January 31, 2015

Christmas in London

Our very special Christmas started with meeting up with my dear friend Cooksister at Vivat Bacchus the night before Christmas Eve. We hadn’t seen each other in 3 years, but when I saw her through the restaurant window and our eyes met I knew that she was still that smart and beautiful friend I remembered, and always will be regardless of time and distance.

Three large glasses of Graham Beck Brut arrived quickly which we sipped on while browsing the menu. TheMan decided to go with steak, Cooksister with cod and I with a burger and triple cooked chips. To drink Warwick Estate Three Cape Ladies which was wonderful. The wines at Vivat Bacchus is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back. South African wines at its best (and hard to find in Sweden).

Champagne is a must at Christmas (and of course at any other time…) and by lunchtime on Christmas Eve I met up with another dear friend, AussieFoodie, to drink champagne. Yes, two women in their 40’s sharing a bottle of champagne right in the middle of the afternoon at one of London’s five star hotels. (A long way from the days of M&S cheap fizz…)

Christmas Eve is the big day in Sweden so when it came to picking venue for dinner that day we were quite picky. Some friends recommended the Mirror Room at Rosewood Hotel which was the perfect place. Modern and elegant but also at the same time serene and a sense of home. Very much liked by TheMan and myself.

After a glass of Perrier Jouët Grand Brut it was time for our Christmas Eve dinner

Langoustine Bisque, Roasted Fennel, Liquorice
2010 Riesling Heimbourg, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht

Foie Gras Terrine
Home-marinated Cherries in Armagnac, Brioche
2007 Reciotto della Valpolicella, Roccolo Grassi

Dover Sole, Asparagus, Winter Truffle
2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château La Nerthe

Turkey Ballotine
Mincemeat Stuffing, Cranberry Jelly
2012 Pinot Noir, Grand Cru, Hoellenberg, Allendorf

Spice Pineapple, Vanilla Cream

Manjari Chocolate, Poached Pear, Milk Ice Cream
2008 Sauvingon Blanc, Noble Sauvage, Isabel Estate

My favourite was the Foie Gras Terrine (of course) as well the Dover Sole which was perfect. To drink a white Château La Nerthe was quite special as well since we visited that Chateau La Nerthe last summer. Someone must have thought of us when matching the wines.

Walking home hand in hand close to midnight the city had closed down and we could hear the bells ringing in St Paul’s. A very special Christmas Eve for the both of us.

On Christmas Day we woke up to +12 degrees, sunshine and clear blue sky. With everything closed we did like to so many other people, we went walking. Walking for 2,5 hours in the City looking at familiar sites and landmarks. And yes TheMan got to hear quite a few stories about bars, pubs and restaurants I had visited...

When we said we were going to do Christmas in London we both agreed on that Christmas Day dinner had to be special since that’s the big day in the UK. I immediately thought of the Savoy, my favourite classic luxury hotel in London. Having seen the whole transformation from being an old and almost worn out lady being wrapped up for 3 years to becoming an elegant grand old dame, I have a soft spot for the place.

The Savoy Grill was very busy and quite crowded when we arrived at 7 pm, but a very well-organized and professional staff handled things very well. Starting out with a glass of the house champagne Ayla it was again time to dig into another feast in so many days.

Chef’s selection of canapés

Smoked Severn and Wye salmon with sour cream, buckwheat pancakes and traditional garnish

Black Angus rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce served with roast and boiled potatoes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli gratin, honey-roast carrots and parsnips

Passion fruit sorbet

Hot chocolate fondant with malt ice cream

The Black Angus rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding was wonderful, although the Yorkshire pudding could have come out of the oven a tad bit earlier. Crispy dark brown edges aren’t exactly the perfect Yorkshire pudding… Browsing the extensive wine list we both quickly agreed on a bottle of 2009 Chateau Pibarnon. Another of the chateaus we visited this summer. A wonderful match to the beef and as well to the chocolate fondant I had for dessert.

Boxing Day was another day of walking. This time from Holborn to Mayfair and back, trying to avoid the crowds on Oxford Streets before going to the matinee of White Christmas at the refurbished Dominion Theatre. Leaving the theatre we got our own share of white Christmas, or really sleet. Finding a taxi was incredible hard so yes we got quite wet as my dinky little handbag umbrella didn’t do much help.

