This weeks wine might be a bit costly, but it is a great wine and has a great story well worth investigating. Recently I was invited to the restaurant Kolonialen Bislett by some friends and at the end of a fantastic meal we were served a very special wine to end the night. the sommelier (who was great by the way!) suggested a glass of dessert wine from the south of France,namely Rivesaltes. The wine was from 1983 so older than some of the people I was dining with! They and I were blown away by the flavours and quality of the wine. So I took some pictures and thought this would be a good wine of the week!
Rivesaltes is the name of an area in the south of France and together with Banyls and Maury they are famous in the wine world for making fortified wines, similar to Port wine, but also very distinct in their own way. The Rivealtes wines are traditionally made from the grenache blanc, grenache gris, macabeau og grenache noir grapes. The fermentation process is stopped by adding fortified wine, then the wine is placed in glass balloons and put outside in the sun for two years before the tines are stored in oak barrels for as long as 100 years. This makes for very special wines indeed! This is a very expensive and time consuming way of making wine so fewer and fewer are making them anymore. Soon we actually could run out of this kind of wine, so we suggest you try it before it's too late!
The Vinmonopol have a great amount of Rivesaltes on their books at the moment and some very old. These are perfect as a gift when you want to buy a wine from a good friend's birth year. As I said they are a bit pricey, but they are well worth it for a special day!
Riveyrac Rivesaltes 1983 - 629,-
Beautiful colour of deep dark yellow turning to brown. On the nose it's caramell, burnt almonds, toasted hazelnuts, and hints of coffee. In the mouth it is very elegant. The first thing is the sweetness,but then the acidity kicks in and balances the wine superbly. Then you notice the rich flavours of caramel, raisins and figs, hazelnuts and almonds. It’s so rich and smooth and so, so delicious!
Can be paired with strong and salty cheeses,but is also perfect to enjoy by itself, especially when ending a great evening with friends at a great restaurant!
This week we're heading to Australia and one of the best wineries in the country.
Tyrrell's has been making wine on their property since 1858 and is one of the longest running wineries in Australia. It's a renowned estate with a fantastic track record when it comes to award winning wines. They are very traditional in their approach to winemaking and will give you a good insight in classic Australian styles.
Their Shiraz/Cabernet from 2014 is absolutely brilliant and comes at 500kr. Try it if you fancy a cool red.
Our wine of the week is a white made from the Verdelho grape. A grape mostly grown in Portugal and especially on the island of Madeira.
The wine comes at a very nice price and will be an excellent pairing with dishes known to be tricky with wine. Such as sushi and spicy asian dishes.
We are living in troubled times, with horrible pictures and news coming out of Ukraine. At times like these wine blogs become very unimportant, so we'll just leave a recommendation here for our readers and also send our thoughts and love to the Ukrainian people. Let's hope this conflict is resolved quickly, although it doesn't look like it.
We're off to sunny Greece for this weeks wine. Greek wines have had a huge renaissance the last few years and this is well earned. This weeks wine is from Thymiopoulos Vinery and the grape is called Xinomavro, but don't ask me to pronounce it!
Thymiopoulos vineyards in Naoussa has highlighted the new order of things when using the Xinomavro grape in winemaking. Vineyards are biodynamically cultivated and depending on the terroir, different vinification techniques are applied. This results in wines that are of the highest quality and set a new standard for Greek wines.
Thymiopoulos Naoussa Alta 2019 214,90 kr
It has pale ruby colour with garnet hues.
Lovely nose, full of juicy red fruit. Strawberry, cherry, cranberry, primrose, lavender, clove, cinnamon, star anise, and tomato sauce make up an impressive bouquet.
On the palate, it has a medium to light body, crisp acidity, and moderate but juicy tannins. Strawberry, raspberry, and cherry are interlaced with fennel, butter, black tea, cinnamon and ripe tomato in a delicious and silky whole. Earthy aftertaste that lasts.
Pair it with cooked meats, pepper fillets and meat-appetizers.
