Wineweek 85: Whats New in Helsinki

I think it has finally happened: my home for 30 years, Helsinki, has become somewhat of a stranger to me. I just realized it when browsing all the new restaurants have popped up this year. The city is changing, and I am not keeping up with that change. Perhaps I have become a bit of a Swede, thinking that Stockholm is the place for foodies. However, Helsinki seems to be giving Stockholm a run for its money. As I am still editing my Midsummer pictures, I thought I would instead share some of the new places I have listed as must-visits for the fall (many restaurants in Helsinki close for the summer). I have not tried them yet, but I will. If you have some experiences, please share!  Continue reading “Wineweek 85: Whats New in Helsinki”

Wineweek 34: Hello Helsinki!

It is mid July, the temperature is +15 C and it’s raining cats and dogs. I just came back from a Sunday walk, soaking wet. Despite the weather, it is great to be home. Helsinki quiets down in the summer, all Finns either travel somewhere warmer, migrate to their summer cottages or spend time at Finland’s many summer festivals. Last weekend was the legendary Ruis Rock in Turku and I think Pori Jazz just kicked off. I always feel too old for these festivals (too many drunken teenagers), but then again I miss the festive atmosphere. One thing is for sure though, I would not be able to find any good wine.

One could say that the town is sleepy, but to me that is just good news. We have been walking the empty streets, talking about what it would be like to live here after London and Stockholm, and playing around with the idea of moving our businesses here. One thing is for sure, it would mean more paperwork! I don’t know if I could take it, haha! The holiday season also means that nice restaurants (the ones that are open) have space and my favorite wine-bars are not packed full on people. This weekend, we visited four great places, Vinvin and it’s new sibling Bier Bier, Latva Bar and the fabulous Restaurant Ask, that is one of the most recent addition to Helsinki’s collection of Michelin-stars.

As it is summer, and I am actually quite busy with my “secret” project, I will be saving the comments to the actual reviews, however here is a gallery of photos taken with my trusted Samsung Galaxy S6 (the camera is so much better than on the iPhone 6) from this weeks activities:

Veuve Forny & Fils Blanc de Blancs aperitif at Restaurant Ask
Veuve Forny & Fils Blanc de Blancs aperitif at Restaurant Ask
The food was beautiful and yummy at Ask
The food was beautiful and yummy at Ask
Taps Tasting at Bier Bier (12,50€ for 5 x 1dl tasters)
Taps Tasting at Bier Bier (12,50€ for 5 x 1dl tasters)
The Cava at Latva Bar was excellent value for money
The Cava at Latva Bar was excellent value for money
Some red wine to accompany the Cava at Latva Bar
Some red wine to accompany the Cava at Latva Bar
Hanging around in piggy-slippers.. stylish!
Hanging around in piggy-slippers.. stylish!

Thanks for reading! Hoping a great coming week to you all!

My Favorite Wine Bars in Helsinki

I come from Helsinki. This is the city where I was born and raised, and the city where most of my family and friends still reside. It is wonderful to live out here in Stockholm, but my heart will always be (partly) in Helsinki. Next week, I will be heading “home” for summer vacation. As an entrepreneur, I seldom have actual vacation, the type where one can just lounge around worriless for weeks. However, as my current clients office is closed during the summer months, I have a chance to concentrate on something else, and it doesn’t matter where I sit with my laptop. I might as well then sit with a good cup of coffee, or even better, a good glass of wine.

Spending a week and a half in Helsinki means that I will be separated from my wonderful cellar of wines. So, I have listed some great places in Helsinki to go for a glass. These are places that have good knowledge on wine and a reputable selection by the glass.

1. One of my absolute favorite hangouts in Helsinki is Latva Bar. It is located in Kaartinkaupunki, just a few streets south of the center. It is a cozy cellar space with a few tables and chairs outside. Nothing fancy. The drinks-list however will satisfy even the more demanding wine-geek, with several different champagnes, and up to ten whites and reds by the glass, as well as a comprehensive selection of micro-brewery beers. Latva is owned by the same restaurant group as Juuri, a Finnish-restaurant is located just a few doors down. So one can order some of the sapas (Suomi-tapas = Finnish tapas) and desserts to enjoy at the bar.

2. I very recently wrote about Sinne Helsinki, a new restaurant and bar in the center of Helsinki. The selection of wines is amazing by the bottle and also worth the visit if one wants only to indulge by the glass. When visiting the last time, they had daily rotating wines, so it is always interesting to check out what is on the list of bubblies. I love places where you can just pop in and ask what they have open.

