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

 





Restaurant review: El Meson de Cervantes – Malaga; Spain

17 09 2014

Cava at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

El Meson de Cervantes  is located at the backyards of old town at Calle Alamos. It was established by the same chef, who owns El Tapeo de Cervantes just 50 meters away from Meson. The main difference with the restaurants is the dining room with normal tables and chairs, which Meson has but Tapeo does not have.

Visited El Meson de Cervantes 2nd time this year. Previous review can be found by using search.

El Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Main allurement are tapas which you can order in three different sizes; tapas, 1/2 raciones or full raciones. You could also choose from restaurant menu different type of starters, main courses and desserts but menu is quite short. If you want to eat tapas at the dining room, you need to ask them in a polite way, although waiter might say that they are meant to eat at the bar.

Started the dinner with glass of cavas and tasty, salty green olives.

This time we ordered all dishes from restaurant menu. Actually most of the dishes are the same. Our dinner started with Warm salad of tuna, roasted peppers and green leaves and Pan seared small squids with spinach.

Tuna was perfectly fried as you can see in the picture below, not too well-done; therefore not too dry. This portion is not so typical for tapas restaurant, it is an example of the high quality level of el Meson de Cervantes.

Squids were best part of the dinner, perfect cooking on the pan and olive oil complemented nicely the flavor of two different squids. Recommend to order this starter, if you visit the restaurant.

Tuna salad - reijosfood.com

Squids at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

First main courses were fishes, 1/2 portions of Salmon with herb butter, black rice and a chick pea pyre and Sea bream wrapped in aubergine, carrot pyre and juniper sauce.

Well prepared portions both of them. Salmon was maybe a little bit over cooked but side dish delicious. Sea bream paired nicely with aubergine and carrot pyre was scrumptious. If I would have to choose, would take Sea bream as big main course only.

Salmon at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Sea bream at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

For 2nd main courses we had 1/2 portions of Argentinian entrecote with fried potatoes, salad and chimichurri and Wild boar stew with sweet Malaga wine sauce and crispy rosti. 

Entrecote was well-done as requested.

But stew was not the same at all as last time. Found no wine in the sauce and taste was more like standard brown sauce. See the difference, picture on the left was from May and on the right taken few days ago. If we would have been served similar stew, grade for food would have been 0,25 points more.

Entrecote at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Wild board stew at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comLamb stew at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Dinner ended with Apple tart and vanilla ice-cream which was bull’s eye again. Difficult to beat warm, sweet and soft apple pie with cold ice-cream….

Also Fig flan of sweet Malaga wine was tasty, but maybe a little bit too sweet.

Apple pie - reijosfood.com

Fig dessert - reijosfood.com

For wine we asked waitress to recommend some rose wine. There were actually three rose wines on wine list from which to choose, but after looking us, she brought us a bottle which was not on the list.

And good that she brought, because it was more full-bodied and darker than rose wines usually are. Wine was Barbazul from Huerta de Albalá, which is a recently created winery located in the province of Cadiz. As it is produced from Syrah grapes, quite dark red color is easily to be explained.

Barbazul rose - reijosfood.com

El Meson de Cervantes serves premium tapas and Spanish food in a relaxed athmosphere. If you decide to dine at restaurant, you can watch chef’s preparing portions in the open kitchen. You can also eat in more restful environment and enjoy to be served by professional waiters.

Tapas bar provides opportunity for close social interaction and eating at higher bar tables.

Restaurant is the place to visit out of hundreds of tapas bars and restaurants in Malaga, if you travel there. Hope the menu will be changed, because it was exactly the same as 4 months ago, as far as I remember. There are not so many dishes to choose from the menu.

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

http://www.elmesondecervantes.com/eng/index.html

 





Wine review: Brangelina rose – Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé

30 08 2014

Brangelina rose  - reijosfood.com

Miraval is the new wine business venture of actor and actresses Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie in association with the famous Perrin family of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first 6,000-bottle run sold out within five hours. And hullabaloo continued when Wine Spectator ranked Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé as best rose wine 2013.

Grapes used in production are Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Syrah. Quite extraordinary combination, wine would not look like rose without Syrah.

We were able to taste this “jewel” at restaurant Demo, as it was one of the wines paired with foods in the menu. With reindeer and beetroot this rose wine matched well because portion was partly salty and partly sweet. I was wondering, if red wine would have suited better, but maybe not because of sweetness of beetroot.

Raindeer at Demo - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Looking at the packaging, it looks basically champagne bottle, close to Ruinart which was previously tasted

The color is kind of like fluorescent, light pale pink. If you would see this without knowing which wine is concerned, you might think that someone has added water to red wine

THE NOSE

Wild strawberries and/or raspberry, more like a mild candy

THE TASTE

Fresh fruits aromas, a refreshing acidity but palate is mild compared to most rose wines

Facts:

Alcohol: 13.00 %
Extract: 21 g/l
Acidity: 5.4 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)

 

Chateau Miraval rose - reijosfood.com

Would I buy this wine, if it would happen to appear in our Alko. Perhaps yes, because I did not first believe, that it would suit for reindeer. But this is summer wine and in the winter would prefer stronger rose.

Actually you can buy it from Alko Arkadia; there are still some bottles left from 120 batch Alko had purchased.

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

Miraval Provence

All Lists of Top 100 Wines | Top 100 of 2013 | Wine Spectator





Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

17 07 2014

Savonlinna is an active and vibrant summertime town in Finland. The town itself and its surroundings are one of the most popular holiday regions in Finland. Beside enjoying the opera, admire the breathtaking scenery in and around the town, have a giggle at some of the eccentric local events, and listen to the legends associated with the historical sites.

Savonlinna Castle - reijosfood.com

Dined at restaurant Valo (in English Light) the fourth year in a row, is it becoming a habit? No it will not, read futher…..Other 2 reviews can be found by using search and writing Valo.

Valo in Savonlinna - reijosfood.com

Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant by Saimaa lake, it would be important to have a good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same.

Restaurant Valo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for that used to be the names of local producers on the a la carte list. This year the names of local producers had almost vanished. Reason? Many local residents and summer vacationers had pizza which seems to be quite nice looking. We decided to keep up traditions and order form a la carte list. But in the future….

For starters we ordered Salmon & dill Sugar and salt-cured salmon, fennel salad, dill maynonnaise and potato crisps and Snails.

Nice looking small fish portion was a little bit too salty. It included two potato chips. I would not mention those in explanation of portion. Snails were soft with lot’s of smelted butter.

Salmon starter at Valo - reijosfood.com

Escargots at Valo - reijosfood.com

Main courses were this time Trout Pan fried trout fillet,warm new potato salad with crab sauce and Fish of the day from Saimaa with trimmings of the day.

Kitchen made some changes to trout portion as we requested them, which was  proofpoint of customer service. But amazing was that waiter said that fish of the day should be pike-perch but we got Arctic char! That kind of mistake we have not seen for a long time.

Unfortunately both fishes were over fried and therefore dry.

Fish at Valo - reijosfood.comFish at Valo - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had after long discussion with waitress Chocolate cake and Berries.

Berries were not on the list but as there were no lactose-free desserts, berries were only ones kitchen could serve. Delicious chocolate cake included same berries as well as vanilla ice-cream.

Chocolate dessert at Valo - reijosfood.comBerries at Valo - reijosfood.com

For wine we had rose because only riesling on the wine list was too light and without any riesling character.

Rose wine at Valo - reijosfood.com

Next time when or if we dine at Valo we try pizza. Small and therefore over priced portions (but it is opera month) do not earn more than 3. Location and terrace increase overall grade.

The problem with Savonlinna restaurant scene has, is the lack of small privately own Finnish restaurants. Most in the center of town are owned nowadays by S-Group co-operative company. But it is difficult to keep up restaurant business, if there are customers only during summer months.

