I have perhaps chosen the best venue there is for writing about wine – a wine bar. I am in warm and sunny Copenhagen, the sky is blue, thus it is empty inside my favorite wine hangout Ved Stranden 10. This is the kind of place you can stroll in, say you just want something interesting, and you know you will get something truly interesting. You can trust the staff to read your mind. This is the perfect place for killing time, reading and writing about innovative winemaking. Today I am catching up on something I should have done long ago: writing about Broc cellars, an urban winery beyond the Atlantic, in San Francisco. Continue reading “Broc Cellars”
How does a wine-holiday in Stockholm sound? Now that I am a bit more acquainted with the city, it sounds pretty good. Especially with the opening of the new Winery Hotel. I already mentioned last Sunday that I had the privilege to get a tour around the hotel and their winery. Here are a few collected thoughts and photos from the visit Continue reading “A Peak into the Winery Hotel”
The first week of February. Finally, the sun is out and the days are becoming longer. It is still dark when I wake up, but the sun starts to rise the time I head to the office. That’s the thing about living here in the Nordics. Winter is a a bit of a grey and depressing time. However in the summer, it is sun all day round. I am so glad that we are heading towards spring. Cant wait for rose season to kick off. This week has been refreshing also from a wine point of view. On Friday I had the chance to get a tour at the newly opened Winery Hotel here in Stockholm, and M finally stopped with his silly wine-break. We celebrated his return to wine with a nice Mumm tasting at our cellar. Continue reading “Wineweek 65: Mumm and Friends”
As we are closing in on the new year, I thought I would do a post about some current wine trends and what to expect in 2016. I am all but on expert, so I did some research with my trusted partner in crime – Google. What comes up when typing in “wine trends in 2016”? Continue reading “Wine Trends 2016”
What is new and cool in the wine business today? Well, urban wineries of course. I am not always the early adopter, so perhaps some of you are sighing that urban wineries are already old news. However, for me they are somewhat new and exciting. For those who are wondering what an urban winery is, it is a winery located in a city instead of a remote location close to the vineyards. Urban wineries have been popping up all around the US: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, New York and many other cities. On our last trip to London, we visited the first urban winery in London, the London Cru.
It was a rainy July afternoon when we arrived at West Brompton station, soaking wet of course. Thankfully the winery is located just a few blocks away from the tube. We were greeted by Adam, the man that keeps it all together at London Cru. He welcomed us in and we went straight for the tour of the facilities. Adam started by explaining the process and by introducing the equipment. All was fairly new. Adam also explained how the grapes are shipped from different European destinations. It all happens within 36 hours: The grapes are picked, loaded on to ta truck and transported with temperature controlled vehicles to the winery. The process of winemaking is started immediately when the grapes arrive. This requires very good planning and reliable partners as you cannot have the grapes standing anywhere in the heat. When the grapes arrive in London, they are inspected, pressed and the juice moved to either barrels or steel tanks for fermentation. The French barrels at London Cru have some years behind them, so the oak flavor in their wines does not become too aggressive. At this point of the story, Gavin, the Australian born head winemaker joined us. He had been busy lifting some equipment and was almost out of breath. At London Cru, five guys do all the work, even the heavy lifting. Impressive.
With Gavin joining, we moved on to the tasting of the wines (ok, we took some gulps already while we were waiting for Gavin). He told us a bit about their philosophy and how they want to make exciting wines from the best grapes that year can offer. That means that wines will vary from year to year, but I find that more of a richness than a fault. Most of the grapes come from France, where the boys have some excellent growers they are used to working with. Partnerships are everything in this business and the quality of grapes (or being able to pick the right grapes) speaks louder than any other marketing effort. We tried out some Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. We also had a swing at a Barbera. They tasted amazing! Very crisp wines with taste of minerals, granite and balanced fruit. We looked at each other with M and thought the same thing: this is definitely our style. We would love to have these wines in our selection.
On top of the taste, the labels are fun and the branding of the wine is done with thought. The label features a map of the London city district SW6 (South-West 6), and the wording ‘crushed’ + date refers to the date the grapes arrived to London Cru and the process of winemaking was initiated. I also appreciate that some small details, like the cork have been taken into account in the branding. With our history being in London (in district SE1), an urban wine from the city we fell in love in feels like the right addition to our selection.
The tasting continued with shared stories of wine and how we got into the business. It seems it is more common than I thought, that a (drunken) evening with friends ends up as an actual thriving business. Hey, great minds drink…sorry think, alike. The rain had not stopped, but it was time for us to go. We said our farewells and agreed to keep in touch. We will definitely do a proper study on what it would cost us to bring these wines to Sweden. I really believe that the market will love them (and if not, we will just drink them ourselves).
If you have a chance, check out London Cru wines. They are sold in the UK over the internet (http://www.londoncru.co.uk/) and you can taste them at some restaurants, for example the Michelin-starred Harwood Arm’s.
It is pouring outside. Weather is what one would expect of London, the type of persistent drizzle you see in the movies. During my one and a half years of living in the city, it did not rain more than I was used to in Helsinki. Probably less. However, the humid air really gets under your skin and reaches your bones, so rather often you feel cold and wet even if it’s not raining. Luckily there are several cozy cafes (and wine bars) where one can sneak into to escape the rain. We have made camp at Tap Coffee on Wardour Street. After second breakfast we will make our way deeper into Soho, visit some of our usual caffeine hangouts and continue towards Selfridges to browse the wine department. I am hoping to find a bottle of Wiston Estate sparkling wine to take home. I am slightly hesitant though and will make my decision once I see the price. English sparklings have really taken a price hike since the success of Ridgeview and Nyetimber. Many of the local bubblies are basically priced as if they were Champagne. I am not saying they are not good, but comparing to some of our premium cavas, the English sparklings are seldom value for money. I have been wondering about the price: is it just that the Brits believe so much in their product, or is it due to the cost of production? I can imagine the grape yields being quite low…what do you think?
But what have we been up to this week? We traveled back home from Finland just to jump on the plane taking us to London on Thursday. Friday we visited a new potential producer for our range of wine, London Cru, an urban winery located near West Brompton (btw. their wines were awesome). And since, we have just been eating (and drinking) our way through London’s culinary hot spots: Kitchen W8, Gymkhana, Social Wine and Tapas, just to mention a few. Tonight we will be checking out the newly reopened Ivy. London always has something fresh to offer. But more about specifics later, here is a series of photos from the week: