About a week ago I was interviewed in the on-line magazine Wine Meridian, the it was published in Italian, now they published an English version.
About a week ago I was interviewed in the on-line magazine Wine Meridian, the it was published in Italian, now they published an English version.
When I talk about Swedish wine I mean wine made from grapes grown in vineyards in Sweden. There are also a few producers that do grow vines in greenhouses and then there are some wineries that make wine from grape juice purchased from other countries. Among the latter there are several that produce cheap bag-in-box wines, but there are also some that are more ambitious for example Högberga Vinfabrik AB (wine factory) at Lidingö in Stockholm.
EU wine legislation is based on the principle that each country adopts rules for wine classification adapted to protected designations of origin and quality levels. Sweden has not introduced any classification rules, therefore, the Swedish wines can only be sold as table wine.
Today there are about 200-250 growers, of whom about 40 works commercially, here is a list with most of them. There is at least 30-50 hectares of vineyards in Sweden, some says that they are closer to 100, where of about 20-30 hectares are commercial. Most of the vineyards are situated in the southern parts of Sweden, in Scania and on the islands Öland and Gotland in the Baltic Sea. But there are also growers in Halland, Västergötland, Östergötland and Sörmland.
Last year I visited one of these wineries, Villa Mathilda. It is situated on the Kulla Peninsula at Arild, just north of Höganäs in Scania. The winery was founded in 2006 and is run by Marie-Louise and Carl-Magnus Hedin, the name of the winery comes from Marie-Louise grandmother Mathilda. The first harvest was brought in 2010, the same year they produced thier first wine.
As I am about to taste one of their 2013 vintage wines I contacted Carl-Magnus Hedin of Villa Mathilda and asked a few questions about the vineyard, the winery and the 2013 vintage.
The vineyard consists of a total of 1000 vines, where they grow solaris and siegerrebe. The soil is clay mixed with a sandy moraine on top of bedrock with some sandstone and shale. During a good year they do thier harvested in late September and in tougher years in October. 2012 was a tough year and they harvested October 3-10th. Last years harvest was slightly earlier, on September 27-28th they harvested the sigerrebe and on October 3-4th they harvested the solaris.
2013 was the best year so far for Villa Mathilda, then again 2012 was one of the most difficult. From the 1000 vines they only got 150 kg of grapes in 2012, in 2013 they got 850 kg. In bottles this means about 700 (50 cl) in 2013.
Carl-Magnus Hedin told me that they try to raise the bar every year, but they also like to experiment a bit. This year they worked a lot harder in the vineyard during the winter and during harvest they saved some grapes to try a late harvest. While the work in the vineyard has done wonders the late harvest didn’t do much for the grapes. Over the years thay have alos tried different types of yeast.
At Villa Mathilda all grapes are destemmed before they are pressed. They pressed with a hydro-press, using low pressure, the wine is unfiltered and they use a selected German yeast that rewards a slow fermentation at temperatures around 12-15 ° Celsius. They also did some changes in the vinification. In 2012 the wine was macerated for about 1 day and for the 2013 the wine has been on sur lie for a longer time and whilst they did battonage. The fermentation is stopped by cold temperature, but they do use some sulfur, maximum 50 milligrams, if needed.
When I visited them last year I got to try their 2012 vintage. 2012 was a difficult year and you could taste that in the wines. The Solaris 2012 was a bit unbalanced with a high, a bit sharp acidity that tended to take over. It was the first year for their siegerrebe, a wine that gave a more aromatic and full-bodied impression and had some nice aromatics. A wine that flirts with Gewurtztraminer and a dry zibbio (muscat), last year this worked better than the solaris.
Solaris is a grape that is a crossing of Merzling (which in turn is a cross of Seyve-Villard, Riesling and Pinot Gris) and the grape Gm 6493, which is a cross of Zarya Severa and Muscat Ottonel (in some texts it says that is a a crossing of Saperavi severny and muscat ottonel). Solaris is a vitis vinifera grape, but is sometimes described as a hybrid grape due to its many different parents. Solaris is perhaps the most common grape in Sweden right now, at least for white wines, the grape gives wines with high acidity and lightly floral aromatic appropriations that to some extent resembles sauvignon blanc.
