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.

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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





Wine review: Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut

3 09 2014

Heidsieck Blue top - reijosfood.com

Established in 1785, Heidsieck & Co Monopole, the fifth oldest Champagne house in France and the makers of popular “Blue Top” Champagne. Today, Heidsieck is owned by the Vranken company, who also have Pommery and Demoiselle in their portfolio.

Name Heidsieck might be confusing because of Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck, which are quite similar champagne names. Is there any connection between persons behind these names?

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top has been produced from Pinot Noir 70%, Pinot Meunier 10% and Chardonnay 20% grapes. Amount or lack of chardonnay is visible in taste.

THE LOOK

Yellow bottle must be designed to attract younger friends of champagne. Also the size, 20cl, is convenient take-away gift.

Pale, some hints of straw color. Small bubbles all over the glass which disappear quite quickly

THE NOSE

Mild aroma, some fruits but extremely light for nose

THE TASTE

Nice but light and lackluster. Hopefully low fluite in champagne glasses used, did not affect to flavor.

Facts:

Alcohol: 12,00 %
Extract: 29 g/l
Acidity: 6,2 g/l
Sugar: 12 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)

Heidsieck champagne - reijosfood.com

Tasted champagne as aperitif and noticed that it must be ice cold. Suits with mildly spiced food, snacks and potato chips.

Any experience of this wine?

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 3/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +/+++

Vranken Pommery





Wine review: Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut

28 08 2014

Ruinart and Riedel - reijosfood.com

The Ruinart House was officially created on 1st September 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart, which makes the company oldest established champagne house. The Chardonnay illuminates wines, exalting their brilliance and creating the particular fluidity that makes them so distinctive. Today house is owned by the parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is produced from a blend of 100% premiers crus Chardonnay grapes from the best of recent vintages. Grapes from the estate vineyards in Sillery and Brimont are joined by carefully selected grapes from other premiers crus vineyards in the Côte de Blancs and the Montagne de Reims.

THE LOOK

The design of the bottle is elegant and it is sold in stylish box

Champagne shows a superb, golden yellow color but in the bottle it is more yellow than in the glass. Small bubbles in straight strip raise from the bottom of glass continuously

THE NOSE

The nose is clean and light without any disturbing side scents. 100 % Chardonnay guarantees neutrality

THE TASTE

On the palate the wine is very supple and harmonious, with notes of honey and minerals on the long, sustained finish. One of the most pure champagne tastes

Facts:

Alcohol: 12.50 %
Extract: 33 g/l
Acidity: 4.9 g/l
Sugar: 8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (350 kJ / 100 ml)

Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.com

Although Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is NV, it is not basic champagne. It is more expensive due to the chardonnay grapes and whole concept is luxorious including shape of the bottle and package.

Wine suits well for special occasions, to be enjoyed as such. Ruinart pairs with white fishes, shellfish and mildly flavored food. As taste is so delicate, it would be waste to try it with spicy cookings. Excellent champagne, worth to taste and enjoy.

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

Ruinart, Wines and Spirits, premium wines – LVMH.





Wine review: Anna de Codorniu Brut Blanc de Blancs

30 07 2014

Anna de Codorniu - reijosfood.com

Anna de Codorníu is the flagship cava of Codorniu bodega and was the first to incorporate the Chardonnay variety in its blend as early as 1984. Delicate, elegant and fresh, this is the best tribute to the last person in the Codorníu family to use the family surname.

The Anna range is a collection of fresh, elegant and delicate cavas with a unique personality. Blanc de Blancs was introduced in October 2013 and it obviously tries to compete against Moet & Chandon and Lanson with their “white” champagnes. Similar set of white coolers and glasses supplements the package. One big difference is that Anna is dry (brut) trying not to tempt customers favoring sweeter bubbling wines. And it is Cava, not Champagne.

Blanc de Blancs should include only Chardonnay grapes, as far as I know? Anna has 70% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada and 15% Xarello, Macabeo. Is it then Blanc de Blancs?

Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

White bottle is refreshing for cava and suits especially for summer time enjoyments.

Wine is more yellow than Cavas usually are.

Anna is cava with a fine and persistent bubbles that forms a continuous string of tiny bubbles. But bubbles dissappeared quite quickly.

THE NOSE

Full of citrus and tropical fruit notes. Funny, but first time could really find some bouquet of toast.

THE TASTE

Soft and balanced without disruptive flavors. 70% Chardonnay is the reason for all of this.

Facts:

Alcohol 11,5%, Sugar 8 g/l

 

Cava - reijosfood.com

Wine suits for aperitif and pairs with almost every food. However, would not choose it for red meats but for chicken and pork definately.

Bottle tasted was bought from cruise ship between Helsinki and Tallinn. Therefore it was really affordable and earns 3 plus marks.

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

Annas Blanc de Blancs | Anna de Codorníu.

 





Champagne glasses – does the shape matter?

7 06 2014

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com

Usually we use traditional champagne flute for bubbling drinks but wanted to compare it with different types of champagne glasses. Results can be found below.

Iittala champagne glass (on the left-hand side)

The problem with Iittala champagne “flute” was that it filled mouth with bubbles. Iittala has same design for Essence glass series and although shape of the glasses look impressive, maybe the wine itself has been forgotten from the beginning.

