It's an evening 2013, three guys are sitting around a campfire in Willamette Valley, situated just south of Portland, Oregon. They are renowned winemakers from Sonoma in California and have just attended a wine festival, featuring some of their Californian wines. Winding down from the day, the guys are struck by the similarities between the cold and foggy Sonoma Coast at home and where they are sitting in the
Willamette Valley. Both have cold winds that funnel from the Pacific Ocean through low-lying gaps in the coastal mountain ranges (Van Duzer Corridor in Oregon and Petaluma Wind Gap in Sonoma); a mix of marine sedimentary and volcanic influenced soils; micro-terroirs.
They realise that they can make wines at the very highest level here and decide to give it a go. And in 2016 they release their first vintage from their new founded vinery AVERÆN. It's a very limited production of Pinot Noir, but it gets great attention. Over the next years they expand the portfolio to numerous Pinot's, Rieslings and Chardonnays.
This is pure gold, and if you can get your hands on a bottle, you're in for a treat. We've selected their Chardonnays as our pick of the week.
When we suffer from the winter blues we do tend to dream of warmer places and one of the most popular islands to escape to for us Norwegians when we long for the sun is the Canary Islands. But the sun there doesn’t just help us pale people from the North. It helps grow grapes the produce some fine wines!
Since 1990, Juan Jesús Méndez has been the driving force and embodiment of Viñátigo, a fine winery from Tenerife. Juan is a proud native of Tenerife and the fourth generation of growers in the island. During the twenty-five years that he’s overseen Bodegas Viñátigo, he has considerably increased its holdings, planting varieties that he and his team recuperated. By combining Tenerife’s natural resources with their own diligence and skill, Bodegas Viñátigo is able to produce modern wines that are deeply rooted in our traditions and signature style.
This weeks wine is made from 100% Listán Negro, a grape the is very typical for Tenerife. It is made from ungrafted grapevines that are more than 100 years old. Grown between 300 and 700 meters above sea level, in the northwest of Tenerife. After a week of maceration the wine is made in a tank and then left to aged for three months in three to five years-old 225l French oak barrels.
Viñátigo Listán Negro 2021 - 239,90
A generous nose that reminded me of smoke and tar, with wild chokecherry, pomegranate fruit and herbs, black pepper, and a strong mineral, volcanic character. Flavours are a bit unusual and sour-edged yet the texture and tension are smooth and appealing. Tannins are quite mild; the length is excellent. This is perfect with charcuterie and a beef stew.
We came across this beauty recently. A great wine from Portugal, at an amazing price. Made by the largest wine producer in the country with a proud selection of native grapes. Touriga Franca 40%, Touriga Nacional 25%, Tinta Roriz 25%, Tinta Barroca 10%
Grapes are sourced from high altitude vineyards in Cima Corgo and Douro Superior, named Quinta do Seixo and Quinta da Leda. The soil has large layers of slate.
Happy new year to all wine lovers out there. A busy and strange 2022 has left us - here's hoping 2023 brings us peace and a lot of great wine experiences. We start the year in Lebanon of all places. Maybe not the first country you think of when it comes to wine, but they have been making wine here for millenia and we in Norway have a great selection to choose from. As we have to save some money for the heating bill, this week's wine is very reasonably priced as well.
Located in the West Bekaa Valley, the large estate of Château Kefraya has been the Bustros family’s property for generations.The castle was built starting 1946 on an artificial hill used by the Romans centuries ago to observe their troop movements. Founder Michel de Bustros undertook massive works to implant Château Kefraya’s vineyards on those magnificent hillsides. The vineyard spreads over 300 hectares of terraced slopes, 1000 meters above the Mediterranean Sea, on the foothills of Mount Barouk in the Bekaa Valley. Clay-limestone, clay-chalk as well as sandy and gravelly soils compose a real mosaic of terroirs. The vines enjoy an exceptional sun exposure with no irrigation. In addition to the diversity of soil, Château Kefraya uses a wide and exciting range of grape varieties in its blends, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier as well as more unusual varieties such as Carménère, Marselan and Muscat à Petits Grains.
This diversity of grapes is present in this week’s wine, Château Kefraya Les Bretèches 2019, with 50% being Syrah, cabernet sauvignon 7%, tempranillo (tinto del pais) 20%, marselan 5%, and cinsault 18%. Bretèches is a quintessential Lebanese wine, with a finely spiced nose of blackcurrant and cherry, it reveals silky tannins and generous red fruits flavors. The launch of each vintage is celebrated with a limited edition label designed by a young Lebanese artist.
Ch. Kefraya Bretèches 2019 164,9 kr
The first bouquet is fine and delicate revealing a very complex and balanced aromatic palette. It reveals subtle notes of black fruits, spices, curry, cedar buds and blackberries as well as slightly floral notes of violet. The first impression in the mouth is full and textured. On the palate, a well-balanced aromatic profile is finely revealed, with a slightly spicy texture on the finish. The structure distinguishes itself by the presence of soft and silky tannins marked by the freshness of the fruit.
This is a wine that is perfect with meat dishes from the Mediterranean like lamb and grilled beef. It has enough sweetness to handle quite spicy food as well.
We’ve got a couple of nice bottles for you, walking into Christmas. Both from South Africa, same winemaker and both are great value bargains. One will be smashing with your ribs dinner, the other great great with seafood and vegetarian dishes. Let’s cut to it.
Adi Badenhorst is arguably one of the best winemakers in South Africa. Makes a wide variety of remarkable wines, specializing in grapes native to his land.
