The lesser-known spirits you should try at least once

You may be an expert in fine wine, or know the difference between Scottish and Irish whisky (or should that be, whiskey?), but how much do you know about some of the more obscure alcoholic spirits? Palinka, anyone? The rise in popularity of mixology has seen us become more experimental in our tastes, so, the next time you’re doing an online wine shop or wine delivery, think about adding one of the following to your basket. 


A distilled beverage made from agave, mezcal has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years, joining its Mexican compadre tequila, as a must on any bartender’s shelf. It can be made from 30 different types of agave and is divided into three categories, according to age: joven (0-2 months), reposado (2-12 months) and anejo (at least one year). A little known fact: rather than being a distinct spirit, tequila is actually a type of mezcal. 


This Scandinavian spirit, distilled from grain and potatoes and flavoured with herbs and spices, dates back to the 15th century. Legally, the main ingredient must be caraway or dill and it must contain at least 37.5% alcohol by volume. Distilled in a similar fashion to gin, it typically comes in a yellow/golden brown colour (Norwegian varieties) or is light yellow or even colourless (Swedish and Danish varieties). 


An Italian-produced spirit in the Amaro family, Averna is less well-known as its counterpart, Campari, but its distinctive orange flavour makes it a refreshing beverage when consumed either alone, or with cola or tonic water. The liqueur is made by soaking fruit rinds and herbs in a base liquor before caramel is added. The drink was invented by Salvatore Averna, after whom it is named. Averna was bequeathed the recipe for a fortifying elixir by Cistercian monks for his work within the community. He started producing the spirit for sale after it proved a hit among his friends and family.


Another obscure spirit from the Amaro category is Fernet. Renowned for its distinctive bitter, herbal taste, it’s a firm favourite among bartenders and is popular as a digestif. Perhaps it is best known in Argentina, to which it was brought during the mass wave of European immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Commonly enjoyed with cola, almost 3 million litres are consumed in Cordoba province annually, earning it the title of ‘World Fernet Capital’.

Some of the Best Wine and Cheese Pairings

Every wine connoisseur would have to agree that the marriage of wine and cheese goes a very long way. Proven by the continuous development in food science, cheese is just the right option for a bottle of fine wine as the high-fat content in this dairy works well in coating the back of the tongue, making the wine taste sweeter and fruitier.

While there are no hard rules when it comes to pairing wine and cheese, you’d want to match their acidity and power. Avoid serving a strong wine that overpowers a mild cheese or the other way around. Continue reading through this article as The Fine Wine Company presents you with a list of different cheeses and the best wine deals to go with them.

Fresh Cheeses

If you are serving fresh cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta as part of a salad or picnic selection, be sure to pair them with a classic Pinot Grigio or Mosel Riesling as wines like these don’t usually have the boldness of flavour that comes with maturation.

Cheddar Cheese

Originally from the west of England, which is considered as a cider country, Cheddar cheese pairs well with the sharpness of a good bottle of dry Riesling or a nice Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re looking for a counter-intuitive food pairing, on the other hand, this cheese is surprisingly good when partnered up with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a fine Bordeaux.

Hard Italian Cheese

Hard Italian cheeses are recognised all over the world, making them one of the classic flavours of Italy. You’d want to pour yourself an exquisite glass of Aussie Shiraz if you’re having Parmesan. However, go for a lightly oaked Chardonnay if you’re enjoying a freshly shaved Gran Padano on top of your Caesar Salad.

Soft French Cheeses

Bursting with creamy, funky flavours, France’s soft and runny cheeses like Brie and Camembert calls for fine wine with a decent amount of acidity to offset their heavy and rounded characters. Serving soft French cheeses for your upcoming get together? Browse through a reputable online wine store and order a good Chenin Blanc.

Established since 2003, The Fine Wine Company Ltd continues to supply a range of interesting and innovative wine deals that come from mostly local and smaller producers. This, and our ability to offer a down to earth advice here in our online wine shop are just a few of what separates us from the anonymity and sameness of the big chain stores. Start your wine shopping with us today by visiting this page.

The Healthiest Alcoholic Drinks for Your Body

Many people see the act of drinking as an unhealthy habit, especially those who are following a specific kind of diet or those with health-related issues. If you are among these individuals, don’t let this stop you from having fun with your friends on a night out. While it’s true that excessive binge drinking can do unimaginable damage to your insides and waist, imbibing on casual occasions doesn’t have to be bad for your health.

One word, moderation. Some types of alcohol are light enough in calories so they won’t give you a ‘beer belly’ and actually offer some health benefits when consumed moderately. Read on to find out more.

