A Peek Inside Gastrologik

Greetings from Vilnius! I have been here, in the capital of Lithuania all week on a business trip. And yes, I brought my camera (smirk). But todays post is not about Vilnius. It is about our recent birthday visit to Gastrologik, the one-starred restaurant in Stockholm. The restaurant specializes in wild-food (what they find themselves in the nature) as well as local, ecological produce. Continue reading “A Peek Inside Gastrologik”

Tasting Biodynamic Champagnes at Larmandier-Bernier

It is already a month since our visit to the heart of Champagne, Epernay. It was really the perfect place to stay as a group without a car. We were able to reach many smaller towns within 15 to 20 minutes by cab. The cost was reasonable as we split it six-ways. One of the houses we visited was Larmandier-Bernier, a champagne producer in Vertus known also for its biodynamic practices.  Continue reading “Tasting Biodynamic Champagnes at Larmandier-Bernier”

Late Night Drink at la Maison, Helsinki

Last week when in Helsinki, I found a truly great little place for wine. It is not a new spot, so I did not write about it in my newbies post, but having ignored my friends recommendation far too long, this was my first visit to restaurant Maison. We popped in for a late night glass of wine right after dinner at our favorite restaurant, Chef & Sommelier. Little did I know before what a great wine selection I was about to discover. Continue reading “Late Night Drink at la Maison, Helsinki”

Wineweek 83: Memories from Epernay

It is already a week since we boarded a train back to Paris from Champagne. Time goes by fast, as these photos make me feel like they were taken yesterday. Ok, so a week is not that long of a time, but it still feels almost unfair how short days have become. I still remember a time when minutes felt like hours and hours like days. I feel lucky to have taken a lot of photos to remember these precious moments by.  Continue reading “Wineweek 83: Memories from Epernay”

Take me to Champagne

This morning we are embarking on a trip. A trip that I have been waiting for a long time. We are traveling to Paris, and then to the heart of Champagne, Epernay. Oh, how I have been waiting for this trip! I have been to Champagne only once, and that was a more official visit to the Terres & Vins champagne exhibition. We arrived to Reims on a Sunday, so most of the places we wanted to visit were closed. We were only able to visit one winery, G.H. Mumm. This time around though, we will be visiting masses of Champagne houses. Our trip is however shadowed by ongoing strikes in France as well as the high security associated to the Football European Championships. Not to mention that they weatherman has forecasted rain for the duration of our whole trip. We have been on alert all weekend, in case we needed to cancel everything. It is a bit difficult to move around in the countryside if there is a shortage of fuel (we are planning to use taxies). We are also intending to take the high speed train back to Paris on Sunday.

Continue reading “Take me to Champagne”

Wineweek 54: November Moments

November is a dark month. Here in Sweden the sun rises around 9am and starts setting already at 3pm. During the darkest time of the year, there is only around five to four hours of daylight during the day. It’s dark when you head to the office and dark again when you are finished with work. Not to mention the cold wind and rain that is characteristic for NOvember in the Nordics. Without good wine, this would be a very depressing time of the year.

This week was not much different than many others. Perhaps we had a tad more bad luck with out business than we usually do. Firstly, our Port-wines never arrived to their final destination. The parcel company had sent them to Poland by mistake. Poland (!!), how is it even possible to mistake that with Sweden? After some heated email conversations, the wines were eventually returned to Portugal. The packages were severely damaged as well as a few bottles of white port nicked. This was very disappointing of course, but it happens in our line of business (transporting fragile goods). Luckily the parcel company was very responsive regarding our complaints and promised to compensate us for the damaged wines (they exceeded our expectations). However, even though we will not incur monetary loss, the Ports must wait to be sold another day. We also had an issue with our deliveries from Denmark to Sweden (what kind of truck-curse has been bestowed upon me?). However, that was solved within a few hours and caused no further harm.

Trying out our new Nebiolos from Gordona
Dinner at Backfickan Djuret
Champagne with friends on Saturday
Ending Saturday evening with a beer at Brewdog

Otherwise we did some nice wining and dining this week. We headed out to Djurets Backficka on Friday. Djuret is a restaurant in the old town, that specializes in one animal at a time. Basically everything that they have on the menu comes from the same species. There is this kind of nose to tail idea behind it, but the cuisine is quite classical. No weird shit. A backficka is the no-reservations side of a restaurant, usually the bar or other separate more casual space in the restaurant.

