Author: Sarah Jefford

Vintips – Vecka 44

Första snön i Stockholm. Perfekt – mer plats i kylskåpet då vita viner kan förvaras på balkongen – så länge som det inte fryser på ordentligt förstås. Således blir veckans vintips om vitt vin och om den klassiska druvan Sauvignon Blanc. Två viner, två olika uttryck. Ett vin från den nya världen och ett från den gamla. Men nuförtiden är begreppen “ny värld” och “gammal värld”lite passé då gränserna är suddiga och lätt flyter ihop. Kan man verkligen ställa än mot den andra? Europeiska vinmakare inspireras av vinmakarna från antipoderna och vice versa. Det är numera inte alltid så lätt att gissa vart ett vin kommer ifrån. Stil är kanske ett bättre ord att använda för att jämföra viner. I alla fall har vi här två viner som båda kommer från tydligt svala områden och som i sin respektive stil är typiska för deras ursprung. […]

MW – A journey to higher knowledge

I recently received an email from the Alumni Association of my university which opened with a rhetorical question on whether my education had helped me achieve something great. I am not sure about “achievement” as such but one great thing it did help me with was being accepted on the Masters of Wine programme. The Institute of Masters of Wine was formed in 1955 to “promote professional excellence and knowledge of the art, science and business of wine” (www.mastersofwine.org). Although originally set up in London, the organisation is now international with events and workshops taking place all over the world and members from more than 28 different countries. The Masters of Wine Examination is and has always been notoriously difficult. The knowledge required to pass is both broad and in-depth and covers areas such as viticulture, wine production, the handling and business of wine, and contemporary issues. At the first Masters of Wine Examination set up in 1953 by the Vintners’s Company and the Wine and Spirit Association to improve the standard of knowledge of those in …

Vintips – vecka 43

När skörden är på väg i många olika länder i Europa så har vi i Sverige börjat sjunka in i mörker och köld. Tid för att öppna lite kraftigare flaskor och återbesöka klassiska druvor. Som Cabernet Sauvignon, den så kallade kungen av druvor som kan växa lite överallt utan att tappa sin identitet. Cabernet Sauvignon vinifieras ensam eller blandat. Det är inte bara i Bordeaux som han regerar utan också i Napa, Kalifornien, samt i Stellenbosch, Sydafrika. […]

No Pianotage of Pinotage

(Pianotage – French, from pianoter meaning ‘to play the piano with no skill’) South Africa always seems to be in the limelight these days. A few weeks ago Kanonkop’s winemaker Abrie Beeslaar, and marketing manager Deirdre Taylor paid a visit to Stockholm. A non-central destination for them to travel to, but a commercially important one: Sweden and Denmark are their big export markets. It is quite a privilege to have winemakers talk about their wines: there is invariably interesting information to glean from them and they really make their wines come to life. Fourteen bottles were on show. Amongst them just under half were from the Pinotage grape variety and the remainder from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon blends. To my surprise there were no white wines whatsoever. Not one Chenin Blanc in sight… I confess that I have reservations regarding Pinotage. I will never forget the first time I tried a Pinotage wine. It was rough, it was bitter, it smelled of Band-Aid plaster and tasted of burnt tar. An “Edith Piaf, Mon Légionnaire” moment gone wrong… …

A fresh start

Summer is over. The children have started school again and work routines have resumed. A spell of freezing weather made it easier to accept the end of holidays. But some warm and sunny days have made a come back, giving us the opportunity to finish off the last bottles of rosé that didn’t get drunk during the summer break. This is certainly true in my case: I am a weather optimist. I stock up the summer house in the archipelago with plenty of refreshing whites and rosés to find that there are not enough opportunities to drink them. Swedish summers are unpredictable. They can be nice and warm, but they are not long lasting. The evenings where one can comfortably sit outside are few. Once the sun has set, life on the terrace is spent wrapped up in a blanket or a down jacket fighting mosquitoes. Those are not conditions that prompt me to choose rosé, but the pink wine can be a useful psychological prop. If rosé exists mainly to refresh and quench the thirst from …

°(O_O)° Green aliens in Portugal

In a previous life – but on the same planet, or just about – when I worked for a private bank in Geneva, I had a colleague who was from Portugal. One day she started talking to me about the wines from her country. “Portugal makes a famous green wine”, she told me excitedly, “and it’s called Vinho Verde”. “The wine is so called because it is quite green in colour and is made from small unripe green berries”, she continued emphatically. I was going to question her but thought the better of it… I was quite surprised that she could think that green unripe berries would result in a beverage one would actually want to drink. Her words, nevertheless, left a lasting impression and Vinho Verde was never to be forgotten by me. Vinho Verde is a region in the north-west of Portugal. It is bordered by the River Minho to the north, mountains below the River Douro to the south, the Atlantic to the west and a mountain range to the east. It is …

Pitching up at the International Wine Challenge

Last Friday saw the end of ”Tranche 2” of the 2016 International Wine Challenge (IWC). The IWC is a London-based wine competition open to producers from around the world. Wines are assessed blind by groups of tasters and receive awards according to merit. The competition takes place at the Oval cricket ground over a two-week period. If you are imagining the sounds of a wooden bat against a ball and champagne corks popping, no such luck. The beautifully green clipped pitch stretched out empty but for flocks of birds. During the first week the wines are streamed into three categories: medal contenders, commended wines and those that have had their chips. During the second week the medal-worthy wines are retasted to determine whether they deserve a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Trophy Medal. Wines that were judged no-goers and commended get tasted again by IWC chairmen to make sure that no wine has been unfairly judged and that a potential medal-winning wine has not slipped through the net. Well, anything less would just not be cricket… The judging …