Wineweek 62: Back to Basics

Greetings from three feet of snow! Life has returned to its tracks after the long trip to Asia. I have been in Helsinki all week presenting my Stockholm travel guide at the Nordic Travel Fair. I actually thought until this week that they would have the Helsinki Wine Expo at the same time (I was planning to sneak over for a few tasters) but discovered that it is not until March. What a disappointment. I must say it is winter at its deepest in Finland. The ground is covered in a lawyer of ice with fluffy piles of fresh snow. It is a real winter wonderland, the kind that you would like to see on Christmas, but wish would be gone soon after. It is very pretty, but the temperatures are shocking. When I landed in Helsinki the thermometer showed -23C. Brutal!

On a weather like this the wine of choice would definitely be a spicy full red. Perhaps a nice Syrah. However, I have been sipping on sparkling all weekend. I am just so predictable. Friday afternoon I attended a Dom Pérignon champagne tasting at our cellar in Stockholms Östermalm, and yesterday we had a bottle of J.L. Vergnon Confidence blanc de blancs 2008 while visiting some friends. A very nice toasty vintage with that lovely 2008 fruitiness. We also did a return visit to Sinne Helsinki, one of the best wine spots in the capital city. This time we sampled their non-alcoholic selection. M had a very nice alcohol-free sparkling cider with sweet apple and honey taste. I am such a fan of places that make an effort also on the non-alcoholic side.

But perhaps more about the champagne tasting on Friday. I must admit that this is the first time I tried Dom Pérignon. It is a bit out of my everyday price range and I am always a bit more skeptical about the big brands. So, I was quite excited to get the chance. We sampled the 2005 magnum, the 2004, and the 2003 rose. All very different and young. Dom Pérignon is one of those powerful bubblies that requires age and time. The wines needed at least 30min (and five to ten more years) to breathe in the glass to reach an optimum. After the wines had opened up they were extremely pleasant. Fruity and full with fine bubbles. After this tasting I however decided to leave the one 2004 that we have in our cellar alone for another decade.

I also learned some interesting facts about Dom Pérignon. Firstly they only use two grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The ratio varies from year to year, but the general cut is 50/50. I also learned that the 2005 vintage is a small batch and thought that perhaps we should invest in a bottle. 2005 was a poor year with harvest, but the grapes that were picked were of good quality (Dom Pérignon does not make a vintage unless they have a good quality grapes). This has resulted in the 2005 vintage selling out in the monopoly in a very short time.

I will not make another post about Sinne as my previous review is still valid. I am still slightly annoyed that they do not clearly communicate prices when recommending wines by the glass (if it’s something not on the basic list). Sinne has a really nice selection of Rieslings, but they can have quite a hefty price tag f one is not perceptive. I can just add that the burger was a hit regardless of the staff being a bit inflexible with the meat. It was either medium or well done; medium rare or any other variation was not an option (and for 23€ it damn well should be). I had the reindeer with mashed potatoes, pickles and lingonberries, a very traditional Finnish dish. It was well made but slightly boring. Or perhaps it was just missing a good wine to spice it up.

Next week will be busy as always. I am especially excited about Saturday as we will be having dinner at Spritgrafiska, the Stockholm museum of alcohol. Their restaurant is said to have one of the best wine-lists in town. I should perhaps have a look around the museum as well.

Have a great week and keep warm!

xx Soile


J.L. Vergnon Confidence
Smooth lighting at Sinne Helsinki
The non-alcoholic sparkling tasted of sweet apples and honey
Ham crew!
Some fresh Riesling to start the dinner
Rudolf with some pickles
Sinne Deli
Sinne burger
The Nordic Travel Fair
The Mondo-stage
A tired but happy exhibitor ready to return to Stockholm


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