Jun 9, 2014

The trip - California, 2013

Streetview SF
I have not been updating my blog for a year. I've been working. There were times when I thought that it (writing a blog) isn't my thing and that I felt inferior compared to the "real" wine professionals writing about their experiences. I set the blog aside for a while, even though there would have been (and still are) many wines to review. I kept reading and commenting others, fulfilling my wine nerdy side without producing much text. Now that summer is here and I have time, I thought I'd get back up on the saddle again and write about the trip to California, June 2013.
Mr. Tourist on a bridge.
San Francisco had been a dream. One of those must-go-to cities you think you hype up so much, that when you actually get there it can't be anything else but a let-down. Believe me, it wasn't. We flew in as newlyweds, still pumped from the wedding, happy as ever, tired after a 11 hour flight (about 20 hours total travel time). We jumped straight into the core of SF, the lively Financial District, just next to the infamous Tenderloin and the busy Union Square (Hotel Abri - recommended!). This was our first U.S. visit, so the positive culture shock hit us and stayed with us quite a while as we observed things in awe, doing little walks around the neighborhood trying to inhale the atmosphere and get a grasp on our surroundings. After getting over the first buzz and meeting our friends we instantly fell in love with the city. And believe me it is easy - liberal, IT-orientated, old school skateboarding, surfing, eco-friendly, picturesque parks, great imaginative restaurants, architectural gems hidden everywhere, with a lively art scene and tons of culture - my kind of place. The mood was set for an amazing trip. Writing this post makes me want to go back as soon as possible. This is not about the city itself, though. I could write a whole other post about the things we experienced and great times we had with friends over there. This is about the wines.
Raymond posing for the picture, I'm having opinions.
We headed up to world famous Napa Valley for a few days. Toured the town and observed the wine culture and life in general. Everyone going to town in Napa should visit Bounty Hunter, which has a fantastic selection of wine and good quality food. There are many tasting rooms and wine bars in town, but Bounty Hunter struck out as the one where they had the perfect combination of a laid back bar with top quality wines. I felt relaxed there, definitely none of that stuck up tasting room awkwardness or U.S. style customer service marketing jargon that it could have been. The highlight was Grignolino by legendary Heitz. A freaky, zesty, somewhat acidic wine that brought to mind some Pinot Noirs I've had. A great structure, lots on your palate to soak in, but none of that "hits you like a truck" feel. This is a great lighter red I wish I had as my summer table wine. Note to self: Make plans to travel to Piedmont, Italy for some more of this.
Amapola Creek
Our main tour of Sonoma Valley (right next to Napa) was arranged with the help and expertise of Raymond, who runs Wine Cube Tours. I recommend services like Raymond's, if not for the good info and great company, but at least getting you off the hook from driving, since there is a lot to taste. A superb service! The infrastructure in the area is fantastic compared to many other wine regions, with tasting rooms close to each other you can hit up many places in a single day. The common opinion seems to be that Sonoma offers more interesting, exiting and creative wineries compared to Napa, which is a bigger, more business orientated and much more established area. My search for the perfect Zinfandel quickly faded away when I realized the bravery these winemakers had on experimenting. You'd have classic french varieties grown in most places, but you'll see varieties from all around the world being grown. I like this attitude, that in the midst of a fast-growing (and learning) industry they have the balls to try out new stuff and not just simply work on perfecting the styles they already have.
VJB, Italy, anyone?
Of all the places we visited, I'd say Sonoma's real treats for us were VJB, Imagery & Amapola Creek.
Mind you, these places were vastly different from each other, but all situated within a 30min drive. VJB is a family owned estate with deep Italian roots and oh boy does it show. They've built a big plaza type of inner courtyard, equipped with a tasting room and a mouthwatering outdoor pizza restaurant. The wines were luscious, nice full bodied reds with no question where their roots are. They did deliver with the Zin - Their Russian River Zinfandel cleared all my worries of the table about finding a Zin not too jammy, thick and boring. The rim was set higher than I could imagine. 

