Chiltern Firehouse / hoy empiezan mis vacaciones 2015 (30/07)

First time dined at Chiltern Firehouse tonight.

Booking was 6 pm. Arrived 10 min earlier and had a glass of Prosecco in the bar (9). Stuff came in like it was an army. Pretty nice view.

Good start. Crab stuffed donuts, Australian Truffle and Smoked eel. Mains: Wild Seabass with baby Jersey Royals, seaweed hollandaise and medium Iberico pork, seared courgette and Swiss chard pickle.

Smoked medium cooked Iberico pork which was just divine experience!!!
Smoked medium cooked Iberico pork which was just divine experience!!!

I also met C. Firehouse Sommelier – Roman? I think he is French. So nice guy who had excellent wine list. Starting with American Grüner Veltliner to Eric Rodez champagne. I really enjoyed his natural gallant appearance with nice moderate amount of humour! We (Sommeliers) are in a way entertainers. He also gave me few small glasses to blind taste. Since today I´m officially on holidays next 2 weeks and I dont want to see wine…. I just couldn´t resist and had a nice tasting/conversation with him. Thumbs up! Any other time in my private life I try to avoid these moment. Being constantly processing wine is exhausting. I hope any Sommelier reading this can relate..?! Speak your mind..

Willamette Pinoo
Willamette Pinoo

The wine was recommended by Sommelier – which was just what we needed. Refined elegant body, maximum finesse, moss and subtle forestfloor. It´s WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOO baby! (38 / 37,5 cl )

Service was brilliant. Not over pushed. Not shallow or fake. For me it seemed sincere and caring. Big thank you to all of you! Bisous.

Dining at Chiltern F. is not cheap / 2 starters, 1 snack, 2 mains, 1/5 wine and few aperetives = ca 250 money

Will go there definitely next time but will try to hit the terrace and enjoy some wine in a cool ambient whenever I feel going posh. Walk-ins ony as I heard.

Being very happy and very exhausted at the same time. premium league of multitasking

Happy Holidays!

Bisous! XoXo

tbt: visit to Fromagerie

Restaurant Murano has the best cheese trolley – I can tell you that! Soon I will upload some nice pics from our cheese trolley. We constantly keep updating and ordering new exciting cheeses. Also follow season ofc.

Few weeks ago we visited Fromagerie, which is our only cheese supplier, and the best in London.

http://www.lafromagerie.co.uk/

Cheese is to me a journey and a difficult one.

Here are some cheesy pictures from our visit.

Moët UK Sommelier of The Year 2015 – regional finals

On Monday Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2015 regional final was held in Grosvenor House. It all started few weeks ago with the first round. A questionnaire was sent out to each participant and we had time 7 days to complete it and send it back. This was too easy and I really can´t figure out the point of it.

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So the competition which started 10 am on Monday was regional finals for those who passed the first test. The first task was theoretical test which consisted of 50 questions + a blind tasting of 4 wines. Questions were really good, covering geography, grape varietals, history, producers etc. Thing to note that there were no multiple choice questions in the test. Overall I can say that the test consisted of things I knew, things which are basic knowledge and of those what I just could not memorize or figure out. Here are some example questions:

Name the AOC of Bordeaux where are these wineries coming? Hosanna, Cantemerle, Haut-Marbuzet, Chateau Malartic Lagraviere.

Name the AOC which uses Prunelard, Duras and Mauzac grapes?

Where are following producers coming from: Axe Hill, Chambers..

When Jimmy Hendrix was born in 1942 a very famous rose wine brand was created in Portugal. Name it!

Name the previous name for these wine regions: Grignan-les-Adhemar, Wagram, Tejo ..