Nebbiolo, the famous celebrity grape of Piemonte, north in Italy. Widely known for producing the king of wines; Barolo.
So when I saw this grape pop up on the label on one of my favourite producers in California, I had great expectations.
In 2010 Nebbiolo was grown on 5993 hectares of land, with only 457 hectares being outside of Piemonte. It’s a tricky grape, which it takes a lot to master. For instance, Nebbiolo grapes starts their annual growth cycle very early, and they are one of the last to ripen. They need natural shelter from winds, are very sensitive to wet weather and it’s picky on what soil it thrives in. And they can become extremely tannic if not tended to correctly, to mention a few things.
Jim Clendenen was a legendary winemaker from California, widely know for his Burgundy style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Unfortunately he suddenly passed away in May 2021, only 68 years old.
He had a love and passion for all things Italian, and especially wines. So in 1994 he decided to plant several Italian grape varieties in Santa Barbara, California. After years of tedious work the vines started to produce excellent grapes, especially the Nebbiolo variety.
The grapes behave differently in California, than in Piemonte, and Jim managed to produce a signature style Californian wine. The grapes are grown on a hill, with both wind, fog and long sunny afternoons. Stored 4 years in 500 liters Hungarian oak casks, where 1/3 is new oak. Unfiltered bottling and stored for one more year. First vintage (2000) was released in 2005, now we drink 2017. A remarkable wine from an iconic winemaker.
You never forget your first kiss they say, but what about your first favourite wine? Today I went past one of my first favourite red wines and thought that I have to find out what it is like now. Fortunately it didn't dissapoint.
Domaine D’Andezon was one of my go to wines when I first started to take wine seriously. It was nice and fruity but also firm and with good structure so it could handle food, but was also relatively easy to drink. It was also cheap, and that was important then.
The Domaine D’Andezon wines are made by the Estezargues co-operative. While many of France’s co-ops go out of business or struggle to sell uninteresting plonk, the cave co-operative in Estezargues has for many years stood out as a co-op with an artisanal approach to winemaking making some of the best value wines in the Rhône Valley. It really comes through in this wine that is superb and a steal at under 175,- NOK.
Dom. d'Andézon 2021 - 174,90 kr
Dark red in colour. Very nice intensity on the bouquet with a scent of blackberries, blackcurrants and dark morels. This continues in the mouth where the fruit is very present and delicate. The wine also has good length and structure and fine balance. Game is the first thing I would go to here if I was serving this with food, but also grilled beef, lamb and pork wil work.
Looking for really great every day wines, where high quality and nice price align, is somewhat of a sport amongst wine lovers. And a wine region that often can provide this is Sicily. The steady rise of quality has been stunning over the last decade, but the quality still exceeds the price quite a bit. Which of course is much appreciated.
When we visited Sicily last we had a nice talk with Arianna Occhipinti, one of the pioneers behind the wine revolution on the island. You could check it out here:
But today we present you with another great producer; Planeta. They produce a wide variety of wines, and common for them all is the superb quality. We've selected their Chardonnay, but they have an impressive 18 wines available at Vinmonopolet. So if you really wanna get to know them; have fun :)
It’s the end of November and for everyone in the USA this means it’s Turkey season! To give thanks for things in your everyday life is a nice thing and one of the things we like is wine. In honor of our American friends we have found a fine red from California which will be great with a good Turkey dinner.
Rod Strong was among the first modern wine pioneers with a vision to plant Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley. In 1968, he planted the heritage River East Vineyard in the alluvial clay-loam soils adjacent to the winery in Healdsburg. Today the Russian River Valley is well established as one of the premier Pinot Noir growing regions in the world.
Rodney Strong Russian River valley Pinot Noir 2019 - 279,90 kr
Lovely aromas of red fruit, floral and earth. A soft and silky texture, on the palate dark cherry, cranberry, and baking spice characteristics shine through with balance, acidity and a nice lingering finish. This medium bodied wine was aged for 14 months in small French oak barrels, which added a hint of toasty vanilla and spice complexity.
In addition to the traditional Turkey, you can enjoy this Pinot Noir with charcuterie, wild mushroom risotto, grilled pork tenderloin.
The long, cold nights of winter can be harsh, but with a little help from a good bottle of red, the nights can at least be comfortable.
This week we head of to the Rhone Valley again and this time we travel south. Chateau de La Gardine is a tiny estate immediately west of the great Chateauneuf du Pape, which obviously needs no introduction. Although winemaking has been recorded there since the mid 1700s, La Gardine as we know it began when the Brunel family bought the estate in 1947 and set about increasing its quality and production.
La Gardine is easily recognised by its famous moulded bottle that originated in the discovery of a mouth-blown bottle during the digs to expand the cellar. The family name ‘Benjamin Brunel’, crest and motto ‘Angulus Ridet’ grace the surface, Latin for ‘corner of joy’. ‘Brunel de la Gardine’ is the ‘micro-négociant’ range set up to give access to the Brunel label and has become something of an institution for terrific value.
Brunel de la Gardine Côtes du Rhône 2020 - 169,90 kr
A powerful, full and rich wine. Garnet with a bright violet rim. Shows the typical aromas of the region: red fruit, earthy notes, sweet spice. Juicy, supple and very well balanced with blackberry and a little black pepper. Ideal with food.
Ideal with food like cured meat and charcuterie boards. The soft tannins and the spiciness of this wine, combine really well with curries, couscous, chilli con carne, barbequed meats, Italian foods, vegetarian dishes and cheese boards. Pretty well everything really!