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May 31, 2010

Baron de Ley, Rioja Spain

2004 Baron de Ley Reserva
Rioja DOC, Spain
105 sek (ca 10 €)

100% Tempranillo
13,5 % abv.

Medium-dark red color. Medium intense and developed aromas of spices, vanilla, plum and cherry (Oh, how I like this Rioja smell...), which also reflects on the palate. Firm (but still friendly) tannins and a good acidity, together with the alcohol give this wine a good structure, resulting in a nice balance. A medium-bodied wine, this is easy to combine with lots of different meals. Beef, lamn, stews, BBQ, tomato/pasta dishes. I found it on the Swedish Rioja blog, that I am following, and I agree with Erika: a wine to have at home...

The grapes come from Rioja Baja, the most mediterranean part of Rioja. The wine was aged for 20 months in new American oak and 24 months on the bottle before releasing to the market. (This procedure is part of why most Rioja wines just taste good...)

Baron de Ley is a rather young winery, est. only in 1985, with today 90 hectares under vines. The estate was previously Imas, with a monastery included - those bells are ringing when you open their website. 14.000 oak barrels, of which 12.000 are American and the rest French, are used to mature the wines.

Again, ageing periods for Rioja wines, just for the records...:

Ageing in oak:


12 months oak, 12 months bottle released 01-Oct vintage +2


12 months oak, 12 months bottle released 01-Dec vintage +3

Gran Reserva

24 months oak, 36 months bottle released 01-Dec vintage +5

May 25, 2010

Anura Pinotage Syrah, South Africa

2008 Anura Pinotage Syrah
Private Cellar Simonsberg Paarl
South Africa
79 sek (ca 8 €)

55 % Pinotage, 45 % Syrah
14,5 % abv.

Dark blue-red color. Intense smoky aromas with spicy tones and dark fruits and berries. Drinking it, it fills the mouth quickly and boldly, with lots of oak flavours and alcohol spreading out to every corner there might be, dark fruit accompanying. Fruit and oak tannins are firm, but still nice. Good acidity. The finish is long, but rather hot. The whole experience nothing too elegant... More of a wine 'going for it'. Calls for rustic food, like ... a t-bone-steak?

Situated in the beautiful landscape between Stellenbosch and Paarl, the winery cultivates 120 ha under vines. Read more here... I could not find this particular blend on the website...

May 23, 2010

Tim Adams Riesling, Australia

2007 Tim Adams Riesling
Clare Valley, Australia
139 sek (ca 14 €)

100% Riesling
12 % abv.

Pale lemon-green color. Medium intense aromas of apple and citrus, hints of spice and clearly petrol are also reflected on the palate, together with hints of pineapple. The typical high Riesling acidity is making this dry and light-to-medium-bodied wine nice and fresh. The alcohol just melts in. Nicely balanced, that is what my tastebuds tell me. Grown up with Riesling from the Pfalz, my reference is and will of course always be more 'spritzig' wines, but I like this one, because of the nice petrol tones. I had bought this wine for a twitter wine tasting, which I did not attend in the end. Who knows, if I had seen it otherwise?

We had this with a nice Italian salad, with a fresh vinaigrette. Yum!

Clare Valley is one of the cooler regions and here as well as in Eden Valley, Australia's best Rieslings are made. Both districts belong to the region of South Australia, where almost half of Australia's wine is produced. Here also the famous Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and more are found.

Tim Adams winery was established in 1987 and they are named in many famous wine guides as among the best. Read more here...

I like how they give you the recommendation of how long you can keep this wine:

May 19, 2010

House Hunting

is fun, exhausting, exciting, disappointing, frustrating, hilarious, time consuming, butt-hurting.

You find yourself dreaming, awakening, drawing, deleting, ripping apart, learning, giving up, starting over, head shaking, up, down.

Mentally, you start decorating for next Christmas, inviting friends, deciding wines for house-warming-fest, designing the garden, greeting your neighbors, longing for the new routines.

Physically, your finger hurts from all the google Earth surfing, your neck is a mess anyway, your muscles pull each other from all the sitting-at-the-computer, your head is aching from all information, your brain is collapsing, your phone bill doing the rest.

We have sold our house in Sweden by August 1. That is when we are heading back to Pfalz, where we are currently looking for a house - did I mention?

I wonder: which wine is the one to celebrate THAT result, once you have found your new home?

Please tell me!

May 16, 2010

Roodeberg, South Africa

2007 Roodeberg
KWV, South Africa
85 sek

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, 'The winemaker's secret'
14 % abv
My mother-in-law invited us for some nice meals at their cozy summer house and now was time for this wine.

For some people a cult-wine, for me an easy to drink, medium bodied red wine with a rather intense ruby red color. Aromas and flavours of red and dark berries/fruit, herbal and smoky tones. A good acidity and still moderate oak tannins, balance the fruityness. The alcohol could be a tiny bit lower, to my very own personal tastebuds.