A few years ago I was traveling in Hungary, filming and sipping wine. A beautiful country for doing both. We were staying in the heart for the capital, Budapest, and one afternoon we stopped by a small wine merchant on the corner. My buddy and I have had our share of their national treasure, Tokaij. A noble sweet wine with centuries of history, great for food pairings and late nights by the fireplace. The main, most attractive, grape for this wine is called Furmint.
Upon entering the wine shop we saw rows of bottles made with the Furmint grape. But they were all dry. It just never struck us that «off course they make dry wines as well». We stocked up and headed back to the hotel room to get to know these new acquaintances. It was a revelation. Elegant, rich and packed with delicious aromas and flavors. A new favourite grape was added to my pallet.
Our wine of the week is a jewel from this world. Limited amounts of dry, top quality Furmint reaches the shelves of Vinmonopolet every year. And when they do, they’re quickly ripped away. See if you can get your hands on a bottle and enjoy a cool experience.
The Winter Olympics har in full flow and every Norwegian is stuck in front of the TV to cheer our great Olympians. As of writing this blog Norway have won five gold medals and 12 all together so ample opportunity to celebrate! Normaly we would pop a Champagne but as readers of this blog will know, there is another country making great sparkling wine that we here love, great wine from England. So this week we celebrate with one of England finest.
The Nyetimber winery planted their first vines in 1988 and it was the holy trinity of sparkling wine grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – found a new home in the lee of the South Downs. The vines are perfectly suited to the greensand and chalk soils of Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. The gentle south-facing slopes allow for the best possible exposure to the English sunshine, ensuring the grapes achieve the optimum level of ripeness before harvest.
You can find four different wines from Nyetimber on the Vinmonopol, but it is the Classic Cuve we’re opening to celebrate our fine Olympians.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 409,90 kr'
A lovely pale golden colour. So fresh and fruity on the nose with lemon, lime and green apples. Good acidity and minerality gives adds to the length and freshness. Very easy t drink, but also has the wight to handle food. Great as an aperitif, but also will also handle most foods with ease.
The leading producer of high quality wines from Argentina, Catena Zapata, has released a new beautiful bottle. But while the bottle is new, the content is old. The blend of 60% Sémillon and 40% Chenin Blanc grapes is considered the century-old original white wine blend of Argentina. And it's a really delicious one. While I've focused mainly on Chardonnay the last few years, this has an interesting angle to it. It's very aromatic and fruity, but also with great minerality. It's also fatty and rich, but balances it all with a nice floral touch. This makes it a versatile wine, both great for enjoying alone or to pair it with a variety of foods.
The grapes comes from the Luján de Cuyo appellation, known for its clay rich soils with a layer of round stones on the bottom. Situated at 950 meters above sea, days are warm and night are cool, a perfect micro climate for this wine.
Family vintners for over 100 years, the Catenas are recognized for ther pioneering role in high-altitude viticulture in Argentina. Their winery in Mendoza is shaped like a Mayan pyramid and holds an impressive visitors centre.
In February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, we had an extensive wine trip to Mendoza. You can watch the episodes here.
Watch our episodes from Argentina here:
The world is slowly going back to our normal ways again and some of us are able to fly out of the country. That means we are also able to buy Tax Free wine. Although we love the Vinmonopol here at KulTour, there are some bargains to find at the airports. This weeks wine is one of them.
Bouchard Aîné & Fils has produced Pinot Noir in the heart of Burgundy since 1750. This weeks wine is from a regional appellation used in conjunction with the word Hautes-Côtes. The Hautes-Côtes lie parallel to the slopes on which Burgundy's Grands Crus are grown and behind the latter at a higher altitude - hence the name "Hautes-Côtes" or "high slopes". So we get fine wines that gives hints of what the great Grand Crus can deliver.
Bouchard Pére & Flis Cótes de Beaune Villages
Airport - NOK 205,-
Vinmonopol - 307,90
Bouchard Pére & Flis Cótes de Beaune VillagesVery fine and delicate on both the nose and palate. Sweet strawberries and ripe raspberries with floral hints on the nose. The berries continue in the mouth with good minerality and length. Would be great with game, grilled chicken and semi hard cheeses.
