as often at this time of the year, I have selected some wines from Alko’s catalogue to fit Christmas food.
These are articles designed for Finland. You will find them following the link below.
as often at this time of the year, I have selected some wines from Alko’s catalogue to fit Christmas food.
These are articles designed for Finland. You will find them following the link below.
And finally… mostly to enjoy at New Year’s Eve, considering how late I post the article 🙂 : red wines. There is a lot of possibility in Alko’s selection, though I must warn you that choosing a red wine with Finnish Christmas food is a big risk. It will absolutely work with the pork, but it will fall short on the salmon, whether it is graavilohi or savulohi, it will also have difficulties with all the salads, peruna, rosolli… In case I would serve a fine red, I would split the dinner into two parts : first part with the salads and then with the joulukinkku and the various laatikkot.
This time, I give you a list split between medium and powerful wines and then by order of increasing price.
MEDIUM BODIED (wines that I would favour for the pairing with Christmas food).
Spain: Pares Balta, Savia Viva 2010 (471587) 7,98€ : Simple but efficient.
Argentina: Amalaya 2011 (485797) 11,90€ : A surprisingly good blend from Argentina. Spicy and fruity but with a nice structure in the mouth. This is one of my nowadays « top buy » in Alko. Best served not too cool and can be drank right after opening.
New-Zealand: Brancott Estate, South Island Pinot Noir 2011 (466047) 11,99€ : Entry level and yet delicious Pinot Noir. Sure, it lacks a bit structure, but at that price point, it is a bargain.
Italy: Zenato, Valpolicella Superiore 2010 (450187) 12,99€ : Standard but elegant Valpolicella. Thousand times better than the ugly Masi example of the kind.
Chile: Leyda, Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2011 (475537) 13,98€ : Pinot Noir is definitely the best option when it comes to Christmas dinner. This is a good and affordable example. It will benefit from an early opening. (a couple of hours before drinking).
Austria: Rabl, Blauer Zweigelt Vinum Optimum 2011 (496847) 13,99€ : light, fresh and fruity. Almost no tannins. This is a dream of a wine for delicate palates. 2011 being an outstanding vintage in Austria.
New-Zealand: Vicarage Lane, Canterbury Pinot Noir 2009 (435547) 15,95€ : Much more dense. Spicy. Clean. A very nice Pinot Noir, more balanced and fruity than the Leyda Las Brisas.
Spain: Muga Reserva 2008 (449177) 17,61€ : One of the best Rioja of the selection. Surprisingly balanced and elegant.
Italy: Villa Antinori rosso 2009 (006861) 17,99€ : Modern, fruit and chocolate taste. A nice wine that benefits from an early opening.
Austria: Weninger, Blaufränkisch Hochäcker 2009 (407007) 18,14€ : One of the best value for money place in Austria. Spicy, with a strong character. And still very soft tannins. Very good wine.
Austria: Pittnauer, Pinot Noir Fuchsenfeld 2010 (452237) 19,96€ : Austria has started recently to produce Pinot Noir. This is an interesting example.
New-Zealand: Te Kairanga, Runholder Martinborough Pinot Noir 2009 (408487) 19,98€ : One of the good Pinot Noir from Alko. If you find 2007 this will be even better. 2009 will require a little bit of breathing time.
USA: Boedecker Cellars, Oregon Pinot Noir 2011 (455397) 20,40 : From the coolest climates of the USA. A very well defined and nice to drink Pinot Noir.
France: Chapoutier, Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers 2010 (429967) 21,00€ : A very good example of nordic Syrah. Great vintage. The wine is however very young and need 2 to 3 years to open. If you have it for Christmas. Either decant 2 hours, either open 24h before drinking (take a few centiliter away and leave the bottle opened).
Italy: Luigi Einaudi, Barolo Terlo 2007 (476267) 39€ : The top of Alko’s selection. This is an outstanding wine, not even expensive. This wine has years in front of him but it is already enjoyable. To be decanted 2 hours before.
New-Zealand: Felton Road, Bonnockburn Pinot Noir 2010 (429367) 50,30€ : A fantastic wine from New-Zealand. Felton Road is THE reference of the country. Still young but enjoyable.
FULL BODIED, POWERFUL WINES (for those who look for a big kick in the mouth!)
Chile: Tabali, Reserva Especial 2009 (407507) 15,99€ : Very concentrated, very ripe, very powerful. A decent to good wine, but it might overpower the meal. Still, very pleasurable if this is the kind of wine you are looking for.
France: Château Cesseras, Minervois la Livinière 2009 (424377) 16,99€ : Powerful and yet fresh with a hint of grassiness that often lacks in super ripe similar blends from Australia.
Argentina: Norton, Privada 2010 (432417) 17,89€ : Much more powerful and concentrated. It is not a wine with a strong personality but it compensates with its expressivity.
