Just a few days ago, on February 14th, people around the world celebrated their love for their significant others, but we at Sustainable Wine UK, perhaps predictably, believe that to make love sustainable, romance should not be celebrated just once a year. If you are one of those people who would like to celebrate love even during a movie night in, we have prepared a list of the perfect wines for the perfect date!
The movie night date
There is nothing better than taking it easy on a Friday night after a week’s hard work. Relax in the comfort of your couch with your partner, a movie and a great wine. The Richmond Plains Pinot Noir, is the perfect flavour for a night like this. The earthy, herbal flavours and the pure, sweet fruit character match very well with dishes with a touch of spice. If you feel like cooking, try seared salmon, crispy duck pancakes or roasted beetroot. Otherwise stick with a movie classic, pop corn!
The outdoor experience
The weather might not allow outdoor dates this time of the year, however once the sun starts shining and the temperature rises, there are plenty of opportunities to take your loved one outside for a walk in the park or a picnic! Our Côtes de Provence Rosé is light, fruity and sophisticated. Summer fruits like strawberries, cherries and apricot with a hint of banana make a great, refreshing combination. Alternatively, if you are more of a white wine lover, try the Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a lovely combination of white peach, melon, mango and citrus notes. Picnic specials like ham, cheese and savoury biscuits are a must-have during this outdoor date experience. To match your wine and complete your picnic date, add to your food preparation list some baked or fried aubergines, courgettes, cous-cous and a cold pasta salad.
Dinner date at home
Looking to impress your significant other with the perfect dinner date? Choosing the right wine is as important as cooking a great meal. If you are a skilful cook and decide to try a lamb dish, pair it with a glorious and expressive Walnut Block Collectables Pinot Noir. For a sweeter meat dish like rabbit with prunes, try a red Mas Gabriel Coteaux du Languedoc.
The boozy Sunday brunch date
There is no better way to start your Sunday than a nice, homemade brunch. A combination of sweet and savoury dishes to keep you full and energised for the day! Eggs any style, scones, cakes, pancakes and cereals are just some of the dishes you can prepare for your loved one. Step up your game with a bottle of Bernard Delmas Cremant sparkling wine! If you are more of a cocktail person, use it to make refreshing mimosas!
The BYO restaurant dinner date
Dining out can be expensive, and sharing a high quality bottle of wine with your partner can really mark up the price of your dinner. Thankfully, BYO (Bring Your Own) restaurants allow you to bring your own alcoholic beverage of choice, which you can enjoy while having food their chef prepared. For seafood dishes, make sure to bring along a bottle of white, our Woven Stone Sauvignon Blanc and for grilled meat dishes our Spy Valley Pinot Noir will complete your dining experience. Lucky for you, both bottles have a screw cap so you won’t have to ask the waiter for a bottle opener!
Sustainable wine is a key to sustainable romance – whether it’s a take-away and Netflix night, or a Champagne-fueled 4 course gourmet feast. One item to note – if you value a sustainable liver and healthy life-style, probably best to come up with some non-wine romance in your life, too!
Whatever your personal feelings about Valentine’s Day – it doesn’t have to be a celebration of cheesy clichés. Whether you are coupled up or single, a day dedicated to love can only be a good thing so this year we have some fantastic, thoughtful gift suggestions for the wine-lover in your life – be that a spouse, a family member, a friend…or yourself!
The only thing better than a nice surprise… is six nice surprises! Our Sustainable Wine Club is the gift that keeps on giving – on a regular basis of your choosing, you will receive a mixed case of six sustainable, organic, biodynamic, and natural wines. These will be a secret until you open the box, but we can tell you to expect a selection of exciting red, white, Rosé and sparkling wines.
Whether your Valentine is Vegan, loves to shop Organic, is sensitive to sulphites or simply cares about the environment, buying from Sustainable Wines is a wonderful way to show that you care about the things they care about. And, in fact, even if the object of your affections does not define themselves in these terms, what could be more romantic than a present which says “I want you to live in the healthiest and best possible world, and I am helping you get there by shopping sustainably”…?
