Champagne tasting at Wine, food and good living fair

30 10 2014

Yearly Wine, food and good living fair was at Messukeskus last weekend. With 2 vouchers or tickets, which you purchase beforehand, you can taste different Champagnes (wine costs 1 ticket). Value of tickets is 2,5€. You also “rent” tasting glass which costs 2€ after giving glass back.

Most of the champagnes available are at Champagne bar/lounge, but some can be found at booths hosted by wine exporter’s. Could unfortunately not find any vintage champagnes.

Tasted Champagnes are in order of merit, not in the order they were tasted. On the top are the wines we liked most.

——————————————————-

Winner was Gosset Excellence Brut. Champagne is produced from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes by champagne house Gosset. It was established in 1584 being one of the oldest wine makers. Champagne provides excellent balance between acidity, citrus and light minerals. (4+/5)

Second place goes to Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut which is produced from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. Well balanced champagne suits for aperitif and with most of all food, except sweets. (4/5)

Third place goes to a little bit complicated champagne, Bonnaire Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, which costs only 34,90€ at Alko’s. 3rd place is therefore partly earned because of price. Sparkling drink from Bonnaire champagne house does not include sugar at all (non dose). Blanc de blancs, only Chardonnay grapes, makes the taste of wine stable. Due to acidity and extra dry taste, makes you want to sip water between tasting. (4-/5)

Next comes Duval-Leroy Brut AB. Wine has obtained the Ecocert organic certification, meeting standards and specifications at an international level. First wine prdouced only from Pinot Noir grapes. Main reason to choose Duval-Leroy’s Cuvée Brut is to enjoy a wine produced from organic viticulture. Family business was founded 1859 and is nowaday’s led by Carol Duval-Leroy. (3,5/5)

Then comes Taittinger Nocturne Sec, champagne which should be enjoyed late in the evening, because of amount of sugar, 18 g/l. We tried it at about 4PM, which seemed to be much too early. Grapes used in production are Chardonnay (40%), Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunieur. Taste is close to semi-dry as sweetness is obvious. (3,5/5)

Difficult to say which one of the next two champagnes was “better”.

André Clouet Grande Réserve Blanc de Noirs Brut is produced only from Pinot Noir grapes. It does not help to raise ranking, that wine costs at Alko only 29,90€ being one of the cheapest champagnes there. Pure Pinot Noire champagne is challenging, not only when it comes to look, but also flavor. Family owned Clouet wineyard is quite small and it produces about 300.000 bottles per year (2/5)

 Champage De Saint Gall Rosé Brut is produced from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The way rose was made is not so great, pinot noir wine was added afterwards to sparkling wine. You can almost notice that in the look. In taste you can find some strawberry and rasberry. and Wine is produced by co-operative Union Champagne. (2-/5)

To summarize, maybe it is better to focus to fewer champagnes from same producer. At least thought afterwards after long day and evening. But if there are not vintage champagnes available, what would be your choice?

Some interesting champagnes were already finished, which you can see for instance in the picture below. Name of the champagnes were crossed out. But at the end of the day, maybe that was also good thing….

image





Tasting of 6 Fair Trade wines

26 10 2014

Fair Trade wines - reijosfood.com

Yearly Wine, food and good living expo was again at Messukeskus (Helsinki Fair Center) on the 23-26.10.2014. There are several wine tastings arranged during the event. We were able to make pre-booking for one of them and participated in tasting of South-African and Argentinean Fair Trade wines. Restaurant Savoy sommelier Antti Uusitalo was in charge to lead us to the secrets of less often noticed wines.

Sommelier Antti Uusitalo - reijosfood.com

Wine tasting - reijosfood.com

Thandi Sauvignon Blanc

First tasted wine came from South-African Thandi Wines, which was established in 1995. It was the first winery in the world to receive Fair Trade certificate.

Sauvignon Blanc is not out favourite, so the expectations were quite low. However, wine was really light and first it was difficult to find any black currant bouquet or taste. After 1/2 hour typical Sauvigon Blanc was easier to recognize. Suits for shellfish and chicken. (3/5)

El Condor Torrontes Chardonnay

Next wine came from from Argentinean La Riojana wine house, which was established on 1940. Grapes used in production are local Torrentes and Chadonnay. Torrentes rolled over Chardonnay and typical butter and oak taste was not found. Easy wine to be enjoyed well chilled for aperitf and slighlty spiced foods. (3+/5)

Thandi Shiraz Rosé

Next wine was again from Thandi Wines

Grapes used are in Thandi Shiraz Rose is produced from Shiraz-grapes (85 %) and Pinotage-grapes (15  %). Amount of shiraz makes the wine quite red. Wine is really dry for rose, a littke bit spicy and fruity. Suits for aperitif and with lightly spiced food but would also try with Asian flavors, though (3,5/5)

Bundustar Merlot 2013

Then tasting moved to red wines, first one came from Home of Origin Wine, South-Africa. Wine house is quite young, it was establlished in 2002. Name of wine comes from word ubuntu (community)

Typical Merlot, spicy and lots of tannins. Suits with red meats and spcicy food (3,5/5)

Café Culture Pinotage Coffee Mocha Pinotage 2013

Next wine was produced by KWV, established in 1918, which is the biggest wine exporter in South-Africa.