On Saturday we tasted some wines: Larmandier-Bernier Lattitude Champagne, Bonnaire 2005 Blanc de Blancs and one of our last bottles of the Francoise Bedel Cuvee Robert Winer 1996. The Bonnaire 2005 having spent a few years in our cellar had significantly improved (already). I think we bought a few cases of this due to Richard Julin giving it a very inspiring forecast (96/100). We did not drink all of these ourselves, we had some help. After the tasting we went for some nice refreshing beers at the Brewdog bar close to Friedhemsplan. I must say a nice lager after all of that semi-acidic champagne tasted really nice. Somehow even healing. Brewdog also has some light and non-alcoholic beers, so one could enjoy the drinks without adding more kilometers on the Sunday hangover. It wasn’t that bad, but I am dead tired.

The coming week will be our last whole week in Sweden in 2015. On the 9th of December we hop on a plane to Bangkok to start our winter vacation. Oh my God I am looking forward to it. Five weeks in Asia will of course mean some wine-deprived weeks again. Last year it was not until we made it to Singapore that we actually were able to have some nice (decent) wine. This year I expect nothing to have changed. So beer and cocktails it is this Christmas.

It will be a tough week at work. However, I do hope that I have energy and inspiration to write some interesting stuff about wine. Perhaps it is time for some more restaurant reviews this week..

Cheers! Soile

Wineweek 37: The last days of July in Stockholm

Summer in the Nordics is always short. This year it is even shorter. The weather has not been great for me all July. Wherever I have traveled, plus 15 (C) and rain has followed. Or at least that is how it feels to me. I am actually looking forward to the fall, as then I know at least that Cavatast is coming (2.-4.10).

Regardless of the rain, it has been a productive week. I have been working on my “secret” project, which I can now reveal to you is a travel guide to Stockholm. Now that I have enough content ready, I dare to go public about it. So to all you Finns (as the guide will be in Finnish) out there, the Tripsteri Stockholm guide will open later in August, unless I run into some serious technical difficulties. My linguistic targets have already been reached. I must confess, I was very nervous about writing in Finnish, but as this blog, the text started coming out after a while.  This is something completely new to me, so be gentle (but honest) with the feedback.

I also found a wonderful new wine bar this week in Stockholm. This is all thanks to my friend Agnes at Yelp, who arranged a social night for all those interested about wine (or just afterwork). Nofo Wine Bar is located in Södermalm and is in connection with the Nofo Hotel. It is a friendly place with a comfortable bar and a courtyard where one can sip wine and eat charcuterie. I will review the place in coming posts, but I must already say their champagne list made an impression. It was short (three different champagnes) but the bottles were all from great producers, like Larmandier-Bernier, Francis Boulard and Olivier Horiot. Boulard and Horiot are some of my favorite grower producers and a place that offers them cannot be bad. No way. The only downside was that none of these were offered by the glass, so I need to go back the coming week with a group (or by myself).

Talking about champagne, we opened (me and M) a bottle of Bereche & Fils Brut Reserve on Saturday and concluded that we have a clear winner for the years value for money champagne. It tasted of mature yellow apples, brioche and fresh citrus. What a wonderful wine and you can order it for just 300 SEK/bottle (if it would not be sold out at the moment) from Gaston. I will for sure be getting some more of these babies when they come back into stock. We also tried a red wine, Selecta, from Almeida Garret, a Portuguese producer we are considering adding to our collection.  We have really been impressed by the quality of their wines, even though they are fairly new in the trade (think of what they can achieve with some experience). The Selecta was not necessarily one of my favorites, but I suspect it is due to just not being my style. The taste profile would complement our selection very nicely, so we will keep it in mind. Even though we have been very keen on having solely wines that we like ourselves, it is perhaps not in the long term the best road. We have quite specific tastes.

That was it for this wine week. Enjoy the pictures! I will now retire on the sofa with a box of ice cream and a brainless TV-series to finish of the Sunday with style.

My office for the week, Coffice in Södermalm
My office for the week, Coffice in Södermalm
Stockholm Pride did not wear off even with masses of rain
Stockholm Pride did not wear off even with masses of rain
New wine bar in town
New wine bar in town, Nofo
I wouldn't mind this kind of decorations in my own office
I wouldn’t mind this kind of decorations in my own office
Almeida Garret Selecta Red, a candidate for our selection
Almeida Garret Selecta Red, a candidate for our selection
New Mochi ice creams in the supermarket. They look good, but are they?
New Mochi ice creams in the supermarket. They look good, but are they?
Perhaps one of the best value for money champagnes ever, Bereche & Fils Brut Reserve
Perhaps one of the best value for money champagnes ever, Bereche & Fils Brut Reserve