Wineweek 43: Fall Tasting

I must say I am a bit torn about Sundays. It’s usually the calmest day of the week with ample time to just slack off, write and eat nice food. However, I also feel the looming stress of Monday in my bones. It is not like I don’t like Mondays, I do, but the calendar is often very full resulting in Sunday being the only day of the week I can really do something creative. Then again, it is the only day to really rest. What a dilemma. Writing this blog is thankfully a combination of both.

Yesterday we had our fall tasting. The doors to our (rented) tasting room were open for anyone interested in sampling our selection. Last time we held a similar event, it was crazy. We had so many people that we did not really have any time to chat with anyone, we were just serving. Yesterday was much calmer and much more pleasant. We sampled five cavas, four reds and a white from our current selection, as well as wines from Almeida Garret (Portugal), a potential new producer for our range. We had also, as per plan, prepared proper materials to keep people on top of what they were tasting. I must say the planning and the materials paid off. I am now considering if we should have custom made Winecurious tasting books printed for handing out at our events. I wonder what they would cost..

Some birthday champagne before dinner at Woodstockholm
Some birthday champagne before dinner at Woodstockholm
It was my birthday this week
It was my birthday this week
Llagrima d'Or cooling down at tasting
Llagrima d’Or cooling down at tasting
Our tasting reds clearly numbered for easy recognition
Our tasting reds clearly numbered for easy recognition

Other interesting wine news from this week: it was my birthday and we visited Woodstockholm, a furniture store/ restaurant in Södermalm. They had both an interesting menu as well as a good wine list. We had some Dhont-Grellet Champagne, a nice field blend white from Austria, and a Bourgogne red from a Japanese grower, Koji Nakada. Very interesting wines and stories, not to mention that the food was awesome.

The tartar!
The tartar!
Bourgogne red by Japanese Koji Nakada
Bourgogne red by Japanese Koji Nakada

The coming week will be tough. We will both be travelling, myself to Edinburgh and M to Antwerp. I will be meeting up with a fellow wine geek from Austria so I am expecting some exploration of the Edinburgh wine-scene (the Scots are more into whisky though). Friday we will be going (again) to Punk Royale (review here) and over the weekend we will have some friends visiting from Finland. Sunday, we will be closing our September order window and organizing transport for our customers in Stockholm. I should also be contacting some of our friends in Sant Sadurni to let them know we are coming to Cavatast. Phooh! That was it for the relaxing Sunday, looking at the agenda I better get back to work. Have a great week you all!

Wineweek 42: Fall Thoughts and the Best Deal on Champagne in Town

Good evening from rainy Stockholm! It is Sunday again and we are enjoying a lazy afternoon at home. The past week has been hard; Not only due to every project landing on us at the same time, but the news…I am sure you have seen it. But what has made me extremely happy in the recent days is the headlines being filled with countries and companies extending their hand to help the ones in need. We are a small company, but we want to help too. So we decided to donate our September profit to charity; SOS Children’s Villages to be exact. Our profits are seldom very big, so we will probably put some extra money on top; But if you want to contribute, come to our tasting on Saturday and/or make your fall wine purchases from the Winecurious.

Some of the most interesting findings this week were made in the grocery store. Our neighborhood supermarket just happens to have a small deli inside with a license to serve wine. It’s not a real wine bar or such, but you can buy some fresh food to have there and a glass of wine as companion. We were sopping for dinner on Monday when we just, out of curiosity, took a peak at the wine-list. There it was, a vintage (2008) Palmer & Co. by the glass for only 90 SEK (10 EUR). That must be the best deal on champagne in town. I believe I will volunteer to do the shopping from now on (and I suspect that M will too). The environment is not the coziest in town, but hey, you cant have everything.

We also did some nice dining during the week. After a “long” summer pause, we visited our fave restaurant, Matkonsulatet. They had some nice new wines on the list. The red in the picture is from Teneriffe. I also enjoyed some traditional Swedish cuisine at restaurant Asplunds. Hmm. I wonder what kid of red would go with reindeer, mashed potatoes and lingonberries?

The wine list at the local supermarket
The wine list at the local supermarket
This is about as cozy as it gets but who cares with a nice glass of champagne in your hand
This is about as cozy as it gets but who cares with a nice glass of champagne in your hand
The return to Matkonsulatet
The return to Matkonsulatet
The cheese selection at Matkonsulatet can be shared by four
The cheese selection at Matkonsulatet can be shared by four
A traditional Swedish dish at lunch restaurant Asplund's
A traditional Swedish dish at lunch restaurant Asplund’s

Came weekend, it was time for some wine, sparkling wine to be exact. On Friday we opened a cremant du Jura and on Saturday a rose sparkling from Austria. The Benoit Badoz cremant was definitely one of the best ones I have tasted in a long time, and cost less than 10 EUR in the producers web-shop. A real bargain I would say. The Austrian rose was also good (we had tasted a glass in a wine bar in Paris), but slightly past its prime. I need to try to score a newer vintage. I think this one was from 2010 and really on it’s last meters before going over. More specific reviews will follow.

