Mois: décembre 2012

Christmas at Alko: The selection from the general sortiment.

Now that I gave you a list of « on order » wines, here comes the list from the general selection.

First. Remember that the article I published the past years are still valid (see : Joulu), for example white wine is a better choice. Second, remember that for Christmas, you need wines that will be balanced and rather light. Cabernet Sauvignon are very unlikely to fit the dinner, for example. The must, in red, will be Pinot Noir and in white, most will fit. But then again, I will try to provide you with a whole range of different type of wine. So that you find one that pleases you palate.



– Parès Balta, Savia Viva Tempranillo 2010, 7,99€ : SPAIN. A must taste as entry level wines. Undoubtedly the best wine in this price range. Tempranillo.

– Alamos, Malbec, 9,90€ : ARGENTINA. Malbec is not the best pick but as far as entry level wines are concerned this is almost unbeatable. In the same category I can recommend Norton Barrel Select Malbec 2008.

– Brancott Estate, South Island Pinot Noir, 11,28€ : NEW-ZEALAND. The cheapest enjoyable Pinot Noir of Alko. A very nice wine to drink Pinot on a budget.

– Paul Jaboulet, Côte du Rhône Parallèle 45, 11,48€ : FRANCE. More spicy. Very high acidity, it is not so pleasant to dring alone but it fits well with food. To be decanted at least an hour before service.

– Zenato, Valpolicella Superiore 2010, 11,99€ : ITALY. Easy drinking and fruity wine.

– Cono Sur, Wild Duck 2010, 12,90€ : CHILE. This wine is stunningly well made for the price. A Pinot Noir that will fit your joulukinkku very well. Beware not to leave the bottle half empty as it doesn’t stand staying in the fridge for more than 12h.

– Leyda, Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2010, 13,98€ : CHILE. Much more defined and structured Pinot Noir. This one needs breathing. A very good choice.

– Descendientès de J. Palacios, Petalos 2010, 15,98€ : SPAIN. Very spicy and elegant wine. To be decanted. Extremely food friendly.

– Weninger, Blaufränkisch Hochäcker 2009, 17,99€ : AUSTRIA. A great vintage and a very good producer. This wine is full of dense fruit with a very good complexity. Tannins are very soft. A very good match to pork.

 – Nino Negri, Mazer Inferno 2007, 18,14€ : ITALY. I don’t actually know this wine but I know the producer. Nebbiolo is a tannic grape with very subtle flavours and very good balance. That is definitely something I would try. But maybe not the best pick. I will try to taste it before Christmas.

– Te Kairanga, Runholder Pinot Noir 2007, 19,80€ : NEW-ZEALAND. One of the best Pinot Noir of Alko’s selection. This is a very very good wine. Strongly advised. (Beware of the vintage).

– Torrès, Mas Borras 2008, 28,50€ : SPAIN. It is sure a bit young… but this is one of the best examples of Pinot Noir from Spain.

– Vincent Girardin, Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2008, 36,20€ : France. Pinot Noir is the best red grape to match Finnish christmas meal. This is a good French example. From a fine terroir.

– Aalto 2007, 39,00€ : SPAIN. A very big wine but not overriped. Will need to be decanted a couple of hours earlier. But maybe not at its best now… probably better in three years.



When you aim at a white wine, Chardonnay is always a safe choice as it is not too powerful (and will match most food types) and it is pretty inexpensive to produce. So, a cheap Chardonnay is always better than a cheap Sauvignon blanc.

– Pares Balta, Savia Viva Xarel-lo 2011, 7,99€ : SPAIN. A bargain. Nuts and toasty aroma. Nice to drink.

– Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler, Blitz Riesling 2011, 8,49€ : GERMANY. Best buy as Riesling. Very well balanced. Aromatic. Taste dry.

– Alamos, Chardonnay 2011, 9,90€ : ARGENTINA. A classical in basic Chardonnay. Slightly oaky, good fruit and nice balance.

– Domaine Boyar, XR Chardonnay, 9,99€ : BULGARIA. A bit more on the oaky side. Otherwise interesting.

– Ruffino, Libaio Chardonnay 2011, 9,99€ : ITALY. Again a oaky Chardonnay. Bit more sun than the previous one (exotic fruit on the nose).

– Henri Bourgeois, Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc, 10,98€ : FRANCE. A basic and sound Sauvignon blanc.

