I've been on the road on the west coast of Norway this week. And left with a pretty normal wine list at the hotel, I made it my mission to pick wine of the week from this 12 bottle selection. A situation many can relate to. So how to make the best choice? Here's my how-to.
Stick to the big ones: France - Italy - Spain.
Avoid: New World, like New Zealand, USA and South Africa.
Why: You're just more likely to hit it big by sticking to a classic, in a situation like this.
Choose a traditional producer that has a long and history.
How too: Google the producer. Solid wineries usually have extended web sigths.
Look for wine regions that you've heard about.
Like Piedmont in Italy, Burgundy and Bordeaux in France and Rioja in Spain.
Don't know any wine regions? --> Google "Famous wine regions in ... France"
Be price smart. Don't head for the 355kr bottle and skip the Amarone at 1650kr.
A good buy in both red and white, at a normal hotel, will be around 6-800kr. Lower is usually overpriced cheap shit, or more expensive is often hyped stuff not worth the price.
Finally get a sense of the staff. The knowledge varies a lot these days.
A good waiter will ask if you want to see the wine list, a poor one will just recommend a random wine without offering you to see the selection.
If you have a good one, ask for recommendation.
For my choice
-I stuck with Italy
-I knew that Fontanafredda was a solid producer
-I know Piedmont very well
-This Barolo was 790kr
-The staff had little knowledge, so I didn't involve them
And I ended up with a very nice bottle at a good price, for a restaurant.
Summer is over in this Annus Horribilis and Autumn is at our door steps, bringin rain, colder temperatures, in other words, days you want to find your best book, open a good bottle of red and just indulge yourself. This weeks wine is just right for that
Barolo, also called «King of Wines”, is the pride of Piemonte. These wines fetch fabulous prices and the good ones often cost over 1000,- NOK. So when I read about Fenocchio’s Barolo from 2013 at a mere 349,90 I had to try it. It didn’t disappoint.
Established in 1864 Fenocchio have been making wine for five generations. Today the brothers Claudio and Alberto share the vinery but sell their wines under their own names. They both he adhere to strict traditional methods with ecological farming and storing the wines on huge Slavic vats.
I opened this bottle and let it air for over five hours and it needed that time to fully blossom. We had it with Finn-Erik’s Mushroom Lasagne and it was a perfect match! Try both for yourself:
Fenocchio Barolo Bussia Sottana Riserva 2013 - 349,90 kr
Very, very good Barolo at a very reasonable price. I opened it five hours before drinking and it needed that time to open up. Red berries, mushrooms and forrest floor on the nose. Great structure and minerality in the mouth. Good tannins that cleans the palate. Red berries, cherry and mushrooms in the mouth. Perfect with mushroom lasagne.
Rioja, one of the most known wine regions in the world. A place of long traditions and methods of winemaking stretching hundreds of years back.
Best known for their extreme use of barrels ageing, leaving most red wines taste of vanilla. But things are changing in this part of the wine world as well. Younger blood with new perspectives have taken over some of the wineries, adding a bit of present in the past way of making wines here.
Our wine of the week is Izadi. A traditional winery from the late 1800, which are keeping traditions, but adding modern techniques were modernisation compliments the wines. They farm bush wines. A style of winemaking we've seen mostly used in South Africa. The vines grow in poor soils, leaving low yields and more consecrated grapes. The Reserve 2016 is made from 100% Tempranillo, the most famous grape in Spain.
It's a fantastic wine that reflects what Rioja is most know for, but updated to keep in interesting for wine lovers in 2020.
This week we travel to a country we haven’t visited often in our wine of the week blog, Hungary. Most of us know their very good sweet wines which are perfect for cheeses and desserts. But they also make fabulous dry wines and you can get very good quality for a reasonable price.
Hungary is in the midst of a wine renaissance and Bodrog Borműhely, or “Bodrog wine(bor) workshop” started by János Hajduz and Krisztián Farkas who has produced this weeks wine are emblematic of this new era. By maintaining tiny parcels of vineyards in historically great sites they are making pure, modern, yet classically inspired dry wines. Knowing when to pick and where, avoiding Botrytis, and then fermenting with native yeasts in local oak barrel are the means to this end.
Their vineyards are near the town of Bodrogkeresztúr and looks down onto the Bodrog River and its floodplains. The vineyard is covered with a think layer of Nyirok — a rich reddish clay unique to Tokaji over a base of hardened rhyolite (volcanic) rock. The microclimate is relatively warm compared to other parts of the appellation, but the vines are 40-50 years old and well adjusted. This weeks wine is dry and delicate, with enough power to handle a lot of food, but also good to drink by it self.
Bodrog Dry Tokaj 2018 - 150,- kr
Nice and smotth dry tokaj-wine. 80 % Furmint and 20 Hárslevelu. Ripe yellow apples,small hints of honey and hazelnuts. Good acidity gives good structure. Fine alone, but I can see this being a good food wine.
Our pick of the week is an amazing bottle of red from Greece.
Wines from Greece are probably most known to people who enjoy spending holidays in this beautiful country. Easy drinking white table wines for a Euro or two. Perfect for that unpretentious holiday feeling, and perfect for consuming when in Greece.
Back home in Norway all the bliss of Greece disappears and if you brought back that two Euro bottle, I'm sure it didn't taste as good as you remembered. Where we drink our wine and with whom will affect the taste and experience of the wine.
This wonderful €20 bottle is made from 100% Xynomavro grape and grown in some of the highest laying vineyards in the country. At 450-650 meters above the sea, the grapes thrive in the Greek sun making this a very characterful bottle of wine.
