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.

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RED

– 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.

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WHITE

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!

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CHAMPAGNES AND CO

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.

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4 commentaires

  1. Due to Pétalos’s tannins, I wouldn’t really recommend it for a traditional Finnish christmas table – there is really nothing to counter its big body and supple tannins.

    Nino Negri, on the other hand, is really lightbodied for a Nebbiolo. Not that much about tannins as acids when compared to Piedmont Nebbiolos, especially for the price point (that includes also Travaglini Gattinara and Ugo Lequio Barbaresco), but however a lot more suitable for a Finnish christmas table than any other Nebbiolo in Alko’s selevtion.

    1. Hei! Thanks for the comment.

      As for Petalos and tannins in general, I don’t think it will be such an issue: the ham is not a fat dish and aside from rosoli (which is a problem to pair), I don’t see what will interact negatively with tannins. Also, the tannins of Petalos are not specifically strong so I am surprise you notice that aspect about the wine. However as for tannins, this is more a matter of personal perception than objective taste and it is all the more true since Alko promotes wines with very little tannins. I am more afraid that the wine is too young. Petalos is typically a wine I enjoyed the most after a couple of years of cellaring (I still have 2008 waiting). In any case, it will probably need decanting. As for the match with the Christmas food, in my opinion, it is more a matter of aromas and general structure: I think Shiraz (from Australia) or very fruity (ripe fruit) and « sweet » reds will not fit. Spices and a certain elegance are required.

      Whatever, I am still convinced that the best match for the dinner is a white wine. However the one I would really recommend are not available at Alko. I would go for Southern France Grenache blanc or Roussanne based wines, or an aged Grüner Veltliner from Wachau… And if you really plan on a red, Pinot Noir will probably still be the best possibility, don’t you agree?

      And as for Nebbiolo, I completely agree. However, considering the place the Nino Negri comes from and the style of the wines of the estate, it was in my opinion very probable that the wine will behave very differently from its more southern cousins. I would not usually recommend wines from this grape as they require in general a lot of time before the wine is ready, and I don’t see people buying for instance a Barbaresco Cotta 2006 from Sottimano to drink in 5 to 10 years (even if that will be the only way to understand that wine).

      See you!

      PS: very interesting blog you have!

  2. Why thank you for your compliments! The same goes for your blog, too!

    I certainly agree with that decanting aspect of your on Pétalos; when I had a bottle of it last summer, it was very nervous and all over the place for the first hour or so and really started to settle down and pull it all together after some two hours. However, in my experience, its tannins were rather young and intense, though not overwhelming (as would be the case with, for example, Piedmontese Nebbiolos), and although there’s really nothing in a traditional christmas table that would interact negatively with its tannins, I’d still say the wine is a little too tannic – with only little proteins to bind the tannins, the wine will most likely feel a bit too astringent after a glass or two. However, this is a matter of personal preference, like you said. And yes, Pétalos seemed very young when I tasted it, and most likely it will benefit greatly from years in cellaring. Actually, I have a bottle of Villa de Corullón (another Mencia from the same producer) in my cellar, and I have no plans on opening it anytime soon! 🙂

    But Pinot Noirs, like you said, are always an excellent choice for christmas! Last year I had a 1er Cru Bourgogne Pinot Noir, which paired with ease with everything, and this year I have picked a bottle of Te Kairanga PN from NZ.

    Also whites are an excellent choice; anything with enough body and acidity will pair well. My choice for this year is a German Riesling with some residual sugar, but most likely a Rhône white or an Alsatian PG with enough acidity is an excellent choice too!

    1. Villa Corullon is a really nice wine. I tasted recently 2007 (enjoyable but still young) and 2008 (this one is not ready). This is a wine that will need some time but it is a very nice one. Vintages I would like to taste are 2009 and 2010… but I don’t think they have been released yet. I will retaste Petalos this winter and I will retaste the 2010 when I come back to Finland.

      The sad thing about Pinot Noir at Alko is that many of the good ones (I speak mostly of the French ones) available in Finland are only sold to restaurants… It is a pity (like for Ramonet, great producer from Chassagne)… but I remember that there were some Domaine des Lambrays available last year in Arkadia shop in Helsinki. The Te Kairanga (2007) is a very nice bottle and fairly priced I think ! I hope you’ll enjoy it. I have just thought, by the way, that one very interesting choice (especially if tasted blind) is Grange des Pères 2008. Even though it is a wine from Languedoc, this wine is extremely elegant (and young, too 😉 but it always taste good). It is to be ordered but it is available in Arkadia.

      As for white, I am sad that you cannot get Haut Cousillas Blanc by Oratoire Saint Martin, or Châteauneuf du Pape blanc by Les Cailloux or Marie Léoncie by Château la Gardine (an other Châteauneuf)… the Rhône wine available at Alko don’t give at all a good image of Rhône Valley. Fortunately, the German Riesling are well sorted and well picked !

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