Everything is blossoming. Nature is shifting gear and brighter days are ahead. For many this also means lighter choices when it comes to wine.
This last winter we presented one of the great reds from this Chateau in Beaujolais, France. Our wine pick off the week is their lovely white. Grape is 100% Chardonnay and the vintage is 2018.
Cherry blossoming at Grünerløkka this week.
Choosing wine to go with your barbecue can be difficult at times. There are many different flavours to consider and often there are elements that can be very dominant and put everything else, especially the wine, in the shadows. But there are a few things you can remember when finding a good wine to accompany the food. Because there are a lot of great wines that are made with the barbecue in mind. With that lets look at what you need to consider.
What’s on the grill?
The first is easily enough, but there are some things to consider here as well. Because you don’t have as much control with the heat on the grill as you do in your kitchen you will get more of a burnt crust on both the meats and the vegetables. And let’s be honest, that’s why we use the grill, we want that burnt hard, often caramelized crust that gives that extra spice to the dish. So, consider the burning.
Then of course there is the meat. Beef, pork, sausages, everything is used on the grill and they do get a different sensation when grilled.
Some try fish and that can be fantastic, but you must take more care to the fragile loins when grilling fish.
And then there is vegetables. Many like to change up the grill with some nice crisp vegetables to change the dish up a bit and have a more complete meal. Eggplant, squash, carrots, corn or pepper, there are many great vegetables that taste fantastic when grilled properly.
But know what we said in the beginning, with the delicate flavours of the meats, fish, or vegetable, you will get a burnt sensation as well and you will need to find something that complements this.
And let’s not forget about the sauce! Grill sauces tend to be quite sweet and full bodied and they have a lot to say when choosing the wine. Often it can be smart to start with the sauce when choosing a wine. Is it sweet and “American” or is it more of a savoury sauce, or maybe it’s very spicy! This will be particularly important when choosing a wine.
One grape stands out
When traveling all around the world we almost always find that the food and wine made in the place we are visiting are made with regards to each other. So, when choosing a good barbecue wine we should look to the countries with great barbecue traditions. USA, Australia, South Africa, and Italy have great barbecue tradition, but Argentina stands out even in this crowd. They lover their barbecue like we Norwegians love our skiing! If it isn’t barbecued it isn’t food might as well be the country’s slogan. And when drinking the Argentinian wine, you get a sense of this as well. Because the Malbec grape is perfect for barbecue. It has an inherent sweetness to it, much like the Riesling has in Germany. The wines are dry but feel sweet. And this sweetness is perfect with the burnt sensation that we get with food that has been on the BBQ. And being a Bordeaux grape, it also has some tannins, although they are finer than the ones we would find in France, so the wines can handle the fat from the meats or the sauce. It really is a match made in heaven.
Now a BBQ dish isn’t too refined most of the times. This is a meal that is meant for sharing and being among friends outside. So you don’t have to go for the most expensive and refined wines. Save those for another time. When barbequing you want an easy going wine that complements what comes of the grill.
But let’s not forget that there are other options as well. Of grapes that should suit BBQ very close to the top of my list you will find Cabernet Sauvignon. Most famous for being the main grape of the left bank Bordeaux wines a good Cab has a lot of structure and can have a lot of fine sweetness to it as well, especially in the new world wines. Mostly these wines will handle fatty meats and rich sauces.
And when in Italy, you will of course try and Italian wine. A good Barbera from the Piemonte or a Sangiovese from Tuscany will be perfect with a lot of BBQ’s.
And let’s not forget the whites. With the fish dishes you can use any of your favourite white wines, but I find that a good Chardonnay with finely integrated oak has the right weight to handle the burnt character of a BBQ.
The BBQ is a social happening so for the lazy days you will meet up with friends in a park or by the sea, get a reasonably priced wine. If you have invited someone over to you garden and are going to impress, like Finn-Erik likes to do, then you can splurge for a more pricy wine.
Alamos Malbec 2018 – 136,90
This is a safe bet at any BBQ. High quality and at a very reasonable price. It has the right mix of natural sweetness and good structure to handle most BBQ’s. Pop and pour.
Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – 136,90
A little bit more structure as you would expect from the Cabernet, but still a fine choice with any BBQ. Try this with a good beef.
Catena Chardonnay 2018 – 179,90
Should you want a white, why not try this great buy. It fresh and fine and with a great fruitiness to it, but also finely integrated oak that gives the right amount of weight so that it can handle almost anything you throw on the BBQ
Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2013 – 400,00
When trying to impress, this is a great wine to find. A Bordeaux blend, but with 50% Malbec it has a bit more structure and weight to it, more refined and is more complex. This is the wine you choos when inviting guest over to use the newly bought Weber grill!