The Gift of Choice
Say what you like about Gift Cards, nothing is worse than a present you do not like, so why not eliminate the awkwardness this Valentine’s Day? Going for a Sustainable Wines Gift Card will show your beloved that you understand their passions (wine) and priorities (looking after the planet) while still giving them the option of choosing a really special bottle (or several) for themselves. They might even let you share it. Win-win-win.
Unusual and Unique
The best thing about buying from Sustainable Wines, however, is that you can guarantee that the wine you buy will not be available in your local supermarket. Our diverse range of wines include award-winning examples from New Zealand’s newest wine region, Ohau, and some truly unique sparkling wines – perfect for toasting l’amour. The Prosecco Casa Coste Piane, Delmas Blanquette de Limoux, and Davenport Limney Estate Brut from Sussex are three of our favourites – but why not peruse for yourself?
So, however you celebrate this Valentine’s Day – make it sustainable.
If our last post, on the health benefits of wine, surprised you, that is probably because of the range of misconceptions which there are about wine. This week we have rounded up some of the ones we hear most often, to bust some myths and, hopefully, help you enjoy wine even better than before.
White wine should be cold, red should be warm
If you are the sort who keeps your white in the fridge and your red by the radiator – you are not alone! But it is a common misconception that all red wines and all white wines need to be drunk at two specific temperatures. A lovely Pinot Noir, for example, is best enjoyed cool – in fact, the recommended drinking temperature for red wines in general is around 15 degrees – 5 degrees cooler than the average room temperature. The same is true for white wine, which should be served at around 7 degrees Celsius (rather than the 0 degrees at which it will come out of the fridge), otherwise it will lose much of its flavour and complexity.
Fruity Wine = Sweet Wine
Many people believe that if a wine is described as “fruity”, that must mean it is sweet. Not so! The flavours of fruit can be present in a wine, smoothing out the texture while still having low residual sugar. Want to see for yourself? Why not try our Ohau Woven Stone Sauvignon Blanc and see for yourself!
The more expensive a wine is, the better it is
Thankfully not! There are lots of things which contribute to a wine being more or less expensive. Well-known names and terroirs will have greater demand and tend to be more highly sought-after, older more aged wines are often perceived as better, which will drive up the price, and the type of oak used to make the barrels in which wine ages can contribute to a heftier price tag as well. When it comes down to it, however, using grapes from a famous terroir, aged in old French barrels, and kept for twenty years does not make one wine better than another, which has been made from lesser-known grape varieties at lesser-known vineyards, aged in young American oak barrels. It all comes down to taste, and often what you are eating with the wine.
New Zealand Whites need to be drunk young
Our own personal pet peeve. Some people even believe all whites should be drunk young, but some – such as a good Chenin Blanc – are meant to be aged. This is particularly relevant for our 2014 Ohau wines which have been standing the test of time beautifully, performing wonderfully well in recent vertical tastings.The 2014 vintage is still fresh with the highly aromatic character imparted to the wines by the cool west-coast temperatures. Unlike some of the Marlborough versions, Ohau’s 2014 Sauvignon Blanc is holding up marvellously and needs to be tasted for this to be truly appreciated. Being NZ’s newest wine region, and the only region on the west coast of the North Island, gives these wines a unique complexity from the gravelly terroir of the old Ohau river bed. Try them for yourself here.
A week and a half into the new year, and many people will already have given up on their resolutions for 2017- not us though! This year, we have pledged to take care of our bodies and our world in an effort to keep both as healthy as possible for as long as possible. And how? By drinking better wine.
Although there is a deal of controversy around the concept of wine having health benefits, there has been considerable study into the question, with a lot of compelling evidence that moderate wine-drinkers (especially if it is red wine) can enjoy some fairly significant health benefits. The word “moderate” here is key. There is no denying that drinking too heavily and too frequently has severe ramifications for your health, but drinking in moderation – which is one small glass of wine for women a day, and one to two glasses for men - is a whole different story.
According to research conducted all over the world, drinking wine in moderation can help decrease your risk of stroke, type II diabetes, colon cancer and developing cataracts, as well as increasing your metabolism and general life span. This week, we have picked three of our favourite wine-related health benefits to show you why a glass a day really could keep the doctor away.