For dinner we had decided to go with Chinese close to the hotel, but when we arrived the place was closed, despite us having a confirmed booking. Incredible! The upside though was that the restaurant was part of a hotel and very embarrassed F&B Manager managed to get us a table at the Oxo Tower. A place I hadn’t been to in at least 10 years, but at least there was food and wine. The view was still spectacular despite the rain and darkness. Sitting next a big panorama window when the rain and wind is gushing is quite cosy actually. Duck, mash and a bottle of Pinot Noir from yet another of our favourite domaines in France – Leflaive- made the evening quite a success. And not to forget chees from Neal's Yard Dairy and a glass of 25 year old port.

You can’t come to London without having Indian and on Saturday night we went to Benares, one of very few Indian restaurants with a Michelin star. After much consideration we decided to go with the set menu with matching wines. Neither TheMan nor I think wine goes well with Indian, but looking at what wines they were matching the food with it seemed very OK. All the typical white wines that goes well with spicy food. The first dishes were a perfect match and then came the chicken. Three variations of chicken that were hot, hotter and hottest. The last piece of chicken was way too spicy and together with the wine it got even hotter. Not a very good match, and unfortunately that more or less killed our taste bulbs. The rest of the dishes, fish, lamb and dessert, were all very nice but that piece of chicken had ruined the experience. But it was indeed a fun experience, but from here on we will go with beer when having Indian food.

The sommelier at the Savoy had told us about the most exciting wine project of recent times in London, Hedonism Wine in Mayfair, which we decided to visit on Sunday afternoon. After browsing this magnificent shop for a while we got talking to one of very knowledgably sales assistants and soon we were tasting some 2008 Penfolds Yattarna and 1990 Hermitage La Chapelle. Wine to die for, but also to wait for in the cellar.

We finished the Sunday with after another British institution, tea at The Landmark Hotel. As usual you got very full from all the food and no dinner was necessary. Instead we went to see Paddington, the movie. A warm, fuzzy feel good movie even for an adult.

As usual times fly when in London and when it was time leave on Monday afternoon my heart ached as always. But London will always be there and I will come back. Again and again and again… A never-ending love affair with the city I call my second home.

January 28, 2015

December wines

Again, another year has flown by. What is it that makes time go by so quickly? As usual December was a whirlwind of work and other Christmas related commitments and the closer you get to Christmas the more tired and stressed you get. This year though TheMan and I decided to skip town for Christmas. Instead we went to London. After all that time I’ve spent in London I’ve never been there for Christmas. I’ve been there until Christmas and come back for New Year’s but I’ve never on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. A full post on Christmas in London will come very soon.

Other than Christmas and New Year’s in December we spent a lovely Saturday evening with some friends drinking and tasting different champagnes throughout a three course meal. Clearly the more champagne I try the more I realise how well it goes together with food. What was so special with this tasting was also that this were the last bottles we brought back form Champagne two years ago. We had tasted them right after we got home and it was very interesting to see how they have developed over 1,5 year. Needless to say we need to go back to Champagne now…

2012 Domaine Francois Carillon Bourgogne Chardonnay

2013 Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien

NV Collard Picard Cuvee Dom Picard Grand Cru

NV Collard Picard Cuvee des Merveilles

NV Taittinger Nocturne

2013 Jean-Marie Brocard Bourgogne Jurassique Bourgogne Blanc

2009 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino

2011 Warwick Estate Three Cape Ladies

NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier

2009 Château de Pibarnon

2011 Domaine Leflaive Monthelie 1er Cru Sur la velle

2008 Sequillo Red

2007 Champange Delamotte Blanc de Blancs

2005 Domaine Duseigneur par Philippe Favre barc

December 21, 2014

November wines

Grey, wet and windy that’s November for me. Fortunately most of the rain and wind stayed away this year, but nevertheless it was dark and the days got shorter and shorter. Big hurrah for the Christmas lights that started to come up at the end of the month. November is also the month of goose here in Sweden and traditionally we celebrated with a goose dinner on November 8. Definitely the only time of the year when I drink Madeira to soup (and probably the only time of the year when I drink Madeira…)

An excellent red Bourgogne from Albert Bichot went very well with the goose and I have to admit that red Bourgognes are more and more becoming a favourite of both TheMan and I. A sign of old age or a sign of developed palate? The latter I hope…

NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien

2011 Carroi du Bon Air Les Débonnaires

2011 Albert Bichot Santenay

NV Heidsieck & Co Monopole

2011 Fonterutoli No 10

NV Delamotte Brut

2011 Château Grillon Sauternes

NV Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

2012 Fonterutoli

NV Billecart Salmon Brut Sous Bois

2007 Fratelli Vogadori Amarone della Valpolicella

2010 Castello Fonterutoli

2011 Mazzei Codice V

2002 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs

2004 Gianni Voerzio Barolo La Serra

2003 Tenimenti Angelini Brunello di Montalcino

November 03, 2014

October wines

First proper autumn month, but not according to the temperatures. Two days before Halloween and it was +15 and sunshine, bt I’m not complaining. The dark evenings are already here and soon it will be wet and windy as well. For both TheMan and myself October was a month of many hours at the office and long working weeks, which naturally were cured with some really nice wines and time spent in the kitchen cooking.