I choose April – so said the famous Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in his poem from 1869. And he was probably thinking of days like the ones we are having now, with beautiful weather all over the country, sunshine and temperatures closer to 20 than 0. So, inspired by him, we had to choose something Norwegian for this weeks wine.
As we do not grow wine in Norway – yet – this weeks wine is a cider. And followers of this blog will know – we LOVE Norwegian cider. It’s so sharp and precise in both it’s bouquet and in the mouth. And as spring time is also perfect for Rosé wines we have chosen a Rosé cider for this weeks recommendation.
The producer Åkre Gard is located on the west side of the South Fjord in Hardanger and have established themselves as one of the best cider producers here. The cider from them tends to be a bit more acidic, maybe because of the climate is a bit colder than for example in Ulvik? That means the cider is often very sharp and precise and great with food. Their rose though is perfect to enjoy by itself. So delicate and fine it just makes you want to drink more and more.
Åkre Gard Edel Rosesider - 159,90 kr
Such a beautiful rose colour! I can admire this the whole day long. The raspberries dominate the bouquet with hints of red apples in the back. It is such a fine scent of fruits and berries, like walking through a garden when it is ripening. In the mouth there is a sweet feeling at first, but the acid soon kicks in to give a perfect sense of balance. This will work perfectly with salads and barbeques, but let’s be honest – you will have drunk every drop long before the food comes to the table. Pure pink perfection indeed!
This is a returning favourite and its back with yet another brilliant vintage. This white Beaujolais from master producer Jean Paul Brun is a catch for palette and wallet.
We first visited Jean Paul Brun back in 2010 and really fell in love with his wines.
You can check out one of our first ever Kultour stories here:
This brilliant man makes fantastic reds, a wonderful Cremant and our wine of the week that is his white. Made from higher altitude vineyards, hand picked grapes and only using natural wild yeast. It's a 100% Chardonnay, no storage on oak and a minimum of 6 months in the bottle. It's a lot of wine for the price.
A Happy Easter to everybody. We hope people are being able to relax in these strange and sometimes troubling times. When we are all stuck inside, quarantined with our loved ones, or just ourselves, so enjoying a good bottle of wine at the end of the day will for the readers of this blog be a welcoming time of the day. For this week’s wine we have travelled to the sane country in North America – you know – the country with a leader that actually knows how to lead.
Canada isn’t perhaps the a country most people think of when it comes to wine. We think of Canada as a cold country, more like Norway than a the wine growing countries we know in Europe. But Canada has been producing wine for over 200 years and the Vikings did call it Vinland …
This week’s wine comes from Quails Gate, situated in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The vines are beautifully situated above Lake Okanagan and are all south facing so the get a lot of sun exposure. The soils are rich with volcanic rock, clay, gravel and glacial till adding to the great minerality and freshness of the wines.
Quails' Gate Chardonnay 2016 – 200,- kr
At first whiff of this wine I thought I was mistaken and had opened a Chablis! High praise indeed, but deserved. There were also some great and pleasant lime notes. In the mouth good acidity and minerality that gave the wine a freshness to it. The flavours ranged from pear and lemon to vanilla, butter and walnuts. A great and complex wine.
I've been swimming around in quite a few Chianti bottles over the last months. With both the excellent 2015 and 2016 vintages hitting the marked, it's been a joy to keep tasting.
I usually enjoy Chianti during fall and winter, but with the weekend coming up and spring taking a break I'm staying on track.
The beautiful winery is situated in commune of Radda in Chianti and produces traditional, organic and sustainable wines. I've selected their main house wine, and this is great value for money.
These are strange times indeed! A couple of weeks into isolation and I am glad I have a wine fridge and I have been going to it regularly. This week’s wine comes from a region not known for it’s white wines which is a shame because they are really good and often come at a really good price.
The Cotes du Rhône has many times featured as our wine of the week but mostly the red. And that’s natural, the reds are much more famous here than the white wines. But they do make excellent white wines here, featuring mostly three grapes – Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. This week’s wine has a blend of all three of those grapes with some Grenache Blanc added in for good measures. The Domaine is called Domanie de l’Echevin and is a single estate covering 14,5 hectares located on the commune of Saint Maurice. The grapes grow facing this small and cosy village situated in between Avignon and Montélimar and also facing south so they get the good sun exposure. The result is a good representation of what good white wines from this area can produce.