Siegerrebe is also a vitis vinifera grape, a cross of Madeleine Angevine and Gewurtztraminer. The only one I’ve tasted is the Villa Mathilda 2012 so my references are rather thin: this was flowery, aromatic with hints of citrus (many others describe grapefruit in wines made by siegerrebe) and some elderberries. It had significantly lower acidity, more fruit sweetness and more body than the solaris grape wines I’ve tried. The wine reminds me most of Gewürztraminer or a dry muscat/zibbibo wine.
Carl-Magnus Hedin tells me that one of the pleasant suprises this year is the siegerrebe, it does so well. That hasn’t always been the case but now they learned how to work with it. A few years ago they were on the verge of replacing it – they didn’t – thankfully.
Today’s wine is a blend of these two grapes; Villa Mathilda cuvée 2013. They wanted to play withe acidity of the solaris and the slightly sweeter and richer features of the siegerrebe.The blend is 2/3 solaris and 1/3 sigerrebe, the alcohol is 13 vol % the acidity is 7,5 g/l.
This wine is fresh, spicy and clearly aromatic with hints of fennel and wet stone. There is a nice sweetness with hints of dried flowers and elderberry, a hint of citrus and some tropical fruit. It is well balanced with a medium body and fairly long spicy aftertaste. It is fresh, flavorful, austere with some complexity. It is a really nice wine that would perhaps best be compare with a dry zibbibo (ie Muscat di Alexandria) with hints towards scheurebe, pinot gris and gewürzttraminer.
I would pair this wine with seafood, Asian food that does not have too much heat or cheese.
I asked Carl-Magnus Hedin about the current vintage, he says it looks really good. They are a few weeks ahead of 2013 that was really good, they plan to do the harvest during the las week of September and the vintage has great possibilities to be as good as 2013 or better. This might not only be due to the vintage in itself but they have also continued to try to become better in thier work in the vineyard and the winery.
I look forward to 2014 and many more vintages – if you want to taste a good example of Swedish wine – Villa Mathilda is very good way to go – and even better they are #winelover-s! If you want to taste it about 10 local resturants have it and a really good resturant in Gothenburg: Sjömagasinet.
This is a verion of an article for DinVinguide.se
I’m currently participating in a recipie contest – on the line is a trip to Paris and a trip to Chlie. Sponsor is the chilean producer Cono Sur. The idea is to take one of two wines : Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere or Cono Sur Bicicleta Gewürztraminer – I choose the latter.
My idea was to take something seasonal, something Swedish and do a spin on it. In Sweden we have crayfish parties during the later parts of summer and early parts autom. This includes large numbers of crayfish boild in dill, and downed with hugh amounts of alchohol. This really isn’t my cup of tea. I want wine and I want proper food, not saying that crayfish isn’t proper food but I want them in a dish – and of course wine.
My idea was to incorporate the crayfish and create a dish I would like to eat and this was it!
Crab mix served on grilled sourdough bread served with an Asian sauce and boild yellow beets and lightly pickled white turnip (purple top white globe) and cray fish boild in dill
(for 2 people)
Lightly pickled white turnip (purple top white globe)
Slice two white turnips as thin as possible, slice ½ a red pepper finely, slice 2-3 spring onions. Put everything in a bowl, pour in 5-6 tablespoons of rice vinegar, put in 1/3 part pot of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), add the limezest from ½ lime, the juice of ½ lime and 1-2 tbsp of sugar + a dash of mirin. Let stand cold for 2-3 hours. Stir a few times during the time of taste before serving.
Pour 0.5 dl of asian fish sauce, 1.5 dl water, 1 teaspoon of vinegar (24%) and 0.5 tablespoons of sugar in a pan and boil it. Cool it of to ca 8 dgrs. Before serving, chop ½ red pepper frui, and one clove of garlic and then stir this into the sauce.
Boiled yellow beets
Wash 6 yellow beets thoroughly. Put them in a pan, fill with water so they are covered, pour in the juice of half a lemon, a bay leaf, a crushed clove of garlic and a knob of butter. Bring to the boil, lower the heat so that they cook at medium temperature under a lid – cook for about 30-35 minutes. Peel them while they are hot and slice them. Add them up on the plate and sprinkle some salt on.