That outdoor pizza, though
Imagery had a completely different approach to, well, everything, I guess, with high quality wine making being the only big thing in common with these two. Imagery was an artist's winery. A lively place full of art, some related to wine, some local artists works on display. These guys were big in experimenting with lesser known varieties. They had artists paint really cool labels and for people looking for something different, their organized chaos in a laid back environment touches your inner artist. The wine that stuck to mind here was their Riesling, which was one of those Rieslings with residual sugar, not the acidic type. These have been a hit or miss. Some greats coming from Mosel, some even lighter ones from Alsace, and the hit in recent years, Kung-Fu Girl from Washington State. I'd place Imagery's 2012 Riesling into this league of softer balanced-with-sugar Rieslings, that maintain their girth. It had nice floral tones, fruity, perfumy feel, a classic Riesling vibe from the nose.
Imagery and some bottle holders.
Then there is Amapola Creek, which for me was the absolute highlight of our tastings. Richard Arrowood is a legend. He has over 45 years of experience and the fact that he has went for smaller, more focused production in his older years is just a superb move. As we went through everything they make, from wine to wine I had a big smile on my face. The overall quality, tones and finishing touches were on a level that most places only wish to one day achieve. Whenever you have a privilege like this to visit and taste such quality, you leave with this sadness, remembering that you'll probably not taste these wines again for a long time. The production quantities keep the wines in hands of lucky locals, and mostly domestic consumption. I brought back the Zin and I have not had the balls to open it yet. Needs to be a special moment.
Amapola tankin'

This brings me to my final thoughts on the area and its wine making: pricing. In many places I was underestimating the pricing of wines. They'd be about 10$ more than I'd expect and I left places thinking what did I miss and why are the prices like this. Yes, small production, low yields, boutique stuff etc. There is more to that, though. It is the U.S. style branding and marketing in the works. They sell the wine, image, brand and experience as a package and you can feel it in the price. It has similarities to Europe, but the pricing structure in Europe has much more of a qualitative emphasis, less leaning on marketing. This makes importing to European countries a hard task for anyone. Only bigger companies, like Beringer, who deal with large quantities can actually deliver over here, because the starting price can be lowered down to an affordable level. I wish some kind of co-op would happen to bring over smaller gems from all around California. I wonder what the 24$ Imagery Riesling would be over here with taxes, closer to 35€ I guess. Amapola Creeks advantage was, that the wine actually had the qualitative aspects of being a wine where paying 45$ or 55-65€ per bottle wouldn't be a problem. That is why I smiled. The price met the expectations, blew them away so well I was ready to invest much more than they asked for. I didn't expect for this to happen in Sonoma. Mr. Arrowood, if you read this; thank you for making it happen.

That smile tells it all
People visiting Northern California: Go check out Sonoma and Napa. Even if it is for one day only, you'll have a great experience. The infrastructure is such a beauty that finding places isn't a chore at all. 

Finns wanting to do this trip: Make sure you have enough time to explore SF, too.

We are about to embark on our next trip, which covers most of the Austrian wine regions, again waiting for a completely different adventure.

@Deerfield. Cool cave for tastings and wine storage

Aug 22, 2012

A quick look - Black Cottage Sauvignon Blanc

I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I mean I love good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. That blackcurrant leaf smell, the minerality, the nice fruity citrus and the acidity giving it structure, you know? When it is made well, it becomes magical - like any other grape variety or style.

This is another quickie for ya! Nice wine in the ~15€ price range. Everything good in a NZ SB is present and it is well balanced and above all rather subtle. This is a great combo for people who don't want to be attacked by acidity like munching on lemons. It is a great summer wine to analyze, but a salad and some roasted chicken does bring this bad boy to life. Plus they are big on sustainability and all that eco stuff, woohoo!
Black Cottage available by order basis at Alko stores in Finland. Internationally, check out your local wine heaven.