Red wine

When consumed occasionally, red wine can actually provide you with a few health benefits such as lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease and inflammation. What’s more, red wine can also help to fight cell damage and age-related mental diseases as it contains powerful compounds such as polyphenols, resveratrol and quercetin.

White wine

Similar to red wine, white wine also possesses antioxidant properties, responsible for offering positive health benefits such as a lower risk of getting heart disease. Some studies have also shown that drinking white wine can reduce a person’s liver fat percentage.


Many of us already know that vodka can be an effective disinfectant and can come in handy for people with toothache. Apart from this, vodka has low sugar levels and low calorie value, compared to rum or cane.


Agavins or the natural sugar found in tequila are non-digestible and have the same benefits as fibre. This means that downing a few won’t raise your blood sugar levels. That being said, tequila is your best choice of alcohol if you are on a weight loss plan, as long as you drink moderately.


If you’re into the hard stuff, you’ll be glad to know that moderate consumption of brandy can help protect your organs and tissues, as it contains a high concentration of antioxidants, which helps to clear free radicals in the body.

Here at The Fine Wine Company Ltd, we don’t believe in the increasing anonymity and parallelism of big chain stores. This is why we continue to offer our customers the best online wine deals, that come mainly from smaller producers. Whether you’re planning on buying wine as gifts or you simply want to find the perfect nightcap, we are your go-to wine store. Browse around our website to see our list of fine wines and other alcoholic drinks or leave us a message for enquiries.

The Proper Way to Serve Wine at Your Dinner Party

Hosting a dinner party that features fine wine can be daunting. You want to make sure you give them enough space to impress your guests, especially if you have some vintage on the menu. If served incorrectly, they may not work well with the food or even the other beverages.

Good wine service doesn’t have to be complicated though. You don’t have to be a sommelier to highlight delicate aromas or robust flavours. With the right list of fine wines and the following tips, your guests may even mistake you for a connoisseur.

Invest in crystal wine glasses

Drinking fine wine should be a pleasure for all the senses. Believe it or not, your choice of wine glasses will play a huge part in whether that happens or not. The best choice is crystal with thin rims and a large cup that can hold 8 to 10 ounces. This type of crystal wine glass appears narrow at the top but balances when you hold it in your hands and allows proper oxygenation.

Crystal wine glasses may be a bit more expensive compared to glass wine glasses but they are a worthy investment because they allow you to fully indulge in the wonderful aroma and the beautifully rich, deep colours and textures of your wine. They also make your wine drinking experience luxurious as if you were in a fancy restaurant.

Serve your wine at perfect temperature

Temperature can alter the body and taste of your fine wine. Pour it out too hot and the alcohol content will become overwhelming. Serve it a little too cold and it will turn dull or for some red tannins, will be bitter and acidic. Sparkling wines, light dry and full-bodied white wines, rose’ wines and light to medium-bodied red wines should be served cold or cool. On the contrary, full-bodied reds are meant to be enjoyed at room temperature.

Decant your fine wine

Decanting wine has a couple of important purposes: to separate fine wine from sediment and to aerate, enhancing its aromas and flavours as you serve it.

• Put the wine bottle in an upright position, at least, a night before your dinner party. This way, the sediments will be at the bottom of the bottle.
• Pop the cork of your fine wine open. Wipe the bottleneck clean with a dry cloth.
• Place the neck of the bottle against a candle or any available light source.
• Pour the wine into a decanter or carafe smoothly with a slow but steady hand.
• Stop pouring as soon as you see the wine becoming grainy with specks of sediment. Discard the remaining content.

Complement your fine wine with delectable food pairings

As a rule of thumb, the wine should match the richness of the food you are serving. For instance, white meat, such as chicken and fish, go best with light white wines, such as chardonnay or a low-tannin red wine. Savoury, roasted red meats, on the other hand, are a delight to have with a glass of flavourful red wine.

Buy wine online

The Fine Wine Company Ltd is one of the best online wine shops in Edinburgh. Choose from our extensive collection of wines, spirits, beers, ales and ciders. For expert wine advice or special requests, please get in touch with us using by completing this form.

Enjoying Summer Wine the Right Way

Summer is the season when even some non-wine drinkers partake in a glass or two. It is certainly the best time of year for enjoying a bottle or two, but how do you really get the most of your summer wine? Here we’re looking at how to truly enjoy a summer wine.

Keep it Light

Lighter wines, both red and white, are perfect for a relaxing summer drink, both indoors and out. Choose light whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling or if you prefer reds opt for a Beaujolais or Dolcetto. Syrah and Zinfandel are also great choices, perfect if you’re enjoying barbecue food because they are heavier than your average summer wine.