Australia: Rosemount, GSM 2010 (454607) 24,90€ : A southern Rhône blend from Australia. Rosemount is not the reference estate from the country but this wine is truely outstanding. Very complex and with a great balance. Not to be missed!
Australia: Yalumba, Hand Picked Shiraz-Viognier (463597) 28,70€ : An other Rhône blend (northern Rhône), the same that you find in Côte Rôtie. More concentrated, more generous with a more noticeable alcohol. An other very good wine.
For Finnish Christmas dinner, when I am asked about wine, I always think « white » first. In my opinion, this is the colour that match the best all the traditional dishes. I will give you a selection of different style of wines, they might not match every single meal, but none will be totally out of place. I will sort them by type of grape. Enjoy!
Chardonnay is a very versatile grape that make not too aromatic wines. As a result they are really easy drinking and pass on a huge variety of meals. Besides, it is can be cheap to produce and it can be grown almost everywhere. The selection of decent to good Chardonnay at Alko is big. Almost none are bad but, don’t be fooled, many are boring 😉
Argentina: Alamos, Chardonnay 2012 (570287) 9,98€ : A nice and pleasant wine. Rather on the exotic side. Not too oaky. Easy.
Australia: Penfolds, Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2011 (534747) 12,99€ : Fresh and crisp. Easy drinking wine.
New-Zealand: Sileni, The Lodge Chardonnay 2010 (519767) 14,99€ : This starts to be more serious. Little bit toasty. Nice wine.
New-Zealand: St Clair, Pioneer Block Sawcut Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 (501427) 19,89€ : Extremely powerful and strongly toasty. Not the prefect example of elegance but it really delivers. A bit like a punch in the face. Should be a nice match to joulukinkku.
Austria: Tement, Morillon Muschelkalk 2011 (583807) 19,89€ : More balanced and fresh. This will do well with fish and salads.
Italy: Planeta, Chardonnay 2011 (525267) 19,98€ : A surprisingly balanced Chardonnay from Sicily. Will match most of the meal.
France: La Souffrandise, Pouilly Fumé 2011 (510217) 21,10€ : Powerful and yet delicate. It is a very fine wine, in a very good vintage for white wines in this region.
Sauvignon blanc is a very strong grape, producing wines with a clearly vegetal side. At its best they are powerful, aromatic and very fresh wines. Downfall is to get a too green and flat wine. Like many a white grape, it gives it best when grown in cool climates.
Chile: Leyda, Garuma Vineyard Sauvignon blanc 2012 (594677) 9,99€ : typical Sauvignon blanc. Grassy, fresh. A bit simple but nice to drink. Prefect match for the salads , cheese and fish.
Chile: Leyda, Kadun Vineyard Sauvignon gris 2012 (549837) 11,98€ : Sauvignon gris is a mutation of Sauvignon blanc. The difference is not huge. A bit more structure than the previous one.
Chile: Leyda, Lot 4 Sauvignon blanc (587357) 12,98€ : a huge difference between this one and the two before. Powerful and aromatic. A real good match for the meal. With always the typical grassiness of Sauvignon.
New-Zealand: Jackson Estate, Sauvignon blanc Stich 2012 (586067) 15,99€ : one of the best Sauvignon from Alko. More exotic. Extremely powerful. At his best after one year of cellaring.
Riesling is an other extremely powerful and noble variety. Some of the greatest wines are made out of this grape. It is often slightly sweet (to balance its acidity) and it is extremely sharp in term of acidity. Therefore it ages beautifully and it pass extremely well with quantity of food, including red meet (if fresh and structured enough). Best examples come from Germany (Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau), Austria (Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal…) and France (Alsace).
Germany: Dr. Pauly Bergweiler, Blitz Riesling 2012 (524667) 8,69€ : uncomplicated. Fresh and aromatic. A pleasant wine, will pass on most of the meals.
Austria: Malat, Riesling Kellergarten 2011 (590147) 11,61€ : a more serious and dense Riesling. Still very young in a great vintage in Kremstal, Austria. To be opened and decanted 2 hours in advance.
Germany: Reichgraf von Kesselstatt, Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2007 (582407) 20,10€ : SWEET! Very nice wine to end the meal and on desert.
Germany: Fritz Haag, Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling trocken GG 2011 (543897) 34,30€ : a great dry Riesling from Mosel. To be opened in advance.
The typical grape of Austria. Extremely aromatic, exotic and less sharp than Riesling. A very nice selection is to be found in Alko.
Austria: Rabl, Grüner Veltliner 2012 (599634) 7,52€ : simple but clean. A good pick.
Austria: Josef Jamek, Grüner Veltliner Ried Liebenberg Smaragd 2011 (599827) 24,20€ : an other great wine in a great vintage. Best cellared for 2-5 years. To be decanted two hours.