Peter Leheman Wigan Riesling was one of the first pricey and old Rieslings I bought and I still remember the wonderful first sip back in my tiny kitchen. Lots of peach, lime, mineral and hints of kiwi. An old school Riesling from the new world. So when a new vintage showed up in the wine shop I just had to buy a couple of bottles so TheMan could experience what I did back years ago. And he did. He was very impressed and again I have showed him that Australia makes excellent wine. A lot more than those bulk wines that you can find everywhere

Opening a bottle of Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape brought us immediately back to our first night in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and France this summer and exactly what the doctor order after a long week. Dark plum colour, spice, bay leaf, pepper and some liquorice. Matched with grilled filet of lamb and potatoes au gratin and we were in food heaven.

Sancerre, the golden nectar of angels as a sales woman at Copenhagen airport once said and I tend to agree. Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Sancerre was of course no exception. Gun-flint aromas and a spicy bouquet of subtle wood and a very reminiscent taste of the Sauvignon flower and grape. Matched with grilled salmon, baby potatoes and lime dressing this was a Sunday dinner to remember.

Catstello di Fonterutoli, our all-time favourite winery in Tuscany that just keeps on make wonderful wines year after year. When I found the 2012 vintage of Fonterutoli in the wine shop it was another must to buy. Not only because once again it have received 92 points in Wine Spectator. But mostly because 2012 was the summer we visited Fonterutoli. A hot and dry summer has made it very well proportioned with dark berries and spice flavours with an intense and smooth taste.

2012 Fonterutoli No 10

NV Ruinart R Brut Champagne

2009 Peter Lehman Wigan Riesling

2009 Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2010 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

2011 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Cuvée Margot

2012 Fonterutoli

2007 2010 Campogiovanni Rosso di Montalcino

2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2010 Henri Bourgeois La Bourgeoise Sancerre

2008 Brunello di Montalcino Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona

2011 Jacquesson Cuvée nº 737

2011 Trimbach Gewurztraminer

2001 Château Cassagne Haut-Canon La Truffière

2012 Barone Ricasoli Torricella

2009 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

2012 Brancia Tre

2012 Domaene Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner

October 21, 2014

September wines

Summer temperatures continued yet for another month which meant plenty of rosé wines and light summer food. And not to forget summer clothes. I don’t think I put on socks until the second half of the month.

The highlight of the month was of course TheMan’s and my 3 year anniversary. Unbelievable that it has been 3 years already. 3 years since a walk by the sea, followed by a glass of Taittinger Brut Réserve, a glass of Australian Riesling from Tim Addams and a bottle of Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I’m no doubt a true wine geek remembering all this… And in those three years we have managed to visit both Taittinger and Château Mont Redon. A visit to Tim Adams requires some more travelling, but you never know…

As anniversary dinner this year we stayed true to our first dinner and the Rhone Valley with having a very nice bottle of Croezes Hermitage from E. Guigal. Blackberries, cherries and violets in an excellent mix of pepper and herbs.

2010 Rotari Rosé

2011 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Cuvée Margot.

2013 Château des Demoiselles Cuvée Madame

2009 Domäne Wachau Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel

NV Delamotte Brut

2012 J M Brocard Chablis Vieilles Vignes Sainte Claire

2008 Kononkop Pinotage

NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien

2012 Schloss Gobelsburg Kammerner Gaisberg Riesling Erste Lage

2009 E. Guigal Croezes Hermitage

2005 M. Chapoutier Les Arenes Cornas

2012 Torricella

September 16, 2014

August wines

 Back home again from France our holiday continued for another two weeks. Two weeks that of course flew by and included both DIY-work at home and some boating.

Wine wise we continued with a lots of French with some mix of Italian. Looking at the list below I realize now that it isn’t much other than French and Italian wine in our cellar. I think we need to broaden our horizon a bit…

Favourite of the month was 2008 La Bastide Blanche from Bandol (one of the favourite places of our trip to France). Mourvèdre and Grenache in a perfect combination. And yes you can almost taste and smell the sea.

