Time to Take a Break

This post has been lingering at my fingertips for a long time – Its time for me to admit it that I need a break. I have been writing the Winecurious for more than three years (maybe four) and there is a lot of love in these pages and it pains me to stop trying. However, time is something that is precious, and I have come to the conclusion that I need to dedicate it to other things. Mostly my family and Tripsteri. Continue reading “Time to Take a Break”

Three Simple Steps to Mastering Mixology

I don’t even remember when the word mixology started popping up. I think its around the same time as the prohibition-theme took over bars, and a large mass of young professionals moved on from fruity Daiquiris and Pina Coladas to artisan gin and different expressions of a Dark n’ Stormy. A Bartender was no longer a bartender, but a mixologist, and the cocktail was no longer just a drink, it was a piece of culinary delight. A new era of making cocktails had begun… or I just got older, who knows. Continue reading “Three Simple Steps to Mastering Mixology”

Midsummer Memories

I am still recovering from Midsummer. Not from staying up late or having wine. Just all the excitement around seeing so many friends and family. There is so much to talk about when we see each other and never enough time to really catch up. I think quite many were even surprised to hear that we have a wine company. Luckily we brought samples so that everyone could get a taste for what we do. We spent Midsummer in the Helsinki archipelago enjoying a typical Midsummer chill and drizzle. Continue reading “Midsummer Memories”

Happy Midsummer!

It is the eve of Midsummer here in Finland. One of those days that people leave their jobs early and the town quiets down already at lunch-time. I am also in the need for a vacation. I can feel it in every part of my body. I am just aching for a glass of wine and it is not even four o-clock yet. Tonight will thank fully bring some relief as we are going for dinner at my favorite restaurant in Helsinki, Chef & Sommelier. I know, I know, we were just there a few months ago, but it is so good. Continue reading “Happy Midsummer!”

The Symptoms of Wine Depreviation

I did not expect to be suffering from a lack of wine at this time. End of cold and dark January. I was prepared for a break during our Asia trip, but now that I am surrounded by my cellar, M has embarked on this “no wine for a month”- challenge. The whole situation is leading to a bit of a writers block.  Continue reading “The Symptoms of Wine Depreviation”

How to Make a Wine-Calendar

Every year we have been together, M has made me a Christmas calendar. Usually it has been small presents: chocolates, candles and knickknacks. Nothing expensive, just something cute or practical. Last year, however, I was in for a big surprise. M had made me a wine-calendar. How awesome is that!

As the wine-calendar is one of my favorite things ever, I thought I would share the idea with you on how to make one for a wine-loving partner, friend or just yourself. There is nothing better than opening a wine-surprise first thing in the morning while waiting for Christmas.

Continue reading “How to Make a Wine-Calendar”

Wine-up Your Event

Like weddings? And other big events? Me too! However, I seldom find the wines served very interesting. It is not easy arranging quality drinks for a hundred people without it being heavy on the wallet. A few weeks back, we attended a wedding in Finland that was a pleasant exception. I kind of knew it would be as the couple are as winecurious as me (and the groom revealed what would be served as aperitif even before the date was set). Actually, their big day did not only have a serving of good wine, the whole event was organized to reflect the couples interest in the topic. I really loved these details and thought it would be nice to share them with you (with the couples consent of course). So here are a few tips on how to “wine-up” you event.

1. Accessories: The theme was reflected already at the church as small bottles of bubbles were handed out to greet the newlyweds exciting the building. The small champagne bottle soap bubbles were elegant and cute and I was able to snatch one home. The space also had some nice wine-details, like the place-card holders and wine bottles candlesticks.

2. Games: The couple was intent on serving good and interesting wine on their big day, but that kind of bottles come with a price. However, they have a very nice wine cellar that they decided to utilize for the occasion. As there were no wines in the cellar reaching the number of bottles required to serve everyone, they picked different bottles and held a wine-quiz. The winning group (of around 6 people) could go to the table and pick a bottle first, the second could go second and so on. The quiz was more about the couples wine-adventures than actual wine-knowledge, so one didn’t need to be an oenologist to win (luckily we had one in our group though as it came handy in some of the questions regarding the couples cellar). A wonderful and fun game with a prize I really wanted to win. We picked a great 2003 shiraz from Kay Brothers. It was a real treat with the lamb main course.

3. Beverages. For beverages, the couple invested in a great aperitif (and of course the wine game). They had bought magnum bottles of Palmer & Co Vintage (2002) Champagne. A magnum is often a better buy than a regular 0,75l bottle and for a big event, it makes sense to open some. Other wines had been selected by arranging wine-tasting among friends before the big day and by ordering larger quantities online. Finland is an expensive country when it comes to alcohol, so utilizing the free movement of goods within the EU, many nice wines are found cheaper in eg Germany and France. One must be aware of the customs rules though, so read up before you make your order. A good tip is also to take a cruise on the boats between Finland and Sweden. Many nicer wines can be found on the boat tax free. Bring friends though, as the maximum amount of alcohol that one can bring to land is 4l (5 bottles each).

A cozy atmosphere, wonderful wines and great friends: a memorable day indeed. We are already married, but if we ever arrange a big event, this is what I want our day to look like. And even before that, I am snatching the idea of the place-card holders.