Late night bubbly at Vinvin
Late night bubbly at Vinvin

3. Vin vin is The place to go for wine later in the evening. It is smack in the center just off the main street Mannerheimintie. The bar is owned by a Finnish importer of wines, Viinitie, and serve out their own selection. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and many of the wines served are from small estates produced bio-dynamically. Prices eher are extremely reasonable with 7€ for the house bubbly and 11€ for the house Champagne (which was a vintage Pierre Gimonet by the way last I visited). Recently the same owner opened another bar caller BierBier in Kaartinkaupunki. Guess what they focus on there.

4. The old apothecary Carelia is located close to the Opera. They have a great selection of Rieslings, Pinot Noir and champagne for a very reasonable price. As always, the most interesting stuff is by the bottle, so if you are up for it this is the place to come for great  champagne. The food is also excellent. Traditional dishes made exceptionally well. I recommend the beef tartar and Entrecote with Bernaise. The sommelier is an absolute pearl and my childhood best friend. We very recently laughed about how on earth we both ended up so interested in wine.

Restaurant Carelia Helsinki
Carelia restaurant and bar

Helsinki Wine-City, here I come! I am looking forward to indulging in the beautiful July weather, seeing all my friends and having some great glasses of wine. I will also be sitting in cafes, working on a secret project. Yes, I have a new project, which I will reveal when it is ready in August. I am venturing into some new areas, so I might need a glass of wine or two to calm down the nerves. But there is nothing like pushing yourself to do something new, and I am looking forward to seeing the results.

Wineweek 20: Easter greetings from Helsinki

It is Sunday again! But as with many other weeks, this Sunday is not the end of the holiday. A Sunday that does not feel like a Sunday – that’s great! We have been spending a long weekend in Helsinki, the city where I lived the first 30 years of my life. We had a wonderful agenda with meetings with old friends and of course wine, but that had to unfortunately be reorganized as we caught the bug just one day after landing. Before one might have risked it and just soldiered through with the flu, but now with many of my friends having small kids, we did not want anyone to have to share our misfortune. We did feel much better after a few days, so it was wining and dining for just the two of us, myself and M (and of course coffee)

The Helsinki cathedral
The Helsinki cathedral
Easter flowers
Easter flowers
Johan & Nyström concept store in Helsinki
Johan & Nyström concept store in Helsinki

I was not as well prepared as I usually am with reservations (as we were not supposed to have time to go out), but it seemed that people were out of town, so we got lucky and were able to visit some new cool places. We had dinner at Soil Wine Bar, a new wine bar and tapas restaurant on Fredrikinkatu. I met up with an old friend at Bronda for a glass of bubbly, and me and M also tried out the wine selection (and food) at Sinne Helsinki and VinVin on Saturday night. A pretty good round for such a short time, and I think I have found a few new favorites that we will for sure visit again on coming trips. Two of the places, Sinne and VinVin place clearly in my top-three wine bars in Helsinki, Soil Wine Room coming only a few steps behind (perhaps only due to the cramped space, the wine selection was really nice). Bronda does not place amongst the best places for wine, but it is a cool restaurant and I appreciate that they had something by the glass for the winecurious, not only main stream boring Champagne (Billecart-Salmon) and Prosecco (I didn’t even look). However, the glass of Clement Perseval Champagne had a high price tag (21€), so that is one of the reasons I would recommend to get your bubbly somewhere else. All good places that I would recommend trying out (I will review them all separately in future posts).

Glasses of bubbly at Vinvin
Glasses of bubbly at Vinvin
The garden room at Sinne Helsinki
The garden room at Sinne Helsinki
Soil WIne Room
Soil WIne Room

Tonight we are also sampling something special, a Quinta do Escudial Red (2009) that we brought back from our trip to Portugal a month ago. M wrote a long post about his visit with the producer (here), so I will not get into that. However, I can say that the wine is excellent! A light mix of Touriga National, Alfrocheiro, Jaeb and Tinta Roriz. No oak has been used in the ageing of the wine, however or perhaps thanks to, it still has character and a nice long finish. This wine would go great with some barbecue, but it can also be enjoyed on its own. We are very impressed by the producer and hope to be working with them in the future.

So that was it for the wineweek. The coming week we will be at home, finishing off the orders for our April window and sampling some more good wine. We might even pop into Matkonsulatet for a bite one evening. Now that I am looking back at the past week with some unexpected (and unwanted) days of taking it slow, we were still able to make the best of it and it was not such a bad wineweek after all.