During that 1 hour we had to blind taste 4 wines. A special sheet was for it and we had to write down 5 things only: 1. Grape 2. Origin of country 3. Region 4. Year 5. ABV. And that was great! No need to waste time for writing long descriptions of systematic approach. Just sniff, analyse and write.                        There was 2 whites and 2 reds. First white was probably the most easiest – Sauvignon blanc 2013 from New-Zealand. Second wine was also no brainer – Gewürztraminer 2013 from Alsace. For me the 3rd wine was also easy which most people though its a Barbera?! I wrote Pinot Noir, Burgundy which was correct answer – and it was Louis Jadot Monthelie 2011.The last red wine was very mileading. I was stuck with between Dolcetto and Barbera. It had a little nose of candy-caramel combination with red fruits. The palate was medium body, red berries, medium acidity etc – absolute expression of Barbera. But still I wasn´t very satisfied with my answer. Many answered it Syrah. The correct answer was basic inexpensive Uco Valley (Argentina) Malbec 2013 by Salentein. Everybody was stunned! As I spoke with my lecturer Jim Gore at WSET of that unusual Malbec the only logical way he explained that it would have been modified with carbonic maceration. But would never guessed it to be Malbec from Argentina.

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The next task was an 3 min interview separately with 3 judges. During that 3 min we had to explain what kind of attributes, abilities has to have Head Sommelier who will be hired to manage main resturant also creat wine lists for sister resturants, run sommelier team, buy wines, fill revenue etc.

After that we went on a break. 3 pm 4 best competitors were announced. Unfortunately I don´t know their names or where are they coming. I think in total there was around 20-25 most men with the average age 35-45. And 3 women including me.

So the first 4 started with semifinals. Each participant had to start with decanting task with classical 5 min time. The second task was recommending wines to a 6 course menu. They had to recommend 3 wines, no more than £ 80 each.

For the final task they had to recognize and describe 3 different cheeses on a board. Tell a full technical description to a glass of white wine next to it. Name a cheese what matches with the wine. And recommend a British dish what would go with it. All the cheese including the white wine were from England. Cheddar Wookey Hole, Stilton La Cave, Goats Cheese Bosworth Ash and the wine was Camel Valley Bacchus http://www.camelvalley.com/wines-and-shop/still-wines/2013-camel-valley-bacchus/

Finals will be held in Montcalm Hotel , 8th of June 2015.

Restaurant: Hibiscus London 26/03

So for the first time since I moved here I had my first fine dining experience at Hibiscus. Hibiscus is run by French Chef Claude Bosi. Now I have heard about Bosi and his celebrated creation through media and reading Hibiscus wiki page, I´m stunned how public is the information on stuff. Par example: “During the run up to Christmas, the stress of serving 550 covers a week in a new location with a modified menu resulted in three sous chefs resigning.´´ Anyway it has interesting michelin-history with its own ups and downs.

As from beginning from entering the restaurant, greeting reception and been directed to nice table was nice and smooth. There was no question so we choose 6 course surprise tasting menus. All between the courses like service, restaurants ambient and how people moved was excellent and really really enjoyable. When courses started to come and go we felt that there is definitely room for improvement. But that improvement just didn´t come. 1 dish out of 6 was good and that was Cornish Cod “a la Grenobloise´´.

Since I´m hugh fan of foie gras I was really happy when we got it as a 5th course. Sadly it turned out that it tasted like liver and by that I want to say that I despise liver taste.I´ve experienced many forms of foie like mousse, torchon etc and I really know how it should taste. Yes foie gras is a special liver which has been fattened but shouldn´t taste like average poultry liver.

Sadly I hoped for better food. It wasn´t like the food was bad just didn´t followed my expectations at all. When the food came it was explained in very detaile. I realised that the stuff who explained was from abroad I had some difficulties of understaning. After few times of ask to repeat I gave up. As I heard there was too many detailed on the plates that I couldn´t feel and the whole taste was somehow bland and didn´t have character.

Sommelier team was mainly consisting of beautiful young females. Nice recommendations.

I truly expected more from Hibiscus because my manager at Murano warmly recommended it and heard nice things about it.

Before Hibiscus we had stunning aperitifs in Purl which is like a underground cave like cocktail bar – 50-54 Blandford Street. Marvellous cocktails with funky names and fascinating performance side. To be sure definitely book a tabel.

