I come from Helsinki. This is the city where I was born and raised, and the city where most of my family and friends still reside. It is wonderful to live out here in Stockholm, but my heart will always be (partly) in Helsinki. Next week, I will be heading “home” for summer vacation. As an entrepreneur, I seldom have actual vacation, the type where one can just lounge around worriless for weeks. However, as my current clients office is closed during the summer months, I have a chance to concentrate on something else, and it doesn’t matter where I sit with my laptop. I might as well then sit with a good cup of coffee, or even better, a good glass of wine.
Spending a week and a half in Helsinki means that I will be separated from my wonderful cellar of wines. So, I have listed some great places in Helsinki to go for a glass. These are places that have good knowledge on wine and a reputable selection by the glass.
1. One of my absolute favorite hangouts in Helsinki is Latva Bar. It is located in Kaartinkaupunki, just a few streets south of the center. It is a cozy cellar space with a few tables and chairs outside. Nothing fancy. The drinks-list however will satisfy even the more demanding wine-geek, with several different champagnes, and up to ten whites and reds by the glass, as well as a comprehensive selection of micro-brewery beers. Latva is owned by the same restaurant group as Juuri, a Finnish-restaurant is located just a few doors down. So one can order some of the sapas (Suomi-tapas = Finnish tapas) and desserts to enjoy at the bar.
2. I very recently wrote about Sinne Helsinki, a new restaurant and bar in the center of Helsinki. The selection of wines is amazing by the bottle and also worth the visit if one wants only to indulge by the glass. When visiting the last time, they had daily rotating wines, so it is always interesting to check out what is on the list of bubblies. I love places where you can just pop in and ask what they have open.
3. Vin vin is The place to go for wine later in the evening. It is smack in the center just off the main street Mannerheimintie. The bar is owned by a Finnish importer of wines, Viinitie, and serve out their own selection. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and many of the wines served are from small estates produced bio-dynamically. Prices eher are extremely reasonable with 7€ for the house bubbly and 11€ for the house Champagne (which was a vintage Pierre Gimonet by the way last I visited). Recently the same owner opened another bar caller BierBier in Kaartinkaupunki. Guess what they focus on there.
4. The old apothecary Carelia is located close to the Opera. They have a great selection of Rieslings, Pinot Noir and champagne for a very reasonable price. As always, the most interesting stuff is by the bottle, so if you are up for it this is the place to come for great champagne. The food is also excellent. Traditional dishes made exceptionally well. I recommend the beef tartar and Entrecote with Bernaise. The sommelier is an absolute pearl and my childhood best friend. We very recently laughed about how on earth we both ended up so interested in wine.
Helsinki Wine-City, here I come! I am looking forward to indulging in the beautiful July weather, seeing all my friends and having some great glasses of wine. I will also be sitting in cafes, working on a secret project. Yes, I have a new project, which I will reveal when it is ready in August. I am venturing into some new areas, so I might need a glass of wine or two to calm down the nerves. But there is nothing like pushing yourself to do something new, and I am looking forward to seeing the results.