Opt for Low Alcohol Options

Alcohol is processed much more quickly by the body in the hotter months, due to that heat, and this can result in it “going to your head” much more quickly. What’s more it can also negatively effect the flavour as the wine heats up a little in the sun. An overbearing alcohol flavour is never enjoyable so opting for lower alcohol wines is definitely recommended. Sparkling wines and roses are much more popular in summer, in part due to this lower alcohol content.

Cool the Wine Down

A spritz of lemonade or a refreshing wine cooler is a very summery way to enjoy your favourite drink. A spritzer can massively quench your thirst while also capturing your favourite flavours. There are hundreds of wine cooler and spritzer recipes out there and you can experiment and make your own too. Using a wine with an acidic, lighter character is recommended over oaked or heavy wines, as they blend better with your chosen mixers.

Buying your wine online for a summer garden party or simply to stock up for the season allows you to experiment with a range of different types and styles. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or not, summer time wine is an absolute must.

Lesser Known Wine Regions to Visit This Summer

If you’re planning a wine-led getaway this summer, there are many hot spots which people usually head to. However, if you’re looking for something a little different and to experience new and interesting flavours and winery styles, consider one of these lesser known wine regions for your wine adventure this summer:

Valle D’Aosta, Italy

A beautiful and adventurous location for your summer break, Valle D’Aosta has breath-taking peaks to scale as well as wonderful wines to sample. It’s one of Italy’s hidden gems and features its own unique culture, with both Italian and French as official languages in the region, alongside the local dialect known as Valdôtain. The Valle d’Aosta wine trail gives you the chance to try unique local varities such as Fumin, as well as more popular Italian and French wines like Nebbiolo and Arvine.

Istria, Croatia

A quiet and secluded peninsula, right next to the Adriatic Sea, Istria is just minutes from Italy and a chance to explore a unique and up and coming wine region. Croatian wine continues to attract more attention and you experience the unique culture and landscape of Istria, you can also try some truly unique wines. Enjoy local flavours made from grape varietals such as Teran and Malvazja. The beautiful atmosphere, scenery and wine combine to create a wonderful holiday experience.

Südsteiermark, Austria

Südsteiermark offers all the beauty and views of the Italian countryside in the heart of Austria. It has bene described as the Tuscany of Austria which makes it a wonderful choice for a break dedicated to enjoying the countryside and the finer things in life. Südsteiermark is known as one of the best regions for producing Sauvignon Blanc but you can also enjoy local and fresh varietal wines such as Muskateller and Morillon.

These are just three examples of lesser known wine regions you may want to consider this summer, especially if you’re looking for something a little different for your summer getaway.

Spotlight on Tannat

A little less known than other red wines, Tannat has a history linked to a tiny village in South West France called Madiran. It’s a strong and full bodied option which is sometimes likened to Malbec but it has a personality and flavour all of its own. Tannat is traditionally French as mentioned, but there are newer offerings, especially from Uruguay, which are becoming increasingly popular.

The Flavour of Tannat

Tannat has a rich fruity flavour, with red and black fruit blending beautifully in good offerings. It also has the tang and depth of black liquorice with coffee notes, some vanilla and even a touch of fragrant cardamom and similar spices. Wines which have had more oak aging will have a spicier flavour. Some Tannats are rich in tannins while others can be lighter too.

French Tannat vs Uruguayan Tannat

As you’d expect the flavours of French and Uruguayan Tannat differ due to the different in climate, soil and production methods. Traditional French Tannat from around Madiran typically has a stronger red fruit flavour with rich, powerful tannins and raspberry flavours coming through particularly strong.

As a newer and with more inventiveness possible due to less stringent AOC requirements, Uruguayan Tannat wines are softer and less stringently tannic. Elegant black fruits dominate the flavour with blackberry, cherries and plums often easy to pick out. Creativity and playfulness stand out as characteristics of Uruguayan Tannat.

Choosing Tannat

At The Fine Wine Company we have a range of different Tannat wines to choose from. Our Tannat wines include examples from Argentina, Italy and even Brazil. We also have examples of Uruguayan Tannat and traditional Madiran Tannat too.

Many Merlot lovers are now enjoying a Tannat or two as well as their favourite red and with the choice of different producers, flavours and regions, there may be a Tannat for you too.

