Wine Review: Strohmeier Rose Sekt Brut Nature

The morning of our big fall tasting is here, and it will be a busy day ahead of us, but I just wanted to sneak a quick wine review here for Saturday reading. When we visited Paris in the spring, we had a glass of an interesting Austrian rose sparkling at Vivant and food and wine bar (review here). Recently an Austrian colleague of mine was able to bring me a bottle in her suitcase, so we had the chance for a proper try.

Since 2003 Franz Strohmeier- has been working with great determination to produce absolutely natural wines without any additives or chemicals, and almost exclusively sulfur-free. He is a very philosophical grower with high emphasis on expressing his terroir in the most natural way. The grapes are harvested by hand and the sparkling wine is produced by using traditional bottle fermentation (methode champenoise). The winery is located near St.Stefan in the West Styrian wine region at the foothills of the Alps. The growing season is long with intense warmth and an abundance of rainfall allowing a slow and sustainable ripening of the grapes.

The label does not look like much but the wine was excellent
The label does not look like much but the wine was excellent
Deep red color of the wine comes from a long skin contact during the first stages of fermentation.
Deep red color of the wine comes from a long skin contact during the first stages of fermentation.

The Strohmeier Rose Sekt is made from 100% Blauer Wildbacher a grape considered a specialty in the Styria region. The grape has a deep purple color which is transferred to the sparkling wine with a long skin contact during the production process. The bubbles are fine and persistent. The nose is fresh with strawberry aroma. The taste exhibits red berries and herbal flavors with a refreshing acidity. This specific bottle was from the vintage of 2010 so it was perhaps slightly past its peak. I would really like to get my hands on the 2012 vintage as that was the one we tasted and fell in love with in Paris.

The bottle cost us around 15 EUR as it was from a distributors leftover stock, however I think the new vintage (2012) will set you back around 20 eur. For pure quality I would say the wine is a 3.5 or a 4 (I don’t want to limit myself to evaluate only a vintage that was already slightly off). Value for money wise I think it is a 3, meaning it is worth what it cost, however no bargain. If you run across this wine during your journeys, I recommend giving it a try.

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

Vivant: Great foodie wine bar in Paris with a Swedish touch

Our recent trip to Paris, not surprisingly, entailed a lot of nice food and wine. We have already reviewed the excellent Frenchies Bar a Vin but we did also visit other places. On the day we arrived we wanted something close by the hotel so opted for Vivant Cave for dinner. It is a very narrow small space where the bar takes up a large part of the entire premises and behind it the chefs are working on creating the nice small or mid-sized plates. There is seating all along the bar as well as at a few tables that have been crammed in at strategic places. There are also several wine fridges lining the wall opposite the bar.

The restaurant used to be owned by Pierre Jancou but he has now moved on to new projects. I had not read up on the new chef before but being seated at the bar and having the chef take the orders for us I right away heard the unmistakable Swedish accent. The new chef is indeed Swedish, Svante Forstorp , but while relatively new at Vivant Cave he has plenty of experience from before for example from Aux Deux Amis. He makes some lovely small dishes behind the counter, the limited space does not seem to bother him at all. Not only is the food very good, it is also great to watch him at work. I am of course a bit of a sucker for the open kitchen but I am a firm believer that it keeps restaurants honest.

We opted for a selection of different dishes but among the highlights were the asparagus, the spicy pasta (chili and fresh lemon) as well as the smoked foie gras with cabbage. The place is known to have a good selection of, in Paris so trendy, natural wine and we were rather pleased with the wine recommendations. We tried an lovely Brut Nature champagne from Ruppert-Leroy  as well as an excellent Austrian sparkling from Strohmeier as well as some nice reds – the reds were very different, one extremely light while the other was much darker and fuller. I think the picture gives a pretty interesting comparison.

Service was in general very attentive and the staff were happy to explain the all-French menu to us. I also very much liked the pleasant atmosphere here, staff were relaxed and that made guests relaxed as well. We ended up chatting with people seated next to us at the bar and it did really seem very popular with foreigners visiting (we had Danes, Brits and Americans around us).The price level was rather decent as well, not exactly cheap but definitely value for money. Will be on my list for places to return to if in the area.