Is this wine? Really interesting (odd) experience! Wine tasted like old smoky cigar butt. There was coffee to be found in bouquet and taste. Would not buy ever! (1/5)

Tilimuqui Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Bonarda

 Second wine from La Riojana and last wine tasted.

Nice bouquet from Cabernet Sauvignon which was supplemented with Bonarda grapes. Best of all tasted Fair Trade wines. Would buy to home as taste is well balanced and full of dark berries (4+/5)

I have not picked wines based on ethical or sustainable reasons but tasting of these wine definately raises these topics when visiting next time wine shelfs. Maybe even will buy last wine tasted Tilimuqui Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Bonarda, which was positive surprise and price only 9,98€ at Alko.

In next post will write brifly about the Champagnes tasted during Expo.

Champagnes - reijosfood.com

 





Wine review: Chateau Carsin L’Etiquette Grise 2010 – produced by Finnish owned wineyard

25 10 2014

 

Chateua Carsin - reijosfood.com

Chateau Carsin is Finnish owned wineyard in in the commune of Rions, France. Wineyard uses 9 different grape varieties in production; three white grapes and six red ones. The majority of thew ines are the common varieties of the Bordeaux region, but also less common varieties are used such as Sauvignon Gris, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere.

Tasted wine, Chateau Carsin L’Etiquette Grise 2010, was mix of Sauvignon Gris (70%) and Sauvignon Blanc (30%). The wines produced with Sauvignon Gris are less aromatic than those produced from Sauvignon Blanc, which could be noticed during tasting. But on the other hand, as we are not big fans of Sauvignon Blanc, especially if bouquet and taste of black currant dominates. we found this wine pleasant with the food enjoyed. Wineyard also describes: “More serious dry white wine to be enjoyed with food”.

THE LOOK

Color is light pale yellow, almost golden

THE NOSE

L’Etiquette Grise 2010 has flowery perfume aromas accompanied with some fruits like pine apple. Sauvignon Gris masks the bouquet of Sauvignon Blanc

THE TASTE

Taste supplements well the flavors of food enjoyed. Mouth is filled with balanced acidity and light fruit savor.

White wine

 

Tasted wine first with sushi, perfect match. Then with sweet chili chicken skewer and salad, again pairing was excellent. Because of acidity suits well with all fishes and shellfish, even with white meats.

For white wine, alcoholicity is quite high, 13.5% but you do not notice it while dining.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4+/ 5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

Finnish-owned vineyard in Côtes de Bordeaux |Château Carsin

 





Restaurant review: El Greco – Greek cuisine in Helsinki

19 10 2014

 

El Greco - reijosfood.com

Restaurant El Greco

El Greco was opened in April 2014 in the same building as restaurant Ragu. Restaurant serves traditional Greek food and Greek wines. In the summer there has been some evenings with live music, which at least we have missed. Mandolin in the picture was just for our amusement.

Greek dinner must start with Ouzo accompanied by some ice cubes and water. Fresh bread with olive oil also is a must, small olive oil bottle hidden under bread slices made experience more personal.

Ouzo - reijosfood.com

Cheese pie at El Greco - reijosfood.com

Dolmades at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

For main courses chose FISH OF THE DAY Fried zander or whitefish fillet, sauce from fresh tomatoes and SUVLAKI KOTOPULO Chicken and vegetables skewered on a spit, lemon & olive oil sauce.

Fish was zander or pike perch, which is rare in Greek kitchen, but we are in Finland. Fish was perfectly fried and tomato flavor in sauce matched well.

Chicken pieces in skewer were soft, not dry at all, which is too often typical for souvlakis. We shared fried potatoes but actually you did not need those. And without them main courses were extremely healthy.

Zander at El Greco- reijosfood.com

Souvlaki at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

And for dessert to digest the food some Mango sorbet. Two sorbet balls are quite a lot to be eaten, but anyway excellent food melter.

Sorbet at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

For wine restaurant owner suggested Kanenas white wine from Chardonnay grapes produced by Tsantali wineyards. The shape of the bottle is not typical, it is lower and more stylistic. Bouquet of wine was mild, you just recognized chardonnay. Also the taste was light but wine paired well with starters and main courses.

Greek wine - reijosfood.com

 

El Greco earns to be named best Greek restaurant in Helsinki when it comes to food. Dining area consists of three dining rooms; one with views to Ludviginkatu, one smaller in the middle and one under covered glass terrace. Only Greek music is played on the background, naturally.

But maybe we are used to a little bit more worn and more noisy tavernas, which we have visited during holidays in Greece. El Greco is located in the same building as Ragu with similar outlook (you can actually see Ragu terrace in the background). Building suits well for Ragu, but is it too solemn for Greek restaurant? Maybe not. If you dine there, share your thoughts. We are going to visit El Greco anyway again.

El Greco terrace - reijosfood.com

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5

English — El Greco

Tsantali.





Wine review: S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2009

17 10 2014

S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico - reijosfood.com

S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico is produced by Azienda Agricola Boscaini Carlo. Winery produces also particular white wine GARGANEGA an rosè wine MOLINARA but also Grappa and Olive oils. San Giorgio di Valpolicella, or Ingannapoltron, is part of the territory of Sant’Ambrogio, one of the five towns that constitute the Valpolicella Classica wine producing region, at the foot of Mount Solane. It is situated on the top of a rocky outcrop, built around its church, of the same limestone on which it lies.

Then to the topic;  Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes. For this wine grapes used in production are Corvina 50%, Corvinone 35%, Rondinella 10% Croatina & Dindarella 5%.The final result is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid with over 15% alcohol content.

Tasted wine as aperitf and then with fillet steak. Excellent match, wine became even sweeter with salty meat and peppers. Suits definately with all meats, cheeses and even with Asian food.

Steak - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Dark red with some hints of brown color

THE NOSE

Warm, cherry like generous bouquet

THE TASTE

Rich and well balanced, almost sweet as Amarones usually are

Amarone - reijosfood.com

Excellent red wine especially for fans of Amarone. Winery produces only 3500 bottles per year of this wine which makes this wine rarity. Do not be scared about alcohol content, it is only 15.5%.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Amarone, Amarone Wine, Valpolicella Winery, wine tasting amarone, online sales, visit to cellars in valpolicella, wine tasting in valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto, Boscaini Carlo, Valpolicella





Restaurant review: Fishmarket – only fish available

12 10 2014

Fishmarket menu. - reijosfood.com

Fishmarket menu

Restaurant Fishmarket was re-opened in May 2013. It serves wide selection of sea and fresh water cuicine like fish, roe, lobster, craysfish, oysters and shellfish. If you like to eat meat choose some other restaurant, because there is no single meat food on the a la carte list.

Fishmarket is located in Torikorttelit next to the Market Square (Kauppatori) on the ground floor of the same building as restaurant Sasso (see Sasso review by using search). Decor is modern and luminous after change in ownership and property renowation. Visited Fishmarket last year, review also can be found at reijosfood.com.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

You could choose from different kind of seafood platters and even eat those at seafood bar, if you do not like standard dinner tables. We decided to choose “basic” fish portions, which meant again long waiting times.

Last time restaurant served kitchen greetings in glass jar but not anymore. Menu had changed also; sorry for the Finnish menu in the first picture. Menu is not so ambmitious anymore, even Fish and Chips are available.

Excellent Sweet archipelago bread and home made yeast bread with salted butter were brought to the table first. No changes for these goodies.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

For starters ordered Snacks and Pan fried scallop with mini octopus. Snacks was new on the menu, maybe tapas type of dishes are becomming more common?

For snacks chose Smoked pike mousse with root vegetable chips, Light soy marinated salmon with baby gem.

All three snacks were enjoyable. Hoped that mousse would incude some pieces of pike, but it was pure mousse with taste of pike. Salmon is always delicious but could not find any taste of soy in this case, maybe forgotten. Combination of small scallops and crayfish on cockleshell tasted good.

Unfortunately pan fried scallops were already cold when they were brought to the table.

Snacks at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Scallops and octopus at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Main course dishes were Grilled turbot with carrot sauce and Pan fried salmon with deep fried fennel and spinach-pesto.

Turbot included some fish bones and scales, which was odd for this restaurant. Fish was also a little bit overcooked.

Salmon was perfectly fried, some rose still inside of fish. As salmon is quite greasy itself, maybe oily pesto is not perfect partner for it.

