pair well with duck or goose. This sounds to us like the kind of bottle that might be perfect for Christmas celebrations.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #2: Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France
The second most expensive wine is also a Burgundy, with an average price of $15,680 and a top price of $83,040. Its average price has risen by 171% in the last two years!
World’s Most Expensive Wines #3: Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany
The most expensive of the white wines in the market, this has an average price of $13,558 with its top price hitting $32,660. Riesling is known for being very fragrant with a high acidity. It is currently only available at auction, so it is widely sought after.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #4: Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France
We return to France for this bottle, which averages at $13,050 but has sold for up to $24,748. It won’t surprise you to learn that this is another Burgundy.
World’s Most Expensive Wines #5: Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France
A white wine from France now, with an average price of $10,100 and a maximum of $16,469. This is a Chardonnay, arguably one of the world’s most popular wine varieties. This wine is still rising in value and is considered the best white wine in the world! Its tasting notes remark on the vibrancy of its bouquet and the spice present in its flavor.
We wonder if an American wine might ever make into the top five? For now, the most expensive wine from the USA is the Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc from Oakville which sits at #9. With an average price of $6,070 and a maximum price of $9,256 its certainly still a wine for a very, very special occasion! It hails from Oakville, one of California’s most well-known wine regions right in the heart of the Napa Valley. You could expect it to have the forward flavors of green apples, stone fruit and flint. If we ever managed to acquire a bottle we would, of course, enjoy it with our white wine collection!
Want to learn more about different wines and their price points? Check out Wine Searcher.
Which of the world’s most expensive wines would you most like to try? Let us know in the comments below!
A Guide to Wine Cocktails
Sometimes you want to throw a party that is a little out of the ordinary. Perhaps you have a special birthday or anniversary coming up? One way that we like to create a special atmosphere is to serve a signature drink. Today we are going to help you explore the unusual world of wine cocktails. First, we’ll explain two of the ingredients as they aren’t your usual red or white wine!
Ingredients for Wine Cocktails: Vermouth
Vermouth is flavoured with an infusion of herbs, spices and peels and is one of the most widely used aromatized wines. An aromatized wine is a fortified wine that has had flavours such as herbs, spices, and fruits added to it. It is made by using a base wine which has alcohol and dry ingredients added that will infuse flavor. It may then by sweetened with cane sugar or caramelized sugar. Red vermouths are usually sweeter, whilst pale vermouths will be dry.
Ingredients for Wine Cocktails: Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that have been air-dried. It has a sweet, spiced taste almost like a Christmas cake. There is a wide variety of different sherries from dry Manzanilla to sweet Pedro Ximenez. It works well with spirits such as whiskey and combines with citrus flavours.
This is said to date back to the 1820s and 1830s. It’s a simple way of drinking sherry that allows the flavours to shine through. The ingredients are muddled and then shaken over ice. Garnish it with a lemon wheel, berries and mint.
- Amontillado Sherry
- Simple syrup
- Orange slices
A slightly sweet cocktail that is best served very cold. Make sure that you use a chilled glass and mix everything together well to keep it fresh. The gin, lemon juice and syrup are mixed and then topped up with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist for extra flair.
- Lemon juice
- Simple syrup
This is a classic Spanish cocktail that combines wine with fruity flavours. It is usually garnished with plenty of fruit including slices of orange, lemon and apples.
- Wine – a dry red is usually best as you are adding sweetness
- Triple sec
- Fruit juice – usually orange
- Simple syrup
- Lemonade is sometimes used, especially in white wine sangrias
The classic cocktail, a martini can be made with vodka or gin. Served in a martini glass, it’s probably one of the most glamorous things that you can order at a bar. It is sometimes garnished with a lemon twist or an olive.
- 6 parts gin/vodka
- 1 part dry vermouth
Do you ever make wine cocktails? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Everything That You Need to Know About Vegan Wine
If you have been interested to hear about Veganuary or wanted to learn more about veganism, you might want to start by learning about vegan wines!