Jun 18, 2012

Robotic Wine Storage Solution

Looking for a shelf, rack, fridge or cupboard to store your wines? Forget all the aforementioned options and go for this robot design by an anonymous artist in North Phoenix, USA (Craigslisted)
For only 7000$ this half ton beast could be in your livingroom. It is a one-off piece though so "hurry up and buy" before that one winegeek, your tasting nemesis gets a hold of it. Made from old transmission parts from cars and motorcycles, mounted with LED lights and room for 32 bottles, including the six bottle cannon where you can stick your Bordeaux vintages, its a great piece of art. Worth it!

Jun 6, 2012

Tasting Champagne with François Hautekeur

A while ago I was invited to a tasting by Champagne giant Veuve Clicquot, who brought over their oenologist François Hautekeur. The tasting took place at an atmospheric, cozy-but-epic wine cellar downtown Helsinki. (Kudos to Kari Sjöblom!) First of all I have to admit I have never been an avid Champagne drinker, but I've always respected the style, history and professionalism that goes into the winemaking. It's strange since I very rarely have had a bad experience with Champagne. It's just so cleverly branded and valuable people tend to only pop that bottle at special occasions where the mood is already great. Must do well for the established brand on the other hand - many people get awsome experience, but then again they are more rare than lets say, tasting epic Rieslings. The scarcity does work for Champagne though, keeping in mind the pricing. A rich elite consumer group buys the bulk that keeps things rolling and everybody else has a special event every now and then... Luxury branding 101 right there. Learn from these guys.

On THE menu - 
Non-Vintage Rosé
Vintage 2002
La Grande Dame 1998
Vintage Rich 2002

Alright, starting with the Non-Vintage Rosé, the most recent addition to the Veuve Clicquot family (at least over here in Finland) - A Chardonnay & Pinot Noir blend. My notes describe it like this; "Berries and citrus in the nose, Floral - Rose feel, quite short taste, balanced acidity and those famous small bubbles, balance in the berry side (not over the top). Hints of fudge(!). Colourwise more towards apricot. Party wine?"
"The Chardonnay is the backbone - The Pinot Noir are the muscles" - Mr. Hautekeur

Next up the Vintage from 2002 and my notes; "Nuts, rasins and fruits in the nose, rich fruitiness throughout and a long taste. Everything in balance from the acidity to bubbles." I must say I enjoyed this more, even though the Rosé was a nice surprise.
"Orgasmic" - Mr. Hautekeur

Off to my favourite La Grande Dame (1998) that had us all smiling and looking at each other with polite acceptence. This might have been my friend Kale Agnus's (Nomad Importers) favourite too. And the notes go; "Great acidity and bubbles. A balance between citrus and fruit. Lots of in-your-face character for its age.  A bit of that classic french toast feel." This is in the same price class as a Dom Perignon, that only over 100€ bottle on Alko's shelves and while similar to each other, they are both great competitors!

Then the weirdo of the buch - Vingate Rich 2002. Basically the sweet version of the vintage. This had so much sugar it was not my cup of tea. I could see the target audience though - Women! There is just something about women and their sweet tooth that has created demand for a product like this and well, Veuve replied nicely! The acidity is still there, fruits and all, but with an overwhelming amount of sugar I find it hard to reach for a second glass. Well if this isn't expanding the brand I don't know what is. As long as the stretching is done in a subtle manner, Veuve can get off with these "stranger" personalities in their Champagne family.

Keep 'em coming!

Mr. Hautekeur has been working for Veuve for almost a decade. As an oenologist he is an expert in all areas of winemaking. He takes care of the red grapes grown and needed to blend the Rosé among other things, like tasting many samples each morning. More recently he has been the embassador for Veuve's Nordic and Russian market. Much respect!

François & myself with La Grande Dame.