– Brancott Estate, Gisborne Unoaked Chardonnay, 11,28€ : NEW-ZEALAND. Very nice Chardonnay with real taste of Chardonnay. Good balance, very pleasant.

– Malat, Riesling Kellergarten 2008, 11,48€ : AUSTRIA. A classic, starts to get old. Will be perfect with joulukinkku but avoid the salad and fish.

– Leyda, Sauvignon Gris Kadun Vineyard, 11,98€ : CHILE. Very good Sauvignon.

– Penfolds, Thomas Hyland Chardonnay, 12,98€ : AUSTRALIA. A very good balance, lots of freshness and very little oakiness. Good wine.

– Cono Sur, Vision Single Vineyard Riesling 2010, 12,98€ : CHILE. Powerful Riesling from the new world. Very straightforward.

– Cono Sur, Vision Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, 12,98€ : CHILE. A good pick as Chardonnay.

– Leyda, Sauvignon Blanc Lot 4, 12,98€ : CHILE. A Sauvignon with intense varietal aromas. Very grassy.

– Jackson Estate, Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 14,98€ : NEW-ZEALAND. More ripe Sauvignon, more elegant, less grassy.

– Sileni Estates, The Lodge Chardonnay 2010, 14,98€ : NEW-ZEALAND.

– Oremus, Mandolas Tokaji Dry, 15,95€ : HUNGARY. Oxydised style. Perfect with smoked salmon.

– Weingut Salomon Undhof, Grüner Veltliner Alte Rebe Berglagen 2011, 18,90 : AUSTRIA. Maybe THE pick of the list. Fruity, aromatic but with good structure.

– Saint-Clair Pioneer Block Sawcut Vineyard Chardonnay 2009, 19,76€ : NEW-ZEALAND. A very good example of big Chardonnay. Big and still elegant.

– Planeta, Chardonnay 2010, 19,90€ : ITALY. An other one 🙂

– La Souffrandise, Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 2010, 20,80 : FRANCE. One perfect vintage and perfect Chardonnay. Spicy, toasty, fruity. To be decanted.

– Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Grosses Gewächs Riesling Alte Rebe 2008, 29,90€ : GERMANY. Very structured Riesling. A great wine but maybe still a bit young. To be decanted.

– La Chablisienne, Grand Cru Les Preuses 2008, 38,90€ : FRANCE. A good example of Grand Cru, in a very good vintage. Ready to enjoy!



Sparkling wines are also a very clever choice for Christmas. If you aim at drinking it during the whole meal, you will want to chose a more powerful wine, oak aged, vintage or with a higher proportion of Pinot Noir. Here is a very short selection. Alko has a very wide choice of these wines, including all the top producers for reasonable prices (I mean by that, that you will not pay more than in France, and most of the time, less).

– Codorniu, Pinot Noir Brut, 14,80€ : SPAIN. A great Cava rosé (Spanish champagne). Very, intensely fruity. Perfect aperitif. Enjoyable with the food but lacks a bit of structure to manage well. Noticeable improvement after 1 year of cellaring.

– Ca’ Del Bosco, Cuvée Prestige, 29,90€ : ITALY. This Franciacorta (the Champagne of Italy) is a real bargain as you will not find a wine to match its quality at this price point. Excellent in aperitif and with starters or smoked fish.

– Billecart-Salmon, Brut Réserve, 39,90€ : FRANCE.

– Gosset, Excellence Brut, 39,90€ : FRANCE.

– Pol Roger, Brut Réserve, 43,90€ : FRANCE. This is the kind of Champagne you must aim at to drink the whole evening.

– Charles Heidsieck, Brut Réserve, 47,50€ : FRANCE. A truly great wine, that can last your whole dinner (except desert!). Definitely my pick.

– Bollinger, Special Cuvée, 49,90€ : FRANCE. A very good choice also, to drink along the meal. Improves greatly after 1 or 2 years of cellaring.

If you have any question, feel free to comment or send me an email. I’ll try to answer quickly.

Christmas at Alko: a first selection of wines.

As usual for the Christmas time, I am publishing a list of possible wines to enjoy with your Christmas meal. This list is specifically directed to Finnish readers as I select wines from Alko’s list, considering Finnish traditional meal.

Again I remind you of the basic rules with these dishes: pick white or a light red and avoid any big fat wine from warm places.