And our digestives took place in Sager+Wilde on 193 Hackney Rd. Wow – what an amazing place it was. We arrived quite late but had probably the best time of my day behind the bar counter with my guest and people who I actually didn´t know. Had a great chat about wine and people and enjoying a 1976 Cabernet Franc (Bourgeuil). Wow that was a moment there!

Notes to myself: Gems from Rubert Berkmann Portfolio Tasting & Austrian Wine Tasting / Feb 2015

Berkmann Wine Cellars is the UK´s leading independent agent/wholesaler. They hold such estates like Champagne houses Drappier, Encry, Testulat. Antinori, Rene Barbier, Bodegas Norton, Abrau Durso, Georges Duboeuf, Delas, Lucien Le Moine, Vincent Girardin, Masi, Marco Felluga, Guado al Tasso, Maculan, Joseph Phelps, Buitenverwachting, Neil Ellis and many more..

From well recognized Austrian Premium Family estates to lesser known producers like Szigeti,  H. Schröck, Mantlerhof were represented in the beginning of Feb at Institute of Directors. Tasting was well organized. A separate room was dedicated to Pinot Noir´s from Austria.

Tuesday with Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection

Just yesterday I had a great opportunity to taste Moët & Chandon vintages in a vertical degustation organised by official reseller Prike in Hotel Telegraaf.

Grand Vinatges 2006, 2004, 2002, Grand Vintage Collection 1999, 1985 magnum, Grand Vintage Rose 2004, Rose 2002, Grand Vintage Collection Rose 1990.

While working in Helsinki we had Moët & Chandon as a official champagne. I have tasted many other Grand Vintages but 1985 magnum and Grand Vintage Collection 1990 rose was first time for me.

1985 was surprisingly lively, striking good fruity character and yet still fresh nature. The colour of these old champagnes are very unique. Hue varied from mature gold to amber orange.

1990 rose was one of my favourites. Looking at the colour I just thought there should be new word invented to describe older rose champagnes because it wasn´t a classical rose colour at all. The colour was really beautiful and unusual. Something like amber orange resembling persimmon-pumpkin colour. Nose was really fruity and attractive. Taste had really good balance and finish so long I can easily recall it like it was a moment ago.

2006 which I had tried in last year with Moët-Hennessy Finland was more evolved. At that time it was little bit too crisp and acidic. Now it had everything a `young´ vintage champagne could possesse: light and fresh body, refreshing and refined acidity and pleasant fruitiness.

Never had a chance to try 2002 in regular bottle. Magnum 2002 was a champagne I used every workday in Chez Dominique and until this day I can say that it had exceptional quality. While magnum is mature, the regular bottled 2002 would be best after 10 more years I suppose.

 

A very bubbly degustation ended with the best pelmeni ever in restaurant Tchaikovsky (Russian dumplings).

 

Estonia got its first vegan restaurant

Happy to announce good news – Tallinn has its first vegan place. Just this morning had a lunch there and I´m full of good emotions : )

It´s in the heart of Old Town (Rataskaevu 12) just next to other places like Rataskaevu 16, Von Krahl Theater and Von Krahl Aed (my restaurant).

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Place is small and cozy with around 25-30 places.

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Staff was friendly and helpful. Menu contains of 6 appetizers, few soups, 7 main courses and desserts. It was full of interesting combinations of  pure greeness, nuts, chickpeas etc.

Since I´m big fan of spicy food and mushrooms I found a dish quite quickly but more I observed more difficult it was..

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Fresh salad with fried spicy mushrooms, different nuts and seeds with dressing. And it was 5 euros. I have to say the price level is amazing, from 3.50 to 8 euros.

Vegan restaurant is a place where you can order club mate! Just recently imported to Estonia!!

So happy and satisfied.

While visiting Estonia must eating places you will find in Rataskaevu street!