Dom. de l´Echevin Guillaume de Rouville Blanc 2017 - 264,30 kr
Great nose of typical white Rhône qualities, peach and other tropical fruits and hints of honey. In the mouth good structure and weight. The plush fruit palate is well oaked, finishing long. Young, juicy Viognier with peach and herbal tones. Rounded but also quite grippy, showing varietal richness with pitch-perfect balancing acidity. Polished and very well-made.
I remember that wonderful smell walking, as a child, through the raspberry garden of my buddy Terje, up in northern Norway. It would be the end of July and school was on the horizon. But with a few weeks left off summer vacation, we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted, as long as we stayed outside. And every day between playing, we would wonder into this magical berry garden and pick a couple of ripe raspberries. They were huge, juicy and sweet. Then Terjes mother would come out on the balcony and order us away, not to eat all of her crop :)
Our wine of the week is a beautiful bottle from Beaujolais in Burgundy, France. This wine takes me back to that garden and those wonderful smells.
Domaine Saint-Cyr is actually on e of our favourite producers of both Pet Nat and rosé. And now also this rich and fruit driven red Beaujolais.
Grape is 100% Gamay and parts of the vineyards used are more than 70 years old. This contributes to an enormous complexity that suits this style of winemaking very well.
We are in the middle of editing our episode from Argentina and seeing the pictures from our stay brings backs some really good memories. The fantastic nature, beautiful vineyards, lovely people and of course great wines. This week’s wine is one of my favourites from our trip.
When you visit Mendoza the first ting you are struck by is the mighty Andes mountains. The rise up like a gigantic wall that the city lies in the shadow of- Majestic and grand they define the city in so many ways. When driving around you will see vineyards almost everywhere. You get the sense that wine is very important here, both by what you see and what people are telling you. Everybody either works with wine or knows someone who does.
In 1992 Nicolas Catena Zapata wanted to challenge the traditional ways of making wine and thought about how he could “stress” the grapes more. As we know, grapes produce the best juice when they have difficult growing conditions. Around the city the grapes were doing fine, but no one had tried to plant further up in the mountains. So, he planted what has become the Adrianna vineyards at about 1450 meters above sea level. Here the climate is cooler, with hot days and cold nights. This stresses the grapes and makes for more concentrated grape juice. But also important was the varied terroir. Inspired by the French theory that quality depends mostly on terroir. The Catena winery did a lot of research into the terroir in and around Mendoza and especially in the high-altitude plots.
They made some startling discoveries: The alluvial soils from Mendoza are not homogenous. In other words, in the same vineyard, within short distances, there are both physical and chemical soil differences, resulting in vineyard lots or parcels with unique characteristics. As a result, each vineyard lot gives origin to its own unique wine with very specific flavours and aromas. Laura Catena, Nicolas Catena’s daughter, who herself is a doctor and biologist has had a research department instilled in the winery where they now are in the forefront of the world when it comes to scientifically understanding terroir and its impact on the wine.
The wines from these high-altitude vineyards were by far the best we tasted in Mendoza. Both the Malbec’s, but perhaps mostly the Chardonnays showed an uniqueness and crispness that I don’t think I had tasted in a Chardonnay before.
I recently spent two weeks in Lofoten and lucky me, it was Skrei season! As most people will know Skreis is the fantastic cod fish that comes to Lofoten every winter to spawn. It is big, delicate and in our opinion the best fish in the world.
The locals make a fantastic fish dish called "Skreimølje" which is the cod boiled, with boiled potatoes, roe and cod liver. You top it of with a god portion of melted butter. It is FANTASTIC! We have actually made an episode of Oldemors Kokebok on it, check out the link:
Now there are some good wine and food combinations in the world. Just think of a Muscadet sur Lie with oysters, a Sautern with a Roquefort cheese and a jucy beef with a Bordeaux red with some age. But few things a better than Skrei with a central Burgundy white. It something about the delicate fish with butter, a sligh saltyness, but not to much that goes fatastic with the fresh and fruity Chardonnay. You can have almost all of the Burgundy whites and use with this dish, but if you are traveling you can get a good buy at the tax free at the moment and that is this weeks wine.
Louis Jadot - Les Deux Versants Saint Véran - 159,00 Kr
Light and fresh chardonnay from the outskirts of Macon. Great lenght and good acidity that is well integrated. Good lengt and body that serves it well when it is enjoyed with food. The typical lemon and lime flavours with hints of tropical fruits as well.