Benoit Badoz Creman du Jura, an excellent bubbly for less than 10 EUR
Benoit Badoz Creman du Jura, an excellent bubbly for less than 10 EUR
Austrian sparkling on Saturday night, the label does not look like much but the wine was excellent
Austrian sparkling on Saturday night, the label does not look like much but the wine was excellent

So that was it for Wineweek 42. Next week will be exciting as we will open our fall order window and hold the big open house tasting. We have a lot of nice people coming: friends, colleagues and some wine bloggers. Interesting to see how our samples of Almeida Garrett from Portugal will be received. We also have some sample bottles from south of France, so we shall see if we will include them this time or wait until Christmas.

Have a great coming week!

xx Soile

Save the date! Open House Tasting on the 12th of September

One of my favorite days of the fall is approaching, the day of our big open house tasting in Stockholm. Our tasting events are a good opportunity to try out our wines before making a purchase decision (who wants to buy a pig in a bag..unless you know it’s Iberico pork). During the event we also have a chance to talk more about the people behind the wines, their production methods and philosophies. We have felt that our open tastings are the key to building a loyal and interested customer base, and we also have a lot of fun in the process. And what’s best, the open house events are always free (yay!). The tasting will take place on the 12th of September between 15:00 and 18:00 (pop by any time you like). If you are interested in joining please send an email to info@thewinecurious.com, and we will send you the address.

You might recall that we arranged one in May as a kick off for our new Portuguese selection (more about it here). This time focus is naturally on our fall selection of red wines which means that we will be sampling some of the great wines from Quinta do Escudial, Quinta de Saes, as well as one of our new potential producers Almeida Garrett. Bubbly moments will be guaranteed by our trusted cavas from Llagrima d’Or, Rimarts and Cellers Carol Valles. We will hold samples of the rest of the selection under the counter if someone is interested in the other products.

At the tasting we will also be opening our early fall order window. This possibility to top up for long and dark October weekends end on the 20th of September and the wines will be in Stockholm within a week. How exciting is that!!

Our selection is available for browsing on www.thewinecurious.com

Cavas at the May tasting
Cavas at the May tasting

My week in Portugal, vol 1

As readers of this blog may already have noted I have spent almost the entire last week in the wonderful country of Portugal. While I was already before convinced that I would find a lot of good wine the trip to some extent blew me away. I did not only find wonderful wine but also met a lot of interesting people. There is both a new generation of wine makers (yes, I know it is a bit tired – every region/country talks about the new generation of wine makers) but also a great many experienced wine makers who still make great wines. The sheer variety of both grape varieties but also of philosophies and types of wines made me just want to already go back.

The primary reason for the visit was to meet with Luisa from Vieira de Sousa. I did however also want to meet with others when I was any way visiting Portugal. I had a very interesting list of wine producers and I managed to meet with most of them. The fac that I also got to see a lot of the country, visit beautiful sites and also enjoy good food and wine made it a great trip.

The trip started with my arriving in Porto meeting with Luis Robredo from Gravato wines and he had also been kind enough of to arrange for an additional producer to meet up with me. So in Porto I also meet with João Santos from Valle de Nideo in the Duoro Valley. We met at the beatiful ‘cheese’ castle, Castelo do Queijo (literally Castle of the cheese. Apparently from it looking like a piece of cheese from above) but unfortunately the weather did not show it from the best side as it was a bit grayish.

My trip continued to Bairrada where I was hoping to meet with Luis Pato and Filipa Pato. They were however both in London for a Portuguese wine event but I still managed to visit Luis Pato’s estate and meet with his youngest daughter Maria João. I also had the chance for an improvised visit at sparkling wine producer São Domingos. A brief stop at the regional wine musuem in Anadia was also on the agenda.

The journey then continued into Dao where meetings with Quinta do Escuidal, Quinta do Pellada and Antonio Madeira where truly exciting. There was even time for some additional touristing with a visit to the magnificent old village of Linhares da Beira. The views from the old fortress are splendid.

Before heading up to the Douro valley I also stopped by Almeida Garret wines in Beira Interior. The week was then wrapped up with Vieira de Sousa and Quinta do Pôpa in the Douro. we wrapped up the week in Porto with visit to the wine shop at El Corte Ingles as well as a great dinner and wine at Taberna do Largo (recommendation from Maria João). A fabulous week and in the coming week or so I will describe the wines and the visits in more detail in separate posts.