The crab mix
1 boiled crab (make sure it is a female so you get some roe). Remove the crab meat and roe and place in a bowl. Dice an avocado, finely chop about 1/3 part pot with fresh dill, 1/3 part pot of fresh coriander (cilantro), 1/3 part pot of fresh thyme and a clove of garlic (finely chopped). Add the juice of half a lime and the zest from one lime and 1-2 tsp tiglio honey. Mix together, season with salt and a little black pepper.
Toast a slice of bread, we used a sourdough bread. Put the the crab mix on the bread and serve with the yellow beets and turnip and one or two crayfishes. Pour a few tablespoons of the Asian sauce over the crab mix just before serving.
This is just summer food on a hot day or at the crayfish party, a great combination of flavors with lots of herbs, crabs and crayfish and some asian flavours and the sweetnes of the beets and acidity of the turnips marries nicely with a aromatic wine.
Cheers – if this sounds good or decent try it and/or help me out and vote for it here . though this is only possible if you are in Sweden (Just find my name – klick rösta på detta recept and go on)!
Today I am in the Italian wine press on Italian wines from a Scandinavian perspective in the online publication Wine Meridian, who interviewed me a while ago. The article is in Italian, but an English version will appear in a few days – check it out here:
From today I am part of the the editorial board of DinVinGuide.se (YourWineGuide.se) – a Swedish on-line wine publication. This publication is mainly published in Swedish but there is a transalation tool, it works decently but not perfectly. If you have an answer please send a mail or leave a comment here.
Among the the other guys and girls on the editor board and amongs the contributors are a great bunch of wine, booze, beer and food writers – i f you want to get hold of them just do – they are great:
A great bunch! Check us out here; http://www.dinvinguide.se/
You’ve might have noticed that we started up a #winelover website a while ago: winelover.co
Today we put up a new post on my trip to Bardolino earlier this year, sometimes its nice to do retrospects; Read it on #winelover
While there check out the website and help us with ideas on how we can best utilize it or make it better. Write a comment on the website, via the facebook group #winelover or through twitter – do not forget the #winelover.
Music: De Curtis | Lugana Addio
There is an old Swedish saying that goes something like this: It’s always good to be away, but great to come home. About a week ago I returned from a great trip to Lugana, Italy. These trips tends to be filled with new experiences, meetings, flavors and facts – so full that you need a few days to relax and let it all sink in. And there starts the next step of the trip down memory lane. Many of these can be found already on facebook, instagram and twitter – just follow the hashtags #lugana and #winelover.
This is a first (or rather second – I did one in Swedish yesternight) attempt on summarize some of the impressions that lingers in my mind. Let’s start with a quick sum up: So damn good! That is my lasting impression. Turbiana variations – one grape, white wines, grown in clay, ca 1200 hectares of vineyards – still lots of variation. Acidity, minerality , elegance, ageing potential are a few key words. I am a #turbianalover I am!
It’s good to be home but I want to go back… soon!
One can divide the Lugana in many different ways: Small producers vs. large producers, producers that grow and make wine in Lugana vs. producers who buy grapes and produces outside Lugana, producers that just do Lugana wine vs producers who also are big in other areas such as Bardolino, Valpolicella , Marche etc.
Large, small, inside Lugana, outside of Lugana , traditional, experimental , it doesn’t really matter – the wines are of such high standards that basically no one lets you down, ie the bottom level is really high – then there are those that are more fun than others, mainly due to a matter of taste.
There are those who experiment with thier wines but there are no bio-dynamic wines or natural wines. But most avoid herbicides and pesticidesbut. Among the experimentations going on are the use of concrete amphoras, organic farming, oxidation, cru wines, pas dosé (zero- dosage) sparkling wine and so on. So who knows maybe we’ll see a bio-dynamic or natural Lugana wine soon enough…
The one stretching the limits the furthest is probably Pasini with thier Busocaldo, an intense wine with exotic fruits, a nutty flavor with hints of hazelnut and almond, a deep pronounced minerality and lots of character. Find it buy it, love it!
