This year it really sneaked up on me: Vappu and May Day. It is one of the biggest festivals in Finland along with Christmas and Midsummer, so it’s hard to believe that I could not feel it coming. When I still lived in Finland, the preparations started several weeks, even a month before. April is always a busy time at work and at school, but everybody still takes the time to party Vappu. The holiday has a bit of the same curse though as New Years Eve. Its such a big event, that people have pressure on where to go and how to celebrate. It should always be awesome – thus often it is not. I guess this really proves I am becoming Swedish, as here, it is just not that big of a deal. Continue reading “Wineweek 130: Walburgis Night”
The last Wineweek of the year! A recap of Christmas week: Great food, wine and of course visiting friends and relatives; and some thoughts about 2015.
This year Christmas was a bit different. We have traditionally traveled away combining the holidays with some weeks of saved-up summer vacation days. Last year we spent three weeks in Hawaii and the year before we were in California. As we are travelling away in January “this year” (technically next year), Christmas was planned to take place here in Sweden. So my family traveled from Helsinki and London to stay with us. It was wonderful, but hectic. I am happy to wait a year to do it again. When Friday finally came, M and I sat on the sofa and thought how wonderful it was that the house was quiet.
So what did we actually do this week? Perhaps most interesting is to discuss what we drank (and ate) on Christmas eve. It was not an easy decision choosing the festive drinks with so many great bubblies in the fridge after the Winecalendar. After some contemplation we opted for the Krug Grande Cuvee. The house of Krug produces very powerful Champagnes with notes of nuts and caramel. A perfect choice for days of celebration. They are heavy on the wallet, but worth trying. For Christmas dinner we went for some Italian red from LaVis and a non-alcoholic Cider from La Ribaude. As a companion to the wines we made a roast with vegetables, boiled potatoes and a fig salad. Not a traditional Christmas meal, but it was our choice as we hosted the event.
What about presents then? What kind of stuff did Santa bring the Winecurious? I don’t know if I have been such a good girl this year, but I sure did get some great presents. There was a few great wine-books: Christie’s Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine revised and expanded by one of my favorite wine-personalities from Finland, Essi Avellan MW (Master of Wine) and the 7th edition of the World Atlas of Wine. M also got a great hamburger cooking book. Mmmm, looking forward to him making those burgers. To my surprise, there was room left in the fridge(s) for some more bubbly (even after the Winecalendar), so Santa got me a box of Cuvee Charlemagne 2008 for my long term storage. I also got a great new tea brewer with a convenient mechanism for keeping the tea pot warm for a second serving. These presents should keep me busy (and drinking) for a while.
We also tried a few other great wines this weekend. Two cavas we brought home from Cavatast last October: Vilarnau Gran Reserva Vintage 2010 and Guillem Carol Millenium Gran Reserva 2005. Both interesting and worth taking some time to write a review. And an Italian red, Gran Verosso Gold Edition. Otherwise we have been enjoying coffee moments and long walks in the winter weather. Here in (our part of) Sweden the first real snow started falling on Christmas day.
What is there to come then in 2015? Well, a lot of course! Our Swedish VAT number has arrived,so we are only short one more registration to start real business. Exciting! We will also do some traveling to old and new wine-countries for seeking out new producers. And we will work on growing our blog with new interesting posts, tips and reviews. But perhaps 2015 is too big to really capture in one post, so I will tell a little about the coming weeks. Next week, we will be travelling to London for touring some wine-shops and spending New Years eve at one of our favorite London Restaurants: Kitchen Table. And in two weeks we will finally head of for our long vacation in Asia, touring in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. It might be a period of fewer reviews on wine, but I suspect there will be some great stuff coming up on restaurants, cocktail bars and other culinary experiences. We read up that the coffee culture is really starting to boom in Bangkok, so that will be interesting to check out. Maybe there will be some posts on wine. I know there are some nice shops in Singapore where we end our journey. After three weeks on a “wineless-diet” I am sure I will be anxious to seek them out.
It’s finally Christmas eve, they day we here in the land of Santa Claus celebrate and open presents. The old man is really from Finland, but I need to be a bit careful around the Swedes as they also claim Santa lives in their territory (but yes, Santa is really from Finland but it does not really matter that much to M as he claims Finland is just East Sweden). This is a day for spending with the family, not for blogging, but I sneaked off for a few minutes to discuss a dilemma I have: What wine should we have today? With a Christmas calendar full of great bubblies, I really have a difficult time deciding.
What would a good Christmas Champagne taste like? Perhaps creamy flavors of nuts and caramel would be appropriate on a day like this? I have some bottles that have been “waiting for an occasion”, like a Krug Grand Cuve, that are really not for saving but for opening within a year or two. I also got a really wonderful bottle from the “winecalendar” today, the ancient variety champagne I have been raging about (for example in this post), the Oliver Horiot 5 Sens Brut Nature. That would be a really wonderful drink for today. But I feel torn as it’s really hard to come by with just 8000 bottles produced a year, and perhaps I should be patient and put it into long terms storage as it’s a 2008. Yes, this is not easy. I need to rummage through the cabinet and really put some thought into this. Will let you know when I have decided.
Now its time to get back to the family and socialize. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas! May you have great food and wine, and of course a great time with your loved ones!