Ever had a bottle of wine from New York? Many of us mostly know American wines by Californian standards, but the state of New York is actually the third largest producer of wine in the US, after California and Washington. Vines were planted here early in the 17th century, but commercial production first picked up about 200 years later.
Americans are devoted to doing things their own way, and wine production is no exception. That’s why you’ll find a great variety of hybrid grapes in the US, and especially in New York. Catawba, Delaware, Niagara, Elvira, Ives and Isabella are some examples.
But the wines recognized as the best from New York are nevertheless made from traditional varieties, with Riesling and Chardonnay dominating.
Our wine of the week is made from a French grape, mostly grown in Bordeaux; Cabernet Franc. Here it’s mainly used as a blending grape and rarely used 100%. Even more rare is it to use this grape 100% in Finger Lakes, New York. This got my attention.
It’s made by Red Newt Cellars Winery & Bistro, located about a 5 hours drive inland west from Manhattan. It was founded by Debra and David Whiting in 1998, with first vintage sold in their bistro the year after. David made the wine and Debra ran the bistro.
Their small operation quickly gained reputation and were among the US top 100 wineries in 2011.
David gave the reigns of winemaking to Kelby Russel in 2014, who is behind our wine of the week.
The 2020 Cabernet Franc is made in line with Loire traditions, rather than Bordeaux. Focusing on bringing out the herbal expression and good concentration in the fruit, with good acidity. A very well made wine at a great price.
We all know the Ray Charles song that takes you to the Peach state, where the nights are long and warm, the fruit is sweet and the wine is great …? No, not that’s the wrong Georgia! This week we’re of to Caucasus and the country that is the oldest wine producing country in the world.
We haven’t talked to much about Georgian wine here at Kultour, but wines from this country has had a bit of a renaissance the last few years. Coming on the heels of the Natural wine wave, Georgian wine has been a hit among hipsters all around the world. But you don’t need a long beard and to live on Grünerløkka to enjoy these wines, there are many on offer at Vinmonopolet and this weeks wine is both affordable, good quality and a great introduction to a new, but old, wine region.
Winiverias Saperavi is made from the local grape that gives the name to the wine, Saperavi. The juice is stored in large clay vats called quervi, that are built into the ground. Here the wine is spntanously fermented and then tapped unfiltered into the bottles. The method reminds us of Natural wine and it has the shady look of a natural wine, but the flavour is nice and clean. A great wine to introduce wine from Georgia.
Winiveria Saperavi 2019 - 215,-
A beautiful dark red, almost purple colour. Wild cherry and plum on the nose. Reminds me of the fruits and berries you get in Hardanger (moreller and plommer). Cherry continues on the palate. Very freshand fruity. Nicely integrated tannins and good acidity. Just a very good, good wine!
Merry Christmas everybody. As we unwind another strange and troubled year we look back at some of the wines that made our hearts melt and minds spring to life. With these bottles we wish you all the best for the upcoming festive season and we’ll be back next year with new bottles of wine to taste and recommend.
I often get questions on what bottles people should buy as gifts. This week I bring you such a bottle. But it’s also a perfect treat for yourself, a treasure for cellaring and a wildly cool wine to pair with seasonal winter food. A couple of weeks back Vinmonopolet had their November release of wines. A highly anticipated release due to a number of reasons. One of them; top end Americans.
Ridge Vineyards have been, and still is, a symbol of top end wines from USA. A steadfast producer who never fails to deliver exceptional quality. Their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Chardonnay is virtually impossible to get your hands on. And their legendary Cabernet Sauvignon from Montebello Vineyard is beyond rare to find.
Ridge is also famous for their exceptional work with the Zinfandel grape. With Lytton Springs and Geyserville being the flagships. But over the last years these too have become tricky to find. The 19. vintage, that was released just now, is now only available at a few selected stores.
A few years ago, we made a story from Piemonte and visited the Brandini winery. Beautifully situated just outside La Morra in the heart of Barolo with stunning views over the valley this relatively small vinery wasn’t just known for their superb wine but also because of the two innovative sisters that run this vinery. At that time, their wines were not available in Norway but now they have arrived at our shores, and that is about time if you ask us!