Then again Lugana shows that you don’t have to be experimental to do great things, there are several great producers, big and small. To get a feel for Lugana a good starting point is Cà dei Frati or Tenuta Roveglia and Zenato. For sparkeling CàMaiol is good starting point. As they are big brands they’re likely to be available in many places and they do good stuff. After you’re hooked I would recommend a few om my personal favorites with includes Pasini, Cascina Maddalena, Azienda Agricola Fraccaroli, Selva Capuzza, Perla del Garda and Olivivi… (I probably forgot a few – so I might have to update)
In Lugana there is one grape to know – Turbiana (formerly known as Trebbiano di Lugana). To be labeled Lugana wine it must contain at least 90% turbiana, but basically they all stated that they use more or less 100% turbiana. There are around 100 winemakers in Lugana, and a few more growers, add to this about another 70 or so making Lugana wine on bought grapes outside Lugana. No new producers outside Lugana can do Lugana wines, but those who have done it for a long time have the right to continue to do so, but the grapes must be grown in Lugana. Interesting to note is that there are no cooperatives. The Lugana is about 1200 hectare viticulture, 2-300 acres is threatened as the state wants to build a new railway straight through the area. Read more about that in Elisabetta Tosi’s article: Stop that train! Save Lugana wine!
Most wine is made to be sold young, most of them are probably opened the same year. Most wines are made in stainless steel and a lesser amount are made in oak barrels, Riserva. Different styles, great wines. About 50 % goes to export.
Lugana wine is also known to be wine that can be aged for a long time and do so well. We got to try a lot of older vintages and it is evident that the wines do age well. It was also evident that many of the older bottles were not made to be stored. Many of them were oxidized, faulty or corked but those that had survived were amazing. We had great wines from the 70’s, from the 80’s and the 90’s. This shows the potential of Lugana if aged and today you treat the bottles in a completely different way than you did back in the days. They are stored better, they use better corks and some do age them to sell them – a good move. One of these is Cà dei Frati who has a really good 2007 in stores now.
Music from one of our hosts, Luca Formentini of Selva Capuzza, here in one of his music projects: Tavole di Flos with Stefano Castagna.
Everything is wine on these trips, it’s also food, culture, landscape and friends, both new and old ones, #winelover-s, bloggers and journalists. The landscape is beautiful at times adorable beautifully. Lugana is at the southern end of Lake Garda, the landscape is flat and the soil is clay, but you can see the mountains towering to the north and even though it’s hot there are usually cool breezes.
I ‘m already longing back ……
Read more posts from other participants:
I visted Bardolino a few weeks back. I was there for a preview tasting of Bardolino and Chiaretto, vintage 2013. I tasted about 120-140 wines, visted five wineries, saw the beauty of lake Garda and its surroundings and met some great people.
I must confess I didn’t know much about the wines of Bardolino and Custoza. I have of course tasted a few – but didn’t know much about the area, so this was a kind of a taste adventure and exploring trip for me.
When thinking back on this and other trips I’ve done I sometimes come to think of myself like a modern day viking (some say I do look the part as well), exploring the south of Europe and other wine regions in hunt for booty (wine). One of these days I think will head out for the Viking revisit tour of Europe #winlover edition – seeking out places we (the Vikings) plundered, ravaged and sacked during the Viking Age – as I come up to the town gate I’ll make a demand: Bring me your wines, your best wines…
Well perhaps not, but these wine travellings and the blogging about them is like a kind of exploring: …to boldly go where I haven’t been before, to explore strange new grapes and to network with new and old friends – and this is what #winelover is all about for me. To explore, to network and having fun whilst doing it!
Even though this was not a #winelover event and we didn’t do a hangout this trip had all these components. A region that was new for me, bloggers, journalists, producers that was, at least in part, new to me and of course the most in important thing: wines, lots of wine.
As Bardolino and Custoza is quite new to me it might be so for you as well, you might also have missed the evolution of their wines. Talking with people on this trip I learned that the wines have changed in a postive direction the last few years and there are several producers who do really good stuff showing the potential of the area.