Easy to combine with beef dishes, suitable for BBQ as well. My mother in law served it with a delicious pork dish that came with a dark mushroom sauce and it really was a fine match.

Farmor's (grandma's) famous pork with champignon sauce

60 years ago this blend was first introduced to the market and has been popular ever since (not that I should know, but that is what the internet says).
KWV used to be the co-operative controlling all wine sales of South Africa. But since its privatization it is competing with other co-ops, which together still stand for most wine produced from a total of ca 100.000 hectares under vines. Estates producing wine from their own grapes are increasing steadily, but still make the smaller part of the volumes.
To the Western Cape belongs 3 Cape wine regions and the grapes can come from any of these to be blended.

click the image to get to the official somepage of Wines of South Africa

May 12, 2010

Penascal Rose, Castilla Leon, Spain

2007 Penascal Rosé
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla,
Castilla - Leon, Spain
Hijos de Antonio Barceló
54 SEK (ca 5 €)

86 % Tempranillo, 14 % Shiraz
12% abv.

Our first rosé of the season (even without rosé-weather, I am afraid), this one was still in the basement from last year, where the season was over before we had opened the bottle.

In the glass, a nice light blue-red rosé color. Aromas of summer: lots of berries like strawberry and raspberry and a slint hint of herbal notes. Dry on the palate, with a little sweet tone detectable, the same fruits are showing here too. A pleasant acidity making it nicely and easily enjoyable. Light- to almost medium-bodied, a wine that is really acceptable, considered the price.

That I served it, had to do with the IForkNY girls, recommending rosé going with anything (see my post about Chili con carne). And as I was cleaning out the fridge, where I found smoked salmon and a whole camembert that was stinking away (the cheese, not the salmon), I remembered this bottle in the basement. And yes! It worked fine with both. To the salmon as the starter and also to the cheese. God that one was delicious!!! I baked it to perfection, in a crust of bread crums, the cheese inside melting away (thus having also the right texture to go with this wine), while staying cross on the outside. And the lingonberries served with the cheese, were happily dancing with the wine. All in all a good, tasty Tuesday. Plus: fridge empty (wine not yet - but will be soon)...

Smells Marmalade, Tastes Marmalade, is it?

This was the first wine since blogging that was a total disappointment. While other wines sometimes can be too much backbone-dominated, this one is the total opposite, which seems worse in a way.

Smells marmalade, tastes marmalade. But is not marmalade. A very slight hint of barrel tannins plus alcohol, which can almost be perceived as 'stirred into juice'. Sorry. I hate to sound negative, like positive posts much better... Still: I cannot understand why the monopoly should take in this one, to me it is almost an insult to other, really good Californian wines... For ca 100 sek (not a 59 sek wine...), you just need to get more wine for your money.

I had bought it only to participate in a Swedish twitter tasting, which I then could not attend. So we opened it this weekend - and could not drink it. It just did not work. Usually, wine gets better with each glass. Not this one. Sorry.

May 07, 2010

Chili Con Carne and Wine

can be challenging...

Today I had both our wonderful children at home with heavy colds, feeling bad. Nathalie wished for chili con carne for lunch and that's what we had. It matched the grey, cold May day (yes!), that was more of a November day. And as husband Lars is coming home late tonight from a trip, I made a big enough portion that will serve for tonight as well.

And that is when the question pops up again: What wine is best to match chili? Spontanously, one thinks South American wines, of course. But. The hotter the dish, the more difficult the combination, right? The last time we had chili, we tried a Spanish Jumilla and that was way too much. And whenever served a chili in the US we got beer to it...

Surfing the internet, I found all combinations from off-dry and sweeter wines to full-bodied and tannic wines. Today
, I did a #twitter search: What is your #wine tip to match #chiliconcarne ? Here are some of the tips I got from nice fellow tweeters out there: from Sweden:
Argento Malbec 2009. He had that wine in combination with chili and found it to be a good match. Some spices, good fruit, little herbal and a body that suited the food's texture. And with 8 € an inexpensive wine. Joel thinks you don't need too much nuances in a wine served with chili. I think, he has a point there. from Australia:
A Banderol or Rioja rosé. They have the body to take the meat and the lightness to allow for the heat from the chilli. Usually. Michael's proposals:
Faustino V Rosado, (from web:) fresh, fruity, tasty, expressive.
CUNE rose: (tasting notes from their web) Attractive light raspberry pink colour. Full of ripe summer fruit and berry aromas with some floral hints. Light and refreshing mouth feel followed by a good length and complex finish. from South Africa:
Catherine had that combination last night (!) and recommends a 'real garagista':
My Wyn, Shiraz 2007. The wine description from their website: "My special wine, in 2007 my seventh Shiraz since 2001. Brimful of flavor and sturdy tannins. Again only three barrels, one third American wood. 100% Shiraz grapes, 18 months barrel fermentation and matured in 225l barrels, two-thirds French oak. Soft, ripe fruit on the palate, with a touch of spice." from USA:
Desmond's advice: a berry forward Shiraz to balance the spice or Riesling to cut the spice and cleanse the palate. from USA:
The IFork-ladies think that anything goes with rosé! I say: Cheers!

