We’re coming upon November and the famous “new wines” from Beaujolais will be dropped. If you have followed this blog for a while you will know our scepticism towards this hype. Wines just aren’t ready after a month of vinification and they are never at the full and best potential. And when you taste the other wines from the Beaujolais vintners the question becomes: why doesn’t everyone just make wine like this weeks wine!
They make great reds in Beaujolais, but don’t forget the whites! The Chardonnay grape reigns supreme among the white grapes here and the result can be magical. Like the white from Yohan Lardy. -The young wine maker started his estate with 2 ha of old vines - planted in 1911 and 1950 - on the heights of the Moulin a Vent appellation in the prestigious plot called "Les Michelons". Here The soil is very thin, meagre, with pink granite crumble rich on iron mineral "manganese". For his white wines Vines are planted near the Cru Fleurie, on a clay and silty soil.
The grapes are handpicked and he vinifies his wines with only native yeasts without sulfites. The wines are aged for at least 10 months in Burgundy barrels in order to get the best balance between fruit and acidity.
Yohan Lardy Beaujolais-Villages Blanc les Bruyères 2019 - 186,40 kr
The first ting that strikes you is the great and clean fruit that you smell right away. Fine citrus fruits, with hints of hazelnuts and ripe, yellow apples. In the mouth great minerality and good acidity to give balance. Very good to drink now and just enjoy!
Here's a bottle of beautiful American Syrah, from Washington, that will be perfect with this seasons great game dishes. It comes from Chateau Ste Michelle that's been taking pride in producing old world style wines since 1967.
The Syrah graps are grown in the Colombia Valley outside Seattle. A cascade mountain range shield the vineyards from the marine climate of Seattle, allowing only 15-20 cm of rainfall every year. This leaves us with a good consentration in the grapes and quite low alcohol being an American wine.
It has great fruit and just enough tannin structure to handle the often lean game meat. It's a beautiful bottle and a great image on what American Syrah graps could be at their best.
NB! - I'm tasting the 2015 vintage, but the current vintage in Vinmonopolet is 2017.
This week we had our annual dugnad where I live. Autumn has worked hard on the threes surrounding our building so there was a lot of leaves to sweep up. And this being Bergen and October we were graced with rain, a lot of rain, to make the job even more “fun”. So, when we were finished it was good to pop open a bottle of red and enjoy the rest of the evening.
The wine I chose I feel is perfect for autumn evenings. It is from Savoie and for those who have been there or have seen our story from Savoie you know the forest surroundings really leave their mark on the wines from this area.
The wine I chose I feel is perfect for autumn evenings. It is from Savoie and for those who have been there or have seen our story from Savoie you know the forest and mountain surroundings really leave their mark on the wines from this area.
This weeks wine is from Jean-Charles Girard-Madoux who founded his Domaine in 2006, after repurchasing vineyards once owned by his grandfather. The Domaine has quickly become a reference point producer of native Savoyard varietals such as Jacquere and Mondeuse and it is the Mondeuse-grape that is focus for this week’s wine.
The Mondeuse is produced from 50 year old vines perched on vertiginous slopes (30-60%) near the village of Chignin, just south of Geneva, Switzerland. Made from hand-harvested Mondeuse grapes and whole-cluster fermented using native yeasts, this beautiful low alcohol red features high-toned cherry flavours and spiciness, mild tannins and firm acidity that bears more than a passing resemblance to Syrah, its distant relative and near-neighbour.
Domaine Jean Charles Girard Madoux Mondeuse 2017 - 180 kr
Very delicate and fine bouquet with hints of red berries, raspberries and fresh strawberries with hints of the forest after a rainfall. Not a lot of tannins so it’s very soft to drink. But good acidity gives it the structure it needs. In the mouth the red berries continue with raspberries, blackberries and cherry. Great to drink alone but will also handle lighter meals with chicken or ham.
"If a wine can smell like white chocolate, we're on to something good"
This is Alaska. Currently working here gives me a chance to take a plunge into great American wines. Being a huge fan, it's not often I have such a wide and varied selection to taste from. In this first round I'm looking at Chardonnays. The common American palette caters to heavily oaked and bold fruited wines. They tend to lack acidity for balance and freshness. But in recent years things have changed. More and more producers are adjusting techniques and working differenty in the vineyards. And this is good news for us.
My wine of the week is the 2016 Chardonnay from winemaker Jim Clendenen at Au Bon Climat. Since 1982 they've made true artisan wines and winning prices all over the world. Located in Santa Barbara they make wines as a homage to Burgundy.
It's a small investment, but this is a Chardonnay unlike any other. I mean, it smells of white chocolate :)
As the rough winds and rain of autumn batter us up and down the coast we tend to choose heavy and fat meats like lamb for dinner. And why wouldn’t we, the season lamb is fantastic right now. But we sometimes we need a break from the meat and we Norwegians have really come to love sushi. As we should. Right on our doorsteps we have the best fish imaginable and all over the country new and exiting sushi restaurants are starting up. This weeks wine is the perfect compliment to a great sushi meal.
Good sushi is elegant and pure in it’s flavours. You get the sea from the fish, salt from the soy sauce and a full richness from the rice. And then there is all the extra spices and condiments that a good sushi chef will colour the meal with. When pairing with wine you need good acidity to deal with the spice and minerality to go with the freshness of sushi. And if you can get good fruit from the wine as well, well then you have the perfect match.
One of my first visits to a vineyard was to Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken in Saarburg, Germany. Ruth Zilliken invited us inn and let us taste a wide range of bottles she brough up from the cellar. A truly amazing day. To this day I hold the wines from Zilliken as some of my favourites. Always with a perfect balance between acidity and sweetness, these are wines that can be enjoyed alone or with food and especially with fish dishes like sushi.
This week’s wine is the Saarburg Riesling Feinherb 2018. Feinherb would in English mean off-dry in Norwegian we say “halvtørr”. It has 20,4 grams pr liter of sugar so it is sweeter than a dry wine but it has such an exceptional acidity that it does not fell dry at all. This in combination with the great minerality makes it perfect to combine with food.
Zilliken Saarburger Riesling Feinherb 2018 - 239,90 kr
It is a bit closed upon opening but after half an hour it blossoms, and we get citrus fruits, green apples and fresh herbs. IN the mouth the acidity dominates at first and it has a feeling of lemon and lime. After a bite of sushi though the flavour of the wine completely changes, and you get grapefruit and blood orange. This is truly an example of the food making the wine better and the wine making the food better. So, so, good.
Enjoy with sushi of course, but it will also handle other sea foods like shrimp and crab without any problems. If you want to enjoy it by it self decanter the wine and leave it for an hour and it will soften up and become great.
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 websites.
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.