Another favourite and also amazing fizz for the money was NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien from Alsace. The perfect aperitif to get a dinner going with winter apples, biscuits and hints of grapefruit.

It was also with great fondness we opened a bottle of 2010 Mas de La Grange Blanche Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaines Moussett., where we stopped the first night on our trp. Lots of red berries, cherries and pepper. Smells of leather and cocoa. A young CdP at clearly at its best.

2011 Arthur Metz Gewurztraminer

2012 Leth Duett Riesling Grüner Veltliner Trocken

2013 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé

2012 Epicuro Zinfandel

2010 Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
NV Taittinger Brut Réserve

2011 Trimbach Riesling

2009 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2007 Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes

NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier

2012 Barone Ricasoli Torricella

2008 La Bastide Blanche

NV Pol Roger Brut Réserve

2011 Le Volte

2005 Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva

2008 Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs Brut

2010 Mas de La Grange Blanche Châteauneuf-du-Pape

NV Dopff Brut Cuvée Julien

2012 Domaene Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner

August 31, 2014

July wines

Nothing is like waiting and after having planed our trip to France since January it was finally time to go in July. On Bastille Day (July 14) we arrived in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Château des Fines Roches. Sitting almost next to the vine we had dinner watching the sun set over the different châteaus and wine yards. What a fantastic way to start a holiday. And guess what we were drinking?! The obvious choice of course - 2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the château next-door

We spent one week in Rhone visiting both small family owned wineries and large well known wineries such as Château Mont Redon, Château La Nerthe, Paul Jaboulet Aîné and M. Chapoutier. Despite being small or large they have one thing in common and that is passion for wine and winemaking. Just like last year we met with very passionate and proud people who work very hard to craft some of the best wines in the world.

Our second week started with a weekend in Marseille. A city that neither of us really liked. It was extremely hot (even in the middle of the night), so eating bouillabaisse was totally out of the question. But most of all we didn’t like the mix of old and new that everyone finds charming. For us it was just a loud, dirty and worn down city. Leaving Marseille behind and driving east along the Mediterranean coast we headed for Cassis and Bandol and of course the wines coming from that area. The highlight of that area was most likely our visit to Château Pibarnon. The drive on a steep narrow road higher and higher up was quite an experience and I think we both let out a sigh of a relief when we finally arrived at the chateau. A magnificent chateau with a magnificent view and magnificent wine.

The final days of our trip was spent on the Rivera in Cannes and Nice. Both TheMan and I had been there before so instead of hitting the beach like everyone else (we did that too) we visited several little villages in the mountains. Visited the home of painters Renoir, Matisse and Chagall and of course just enjoyed being away from home. Sitting in a park watching people can be wonderful relaxing.

As usual we enjoyed the French food and never really had a bad meal. Some meal were of course a lot better than others. For example one night at Le Park 45 where we sat in the garden watching the sun set in the Mediterranean having gambas, sea bass, duck breast and coriander-apricot ice cream. To drink our favourite domaine in Bourgogne - Olivier Leflaive Montrachet Puligny 2009.

Another wonderful and interesting meal was at Keisuke Matsushima in Nice on my birthday. French fine dining by a Japanese chef. How about foie gras and nougat? Or pigeon breast in a Japanese style bird nest?

Also as per usual when it was time to go home after 14 days on the road neither THeMan nor I wanted to go home. For us there is something special about France, the food, the wine and the people which make us want to come back again and again. And again. And we will.

2013 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Les Baronnes Rosé

2006 Taittinger Brut Millésimé

2001 Clos du Mont Olivet Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2009 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2012 Château Gigognan Cotes du Rhone Vignes du Prieure

2013 Domaine d'Eole Rosé

2013 La Lauza Cuvée Aurelia

2013 Domaine de Cagueloup Bandol Blanc

2011 Telegramme Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2013 Domaine du Paternel Cassis Blanc de Blancs

2013 Château Sainte Marguerite Cru Classé

2009 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet

2010 Château Romassan Rouge Bandol

2012 Le Domaine de Frégate Cru Classé Rosé

2013 Domaine Guilbert Rosé

2013 Domaine Des Trois Filles Rosé

2011 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux Gigondas

2003 Tenimenti Angelini Brunello di Montalcino

2011 Couly-Dutheil Domaine Rene Couly

2013 Château des Demoiselles Cuvée Madame