Tunnot at Fishmarket - reijosfood.comSalmon at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

For desserts had Dark chocolate fondant with black currant sorbet and Sorbet.

Actually asked to replace sorbet with vanilla ice-cream but is was first forgotten. Got vanilla ice-cream in separate cup after reminding it. Replaced the sorbet with vanilla ice-cream, therefore plate seems a little bit messy. Maybe new portion would have been better idea.

If you like black currant, then you like home made sorbet, which was the choise for another dessert.

Chocolate fondant at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

One extremely positive thing is the wide selection of riesling wines. Too often you have to choose from few alternatives because chardonnays and savignon blancs dominate wine lists, but at Fishmarket you really can celebrate with rieslings. Chose Sepp Moser Riesling von den Terrassen from Austria, which was excellent. Definately right balance of acidity, minerals, fruits and taste of petrol. Not too much, but enough. The color of wine is more yellow than rieslings usually are.

Riesling at Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Fishmarket had all prerequisites to be the best seafood restaurant in Helsinki. Food is good but maybe again one waiter was missing because service was quite slow. Therefore it might make sense to order platters for starter or main course because you can pass the time by opening crabs.

Had to drop points for food and overall grade from last visit. The change in menu impacted to portions, which were on the other hand also more affordable.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

Front | Restaurant Fishmarket.





Restaurant review: Copas y Tapas – Spanish cuisine by Finnish chef’s

5 10 2014

Copas y Tapas

Copas y Tapas

 

Copas y Tapas is an independent family-owned business which serves Spanish food and wines with Finnish flavor. Restaurant or actually Tapas Bar is located at Fabianinkatu, close to Senate Square. Dining rooms are on two levels and both areas were booked-up on Saturday evening.

Have visited Copas y Tapas couple of times before; earlier reviews can be found by using search. Previous visits have been successful, therefore expectations were again high.

Actually our experience started 5 minutes after reservation, which was made via TableOnline one week before dinner. We have requested to avoid some ingredients and restaurant chef sent email asking some additional info. That was quick and definately customer friendly.

Three course dinner costs 46€ (not bad) including tapas as starters, main course which can be chosen from 4 alternatives and dessert. 4€ additional payment for one of the meat dishes. Dinner starts with assortment of three tapas. You do not know what you get because restaurant chooses what to offer. But of course you can influence a little bit on it.

This time restaurant served for starters Carrot soup, Filled capsicum and Smoked pork.

First we enjoyed soup which was flavoured with saffron. Very tasty! Next we ate capsicum filled with cream cheese and crayfish, excellent. Pork was accompanied with kohlrabi to lighten up greasiness.

Tapas plate at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

You can choose from four different main courses, which differ almost every day depending on fresh ingredients available. Today alternatives were Duck, Rabbit (4€ extra), Pike- Perch and Vegetarian.

Both enjoyed portions were delicious and healthy, not ruined with potatoes. Rabbit was prepared with two ways, you get fillet and pressed meat. Two sauces, chioggia beet and tomatoes paired well with both meats.

With roasted pike-perch was also chioggia beet, small chanterelles and pear pieces. Correct degree of ripeness made the gusto perfect.

 

Rabbit at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.comFish at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

Decided to share 3 pieces of cheese before dessert. Delicious home-made crispbread should be available in supermarkets, because it was so tasty. Cava paired especially well with smelted cheese, no need for port or red wine or other “cheese drinks”. These cheeses were chosen to match with white wines.

Cheese plate at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

For dessert restaurant served Pannacotta with black currant pyre.

Sweet, but not too sweet, dessert ended the dinner nicely. One portion included chocolate pieces and one pistache due to milk in chocolate.

Pannacotta at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

For wine ordered bottle of cava Gramona III Lustros Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2006, which is produced from Xarel-lo (70%) and Macabeo (30%) grapes. Wine is also really dry as it includes only 2 g/l sugar. Must be one of the driest cavas.

Was going to order III Lustros in Malaga in May, but it was finished from the restaurant we visited. Had instead Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva Brut, which includes Chardonnay grapes. In Finland these wines cost at restaurant 40€ more than at restaurant in Malaga, believe or not, because of VAT.

Cava at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

Copas y Tapas is one of the most promising affordable fine dining bistros in Helsinki restaurant scene, especially if you want to have serious discussion about Spanish wines. Fusion cuisine blends brilliantly best parts of Spanish and Finnish food cultures. Michelin guys should check it for Bib Gourmand label.

And selection of Spanish brandies is wide. Tried Torres 20 which tastes more like cognac.

Service, really important part of experience, was excellent again.

Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

http://www.copasytapas.fi/








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