Giovanna and Serena Bagnasco took charge of the Brandini Winery in 2007 together with their parents. The make a wide range of wines, the usual suspects from Piemonte - Barolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Langhe Bianco, Arneis, Moscato d’Asti – and the subject of this weeks wine – a Langhe Nebbiolo.
The grape Nebbiolo reigns supreme in Piemonte, and anyone who has had Barolo and Babaresco knows why. But not all of the Nebbiolo grapes are used for these super wines. Some vines are too young, they grow in the wrong places, the reasons are many, but they produce great wines and often at a very good price. Brandinis Filiari Corte Langhe Nebbiolo, which you can find in the Vinmonopolet now, is just like that, a great buy. Here you will get a lot of wine for you money. A wine you can consume now or even leave in the cellar for a few years to see how it develops.
We're heading to Uruguay for a delicious bottle of white. The country set between Brazil and Argentina might be new to you, wine vice, but they produce a fair amount in this beautiful country. It's the forth largest producer of wine in South America with about 67.000 tonns of wine yearly. Their wines being less known around the world is mainly because they pretty much keep it to themselves and drink it all. Only a handful of bottles make it out on the open market.
Our wine of the week comes from Bodega Garzon. Recognised as the number one winery from the New World in 2018. They run a fantastic operation focusing in sustainability and terroir. It's a modern type winery, where innovative techniques are crossed with years of history. They produce a lovely red on the Tannat grape, but the white made on the Albariño grape, is just recently available and a great bottle.
For some years now, English wines have been reaching a standard we would only see from more famous regions in France. Especially the sparkling wines have gotten fantastic and deserved reviews all over the world, but now the still wines are starting to make a splash as well. The Simpson estate is located not far from the historic town of Canterbury. The famous cathedral there have attracted pilgrims since the untimely death of Thomas Beckett in 1170. As followers of Kultour will know we like Christian munks and pilgrims, they bring wine and other goods with them wherever they travel, but getting wine to England have taken some time.
The Simpsons estate planted their first vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier in 2014. In a very short time they have established themselves as producers of wines of high, high quality. Vinmonopolet carry several of their wines and we love all of them, but this weeks wine is the Gravel Road Chardonnay. The 2020 vintage is only the third vintage they have produced but it’s an exceptional wine and you will find it here in Norway at a great price.
Most of us have had a glass of Chablis at one point. It’s from the greatest wine region in the world, Burgundy, and it goes very well with Norwegian seafood. Check.
But I’m going to guess that most of us only have tasted young Chablis. Because that’s what’s normally available at the store.
A fully ripe bottle of Chablis is a completely different ballgame. During years of storage fruit flavours develop personality and the acidity becomes like your grandmother. Rounder, mellow and very likeable.
Lemon flavours can turn to dried lemon peel or candied lemons. The smell of fresh herbs can develop into dried flowers or an autumn forest. Yellow apples can turn to baked apple pie. It’s really fantastic; take my word for it.
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix is a renowned producer in Chablis and has been available at Vinmonopolet for years. They have just released their 2006 vintage and it’s widely available both at stores around the country and online.
It’s a bargain like no other, so be quick if you wanna taste this treasure.
The Basque region of Spain is considered the country’s Mecca for fine dining. San Sebastian and Bilbao has a range of fine restsurants with an abundance of Michelin stars. With fine dining comes great wines. Often the wines from Rioja, Douru and Penedes are considered the best from Spain, but the local wines from the Basque country are getting better and better. Hiruzta is a Txakoli wine that combines classicism and modernity. It is made from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape, grown in the winery’s own vineyards in Hondarribia and fermented at its state-of-the-art facility. Produced in at an exceptional winery equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
The winery’s own 17 ha. Vineyard is located in the surroundings of the winery itself, at the foothills of Jaizkibel Mountain. It is oriented towards the mid-day sun which protects it from the wind and damp of the nearby Cantabrian sea, thereby enjoying excellent sunshine. Trellis grown vineyard using double Guyot training system. Plantation layout: 2.60 x 1.20 (3,200 strains/hectare). Soil with a thick bedrock layer and clayish marly.