Only natural yeast from the air is used and its stored in used old oak barrels for 8 months.
Wine lovers are already ordering this wine by the case, so be quick if you wanna taste it.
In a year without travel all we have left is the memories of the places we have been. We in KulTour have been so luck to travel to places we never would have seen had it not been for the show we made. One of our favourite places is the Loire valley, with it’s magnificent castles, charming, little towns and of course fantastic wines. This weeks wine reminded me of one of our most fun stories to make, the one with the Green Lady.
Every castle with respect for itself has a ghost! And Chateau de Brissac has one of the most fantastic tales that goes with it’s mysterious and beautiful settings. And just 30 minutes from the chateau you’ll find the vineyards of Patrick Baudouin. Born in Anjou, Patrick Baudouin naturally chose his birthplace to establish his estate, a 13.5-hectare land grown organically, planted with 10 hectares of Chenin Blanc and 3.5 of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon. In 2009, one hectare in the Savennières appellation was added to the mix. According to Baudouin, the Chenin is a discreet yet true varietal that brings impeccable fruity and mineral character to the Effusion cuvee.
This weeks wine is his “Effusjon” 2018 – a chenin blanc made as naturally as possible.
Patrick Baudouin Effusion 2018 - 299,90 kr
Very solid Chenin Blanc. Good weight in the mouth, that makes it a very good wine for food. Hints of flowers, elderberry and butterscotch. Good length as well.
I had this with shrimp and it was a fine combination. I think it will handle most seafood, and also if you have a sauce with a lot of butter.
I really do. Greatness in simplicity has for long been a staple in the culinary world of Italy. So here comes another great bottle of wine from Piedmont, north in Italy.
"You're the only one buying these, so you might wanna think twice before publishing, so you can have it all to yourself", said the tall, young expert at my local Vinmonopolet store at Grünerløkka in Oslo. He knows what he's talking about, he introduced me to these single vineyard versions of Malvira a couple of years back. He couldn't believe the quality of these bottles, specially given the price.
Malvira's house wine is one of the best buys at Vinmonopolet at only 164kr, and he had seen me buy them from time to time. A slightly more expensive single vineyard version had just arrived, and he strongly recommended I try it. I did, and keep it to myself.
So why is this such a well kept secret? Well first of all it's from Piedmont, which is widely known for red wine, specially Barolo; the king of wines. In addition you have Barbaresco and Barbera wines. Also world famous wines. So being a small scale white wine from this region is tough, in terms of getting attention. There is just very little awareness of white wines being made in Italy, in general.
Malvira produces amazing quality wines, both reds and whites. A trusted brand that never fails to deliver. This is their Vigna Saglietto beauty:
We have not had the July we deserved, weather wise, so it is allowed to indulge a little bit. And when you want to indulge you find a good bottle of Pinot Noir from Burgundy! This week’s wine is a Noble one from one of the best sellers in Norway the last few years.
The history of Maison Vincent Girardin is relatively recent. In 1980, at the age of 19, Vincent Girardin, the son of a family of winegrowers based in Santenay since the 17th century, decided to strike out on his own and began producing wine from five acres of vines that he had inherited from his parents. From his earliest youth, Vincent had a passion for working with vines and great respect for the potential that they represent, and his ambition was to produce his own wine. The quality of his wines was quickly recognized by connoisseurs all over the world, and this enabled him to expand his activity, focusing primarily on the great white and red wines of the Côte de Beaune.
Girardin Bourgogne Terroir Noble Pinot Noir 2017 232,- kr
Beautiful Pinot! Smooth and long with good complexity. Cherry and raspberries on the nose. Good acidity and minerality with red berries dominating in the mouth. Great value Burgundy.
This is perfect with fowl and chicken. As most Burgundy wines it's also great with game. With the great acidity it also has the power to handle rich and fat sauces.
Brilliance often comes from Piemonte and often in the shape of a bottle. Last week we recommended you a perfect match for your summer berries and this week we stick with the same producer, but look at their white wine.
Vietti is a solid producer with long traditions in Italy's finest wine region. Their white wine is produced using the Arneis grape, which makes remarkable wines in Piemonte. It's a versatile grape that makes very fruit driven and aromatic wines, and that often pairs excellent with food.
For this wine Vietti uses old vines, with a very low yield. This gives each grape excellent concentration and by only using steel tanks, they strive to preserve the great acidity natural to these grapes.
It’s mid-summer and for a few weeks now Norwegian strawberries have been available in the shops all around the country. There is nothing better than Norwegian strawberries! They are sweeter and more succulent than any I have tasted all over the world. The slow ripening and long hours of sunshine really gives them an intense flavour unique to our shores. This weeks wine is the perfect accompaniment to the seasons berries.
The Moscato d’Asti grape often gets a bad rep because of the cheap wines that people have gotten on holiday or at parties. But done right it can be amazing. Vietti is a producer more known for it’s great Barolos and Barberas. But they also make a superb Moscato which is superbly priced at only 199,90.kr. It isn’t in all of the vinmonopols so you might have to order it, but it is worth the wait!
Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 2018 - 199,90 kr
Smells of roses, peaches, and ginger. It’s frizzante so there are very delicate and fine bubbles which help to make the wine feel so, so fresh. In the mouth you at first sense the sweetness, but soon a great acidity kicks in to make this a perfectly balanced wine. It tastes of fresh peaches, strawberries and makes you think of long, long summer nights. So good!