What is your favourite wine?

Now and then somebody asks that question which should be an easy one for sommeliers but as I know it´s always the most difficult one actually: What is your favourite wine?

I should have an answer already set in my mind but it´s never there. And that question has been bothering me quit a while. Wines come and go. I get excited discovering new wines, new producers and new tastes. What I can tell for sure they change a lot and frequently. So I made it simple and decided to list at least my Top 10 and let´s say according to 2014-2015 discoveries. There is no nr. 1 or nr. 2 just my favourit 10 wines:

  • Holus Bolus, Rousanne 2012, Santa Barbara County, USA
  • Vouvray 2010 `Clos de la Meslier´, Peter Hahn, Loire, France
  • Pinot Noir 2013, William Downie, Yarra Valley, Australia
  • Sauvignon blanc 2012, Marjan Simcic, Brda, Slovenia
  • Zibibbo 2013, Azienda Agricola Serragghia, Sicily, Italy
  • Spätburgunder 2009 `Blauschiefer´, Meyer-Näkel, Ahr, Germany
  • Krug Clos du Mesnil 1996
  • Pouilly-Fume 2005, Didier Daguenea, Loire, France
  • Primitivo Amphora 2010, Cristiano Guttarolo, Puglia, Italy
  • Domaine Leon Barral `Jadis´ 2011, Faugeres, Languedoc, France

Those are the wines which are still lingering on my mind and I would like to open them again and again. That doesn´t mean that they are the only ones I get excited about. There are and will be many others around. Like for example recent nice wines I tried are glorious deep blackberry flavoured Sine Qua Non Five Shooters 2009 (Syrah) and Pur Sang 2005 by D. Daugeneau. These may be highlights of some evening services at Murano but nothing else. Like for example much sought after D. Dagueneau has been long listed as my favourites. Since the great winemaker passed in 2008 and the winery was passed to his family to run with new vintages coming out year by year, nothing of them tastes as much as those famous while he still was in action. It must of been him and those vintages!

Personal wine preferences change by time. It´s sometimes interesting to discuss about favourite wines. Taking account longer time scale, does our choices and tastes change?  Are you a wine aficionado or geek, it´s always good to know your answers..

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

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.

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.

Wine, Food & the Good Life

24.-26. will be held the biggest wine fair in Helsinki, Messukesus -Viini, Ruoka & Hyvä Elämä.

Will join forces with LVMH group for couple of days to serve some nice champagne for you.

New vintage of Dom Perignon 2004 will be also officially launched.

Home clubbing

So it´s Friday evening and I have been 5 days straight practising for my Baltics Championship.

Today I failed a blind tasting big times.  After a dinner I had to blind taste a glass of red wine properly according to WSET and all those other laws in 3,5 minutes. Everything went well, I even had time to recommend food. But the most hurtful thing was the grape variety – I thought that it´s some Chianti or weird jammy Aussie Shiraz. It was Patagonia Merlot. Epppic fail. Merlot is something I really have adored secretly. It´s only enjoyable/drinkable when it´s top produced. But this time it was New World Argentina 10 euro Merlot. What a lesson.

No clubbing until Baltics. Just cheap Merlot, testing my new camera and Ellen Degeneres show. And full moon!!! :)

Discovering Torres again

Once in a while our sommelier association organizes different events, workshops.. On Friday I was lucky to attend Torres masterclass. Torres brand ambassador Marta Delfa was there to talk and hold the degustation. It was one of the most interesting lectures I´ve seen in recent years.

I must point out few wines that I really liked. Milmanda 2010 – there is some special thing going on between me and Chardonnay. And from reds definitely Salmos 2010, DOQ Priorat. Garnacha based wine (vines 15-20 years old). Full of those overripe fruits and liquorice notes. Warm fuzzy wood tannins, taste is heavenly rich and jammy.

Thank you, Marta. It was such a pleasure to meet you.

lokakuu 2

So it remains 4 last evenings in Chez Dominique including tonight. We are fully booked every single night and it´s a bit chaotic since we lack of stuff. Extremely difficult will be this evening cause we have 50 customers and only 3 people +  me. Unfortunately I  won´t have any time to help others because I have my wines to serve. Luckily Chris Esler came and that saves us a lot.

From yesterday:

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5th pigeon drowned into wine

So jep jep Chris Esler is in DA HAUUSS! Wohoo!

 

 

Have been tasting some really freakin´ good wines…

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Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2006, Bonneau du Martray – who knows maybe understands. Yes young vintage but then again I sensed something I have never felt before in a wine. Elegance and finesse got a new level. Some really thin white spring flowers combined with magnificent acidity. It was so juicy and well balanced at the same time.

Silex 2007 and 2008 by Didier Dagueneau. I also had a chance to try his another cuveé called Pur Sang (pureblood). I really am seduced by its style of Sauvignon Blanc. The heavier, more full bodied style combined with shy lingering minerality.

La Closerie“Les Béguines´´ Jérôme Prévost – thank you Aki Summanen, you who introduced it to me few week ago. I still can´t get it out of my head. Non-dosage champagne made totally out of Pinot Meunier. Estate named La Closerie is some around 2 ha ap. 40 year old Pinot Meunier vines. Can you imagine a champagne like that?!

Shiraz 2009 Bishop by Ben Glaetzer / My significant other opened the doors to Shiraz world and since that we have started to haunt down worlds best Shiraz´s. Just recently I got a opportunity to taste Glaetzer´s family Shiraz. Bishop 09 was very beautiful and everything we hoped we got in every sip. Full bodied and concentrated on the nose: silky plummy notes playing with moccha and leather. Taste so smooth and silky. It seems like a bite of spices, black bread and velvety tannins. Next goal is to find and try their superior Shiraz Amon-Ra (Shiraz vines up tp 140 years old).

Those wines have inspired me lately.. will definitely continue commenting some interesting things I find..

Cheers!

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