Thank you for quite some alternatives to taste and try!
And... if you want to add your favorite wine, please go ahead and leave a comment.

Ok... here is the recipe to this chili:

4 portions:
500 g ground beef
2 onions
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
olive oil
1 green bell pepper
1 package diced tomatoes
4 tbs tomatopaste
2 tbs beef fond (or a bouillon cube) (-best: homemade fond)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
salt, peppar, dried chili (or chilipowder)
1 can of beans (white or kidney) (my kids will always sort those out...)
1 small can of corn


Dice onions, heat up olive oil, and fry the onions a bit, then add the vinegar and let that cook until vinegar is almost gone and the onions are glazed (I do that with every sauce, this is not a part of the original recipe).

Add bell pepper (cut in small pieces) and meat, fry a few minutes until the meat is brown.

Add all the other ingredienses, but not the beans. How much chili (or chili powder) you use depends on how hot you want your dish (and which wine you are going to serve....). Advice: rather too little in the beginning, you can always add more after tasting.
Let cook until most liquid is gone. Add beans and corn. Let all warm up and then season to taste.

Serve with a little creme-fraiche to the side and nachos or tortilla chips.

Terreno Chianti Classico, Italy

2007 Terreno
Greve, Chianti Classico DOCG
79 kr (ca 8 €)

90% Sangiovese, 10% Canailo
13,5 % abv

It was time to try another Chianti again. But, I am afraid, this time I am not too happy about it:

Once in the glass, it shows a dark purple-red color. I really had to put my nose far into the glass, but still: I am not picking up much there... Some vague spicyness, cherries, oak, alcohol. Drinking: njaaa - too structure-dominated. Acitidy high (which is typical and can be very nice), oak and fruit tannins pronounced, alcohol somewhat too pushy and too warm, inbetween all this some dark cherry, some oaky flavours. Rather mouth-drying experience, cannot drink this without food. Little bitter finish. No, not really my wine. Not at all a typical Chianti Classico to me.

Oh - now, when reading the website of Terreno, I see that this is a Swedish owned vineyard! How fun. The family Ruhne is owning it since 20 years. The website is all Swedish, looks almost like Italian wine for Swedes only? Don't know, but cannot find any non-Swedish information. 'Italian passion for wine, combined with Swedish environmental mission' that is one of the statements from the website. They see themselves as leading in 'wine-Italy' when it comes to environmental issues.

May 05, 2010

Chablis La Larme d'Or, France

2007 La Larme d'Or Chablis AC
Jean Louis Quinson, France
ca 12 € (Don't remember where I bought this! Supermarket?)

100% Chardonnay
12% abv
Lemon color with a brilliant shine. Rather light nose with mineral and citrus, green apple tones, all also found on the palate. The high acidity and medium bodied style makes this Chablis a typical version of this steely kind of wine. Great refreshment for a warm day.

The high acidity makes it a good companion to salads with nice vinaigrettes, and of course to fish and seafood dishes. A wine to drink now, won't gain from storing.

Although almost closer to the Champagne area, Chablis AC belongs to the Burgundy wine region where it is situated furthest north. The vineyards are found around the town of Chablis and the soils of this region are of chalky limestone, in certain areas (the best) covered by Kimmeridgean clay (marine fossils). The temperatures are cool, thus the Chardonnay grape (for you who did not know that Chablis actually is a Chardonnay) giving a total different result, than the siblings growing in warmer regions. The acidity is always high, some wines can even be too 'sour' for some sensitive stomaches.

Better Chablis have a mineral or smokey tone and the very best come from the very best sites. Chablis Premier Cru AC includes 40 vineyards, Chablis Grand Cru AC, the absolut top level, consists of only 7 vineyards. Here the sun exposure is, combined with the leaning angles of the sites and last but not least the perfect soils, responsible for Chablis' crème-de-la-crème. Apropos: while the higher quality wines will include oak during the process, a Chablis wine will hardly ever have lots of oak flavours.
(go to for more information)

May 03, 2010

Best Wine Books

I am about to order some books via Amazon. Need (among other) some nice books about wine. Not so much the big guide books, rather books that go deeper into a certain topic. May that be about wineries, grape varieties, regions or personalities. Good food pairing.

I read i.e. the 'Rothschilds & wine' and liked that one.

What is your favorite? Please give me some tips and advice and I will be very thankful and glad!

Sent from my iPhone