Jun 5, 2012

A quick look - Quinta Da Gaivosa 2005

I will be doing these smaller reviews of wines I find interesting. Needless to say I recommend trying Quinta Da Gaivosa out and here are the reasons why:

- Great body, that doesn't overdo it.
- Over 80-year-old vines blending about 20 local grape varieties.
- Already signs of ageing with the most spicy and tanninic edge chopped of.
- Still has potential for around 5-7 years storage (or maybe even more) - I would taste one every two years, write down notes and compare.
- Portugese reds are underrated.
- Great balance with oak, tannins, spices and berries.
- Works well with steaks or a huge cheese platter.
- At a bit under 40eur/bottle it's worth the investment.

Quinta Da Gaivosa 2005, paired with grandpa's old wooden pipes. Available at Alko in boxes of six.

May 16, 2012

The Grand Annual ViniPortugal Tasting

Yes, I still am a Douro Valley fan so the biggest Portugese wine tasting of the year (in Finland) simply cannot be missed. I'm even trying to get a documentery about the area together and hopefully head out to film in the autumn. We'll see how that goes later. Right now, it's time to write about what was the ViniPortugal 2012 experience for me. I'd like to note here that many of the wines mentioned, if not all of them are blends. The main grape varieties in these blends are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Temrpranillo), Tourgia Franca, Sousão and Tinta Barroca. You can check the grapes and percentages for each individual wine on the producers website or by asking your local wine shop.

I arrived anxious to get my "taste on", being sure that time will run out like last year. Met up with Ilkka Sirén at the Graham's section and started from there;

Graham's (of the gigantic Symington family) had their port wine well represented. The LBV from 2007 is a nice basic port that I think everybody should taste. It doesn't offer a mindblowing experience but is good quality and works out nicely every time they come out with a new one. The tawny port Graham's offer is nice too. My tasting notes include; "fresh, peppery, hazelnuts, spicy aftertaste" The two really great things on the Symington's line up - Graham's Natura - An Organic port now available at Alko - an always welcome product and a good port with depth (tasting notes; balance on oak, depth, berries, hint of spicyness) The real gem here though was Smith Woodhouse LBV from 2000 having all good LBV qualities and letting you really use time to analyze the wine.

Off to one of my favourites; Portal. Besides the amazing computer game, Portal is a great port wine producer. We visited them last year and it was a truly memorable experience. One of the best climbs on a dodgy road from the village of Pinhão with spectacular views only comparable with the stint from Quinta Do Crasto back down to Pinhão. Portal had their marvellous Colheita port from 2000. Tasting notes include; "blackberries, oak, small well balanced spicyness, sweet, nuts" They had their red there as well and I do enjoy and recommend it - good quality for the price, but for me Portal all about port wine. Like Symington, Portal has a long history in wine and they do know quality.

After Portal I quickly noticed Secret Spot. This is a cool project by Goncalo Sousa Lopes and Rui Walter Cunha. The genius winemaking duo chooses different vineyards every time to make their Secret Spot wines. 2008 was from the Alentejo area and 2007 from Douro. Both rich reds with lots of though put into them. I like this way of thinking - choosing vineyards from where they see a good batch coming. Tasting notes for the Alentejo Secret Spot 2008; "Blackcurrant, oak, low to medium tannins, lighter body", Douro Secret Spot 2007; "EPIC depth, oak, spices, berries". The Douro version is a prime example of an underrated Portugese red wine. Not many get a note from me saying EPIC, I mean it's a real gem that is still not known well worldwide and one of those things I can take over to any wine loving friend of mine and brag about knowing something special...

Next table was Quinta Do Crasto. I've had their wines mentioned earlier so I won't go deeper into that but I definately recommend tasting the whole line up. Pure quality. Ok, lets be honest - They had the best red wine in the whole event. The Reserva - Made from only the amazingly old vines, mixing 30-something grape varieties that make up a fragile and outstanding blend that is sure worth the money. Selling at Alko for 200€ a box (of six) it is a great choice to invest in. Notes included; "EPIC, really deep, powerful, long lasting, winner material". Oh, and I promised to mention their pool every time I mention them so here it goes again; they have that great terrace style pool where you kind of think you'll swim right off the edge. Worth a visit.