After tasting the wines I do agree, the best wines are really good and interesting. They do show the potential of the area. The tasting also showed that there are a lot of quite ordinary wines, not bad but not fantastic either, that shows that there is still work to be done.
There are three main wines; Bardolino (red wine), Chiaretto Bardolino (rosé, still and spumante) and Custoza (white wine, still and spumante).
The red wines are cuvées, in general they are quite light and low in alcohol. They have lots of red fruit, some green herbs and lots of pepper and plenty of acids and minerallity. A comparison with Beaujolais is not bad if one looks to the style of the wines, but they do differ in taste – Bardolino generally have a warmer fruit more towards cherries, are a little more rustic and have different herbs than the Beaujolais wines.
The pink wines, the Chiarettos, goes from elegant wines, slightly aromatic, good acidity, subtle fruit with a touch of minerality to candy sweet ones. The best are the elegant wines and they have good potential, whilst the sweet are a bit to lemonade alike and as a style of rosé wines available everywhere in the world. The elegent style of Charetto is a style where the terrior and personality is showing, I would go these kind of wines instead of the candy flavoured ones.
The white wines have good fruit that tend to go toward the exotic fruits or yellow apple flavours, many have a really nice acidity, quite a lot of herbs, aromatic flavours and minerality. I like the style and the best shows the potential. We also got to taste a few ages ones that showed complexity and depth – really loved these ones.
The future of Bardolino and Custoza is a continued work on quality and personality. To keep on working on finding new and old ways to make interesting wines. The aged Custoza shows that the wines have ageing potential, today most wines are made to be had within one or two years. Another path into the future is the idea of modernizing Bardolino doc by identifying crus and doing different wines in a different ways, for exampel wines made on a single grape. We got to taste a few wines made on 100% corvina that were where splendid.
The area is a tourist area and much of the wines are made for the tourist market, which is not bad for local buissness. But these wines will probaly not catch new markets or attention of journalists or bloggers etc. For this there is a need for brands that draw attention to the area and in Bardolino and Custoza, luckly there are few that does!
At this time I would like to mention a few of them, a few that stands out with personal wines, with wines with quality, terrior and uniqueness. Wines made for #winelovers.
Le Fraghe makes some splendid wines, elegant, complex and charming filled with personality.
Silvio Piona is another really good winemaker, doing great reds and white wines which also proved to be good for storing.
Le Vinge di San Pietro does a variety of great stuff – personal, elegant, complex with lots of potential – whites as well reds and if you find his passito bianco – buy it (only about 2000 btl/year)!
Another interesting winemaker to keep an eye out for is Giovanna Tantini, she makes a sublime Chiaretto and a very good Bardolino.
So there are several good reasons to come to Bardolino, to buy and taste wines from Bardolino and Custoza.
If or when you go don’t miss the best little wine bar in the area: Enoteca Il Giardino delle Esperidi. This is the #winelover place to go to. They have lots of new and old wines to enjoy, from the area and other italian areas and from the rest of the world. A lovely bar, a great hostess and according to my friends also a great place to eat.
It will be very interesting to follow Bardolino into the future, to see where the future takes them. There is great potential and some wines are all ready very good, others are knocking on the #winelover door!
So until next time – salute!
Just returned from a wine trip and directly start to plan for the next one. Last weekend it was the Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the #winelover-community 2-year anniversary. There will be a few posts about in a few weeks, I just have to let the impressions sink in a bit. Meanwhile check out the brand new #winelover website!
The trip was very good, and I would like to give big thanks to Elena Roppa who arranged a lot of it, all the amazing producers who offered themselves and their wines and to all the wonderful #winelover-s who made the weekend amazing.
My next trip will once again take me back to Italy, this time around to Veneto and Lazise by Lake Garda , March 15th-17th. I will particpate in Anteprima Bardolino – A Preview Tasting of Bardolino and Bardolino Chiaretto from the 2013 vintage. There will be over 60 producers of Bardolino and Chiaretto present, with around 180 wines to taste.