Iittala champagne coupe (on the right-hand side)

The broad surface area allows champagne to lose its carbonation more quickly, making it less suitable for the current style of very dry champagnes, compared to the sweeter champagnes. So, you have to be quick drinker or pour only 8cl at a time.

Sparkling wines scent was not so pleasant but amount od bubbles in the glass was awesome. However, they disappeared before getting in to the mouth.

Basic tasting glass (in front of the picture)

As sparkling wines can be classified as a white wines, they can be served in white wine glasses too. “Tulip” or “belly” shape in which the rim of the glass is narrower than the midpoint, permits the drinker to get more of the aroma than a from traditional flute, while still not having enough surface area to cause the champagne to quickly lose carbonation.

For this sparkling wine it did not work out. As the bouquet was so delicate, it did not improve in this glass neither taste felt stronger.

Traditional champagne flute – the winner!

The stem allows to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink. The bowl is designed to retain champagne’s signature carbonation, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl. Both THE NOSE and THE TASTE were in balance and created best image of the wine.

Tasted sparkling wine was Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut from Luxembourg. Review can be found from previous post.

Bernard-Massard sparkling wine - reijosfood.com

The traditional champagne flute and flat coupe glass are fine for young wines – but for complex older champagnes, only a wide glass that curves back in towards the top and is filled only a little way will present the bubbles correctly. Unfortunately we do not have this glass in collection, but maybe have in the future.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com





Wine review: Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut – sparkling pearl from Luxembourg

5 06 2014

Bernard-Massard - reijosfood.com

A family managed company, Bernard-Massard is the main producer of traditional method sparkling wines of Luxembourg

After more than 92 years of existence, company remains true to the values of quality and entrepreneurship of the founder Jean Bernard-Massard. As of today, Bernard-Massard is Luxembourg’s first privately owned wine producer with about 4 million bottles leaving yearly our cellars.

Beside a strong presence in Belgium, Cuvees are well represented in countries like Finland. It is nice to see that Finland is important market for Bernard-Massard. Wonder if it is available in the biggest markets like Germany and of course France?

Tasted Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Riesling grapes. Quite a mix, but not in bad sense. The finest of Bernard-Massard’s Cuvées since 1971, the Cuvée de l’Ecusson range epitomises the expertise of the company which affords this Cuvée its place amongst the most interesting European sparkling wines.

THE LOOK

Light yellow, almost translucent. Small bubbles which rise from the bottom of glass in continuous stream.

THE NOSE

The scent is delicate, some citrus and pear but need to sniff carefully. As we tasted wine is different glasses, also bouquet varied.

THE TASTE

Although wine is brut, amount of sugar is more than usually in dry wines and that can be noticed in taste. Could found some fruits but was also as delicate as was scent. Tasted wine in different glasses and there was clear differences to be found.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,00 %
Extract : 31 g/l
Acidity: 6,6 g/l
Sugar: 13 g/l
Energy : 80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

I am not sure, if 13 g/l sugar categorizes Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut as brut wine. However, this is one of the easiest sparkling wines to start tasting, (if you do not have found world of bubbling drinks yet). Exellent aperitif and pairs well with different kind of foods, even with desserts due to sugar.

As we tasted this wine with different champagne glasses, review of those glasses will follow.

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

http://www.bernard-massard.lu/en/

 





Summer drink Aperol Spritz arrived in Helsinki

24 03 2014

Aperol Spritz - reijosfood.com

Amazing coinsidence, was able to taste Aperol Spritz same day in two different places…..but where?

Aperol Spritz is Italian drink and aperitif which became famous already in 1950’s. When preparing drink, it is important to mix it with right amount of beverages. If you add too much Aperol, drink will be too sweet. On the other hand insufficient amount of aperitif makes Spritz too dry. So, below you can find instructions:

Add ice to fill red wine  glass or tumbler

Add 3 parts of Prosecco

Add 2 parts of Aperol

Add 1 part of Soda

Mix with a long spoon

Serve immediately

Enjoy!

First Aperol Spritz of the day was tasted at Wine Expo 2014. Importer had they own stand which was refreshingly colored compared to other “standard” stands. Drink was excellent but maybe a little bit sweet, a dash too much Aperol.

Aperol Spritz at Viini Expo 2014 - reijosfood.com

Second Aperol Spritz of the day was enjoyed at new Italian restaurant Presto (review follows later). This time the drink was much too dry, almost could not taste Aperol at all. I think the mix must have been prepared by using formula 3/1/1, which is the ratio in some incorrect recipes.

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.comAperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

As Aperol is not so strong it really is excellent summer refresher, alternative for Cava Sangria. When you add ice and soda, alcoholicity is less than in glass of wine, under 10%.

In order to get the most out of the drink, it must be mixed properly. Otherwise it does not make sense to ruin prosecco with add on’s.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 11,00 %
Extract: 250 g/l
Sugar: 250 g/l
Energy: 160 kcal / 100 ml (670 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

http://www.aperol.com/int/en/aperol-spritz/aperol-spritz/ready_to_spritz








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