Next up; CVD Companhia dos Vinhos do Douro. I recommend to check out their Oboé range of reds. They capture some of the best qualities of Douro reds. Here are my notes - Oboé Superior "fresh, adicic, perky, spicy", Oboé Grande Escolha 2009 "good tannins, powerful, black currant" & Oboé Grande Escolha 2008 "softer tannins, more subtle than 2009, rich, good balance, still great body"

By now I was checking my watch constantly and picking what to go taste with the little time left. I thought that a couple of more random and less known (to me) wineries should be on the list so I give you Quinta Do Romeu. They had the most persona in their reds in a sense. These wines were not so similar to the qualities I mentioned earlier and I had that "I can't quite put my finger around it" moment where you taste something with character, but your mind runs out of adjectives to describe it. For me, it's mostly a good thing. I mean this can happen in a negative way, but not with Quinta Do Romeu. The Menéres family has an over hundered year history in winemaking (like many Quintas in the region) and the vines are planted 350m above sea level. The WHOLE 5000ha estate is 100% organic - think about that. Notes for the reds I was bad at describing - Colheita 2010; "Interesting acidity, short taste, great stew companion" - Reserva 2008 - "Another questionmark, softer, more developed, c'mon man!". Oh, and these guys are in the Douro Superior area, which is far inland, close to the Spanish boarder. This area is well respected (hint in the title) and many producers bought spots from there a while back. Now they are all sold out and are restricting producers from buying.

I'll finish off with some port. Quevedo (Also available at Alko) had the oldest port to offer. The Colheita from 1992 was "dense, raisins, figs, softened down well, great balance" and the 10 y.o Tawny "hazelnuts, sweet but acidic, great balance". The rather small Quevedo is something to check out and the price range is not bad for a 1992 port, that is a perfect example how nicely port ages.

From the many others I tasted, not alot of them were bad wines, but I have to cut this at some point. Hopefully I'll get to taste and write about the others some time soon...
All-in-all a great experience once again! Kudos to ViniPortugal - I'll see you next year!
Ps. The material and service at the event are outstanding. Thank you for taking care!

May 4, 2012

Ice hockey wine

I mentioned earlier on Facebook that the design for the official white wine for the ice hockey world championships may have the worst graphic design in a wine bottle ever.

Well here it is:

I understand the reasons behind making these promotional wines - MONEY. At least they are not even trying to produce quality wine, just by looking at the bottle and reading the mysterious, yet lazy "Produced using grapes grown in Italy" and the well-at-least-you'll-get-drunk "it will make every game - whether win or lose - an enjoyable one!" everything starts to fall into place. I'm guessing there is enough marketing research done to determine that hockey fans have a need for wine at the event, but do not give a shit what they are drinking. Having an official event or restaurant tailored wine may be concidered a service - yeah, if it's a good quality wine made with some thought. It's a radical comparison, but hell, I'll make it - An amazingly good restaurant in Helsinki called Farang made a really good quality red with Australian producer Hewitson, of "Miss Harry" fame. Now theres an example how to do it! Unfortunately there isn't many positive examples like this, but please do correct me if I'm wrong. I would love to hear more success stories in this area.

Oh, and anybody remember that terrible HIFK Merlot from a few years back? What is it with ice hockey and bad wines?

On a side note, I plan to do what the wine tells me to. Watch an ice hockey game and get drunk. After that I can see if it was enjoyable even though Finland loses. I seriously doubt that.

Go team Finland! "yay!"

Oh, and it was awful - Sodastream ftw!