Keeps You Young
For those of you looking to prolong your youthful glow, a glass of red wine (especially one made in a cooler climate) could be the key. Research carried out by Harvard Medical School has shown that red wine contains anti-aging properties, particularly a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol is a kind of antioxidant known as a polyphenol. These antioxidants bond with damaging free radicals which play an important role in aging and age-related illnesses. This means that, along with making your skin appear more youthful, one glass of red wine a day can also do some really important things, such as increase your life-span and lower your risk of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and certain cancers. Richard A Baxter MD, author of Age Gets Better with Wine believes that “drinking a glass of red wine a day is the single most important thing you can do other than non-smoking, from an anti-aging point of view”. So there you go!
Keeps Your Heart Ticking
As well as resveratrol, red wine contains compounds called procyanidins which – among other things - help keep your blood vessels healthy. This, in turn, protects the drinker against heart disease. In a study run by the London’s Queen Mary University, red wines from Sardinia and South West France contain more procyanidins than wines from elsewhere, and this is one of the major contributing factors to the longer lifespans of people living in these areas. Moderate drinkers also have lower risk of heart attack, according to a study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health. Measure subjects over a period of 16 years, researchers found that moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure were 30% less likely to have a heart attack than non-drinkers.
Keeps Your Mind Happy and Healthy
As well as doing your body good, moderate wine-drinking can also have beneficial effects on your brain. Again, the risk of age-related conditions, such as dementia, had a decreased risk of 23% in moderate red wine drinkers than in people who never drank wine, and a Columbia University study revealed that, out of the 1416 people surveyed, brain function declined at a notably faster rate in non-drinkers than in moderate drinkers. Age aside, some studies even suggest that moderate drinking can reduce a person’s risk of depression. A team composed of researchers from several Spanish universities gathered food and drink data on 5505 people over seven years, and found that those who drank 2-7 glasses of wine a week were far less likely to be diagnosed with depression – even after those lifestyle factors which could influence the result were taken into account.
So, the secret to a long, happy, healthy life? It might just be red wine! But always remember to drink in moderation and, most importantly, drink the good stuff! A good place to start might be our red wine selection here (and, while we wait for new vintages to arrive, you can get 10% off all red wine, using code SW10)
Five days to go until the main event – but then what? The period after Christmas can be a tricky time after so much build up, but we do have one way you can ease the transition, and we’re calling it “Boxes for Boxing Day”.
The second day of Christmastide, December 26th has been celebrated as a national holiday since at least the 1830s. There is no definitive agreement as to how it got its name, but the general belief is that it is so called because it used to be the day when postmen, errand boys and servants of various kinds got a “Christmas-box” from their employers. These were usually presents or money, and occasionally leftover food, but we are re-imagining it for 2016-17 as boxes of wine…
To be clear, we do not mean the boxes of dubiously named “Spanish Red” which you buy for a fiver in the supermarket and come with a tap. We are talking about painstakingly-compiled mixed cases of sustainable goodness, and here are just a few reasons why we think you need them in your life.
- No one wants to run to the shops on Boxing Day. Order in advance and you won’t have to!
- A box of wine is a capital way to cheer you up during the post-Christmas-Day slump.
- Treat your leftovers with respect! A top-notch turkey sandwich requires a top-notch tipple to match.
- They are the perfect presents for any unforeseen guests who might drop in.
- If you are very good, your box may even last you until New Year’s Eve and you will be able to toast 2017 in sustainable style.
Our Boxing Day Boxes
Ohau Mixed Wines Collection
Two styles of Sauvignon Blanc, two styles of Pinot Gris, and a Rosé unlike any you have ever tasted. These wines all come from New Zealand’s newest wine region, and will make you reconsider all the preconceptions you had about New Zealand whites. All sustainably certified and all delicious, these make great gifts and go wonderfully with leftovers.
Christmas Sparkling Collection
Just because Christmas is over does not mean there is nothing to toast on Boxing Day! Raise a glass to family and friends, say cheers to health and happiness or save a bottle to welcome in the New Year.
Christmas Reds Collection
Nothing says “winter” like a warm room and a great glass of red. Cuddle up on Boxing Day with one of these rich red wines and enjoy yesterday’s gifts and wonderful company. Select as many bottles from our range of Christmas reds and stay cosy inside.
Need help deciding what to drink this Christmas? Take a look here or here or reach out via Facebook or Twitter and we would be happy to advise!