Today, I will start with a shortlist of great wines from the « Tilattavat » section of Alko. To get these wines, you need to ask for them in your local shop and in general it takes one week up to two (check with them). So it is better order right now 🙂



Red will fit with joulukinku and the different side dishes but it will not match any fish (savulohi or graavilohi) nor the different salads. For these meals, you should aim at a white. With these meal, I advise something balanced and spicy but not too tannic. Among many more possibility, here is what I would pick:

– Tedeschi, Valopolicella Classico Superiore 2010, 919587, 16,76€ : ITALY. Classical, easy drinking and balanced Valpolicella. Somewhat « light ». Will not kill the meal.

– Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2010, 930967, 17,99€ : ITALY. Very balanced and full of fruit and spices. Interesting wine to try something new.

– Alfiero Boffa, Barbera d’Asti Storica 2007, 905647, 18,97€ : ITALY. Again, more classical. Delicate, elegant. Smoky with a fresh fruitiness. Very good vintage.

– Remondo Palacios, La Montesa 2009, 927697, 19,84€ : SPAIN. For those who look for more power, this is a good pick. To be decanted at least an hour.

– Luigi Einaudi, Dolcetto di Dogliani 2010, 950927, 21,00€ : ITALY. More on the fruit side than the Barbera. Very direct but will definitely need around two hours decanting.

– Château de Montfaucon, Baron Louis 2009 938097, 22,50€ : FRANCE. Spicy, intense and concentrated. A very powerful vintage from Southern Rhône valley. Also to be decanted.

– Emilio Moro 2009, 914197, 23,80€ : SPAIN. Elegant tempranillo from Ribera del Duero.

– Cono Sur, 20 Barrels 2008, 909747, 24,90€ : CHILE. A very good example of chilean Pinot Noir. Slightly young.

– Alfiero Boffa, Barbera d’Asti Vigna More 2005, 908367, 26,40€ : ITALY. Same as above but higher pedigree. More ready to drink. Very enjoyable.

– Jean-Louis Chave Selection, Saint-Joseph Offerus 2010, 946837, 26,80€ : FRANCE. Saint-Joseph brings up very good Syrah. From an excellent producer of Hermitage… will also age well.

– Clos Henri, Pinot Noir 2008, 953747, 29,50€ : NEW-ZEALAND. An other Pinot Noir. A very good pick to match the ham. Intense fruit but stillvery delicate.

– Remondo Palacios, Propiedad 2008, 941427, 29,90€ : SPAIN. More intense and concentrated than La Montesa. This is a great wine. To be decanted.

– Viña Leyda, Pinot Noir Lot 21 2011, 915727, 33,10€ : CHILE. A very very concentrated Pinot Noir. Modern in style, 100% fruit and oak.

– Domaine de Montcalmès 2008, 912947, 33,10€ : FRANCE. Elegant wine from Southern France. Very intense, very fruity and extremely elegant. The powerful wine for the ladies.



– Domaine Chanson, Viré-Clessé 2009, 924407, 17,95€ : FRANCE. Nice, traditional, slightly oaky Chardonnay but with very good complexity. From southern Burgundy.

– Clos Henri, Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 945367, 24,00€ : NEW-ZEALAND. Very intense and ripe Sauvignon made by a French owner. Kind of a mix between the New World and France. Powerful and  fruity.

– Domaine Saget, Pouilly-Fumé 2010, 949317, 24,50€ : FRANCE. A very classy, extremely elegant Sauvignon blanc. Maybe one of the best choice in terms of balance and finesse.

– Markus Molitor, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spätlese trocken 2007, 947077 28,30€ : GERMANY. A dry and intense Riesling. Very structured. At its best with fish but will match the joulukinkku.

– Bründlmayer, Grüner Veltliner Alte Rebe 2007, 913517, 30,50€ : AUSTRIA. Very good vintage. Aromatic and yet mineral Grüner Veltliner. More powerful in style and more ripe than a Riesling.

– Thevenet, domaine de la Bongran, Viré-Clessé 2005, 911197, 35,10€ : FRANCE. This wine is absolutely stunning but it is very original. Extremely exotic in the nose and more classical in the mouth. Perfect with the various « laatikko » and joulukinkku.

– Newton, Unfiltered Chardonnay 2007, 904037, 43,10€ : USA. Exclusive Chardonnay. Very powerful, large.

– Laroche, Chablis Grand Cru Blanchot 2005, 919077, 59,90€ : FRANCE. A ripe Chablis ready to drink. Elegant and yet powerful, with light toasty aroma.