Now I’ve had my share of Bardolino wines but to be honest, far from 180 so this will be interesting. In the Swedish Monopoly there are, currently, there are 8 wines from Bardolino in Sweden, four red and four rosé – not that many. There are probably more availabe through resturants and internet shops!
A few words on what’s to come.
Bardolino DOC wine is light red wines, often with fairly low alcohol content, about 10-11%. The wines are a blend made of corvina and rondinella that may be complemented by up to 20% molinara but must contain 35–65% corvina, with a 10% allowance made for its sub-variety corvinone. Bardolino have on occasion been compared with Beaujolais and in 1987 they introduced Bardolino Novello a kind of Italian Beaujolais nouveau. Other grapes that may be included are rossignola, barbera, sangiovese, garganega, marzemino, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
Since 2001 the area also has DOCG status, Bardolino Superiore Classico, it is also a blend made of corvina and rondinella and must contain 35–65% corvina. These wines are slightly more robust and stronger than the DOC’s but still light and fruity.
Bardolino Chiaretto is the rosè wine, still and spumante, mainly made on local varietals such as corvina, rondinella and molinara . The last couple of years rosé has been the fortune market for the area and many has shifted their attention from the bardolinos to bardolino chiaretto, since 2008 the production has more than doubled, from 5 to 11 million bottles.
As I said I haven’t had many of these wines, mainly due to the lack of them at the monopoly, so I really look forward to this trip.
Anyone else coming – let me know :)
Last year we celebrated one year as a community in Umbria, now we are one year older, lots of #winelovers have been joining us, today we’re 13300+ at facebook, and it’s time to celebrate again. This time we go northeast to Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia. We stay in Italy and as we are winelovers what day is better than Valentine’s Day. The schedule is packed and it’s gonna be funny as hell.
Meet at 10:30 at ExpoMittelSchool of Trieste (Via San Nicolò, 5)
Meeting with winemakers of the Carso and tasting of indigenous varieties: Vitovska, Malvasia Istriana and Terrano.
Seminar: Prosecco or Glera? The name Prosecco is tied to the village of the Carso region that carries this name, but is Prosecco produced in the Carso?
Seminar: Wine and Science, what is the relationship? Trieste is a city of science at an international level and we will meet with a geneticist who studies the relationship between genes, senses and diet. We will play with our senses and wine.
Let’s have a coffee in Trieste: A walk in the city with the night stars. Trieste is the meeting of sea and rock, enclosed by the gulf and the bluffs of the Carso. Its streets and its buildings live in a magical atmosphere of Central Europe.
09:00 Bus departure from Trieste
10:30 Arrive at the Cantina Produttori Cormons a Cormons in the heart of the Collio and tasting of the Vino della Pace. (Wine of Peace). The Vino della Pace is produced from experimental vines “Vigna del Mondo” that contain 883 vines from around the world. It is a vineyard established to protect biodiversity and establish a worldwide sample of existing varieties.
14:00 Meeting with winemakers at Rocca Bernarda. The winery is situated in an ancient castle that dates back to the 1500’s on a hill from which one enjoys a beautiful panorama of vineyards and nature. Tasting of wines from indigenous varieties of the area with several producers present.
17:30 Visit the town of Cividale del Friuli, a declared UNESCO heritage site, for its history and uniqueness. It holds one of the most important national archeological museums and through the historic center winds pedestrian alleyways lined with historic buildings.
19:00 Wine Party at Bastianich of Cividale del Friuli. Wine, music and fun exclusively for #winelover-s
Return to Trieste in the evening
09:00 Bus departure from Trieste
10:30 Meeting with winemakers at a winery in the Collio and Isonzo area: to welcome us, many producers of the area will present their wines for tasting.
14:30 Visit of Aquileia, a declared UNESCO heritage site, one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire. The open-air archeological sites and the mosaics of the cathedral, including the largest floor mosaic in the Christian world, are among the most precious artifacts.
16:00 Meeting with winemakers at Foffani in Clauiano. The winery is in a small historic village, one of the “Borghi Più Belli d’Italia” (most beautiful villages in Italy) and every year hosts an international exhibit of mosaic art. Here we will taste diverse wines of the area.
Return to Trieste in the evening.