wine temperature and storage

Most people have the idea that red wine should be served at room temperature. However, that really refers to the temperature in a wine cellar. In fact, the best temperature for serving wine varies according to the type of wine.

wine temperature and storage

We often serve our white wines too cold and our red wines too warm. Serving an over-chilled white minimises its flavours and aromas. Serving a red wine too warm makes it take on a soupy character and brings out too many alcoholic fumes. The table below will serve as a good guideline for how to serve your wine. Don’t be afraid to chill a lighter red, either – certain gamay-based wines, for example, will benefit from an hour in the fridge before serving, especially in summer.

Serving temperature
7°C Almost all white wines and champagnes
10°C Full-bodied, high quality white wines, including sweet wines and rich, white Burgundies. Also the lighter reds, like Beaujolais
15°C Red wines and ports

Keep your wine bottles stored so that:
The cork stays moist (always keep bottles on their sides)
The wines are at the lowest stable temperature possible
(make sure not to have a wine rack near a fridge, cooker or heater, for example)
The location is free of vibration
The location is not used to store other items that have a strong odour
The wine is kept out of direct sunlight and strong lighting

If you’re storing a bottle of wine that’s already been opened, a vacu-vin stopper (available from any good wine merchant) will keep it drinkable – but not for more than two or three days.
White wine should not be stored long-term in the fridge. Store as above, and then chill before serving.
If you’re storing finer wines for a long time, it’s best to ask your wine merchant’s advice about how long to store it before its optimum drinking age… if it lasts that long!

ely cookbook

This article has being taken from the ely cookbook – page 17 for more info

Foie gras with fig tart

foie gras with fig tart

and crispy shallot


4 x 50g slices of foie gras

200g frozen puff pastry

flour for dusting, and coating shallots

4 fresh figs

1 tbsp caster sugar

2 tsp sherry vinegar

2 shallots

about 500ml sunflower oil, for deep-frying

rock salt

mustard cress

Serves 4

What to do

Keep the foie gras in the fridge until needed. Leave the pastry to defrost at room temperature to 1 hour. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll the pastry gently on a very lightly floured surface and cut into 4×8-10 cm squares. Place on the baking sheet, score each square with a sharp knife and bake for 7-10 minutes. When ready, remove and set aside.

Top and tail the figs. Slice into discs and arrange on the top of the pre-cooked pastry in flower shapes. Mix the sugar and sherry vinegar and sprinkle over the figs – this will draw the flavour out.

Heat a frying pan on the cooker until smoking. Remove the foie gras slices from the fridge and place on the frying pan – foie gras does not need oil for frying as it is 90% fat. Fry until golden brown on one side (approx. 10 seconds), then turn over and repeat. Remove the foie gras and place on top of the fig tarts. Heat in the oven for 2-3 minutes.

Finely slice the shallots into rings. Coat them with flour and deep-fry in 3-4cm sunflower oil until golden brown. Remove the tarts from the oven. Season the foie gras with rock salt and arrange the shallots neatly on top. Garnish with mustard cress.

A note for the cook

You can buy pre-sliced foie gras from the freezer section of good supermarkets. If you are slicing it yourself, chill the foie gras first and use a very sharp knife.

A wine that works

A classic accompaniment to foie gras is Sauternes, one of the sweet wines of Bordeaux. While many Sauternes are expensive (often justifiably so, due to the rigours of harvesting the botrytis-affected grapes) an easy way of enjoying these styles of wine is to buy them in the half bottle. A good example of Sauternes is Chateau Laville (available in half bottles), made by Jeai-Owistophe Barbe.

It may take six passes through the vineyard to get the grapes he wants and the resulting wine has a lovely intensity of sweet fruit but shows a fresh acidity that carries the richness of the footf.

Tip: try your Sauternes with an oriental dish that has a little ginger.

Also try

Domaine Weinbach Tokay Pinot Gris ‘Cuvee Laurence’ from Alsace.

If you are interested in learning how to cook starters like this one and more recipes the ely way, consider booking a place on our Cookery Courses beginning in January.

banana pancakes with brandy cream

A great desert for when you just want to make use of storecupboard ingredients.
You can leave out the brandy cream if you are serving children.

banana pancakes

with brandy cream

20111220-170454.jpgWhat you need
200g plain flour
2 eggs
100ml milk
1 and half tbsp water
100g butter, plus extra for frying pancakes
4 bananas
3 – 4 tbsp brandy

Serves 4

What to do
Ideally, make the pancake batter the day before, or at least 1 hour in advance.
Sieve the flour into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and water together. Make a well in the centre of the flour, then slowly stir the egg mixture into the flour. Cover and keep in the fridge overnight.
Heat a non-stick pan. Add a small cube of butter and allow to melt. Ladle in enough pancake mixture to make a circle that holds its shape. Turn as it cooks. Place each cooked pancake in a stack on a warmed plate and cover with a humid tea towel. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, peel the bananas and cut in half lengthways. Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and the bananas until slightly golden. Remove the bananas, carefully pour the brandy into the pan to deglaze and add the cream. Slowly reduce by half.
Place 2 pieces of banana on top of each serving. Drizzle with the brandy cream.

A note for the cook
These are American-style pancakes – they use a thick batter which holds its shape. Making the batter in advance allows the gluten content of the flour to relax resulting in lighter, pancakes.

DANGER! Brandy is highly flammable. Be very careful when you’re deglazing the pan, especially if using gas. Reduce the flame first.

