A Wedding in the Archipelago

I love weddings. They are such happy events. But the most hectic wedding season is over for me. Most of my friends are already married. About a month ago one of my best friends tied the knot, and I was waiting for his wedding like a kid waits for Saturday candy. I bought a new dress for the occasion and made sure early on to have flights booked. I myself got married in a very different way. Me and M flew to New York, got married in secret at Central Park, and had our celebration in private at a three star restaurant (Daniel). It was perfect for me, but then I really enjoy myself at other peoples family parties.  Continue reading “A Wedding in the Archipelago”

Wineweek 14: Back to Business

This week the scenery ha changed. Colorful and tropical Singapore has changed to good old grey Sweden. I tried to take some pics from outside, but they where all too depressing. Not that I don’t like Stockholm, I love it, but this time of the year is always a bit colorless (like Helsinki, where I am from). Soon February will change to March and the anticipation of spring (with all it’s disappointing cold fronts) will lighten up the town. I expect we will be facing some cold setbacks up until the end of June, it is almost a national sport to put away your winter clothes too early, but at least there will be more light. But one thing I can say makes me extremely happy to be back, is our wonderful wine collection. After five and a half weeks of mostly disappointing (bad or too expensive) wine, I am ecstatic about all the lovely bottles at hands reach. Unfortunately M caught a cold on the flight back, so we did not really have any sparkling this weekend.

Looking back at the week, we started off well with a nice and anticipated dinner at Burnt Ends, a much talked about restaurant in Chinatown (Singapore). The service was very disappointing, and that was really a shame as the food was wonderful and that good food does not at all deserve to be paired with such sub-standard service.  A review will follow. We also continued our cocktail-tour at the Black Swan and 28 Hong Kong Street. Even though it was a Monday both places were full of life.

On our way back to Sweden we checked out the duty free selection at Frankfurt airport. The Champagne selection was a bit boring, but we picked up a few German sparkling wines to try out. Germany as a wine-country is developing in an interesting direction with a new generation of winemakers taking over the reins. We visited a wonderful shop, the Winery (review here), in London around New Year focusing mainly on German wines, and found ourselves drooling after Pinot Noirs and Sparklings alike.

After resting off the mild jet lag, we sat down on the couch, opened a bottle of red (Kloof Street Vintage 2012 from South Africa), and started looking into the future. It is time to get our business up and running. It’s not like we have been procrastinating, but our Cavas have now been sitting in the warehouse for enough time. It is time to get the sales going. So next week will be all about finalizing the paperwork. Also, it is only a week until M leaves for Portugal to meet some new producers (I will follow later for the weekend), so there is a lot to plan. After several months of communicating by email, we will finally be meeting our friends at Vieira de Sousa. They have a lovely range of Port wines we would love to add to our selection. Also, I am getting a bit hyped up after reading about some Portuguese sparkling wine producers. The grapes are new to me (Baga, Bical and Bairrada), but the production good old method Champenoise.

Aussie Inspiration at Philglas & Swiggot

After five and a half weeks of travelling in Asia, we returned to a grey and cold Sweden yesterday. Regardless of the weather, it is great to be home – there is nothing like your own wine fridge. Before going back to business and some Singapore memories, I have a few reviews on London wine shops to share with you.

A few blocks off Oxford Street it feels very tranquil stepping into this small wine shop. Philglas & Swiggot used to have a clear focus on Australian wine (and to some extent also New Zealand) but the past years strengthening of the AUD has made it more tricky to sell Aussie wine (and other stuff from down-under) in the UK. So the selection has extended to other parts of the world as well, for example Italy, France and South Africa. The shop in Marble Arch is one of three outlets and I am yet to check out the others.

Service was really friendly and extremely knowledgeable and helpful (great recommendations for other wine shops to visit, this is how we found out about the German wine shop The Winery). The current selection of wine did however to some extent fail to excite me, probably because I am not very knowledgeable on Aussie wines. I only found a few things that really got me in to the buying mood: a German Riesling names Einz, zwei, dry (what a great name) and a Louis Barthelemy Champagne.  I also saw some Taltarni sparkling wine from Tasmania. It’s one of my old favorites, and although I did not see a good reason to drag a bottle all the way to Stockholm (as I have tasted plenty of samples), I am happy to recommend it to anyone who wants a good Aussie bubbly.

After visiting Philglas & Swiggot and spending some time in Asia (due to the proximity, a lions portion of the wine selection in shops was from Australia), I realized how poor my knowledge on Down-under wines really is. There are many interesting areas, like Yarra Valley making some good Pinot Noir and Barossa Valley with its Shiraz and not to mention Tasmania with some great Method champenoise bubblies.  I am still on my way learning about old world wines, but something about Australia tickles my fancy (maybe it’s the weather). A few days before we were due to fly back to Sweden we started discussing next years holiday plans (as one needs holiday plans), and Australia is climbing quite high on the list.

Wine Review: 2010 Miette Grenache Shiraz Mataro, Barossa Valley, Australia

While hanging at one of our new favorite spots, Verre, in Singapore we explored the wine list a bit and came across an interesting red from Barossa Valley in Australia. Miette Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro from 2010. This red wine is from the winery Spinifex in Barossa. They were established in 2001 so compared to many other wineries in Barossa they are still just getting started.

The man behind the project is Peter Scheel, New Zealander who has spent considerable time working in France before establishing Spinifex. He runs this together with his wife Magali Gely. The influences of France can be seen in the selection of the grapes, so a lot of focus on Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro (for those not familiar with Mataro it is also called Mourvèdre or Monastrell). They do also use other traditional French or Mediterranean grape varities such as Cinsault, Carignan, Ugni Blanc, Grenache Gris.

This specific wine has 100% Barossa valley fruit. It has been sourced from a variety of vineyards, the Mataro from one old (90 year old bush vine vineyard) in Koonunga Hill region of the valley and the other Mataro competent from the far south of the Barossa valley. The Shiraz part also from Koonunga Hill as well as the far west of Barossa valley. The Grenache part came from three different old vine (30, 50 and 90 years old) vineyards in the east and north. All wines are made in small open fermenters, using indigenous yeast, and are basket pressed. The 2010 Miette Grenache Shiraz Mataro has been matured in French oak.

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The color of this wine is deep red. The nose is a pleasant mix of red fruits (strawberries and raspberries), dark plums and spice. The flavor is full of red cherries, plum but also leather and tobacco notes mixed with hints of something herbal. The relatively high alcohol level (14.5%) is not at all apparent on the palate and it also relatively refreshing and avoiding the sweetness that may come with a lot of the high alcohol and fruit driven reds.

We had this wine by the glass at Verre and since it was happy hour it was very decently priced at 18 SGD for two glasses (when not happy hour it is 18 for one glass). Prices for a full bottle in Australia appear to be around 22 AUD (approximately €15) and while it is difficult to get hold of in Europe it is sold in the Netherlands and Belgium for €17. I think this is a very pleasant wine and while I would not necessarily run out to snap up several bottles of it, I would happily have it again. So I give it a quality rating of 3.5. Price wise this makes this wine pretty decent value for money but for reds one can often find similar or better value with other wines so it is a solid 3 in rating for value for money. It is a nice and approachable wine to enjoy now and for the coming year or years but not anything for long term storage.