Wineweek 25

The lazy weekend after a hectic week, this is what I am enjoying today. Just sitting around reading newspapers and eating pizza. To be honest I caught the flu on Friday and have been forced to rest, otherwise I might have arranged some more action. M is in London this weekend for a football trip, so I have been circling around the wine fridge contemplating what to open just for me. It’s not like we have that many bottles there that I would dare open alone. Not because I could not consume it, but rather all bottles in the fridge are there because both of us want to have a taste. So tired and slightly fluish (my taste buds are not at their sharpest) I actually opted for tea instead of wine. Next week will only be a three day work week, so I am sure that there will be wine soon enough.

Petrus Bakery Söder STockholm
Some coffee and pastries at Petrus, Söder
Maria Torget Stockholm
Taking a sunny walk in Söder
Maria Torget Stockholm Sweden
Flower shopping

I have some exciting news to share with you this week as we will be opening a new sales window for Sweden next week. We will also be doing something new, arranging an open house wine tasting for our new selection on the 23rd of May. We will have all of our new wines as well as our dear Llagrima d’Or and Peret Fuster wines out for a try. The tasting room will be open from 2pm to 8pm so people can stop by to sample the summer collection. We will also have some exciting offers for those who are looking to stock up for the summer vacation. Myself and M have visited all of the producers and tasted all of their wines and think they are awesome, but I cannot wait to hear what others think of them. If you are reading this and thinking it would be cool to stop by, send us an email to info@thewinecurious.com.

I must say I am really looking forward to the new sales window. The last one was a bit of a tester, and we didn’t market it that much to keep the volumes small (you don’t want to use too many customers as guinea pigs). We had a new warehouse and a new courier company handling the deliveries. So you never know if the service matches your expectations. It definitely did! We are working together with Danske Fraektman and JetPack who are both experienced in delivering wine and spirits, and I must say the service worked impeccably well. The boxes were handled with care, they left Denmark exactly the day they were supposed to and customers received good instructions for when their package would be delivered. It is not often I complement transport companies, so one should read this that I am utterly impressed. You don’t get that many chances in this business, so good partners are key!

And what is up next week? We will be heading for a cruise! It has been years since I have traveled with the ferry sailing between Finland and Sweden. They are often referred to as ‘Party boats’ as they draw a slightly drunken crowd (yes, I used to cruise around as a student as well). However, this time we are not heading there for the festivities, but rather to shop. And anyway, we are just taking the day cruise to Marienhamn (the island between Finland and Sweden). Viking Line has Bubbly Weeks all May, and that means bubbly menus in the ships restaurants and some great offers in the Tax Free shop. We have been eyeing the Charles Heidsieck Millessime 2005 and Blanc de Millenaires 1995 that we tasted about a month back at Magnussons Fine Wines (read about it here). The 2005 can be bought for less than 50€ a bottle and the 1995 will set you back 110€. Comparing to what they cost at the Swedish monopoly ( 70€/150€) these prices are GOOD! Also there are some other pearls that one might land at the boat that are not mentioned on the website, so it is definitely worth sacrificing a day to look at ‘happy’ Finns and Swedes rummaging between the buffet, tax free and disco. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a quiet cruise.

Other exciting stuff. M is in London. And besides watching a lot of football, he is on an important mission. On our trip to London over New Year, we came up with the idea for a private label champagne tasting. Many big grocery chains have their own champagne often produced by a big name in the region. Fortnum and Mason for example have Billegart-Salmon and Louis Rhoederer and Selfridges Henri Giraud. Champagne is seldom cheap but these babies are half price compared to the producers own labelled stuff. I am not sure of course if the product is exactly the same as with what they bottle for themselves. I do hope so, as it should be the quality of grapes and knowledge of the winemaker that makes a product great. So if the private label products are not close to the producers standards, then I suspect the drop in quality is intentional. The producers name must be mentioned on the bottles, so I do hope that they see this as a part of their brand as well. We will soon find out as M has been a busy bee and collected already 19 bottles to bring back home.

That is it for this wineweek! Hoping to come back to you soon with some more bubbly-action!

Why I love Llagrima d’Or

Finally the moment is here, Llagrima d’Or will again take over Sweden by storm, this time via our Danish company Pilvi Wines ApS aka The Winecurious-Shop. As we are opening an order window this week, I thought it is about time for a sales pitch. But instead of rambling about tasting notes I will tell you how it is made, with care, love and craftsmanship. Quality is not a coincidence, it is the result of careful choices on how you treat your vines and process your Cava. As I walk you through the life and birth of Llarima d’Or I will also go through the basic steps of method Champenoise, the classical method for producing sparkling wine.

Llagrima d'Or Brut Nature Cava
Llagrima d’Or Brut Nature Cava

Every wine starts with the grapes, and as I explained in a post ‘Five things you should know about Cava’ last week, Cava is often made from the trio Xarello, Parellada and Macabeo. There are grape varieties that are indigenous to the climate and soil of Penedes, so they yield the best results from year to year. It is not common for a Cava house to own and use only their own grapes, many of them buy at least part from independent growers or other Cava producers (the best grapes are of course kept in-house). There are around 250 Cava producers in the area, and less than 10% of them control the production process from start to finish, but Llagrima d’Or is one of them.

When the grapes are picked and pressed into juice, there is generally three or four phases (free run plus three presses). The first press is called Mosto Flor, and it is when the juice closest to the skin of the grape is released. This juice is considered to be delicate, lower in ph and less acidic than the juice closer to the seed of the grape (the presses used, is dependent of what kind of wine is being produced, so this it is not a general rule that the first press is the “best”, it is the winemakers knowledge on what suits the wine that counts). Llagrima d’Or is made solely from the first press of the grapes to produce a fresh and honest Cava that needs no sugar to hide bitterness in the taste.

The first fermentation in steel tanks
The first fermentation in steel tanks

After the grape juice is pressed, the varieties are kept separate and fermented in steel tanks for the first 2-4 months. This is when the still wine is produced. After the first fermentation, the winemaker decides the mix he/she want to use and the Coupage (mix) is bottled for the second fermentation (with an addition of yeast cultivated from the grapes skin for creating the bubbles). The second fermentation (aging) is another key milestone in the development of a sparkling wine. It is not a common denominator that all wine that is aged longer tastes better, but it is the winemakers ability to recognize when the wine is at its peak (or for some wines ready to drink) that makes the difference. A Cava must be aged in the bottle for at least 9 months to be allowed to use the name Cava. Llagrima d’Or is aged for at least 30 months as it is the optimum time for this specific wine to develop. The long aging process produces delicate bubbles with flavors of brioche, peach and minerals. Llagrima d’Or is perfect for drinking within a few years from taking out of the cellar.

Cold Llagrima
Cold Llagrima

And last but not least one of my favorite characteristics of this specific Cava: Llagrima d’Or is a Brut Nature, meaning it has less than 3g of residual sugar. There is no dosage (sugar liquid) added to hide any the flavors.

So why do I love Llagrima d’Or? Because it’s and honest Cava, made from the grapes of the region, with knowledge and no compromises in the time that it takes for it to become absolutely perfect. And it does not cost an arm and a leg, 175 SEK a bottle for deliveries to Sweden, so this makes it a perfect five in my books (an unbiased opinion). So stay tuned for some more information on how to order.