A wine that works
Lustau ‘East India’ has a lovely, creamy, caramelised nose; a sweet palate, with hints of dates and a touch of bitter chocolate. This blend of the palomino and pedro ximenez grapes gives a full, complex and long finish. A real treat that works well with the sweetened banana and the heady brandy

AIso try
A ten-year-old Tawny port such as Warre’s ‘Otjma’.

ely cookbookThis recipe is taken from the ely Cookbook – available for purchase for €20 online. An ideal Xmas Gift.

down on the farm

Burren farmlandThe beef and pork at ely come from an organic farm run
by Erik’s father, Hugh, in The Burren, County Clare.

down on the farm

A neighbouring organic farmer, who lives in the house used in the TV series, Father Ted, supplies most of the lamb. The meat is known, for obvious reasons to fans of the show, as ‘Craggy Island Lamb’. Hugh farms roughly 450 acres of typical Burren land – plenty of rock, with wild flowers found nowhere else in the world. The farm is home to 120 animals that are organically sourced and farmed according to a system that’s 6,000 years old and unique to the area. The animals spend summers on the lowlands, and winters on the highlands. This is because the limestone rock acts like a huge storage heater, absorbing the heat that comes from the Atlantic, hitting the west coast of Ireland during summer and autumn. Even throughout winter there is little frost on the highlands, while the grasses and herbs continue to grow.

With the meat being transferred from Co. Clare to Dublin in a matter of hours, ely lives by the fundamental principle of the organic movement. ‘Local produce for a local market’. The ely carbon footprint is kept to a minimum, and the quality of food served is as good as it gets.

This article is taken from the ely Cookbook – available for purchase –

A French Christmas with Chateau Fongaban and Domaine de l’Hortus

ely has a great selection of French wines and 2 of our domaines, Chateau Fongaban and Domaine de l’Hortus, have kindly sent us in their Christmas Day menus.

Pierre Taix of hateau Fongaban is as follows:

Champagne Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs

Lamproie à la bordelaise (From my mother only)
La Mauriane 2004 –Puisseguin saint-Emilion
Raviole de Fois gras aux cèpes One of the best Bordeaux 2004 dixit Jean-Marc Quarin

Raviole de Fois gras aux cèpes (This year was very good for the cèpes)
Chateau Fongaban 1971 Puisseguin Saint-Emilion–
1971 is certainly the best vintage for the saint-emilion area of the seventies

Pigeonneaux en cocotte with truffes
Château Fongaban 1950 Puisseguin Saint-Emilion
My favorite vintage

Fondant au chocolat – (The recipe of Alain Ducasse in his book “Bistro”)
Banyuls Coume del Mas
The best accord food-wine

Yves Orliac of Domaine de L’Hortus will be having a very Mediterranean Christmas menu which looks absolutely mouth-watering.

Apéritif : There are different toasts.

  • Toast of Black and green “tapenade”.
  • A little bit of “Boutargue” (Mediterranean caviar).
  • Jam and sausage from Corsica.

Starters :

  • Wild smoked salmon (from Ireland) on “tartine” of black bread with butter and a stalk of dill.
  • Oysters from Marennes with a lemon or vinegar sauce with herbs.
  • And of course “Foie Gras” with Guerande’s salt.
  • Green salad (with no eggs).

Main Course :

  • Turbot fish cooked in the beer (It is a “spécialitée” of Sylvie Courselle).

Dessert :

  • Cheese board : Roquefort, goat’s cheese…
  • Chocolat’s cake (Frederique loves chocolate)

Want to learn more about Bordeaux or Southern French wines or  improve your culinary skills with a cookery course: ely has all the answers: click here to see the full range of events and tastings next year.

ely Treacle Brown Bread

Treacle brown BreadWhat you need:

500g wholemeal flour
225g strong white flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 dsp brown sugar
135ml vegetable oil
200ml black treacle
250ml O’Hara’s or other stout
600ml buttermilk
unsalted butter
large oat flakes, for topping


What to do

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the flours, salt, baking soda and brown sugar in a food processor. Add the oil, black treacle, stout and buttermilk. Mix well.

Grease 2 x 1kg loaf tins with unsalted butter and scatter a light coating of oat flakes into the tin. Pour the bread mix into the tins. Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the tins and put the loaves back into the oven on a rack and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before serving. The bread will keep in the freezer for around a month.

A note for the cook

To check if the bread is cooked, tap the base of the loaf with your knuckle. If it  produces a hollow sound, it’s ready.

Makes 2 loaves

ely cookbookThis recipe is taken from the ely Cookbook – available for purchase for €20 online.

An ideal Xmas Gift.

be good to your wine – decant it

It’s always worth decanting a wine, irrespective of the cost. The only exception is when it comes to a very old wine – its delicate structure may disintegrate when exposed to too much air, so it’s best served straight from the bottle (and poured slowly).

be good to your wine – decant it

Otherwise, letting the air at a wine before you drink it will get the complex mix of flavours and aromas working harder. It’s not unlike the way a good casserole becomes a great casserole the day after – when the different ingredients involved have had more time to develop. You don’t need any special equipment to decant, and there’s no great skill involved. Follow the guidelines below to make the most of your wine.

Decant your wine – ideally, for at least an hour before you want to drink, but if you just have 10 minutes before your pizza’s ready, it’s still worthwhile.

Either buy a decanter (you don’t have to spend much), or use and good-sized

glass container – a jug or a vase works fine.

Pour gently and steadily down one side.

Leave to sit somewhere cool until it’s ready to drink.

Remember you can decant full-bodied white wine, too – especially if it has spent a long time in the fridge.

Corks or caps?
We believe screw caps are the way to go, even for top qualit
y wines destined for ageing. Screw caps can help eliminate faulty wines, the most common being ‘corked’. A corked bottle will have distinctive wet, mouldy odour and lack of fruit character when tasted.


This article is taken from the ely Cookbook – available for purchase –


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