 

practise combined with pleasure

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Õnnestus pimedegusteerida sellist vahvat veini. 3 minuti jooksil süsteemselt veini lahti kirjeldades jõudsin omadega ikka Vanasse Maailma, Prantsusmaale.
Uskumatult ilus, küps keha halvas mu mõtlemise ja suutsin unustada Provence´ ja selle päikesest üleküpsenud viinamarjad. 40% Clairette, 40% Bourboullenc, 20% cepages divers.

Üle väga pika aja tõeliselt hea vein!
Goes perfect with chicken-shiitake mushroom pasta.
Serv. temp. should be a bit warmer around 13-15*C to evoke extra flavours.

something I remembered

So it remains approx. 4 months until national champions. I already started my studied in December and hopefully continue doing that succesfully to the end. To be honest getting into finals last time gave real taste of winning. Hope to struggel better place this year :)

>> and suddenly when I finished studying right bank of Bordeaux, took another sip of German riesling I realised today 1 year ago I started my Sommelier position in Helsinki 2 Michelin star restaurant Chez Dominique. Cheers to that, to all the nice people I met, and to wonderful unforgettable memories. Kippish!

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Tallinna Kunstihoones..

…toimus suure ravimifirma pidu!
Huvitav oleks teada palju maksab Kunstihoone rent. :)

Olin oma veinivalikuga väga rahul eriti 2 magnum šampanjaga: Gonet-Medeville 1er cru ja Pierre Paillard Grand Cru.

Eesti parim õllesommeljee on valitud!

Esimene õllesommeljee võistlus on peetud. Õnneliku võitjana tuli välja ei keegi muu kui Kristjan Markii. Palju õnne sulle!! Finalistide hulgas olid veel tubid teised nagu Oskar Pihlik, Kaimar Karu ja Marko Mägi.

PS: Varsti võiksid tulla ka näiteks vee sommeljee võistlused. Ootan põnevusega :)

First Estonian Beer Sommelier 2013 was annouced yesterday – Kristjan Markii. Congratulations!

vahuveini serveerimine 3 min / Kristjan

Kolme minuti jooksul tuli Kristjanil valida küülerist kõige kuivem vahuvein ja see kolmele žüriiliikmele serveerida. Vahepeal tuli üllatus küsimus: `Mis on Salon champagne´i viimane aastakäik?´

This is Kristjan Markii during the competition. He had to most dry sparkling wine from the cooler and serve it in 3 minutes to judges. While serving on jury member asked a question: Name the latest vintage by Salon Champagne.

Baltic Grand Prix 2013

Baltic Sommelier Grand Prix is done and over. Feeling quite exhausted even it´s Monday morning.

Congratulations Ronalds Petersons. You were by far the best competitor and you deserve the 1st place!

2nd place went to our Kristjan Markii. We are so proud of you!! And the 3rd was for another Latvian sommelier Kaspars Reitups.

All I can say about my performance is what I heard from few jury members, that I was next in line to get into finals. Stupid 0,5 point. Then again it showed me that I was so close and my hard training has payed off.

The hole event was well organized. We stayed at Tallink Hotel Riga.

We had a fantastic international jury: Sören Polonius from Sweden. He is amongst Sweden’s most recognized sommeliers with a number of titles to his name since 2003. Tim Vollerslev – a famous and recognized sommelier from Denmark (www.vollerslev.dk). And presidents from each baltic country: Kristel Nõmmik (Estonia), Urvo Ugandi (Estonia, Liviko), Arūnas Starkus (Lithuania) and Martins Tomsons (Latvia).

A few words about the competition. 4 finalists were announced after written, blind and practical test results on a second day. The final 4 had several tasks on stage like description of 2 wines and blind tasting of 5 spirits; correcting a list of sweet wines; recognizing pictures of famous wine personelle, estates etc; serving a correct sparkling wine to 3 jury members in 3 minutes; aerating a correct chablis grand cru for jury and a quite a peculiar task of choosing a correct wine  to a dish that Mārtiņš Rītiņš had prepared on stage.

To sum it all what I experienced in Latvia with one word, it was BEAUUUUTIFUL! ;)

And good new next time Baltic competition will be in Estonia and probably takes place in Pärnu.

Until next time!

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