Apr 28, 2012


1st of May is right around the corner. I have not been updating my blog for a while, seriously I need to speed up the pace. Had some good wines over the past month though and cool stuff coming up in May like the massive Portugal tasting in Helsinki I'm really looking forward to. Anyway this entry is about 1st of May, Vappu, Labour's Day, Fetê Du Travail, Loyalty Day or whatever you call it wherever you are. I sure do hope it's a bank holiday in your country too.

Vappu traditionally for us in Finland is a working class holiday, a celebration for those who sweat their asses off for a few bucks - the god damn backbone of our society. Wrapped around with a carnevalistic atmosphere and a few high school graduates wearing hats, Vappu is about booze, fatty, sugery foods and booze. I thought at first to do a sparkling wine special here as most winebloggers do this time of the year but I'm going to go more working class than that - selecting three under 10€ wines to take with you outside and enjoy your picnic with. So left-winging myself to Alko, the socialist monopoly of wine I spent quite a while amongs the shelves, kneeing down in awkward positions reading etiquettes and descriptions from the bottom shelves with a sense of desperation creeping up as sweat began to form on my forhead (This all happening in just a few minutes) What a task! I was making it too hard for myself - "get a grip, man! It's about having fun and an easy drinking"

I have to admit I went 2/3 with what I know. Too much of a gamble to go with random descriptions and impressions of winemaking areas. One red, one white and one sparkling mystery.

      From the left; Soligo Prosecco, Treviso, Italy - Leth Duett, Wagram, Austria - Sá De Baixo, Blend, Douro, Portugal

Lets start with Sá De Baixo. This is an older find from the under 10€ pricerange. It features a classic Douro blend with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca as the grape varieties. Pretty much something you stumble upon in the area everywhere. The wine is medium bodied with cherry flavours and hints of raspberry, but the important note is that it's not a juicy one - there are nice spicy tones at the end and it leaves a relatively good, earthy aftertaste. This is easy to drink and enjoy, but works well when paired with my sausage selection for Vappu. ("Again with Portugal! When does he stop!?")

Leth Duett - Riesling & Grüner Veltiner. This Austrian is packed with a great acidity, lots of lime - the more fruity end of the citrus palate - and a fresh minerality. Really good bang for your buck! It's a strong blend with Austria's two most epic white grapes. This is what I enjoy outdoors in the spring sunshine. If you are having picnics with sallads, cheeses and baguettes Leth Duett is certainly a friend to bring along.

Then there is the mystery bottle. From producer Soligo, a Prosecco from Treviso, northern Italy. I admit this is a bit more for the ladies so it was a pick between the ever-so-boring Pink from Yellowglen and a Prosecco so we are going to have at least one "real" tasting experience over Vappu. Prosecco as a style is definately recommended for the occasion. Perky, light, easy - these go well with mid-range Prosecco and there are suger levels suitable for all tastes. This one has, according to Alko, sugar 11g/l and a rather low acidity so its one for the easy-to-down sparklers.

So thats about it. We bought materials for an epic Vappu brunch and after a booze and smores filled 30th we can go with the tradition of Vappu gluttony and be happy spring is here with summer around the corner.

Happy whatever-it-is-where-you-are!

P.S Bloggerfriend of mine, Caroline Henry (Missinwine) recommended some Billy Bragg for a Vappu soundtrack so here is my choice http://youtu.be/nZaYEniPaJg "Great Leap Forward"

Mar 19, 2012

Viiniexpo 2012

The annual wine event mammoth that is Viiniexpo took place in Helsinki's Messukeskus. I went there on thursday excited to see what they have to offer this year. My memories of past Viiniexpo years were good and expectations quite high for at least a couple of finds. In this entry I will guide you through the best I thought the expo had to offer. First of all I must mention that as always all majors well represented in Alko like Torres, Cono Sur, Freixenet etc. had their selections available for tasting, but for me thats obviously not the thing. I don't see it as a futile effort to come and win over winegeeks, but as a really good opportunity for wineheads starting their hobby to taste them all in a few hours in a "get-it-out-of-your-system" kind of way. For a more critique involving approach the "wine porn" presented at Viiniexpo was ok - not spectacular, but ok.