How to Enjoy your Sparkling on May 1st

This Thursday I will skip cocktails as it is somewhat of a special day. April 30th is the eve of Vappu, a day when we Finns pop open the sparkling and wreck havoc on the streets. Traditionally May 1st is Labor day. It is a carnival for celebrating workers students and the arrival of spring; and April 30th is just when we start the festivities. We Finns (and Swedes alike) are so excited about the thought of an approaching summer, that we pack our picnic baskets with mini-sausages and sparkling wine, and head to the parks – even if it rains and is +5 degrees (C). So today, I decided to re-post some of my tips for drinking sparkling wine, so at least your champagne will taste awesome if the weather-man lets you down. These tips are from Richard Julin, the champagne guru of Sweden:

Nothing better on May 1st than some Peret Fuster Cava
Nothing better on May 1st than some Peret Fuster Cava
1. You should have a right glass when drinking champagne. Tulip shaped. I wonder if there are any picnic-safe plastic ones available. Otherwise, if you pack some real table ware, opt for the glasses (the mini-sausage will taste the same from a plastic plate).

2. Don’t drink the champagne too cold. If you have had it in the ice bucket, its too chilled. Take the champagne from the fridge, wait 5 minutes, then pour. Perhaps if you are on a picnic, you can use one of those wine-cooling sleeves to keep an optimal temperature (or if it is below 8C, the outside weather is enough to simulate a fridge-temperature). It’s better to pour a little bit at a time and refill to make sure the champagne does not get too warm in the glass.

3. When it comes to food, Champagne goes well with food that has salt, fat and acidity. Avoid bitterness, sweetness and spiciness in foods and if using vegetables pre-cook them instead of having them raw. For a picnic some nice charcuterie, creamy Pata Negra and salty ham will fit well with the acidity of champagne. Perhaps even those mini-sausages can be a good pairing, at least of you spice it up with some humor.

So wishing you a great Vappu and May 1st celebrations. May the weather be warm and your champagne cold (historically it has been the other way around), and most of all, may you have a wonderful company to share the holiday with

The Liebster Award – Answers and nominations

We have been lucky enough to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Becky Ellis who runs the blog https://beckysbubblesblog.wordpress.com 

There are a lot of nice recipes and wine recommendations on her blog so well worth a visit (or why not two, three or more).

The following rules are associated with the Liebster Award:

  1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post and let them know you answered their questions.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award that have fewer than 200 followers.
  4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

My 11 Questions from Becky:

1.  What was the catalyst for you to become a blogger?

The idea behind our blog was to share our journey of starting a wine business (with very little industry experience) in the monopoly driven Nordic countries. We also wanted to share our passion with interesting recommendations on wine, food and coffee.

2. Do you prefer books, magazines or e-books and why?

I must say that there is something special with a real book. I like the browsing, flipping of pages and that it somehow feels more real than an e-book and more lasting than a magazine.

3.  Favorite champagne glass – flute or coupe?

Actually neither, I prefer a larger wine glass. My absolute favorite is the white wine glasses from Austrian glass maker Zalto, see http://www.zaltoglas.at/de_sort_weis.php

4. Item in your kitchen you can’t live without.

The Coravin. It is the best wine-investment ever. 

5.  Where do you go to relax?

I love to sit on the balcony (all Finns do), with a cup of coffee and look out at the water.

6.  Advice for a beginning blogger?

Decide what you want to achieve with the blog, make it clear what topics you will cover and stick to that.

7.  Who inspires you to continue blogging and why?

All the great bloggers out there. It is one of my favorite things on quiet moments to read some blogs and gather inspiration. Bloglovin is a great app to keep up with whats happening on other blogs. One of the big inspirations is Talk-a-vino who has an excellent blog where he manages to write about wine in an inspiring and knowledgeable way without sounding snobbish.

8.  Favorite food and wine pairing?

Will go for the fun recommendation from champagne guru Richard Juhlin and say champagne with bacon and eggs.

9.  Favorite celebratory beverage?

Nice dry sparkling wine, currently it would likely be the Rimarts 40 month Gran Reserva. Rimarts is a wonderful Cava producer that will also be featured in our selection this summer.

10. Where would you like to travel that relates directly to your blog?

I would like to do a proper tour of Sonoma and Napa. Our last trip was just a scretch on the surface and tasting all the great wines from the region makes me feel California has so much to offer.

11. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

The tasting menu at the Ledbury in tough competition with the New Year’s Eve tasting menu at Kitchen Table. Both wonderful restaurants in London.

The Coravin - My favorite  wine accesory
The Coravin – My favorite wine accesory

I nominate the following very nice blogs for the Liebster award:

Here are your 11 questions to answer:

1. Which country is your favorite wine country?

2. What other blog would you recommend in addition to your own blog?

3. If you are not drinking wine, what are you drinking?

4. What is your favorite wine accessory?

5. Name your favorite wine bar and why it is your favorite?

6. What was it that made you interested in wine?

7. What is your goal with blogging?

8. For your last meal ever what would you like to have?

9. What is your favorite sparkling wine?

10. How many bottles of wine do you have at home?

11. What is your worst wine purchase ever?