Tips for Choosing the Wines for your Wedding

Many people have their wedding fully catered without the need to make too many decisions, but wine fans may want to take some of this into their own hands. With Royal Wedding fever upon us, you may not be able to rival the range offered at the royal occasion, but you can certainly take control of what you plan to offer and ensure your favourites are included. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Think about Volume

How much wine do you actually need? This may seem like a strange question, but you need to make sure you don’t go overboard. Buying wine online for your wedding reception ensures you can get a good deal on cases and as a rough guide, experts recommend you cater for half a bottle per guest.

Think about the Season

Winter Weddings don’t have to be all about red wine, but warmer full bodied flavours are a great choice. A rich Chardonnay can be a perfect addition to Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in the winter. Summer Weddings call for fresher, younger flavours with Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc particularly popular. Remember the Wedding Breakfast is usually at lunch time so lighter options are often recommended then.

Think about your Toast

The wine for your toast should be something special. However, you shouldn’t feel bound by tradition so if Champagne isn’t your thing, look at other sparkling wines. There’s nothing wrong with a Prosecco or Cava if these are flavours you prefer.

Think about You

Of course, you want to cater to your friends and family but what do you like? It’s your special day and everyone is coming to celebrate your wedding. They will enjoy the whole experience regardless so throwing in a couple of your favourites certainly won’t hurt.

The right wines for your special day can help the whole event feel even more special. Spend a little time choosing what you really want, and it is bound to go down well.

Fresh Wines for Spring

Spring is on its way and we’re all ready for a little warmer weather and perhaps even the chance to enjoy a little outside drinking and dining. The sunshine may not be bright but it’s definitely on its way and if you’re looking to buy wine online for your first spring celebration, we have some suggestions you should definitely keep in mind.

Spring Wines from The Fine Wine Company

Drinking according to the season is not necessarily something everyone does, but it can be enjoyable. It’s a great way of trying new flavours. Here are some of the most popular and enjoyable Spring wine options:

Light Rose

Lighter styles of rose are a wonderful choice for spring. You can enjoy the flavours of the South of France or Spanish flavours. The low alcohol content and light pink tones team with delicate and fresh fruit aromas and flavours, perfect for the gentle warmth of spring. Try a Rose such as La Vidaubanaise Comte de Provence.

Younger Pinot Noirs

If you’re a red wine drinker, there’s no need to switch for the freshness of spring. A young Pinot Noir is the perfect choice for Spring. With fresh fruit flavours and the option of serving slightly chilled, this is one way of still enjoying your favourite reds in a traditionally white wine season.


Everyone loves a Prosecco in the sun. It may be more popular when the true summer heat arrives but there’s no reason you can’t add it to your Spring wine list. Gentler and more rounded in flavour than Champagne, you could try Mabis Biscardo Prosecco Frizzante or a similar offering for that gentle fizz that has become so popular.


With an instantly recognisable aroma and a surprisingly deep colour, Gewürztraminer is a great alternative to the summer classic Sauvignon Blanc, for spring. Bright acidic notes stand out and it’s a great alternative white for the springtime.  Lani Gewurztraminer is a great example of how good these flavours can be, with exotic Turkish Delight notes and fresh lychee aroma.

The right wine for the springtime is an entirely personal choice. However, when looking to choose a wine online, these are out top options for when the spring sun arrives.

The Vegan Wine Conundrum

Statistics from the Vegan Society from 2016 show that there are around half a million vegans in the UK, and this figure is rising. When many people make the decision to switch to a vegan lifestyle they have no idea so many foods contain animal products, and the same can be said for drinks. Most wines are not vegan. This comes as a shock to many but why is this the case? What makes most off-limits to vegans?

Why are most Wines Non-Vegan?

Most wines go through a process of clarification which is known as ‘fining’. This process usually involves animal-based products such as casein, which is made from milk or egg whites. The fining process removes cloudiness from wine and ensures they are clear to drink, with no sediments or similar. High quality white wines and some sparkling wines use a product called isinglass in the fining process. This is a fish by-product and once again, unsuitable for anyone on a vegan diet. Fining agents are not present in the final bottled wine but they were used in the process, which is unacceptable on a true vegan diet.

Tips for Finding Vegan Wines

The rise of veganism in the UK and further afield means there are many vegans wines no available on the market. You can also look out for the following information on any bottle, which should be a clear indicator they are fine to drink as a vegan:

  1. Unfined or unfiletered wines are 100% vegan
  2. Wines filtered using sterile filters such as ceramic filters are vegan
  3. Wines using cross-low filters are vegan
  4. Some wines may be filtered using bentonite but always check with the producer
  5. Organic wines are not always vegan, you must check with the producer

There area number of curated lists online which show which wines are vegans and which aren’t. Like many vegans find with food though, you have to become an expert label reader to ensure you’re enjoying only 100% suitable wines!