REVIEW: FOOD 3/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5

http://www.savonmafia.fi/products/product/82/

 





Wine review: Best summer rose wines at Alko?

9 07 2014

Neiss Pinot Noir rose - reijosfood.comBardolino Chiaretto - reijosfood.com

In Finland, Alko has a monopoly in selling alcohol including wines. There have been some initiatives in order to obtain wines to supermarkets but that is far away from happening. However, Alko has improved a lot it’s wine supply. On the other hand Finnish tax for alcohol drinks does not favor wines instead of strong beverages, which it should.

But this post was about best rose wines at Alko, so let’s move to that topic. Best with questionmark, because there are quite many interesting rose wines at Alko but these two have excellent price quality ratio.

Neiss Pinot Noir Rosé 2013

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

THE LOOK

Color with hints of orange-brown looks a little bit fanciful.

THE NOSE

Strawberries, jewing gum Hubba-Bubba came to my mind but scent was not that strong.

THE TASTE

Dry and citrus, very close to the white wines. Threfore, if you do not like rose wines but like white wines, this is the rose for you. Pairs with same foods like white wines.

Neiss rose in the glass - reijosfood.com

Tommasi Bardolino Chiaretto Rosé 2013

Grapes: Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara

THE LOOK

Hints of orange-brown but more close to typical rose than Neiss.

THE NOSE

Light strawberry aroma, hints of fruit alphabet candies, otherwise scent is delicate. More typical rose than Neiss.

THE TASTE

Dry, pleasant, balanced rose type of flavor. Excellent aperitif but suits also with Antipasto, Chicken, pasta and asian cuisine.

Tommasi rose - reijosfood.com

Facts:

WINE             Neiss Pinot Noir                                         Tommasi Bardolino Chiaretto
Alcohol:     12.00 %                                           12.00 %
Extract:     33 g/l                                               27 g/l
Acidity:      7.6 g/l                                              6 g/l
Sugar:        9 g/l                                                 8 g/l
Energy:      80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)  80 kcal / 100 ml (320 kJ / 100 ml)

Some might think that there are only two type of wines; white and red. Especially if one has tried not so pleasant-tasting sweet and maybe even too warm rose wine. I find good roses enjoyable. They can be basic rose wines or sparkling ones. Especially rose champagnes might be extremely drinkable. You just have to find right roses. Try these two.

OVERALL GRADE: Neiss 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++(+)/+++

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





Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

22 07 2013

Restaurant Valo

Dined at restaurant Valo the third year in a row, is it becoming a habit?  Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it would be important to have a good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same. Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for it are names of local producers on the a la carte list.

Started the dinner with Saimaa duo Perch terrine, pike perch tartar and fennel salad. Really fresh, tartar was best part of the portion. Terrine was a little bit dry. Remembering last visits, think the portions were now smaller…

Saimaa duo

For main courses had Wild boar and pork cheek Overnight braised wild boar belly and pork cheek, pomme anna with sautéed chorizo and white cabbage and bbq sauce. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked enough long. Portion had been changed as there was no chorizo in potatoes neither bbq sauce. The name of portion was the same as last year but it was then better. Also had Pike perch from Saimaa Pan fried pike perch with salmon raviolis and creamed leek which was pimped by request and side dishes replaced by vegetables and olive oil. Fish was a little bit over fried and therefore dry.

Meat in ValoPike perch in Valo

For desserts had Chocolate cake Chocolate cake with strawberry filling and vanilla ice- cream but shared the portion. Again quite small dish but delicious.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade would have exceed food and service grades. But unfortunately this year weather did not favor us; therefore same grade. Without heaters it would have been too cold to eat outside.

Wine list is short and includes only one rose wine, shiraz from JACOB´S CREEK. Wineyard was well presented as there was red, white and sparkling wines available.

Rose wine

REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

http://www.savonmafia.fi/products/product/82/

Restaurant Valo








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