Austria: Rudi Pichler, Grüner Veltliner Terrassen Smaragd 2011 (509017) 24,80€ : same region than the previous one. Styles are slightly different, maybe more mineral for Pichler.
Hungary: Oremus, Mandolas Tokaji Dry 2001 (598027) 16,50€
Spain: Gramona, Xarel.lo 2011 (505867) 19,84€
France: Château Doisy-Daëne 2009 (539404) 27,70€ (half bottle) : Sweet wine. One of the very best Sauternes in a great year for sweet wines.
Ok, maybe not all the best, but some of the best picks. And we start with the star of Christmas: sparkling wines.
Contrary to one can think, you can easily spend the whole Christmas meal with sparkling wines. If that is the case, aim at a more powerful wine. The good thing is that Alko selection of sparkling wines is really on the top. Diversity, quality and decent prices (comparatively). Let’s start.
Kuohuviini 1: light and aromatic, for aperitif, or simply to enjoy before the meal
Chile, Cono Sur Brut (548407) 10,90€ : Easy-drinking wine and one of the only value sparkling that I can advise. It is really fine for a glass or if you want to try a cocktail (by mixing it with lakka for instance).
Spain, Codorniu Anna di Codorniu (505457) 11,48€ : Classic Cava. Simple but nicely done. In my opinion it is a better buy than Cuvée Raventos, which is a bit of a clumsy wine.
Italy, Jeio Brut Prosecco (552007) 13,97€ : Prosecco are the perfect aperitif. They are light, aromatic, not too expensive.
New-Zealand, St Clair Vicar’s Choice (591767) 14,93€ : More original, the sparkling Sauvignon. Perfect for aperitif but slightly more difficult to pair with food. It will do good also to celebrate the New Year.
Kuohuviini 2: full bodied wines, that can be served on the meal.
Chile, Leyda Extra Brut Méthode Traditionnelle (536977) 20,10€ : Can also do well as aperitif. This is a 100% Chardonnay : pure, enjoyable and crisp… Typical party sparkling, but with still a high quality factor.
Spain, Seleccion Ravento Pinot Noir Brut (587077) 13,99€ : This is one of the good rosé from Alko’s list. Typically, the wine that can last over the dinner. At his best after one or two years of cellaring.
Austria, Szigeti Grüner Veltliner Brut (586117) 15,78€ : Easier than the next wines, more aromatic than Chardonnay based sparkling. Will do great on Christmas eve.
Spain, Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut (531257) 18,83€ : The competition of Codorniu in mass produced Cava. This is a very interesting cuvée. Fresh but with a very interesting complexity (for your information, if you fly once though Frankfurt Airport, it is on sale in the Duty free shop at 12€).
Germany, Barth Riesling Brut (513537) 19,89€ : Original Riesling based sparkling. A very very good wine. 100% worth the price. WIll do great on the graavilohi.
Italy, Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige (558057) 29,90€ : Until recently you could still find it around 25€… anyway… this is a very good wine, complex, powerful… a realy great Franciacorta. It develops a lot with a bit of cellaring (one-two years).
France, Jacquesson Cuvée 736 Extra Brut (588767) 44,00€ : We enter here the world of great Champagnes. To keep in the cellar for more emotions. 737 will be even more spectacular, but this is already a fantastic wine.
France, Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve (564737) 47,90€ : More full bodied than Jacquesson. An other reference in the world of Champagne.
Kuohuviini 3: a touch of sweetness, sparkling that can live through the desert.
France, Jaillance Grande Tradition (008821) 13,77€ : Are you looking for sweet and aromatic? This is your wine. A direct, very expressive and well balanced sweet wine. If you like sweet or if you want something to match the desert. A great value for money wine.
France, Pol Roger Rich Demi-Sec (578657) 44,90€ : Here comes THE reference of sweet Champagne in France. A MUST if you are lucky enough to find it. This is good but it will improve immensely if you cellar it 2…5…10 years!
So here were my suggestions in term of sparkling. I hope you will find your ideal Christmas companion among them.
Soon, I will publish my annual selection for Christmas wines. I know it is a bit late… but I don’t believe most of you will buy your wines before next Monday 😉
Meanwhile I can advise you to check on the past years posts, that you will find HERE.
See you soon!
Wineops reminds you that a tasting and oenological initiation is a fun possibility to offer an original Pikkujoulu.
Everything is possible. I can arrange according all your wishes : half an hour, an hour, two hours… the whole night! It will be memorable.
Among the possibilities:
– A simple consulting over wines for a dinner.
– Oenological animation in the early evening with the thematic discovery of new wines.
– Oenological dinner
– or why not an Oenological sauna? 😉
Contact me: wineops (at) gmail.com to find out if your dream evening can come true ! I can move all over Finland.
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!
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.