What is Vegan Wine
Vegans exclude all animal products including meat, eggs and dairy products. Vegan wine is simply wine that has been produced without using any animal products. Some wines are not vegan will use animal products in the fining process, to remove impurities. Whilst these are not left in the wine that we drink, they will leave some residue behind, making them unsuitable for vegans.
The Winemaking Process
Wine is made by harvesting, crushing and pressing grapes to extract the juice. Sugar and yeast are used to ferment the juice, producing alcohol. The base wines undergo a fining process to remove any impurities and then the wine will be aged or bottled ready for sale. It is the fining process that introduces animal products into the wine. You can learn more about how wine is made in our blog post on the subject.
What Animal Products are Used in Wine?
The fining process binds together the impurities in the wine so that they can be removed. Some of the most common fining agents include:
- Egg whites (sometimes known as albumen)
- Gelatine (made from boiling animal parts)
- Isinglass (gelatine fish bladder)
- Casein (milk protein)
- Chitin (fiber from crustacean shells)
- Fish oil
- Blood and bone marrow
Alternative fining agents that are vegan include carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques.
How to Tell If a Wine is Vegan or Vegetarian-Friendly
Many labels for wine do not include their ingredients or the ‘suitable for vegetarians/vegans’ label that you would expect to find on other groceries. Some wines will be labelled ‘unfiltered’ or ‘unfined’, so these will usually be vegan. One of the best ways to get hold of vegan wine is to ask for help at a wine store or even a supermarket. The staff will usually have a good knowledge of which winemakers do not use animal products when making wine. Online wine merchants often have a section for vegan wine so that you can be sure you’re buying what you need.
Have you ever tried the vegan diet? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear your thoughts!
How Wine is Made
We know that lots of our customers are avid wine lovers, so today we thought we would give you a brief explanation of how wine is made. Next time you’re hosting a party or tasting a new wine, you’ll be sure to impress your friends with your knowledge!
Grapes are usually harvested in late summer and autumn. Wine grapes are often harvested at night because the temperature in the day can change the sugar composition of the grapes. This might affect the fermentation process. Sparkling wine grapes are harvested first to keep the sugar levels low, followed by white wine grapes and then red wine grapes which take longer to mature.
Whilst harvesting by hand allows selection of the best grapes and can protect against damage, many large vineyards will use mechanical harvesting as it can be quicker and cost-effective.
Crushing and Pressing the Grapes
Crushing the grapes bursts the skins so that the whole grape can be exposed to fermentation. This was historically done by stomping on the grapes with your feet. Now it is usually done by pushing the grapes through a machine. The crush gets the juices of the grapes flowing and allows this to come into contact with the skins. This is essential for red and rose wines but will be avoided for white and most sparkling wines.
The pressing separates the grape juice from the rest of the grape solids. Wineries may use a pneumatic press to make the juice drain out or use the weight of the grapes themselves to cause the juice to run.
Fermentation occurs when sugars and yeast are exposed to each other and it produces alcohol in wine. Crushing the grapes allows the natural sugar found inside to combine with the yeast on the skin. It might take place in stainless steel tanks, open plastic vats or wine barrels. The temperature is closely controlled to ensure that it does not get too high and kill the yeast.
Once fermented, the wine will be clarified to make it clear. The yeast sediment will be removed and a process of fining may take place. This involves adding a substance to collect and remove all of the unwanted particles in the wine. Fining agents include gelatine, isinglass (gelatine derived from fish), egg white, casein (a dairy protein), and bentonite (a clay).
Blending and Aging
The wine will be blended from the different grape varieties required as well as different plots within the vineyard to create the blend required. Some wines may have over 100 base wines blended together. Then the wine will move into the aging stage. Only some wines will benefit from significant aging, whilst others will be better when they are still young. This depends on the variety of grapes and the conditions in which they were grown.
Winemakers may choose to age the wine in the bottle. Alternatively, barrel aging may add flavor to the wine. Oak barrels, for example, can impart vanilla flavors and a silky texture to wines.
Wine is usually poured into bottles by a machine and then sealed with a cork. The corker vacuums the air out of the bottle to remove oxygen which might otherwise break down the wine.
We hope that you have learned some more about how wine is made. Got any questions? Let us know in the comments!