I'll go for the gold straight away:
Austria was well represented with a government sponsored stand and maybe the most overall quality found at Viiniexpo. Great austrian not-to-miss acidic deep Riesling and the lighter, easier well balanced Gruner Veltliner. Weingut Brundlmayer, with a 98p Riesling (Robert Parker fame) and Hirsch with the near perfect Zöbing and Nigl.

Over to Italy: Chateau Punk was a really good example of modernising the product. This is the spirit I want to see with younger winemakers looking forward and giving the product an image they personally want and like. Traditions are traditions, but what should we take with us into the future and what to change? If not my Viiniexpo favourite at least in the top 3!
I was trying to spot Portugese reds among the hundreds of wines and after not finding any I had to search the info-pamflet to actually locate the few Portugese present. Quinta Do Casal Branco from Tejo, a bit north from Lisbon. These southern-portugese reds are a lighter and more easy to approach than the thick and spicy cousins from the north. Sad to see the general lack of Portugese wines. Maybe next year?

Mud House was there (Vuoden Viinit competition winner fame) and they had others besides the Sauvignon Blanc - Pinot Gris, Riesling and two different Pinot Noir. Well I have to be honest and say there was nothing special here besides the older, 2009 Pinot Noir, which was the richest in flavour of the bunch. The sugary Riesling I would avoid especially after the Austrians. You definately saw the trend of N-Z Pinot Noir everywhere throughout the expo, and Pinot Noir in general - I'm tired of it.
What maybe surprised me most was a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Greece - Amethystos. Rich, heavy, dark, intense, spicy - The bomb! Something else than the normal-Greek-below-average-reds this really knocked me back for a minute. I suggest you try this if you manage to find it but please open many hours before serving...

That ends my highlights of Viiniexpo 2012 - I'll leave you with two pics:
Sara La Fountain, Chef fame - At the PANINI stand (of all stands) over at Gastro (Food expo next door). One of my favourite fast foods. Needless to say I had lots of free panini. (With Juha Veijonen)
And the beer & cider department. I don't usually do this but that Lemonade stuff was great. I could imagine myself having one of them on a hot summer day outside somewhere...

I'll be back next year

Mar 9, 2012

The quest for a perfect Zinfandel

I've always been keen on finding a wine from a grape variety that is somehow special. Zinfandel has this special little thing, since it's ancestor comes from Croatia and the grape itself is basically Primitivo (found in Italy) but there comes a certain twist when it makes it "abroad". There are only subtle hints of history here, since the Zinfandel you get these days is its own persona and oh boy do I love the characteristics.

So a while back I started a quest to find the best Zinfandel there is and it is pretty much California-related all the way. You can always go and diss the Cali-Chardonnays and other French whatnots - that's easy. The Zinfandel though, is a whole different thing - it's big and it's popular but whats most important that its succesful in terms of characteristics and persona. Hell, theres even a ZinFest going on over there. It's unique and it's something Californian wines provide that sweeps everything else they have pretty much off the table. (Wait a minute did I just say that?!)

What am I looking for? To put it short: Something that will blow my mind and taste like nothing else. Sounds quite epic I know. A nice Zinfandel is robust, dense, spicy but balanced, not overly tanninic and gives berry aromas that don't go to the juicy side. It's a wine for a well done steak and a good companion on a BBQ - just to name a few, it's a wine for a wide variety of food.

Today I'm enjoying a nice Zinfandel from Castoro Cellars, the 2009 vintage (Available at Finnish Alko stores, 14,90e) and this is a good competitor I must say. The quest continues though and I don't know if it's a lifelong one or will I eventually hit something that makes all others not-worth-it-anymore. Hopefully I can get over to Cali later this year to do some intensive tastings!
A recommend for your weekends meaty dish