All posts tagged: Wine

Freedom wine for France

It was no surprise. The country whose motto is Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité wanted out of its shackles. Too many rules and regulations, no wiggle room, not enough space for creativity. Winemakers in France had had enough. They had been dreaming of possibilities that they couldn’t realise. They requested carte blanche. And they got it. They got it in the form of VDF. Vin de France. They nickname it the Freedom Appellation. France is one of the five most important wine producing countries in the world. Along with Spain, China, Italy and Turkey it holds 50% of the world’s total vineyard area (including vineyards for the production of juice, table grapes, raisins as well as wine). France’s share is 11%, Spain’s 13%, China’s 11%, Italy’s 9% and Turkey’s 6% (OIV, April 2017). As far as wine is concerned, France produced last year 43.5 million hectolitres which is  less than Italy (50.9 mio hl) but more than Spain (39.3 mio hl), the USA (23.9 mio hl) and Australia (13 mio hl). France does well on the export side. …

Travelling with wine

Upon arrival at Stockholm airport, I received an sms from Air France informing me that they were “tracking my suitcase”. I had just come back from a trip to Chile and my suitcase appeared to have missed the Paris-to-Stockholm leg of the journey. I wasn’t unduly concerned, clothes are replaceable – and in this instance Air France would probably be doing me a favour if they were to be lost forever – but in my suitcase I did have six bottles of rather good Chilean wine that I was looking forward to consume. The following day my luggage made it back to Sweden and a courier service obligingly delivered it to my door. Somewhat unsettlingly, though, it came wrapped in a huge thick transparent sack. I removed the plastic – it was reassuringly dry inside – and next unzipped the case. All my clothes were their original colour, no red streaks anywhere, but there was a distinct perfume pervading the air. I initially thought a cosmetic bottle might have leaked until the smell started to make sense. Lees, apples…It was Chardonnay. Whenever I travel …

It’s all pink!

The temperature in Stockholm has been below zero for a number of weeks now but there has been a change in the skies which have gone from grey and gloomy to include some rays of sunshine and moments of blue sky. Warm weather and spring are still a way off but clearly they are on people’s mind, and the newspapers last week-end have been surprisingly full of advertisements for rosé wine! On second thoughts, it probably isn’t so much the call of spring but the fact that Tuesday is Valentine’s day, a day that calls for celebration with all things pink and heart shaped. For those of you who might have forgotten this day, here is a reminder for you to go and buy that card and gift! In following with the spirit of the moment, here is a little sampler of some of the pink festive beverages that are currently available at most Systembolaget shops in Sweden. All of these are with bubbles, bar one – bubbles being synonymous with fun and festivities. (But what is it with bubbles …

Unleash the winemaker in you

How often do you order a glass of wine and think, mmm, quite nice, but it would be so much better if it were a little more fruity or maybe a little more tannic… No, the tannins are fine, what is lacking is more power? Or more acid? In other words, if you were the winemaker, you would have made the wine differently and you might even have come up with a better product, or in any case you would have created a wine that corresponds to your taste. If that is how you feel, Högberga Vinfabrik is just the ticket for you. Located in Lidingö on the grounds of a country hotel, it is a small winery that makes its own wine and that offers wine tasting sessions to the public. These sessions include a visit of Vinfabrik’s premises with detailed explanations into the winemaking process as well as a tasting of their range of wine accompanied by delicious Italian cheeses and cold cuts. Visiting a winery in a country not known for wine production, and what’s more …

Wine tasting on Paros island at Moraitis Winery

I spent some of the summer of 2015 with my family on the island of Paros in Greece. Our hotel had no dining facilities and so we ate out in the small fishing town of Naoussa every evening. The restaurants we visited were all excellent as was the wine. We made a point of choosing Greek wines and on quite a few occasions we had local wines suggested to us. Local included wines from other islands such as neighbouring Santorini but also wines from Paros island itself. The latter were quite unique and made from grape varieties that I had not previously encountered. The producer of those intriguing wines was Moraitis and happened to be located in Naoussa, a short distance from the town centre. One afternoon when it was simply too hot to be on the beach I set off to find out more about the winery. I stepped into the cool building and found myself in the main tasting room. I was not alone. Quite a few tourists were there too, having escaped the heat, and were …

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 …

Scandinavian food on the cutting edge – Oaxen

Last week, life could hardly have got any better: I dined out on consecutive nights in two of Stockholm’s top restaurants. Scandinavians certainly have more than one string to their bow. If they are the undisputed masters of design, they also excel in the art of cooking. The outcome as a diner is that you not only get to eat fantastic food but it is also beautifully presented and you enjoy it in a designer setting. Every item, from the cutlery to the wall panelling has been carefully selected. At present, nordic cuisine seems to be leading the world and has tapped into prevailing concerns and taste: Scandinavian chefs are working with seasonal and organic local produce, and are coming up with dishes of the utmost creativity and quality. Unexpected subtle flavours are combined, yet the final blend maintains a strong nordic identity. It is terroir at its best. On Thursday evening I made my way through the snow over to Djurgården, to the edge of the island opposite the shipyards of Beckholmen and entered into the …