Hallakra Vingard – visiting a Swedish vineyard

Sep 26, 12 Hallakra Vingard – visiting a Swedish vineyard

Posted by in All, Scandinavia, Travel

“They make wine in Sweden?” That was pretty much the standard response when I told friends that I was on my way to Sweden for a few days to visit a Swedish winery. I can now tell you that yes, they do make wine in Sweden, the wines were surprisingly good and what’s more, the wines I tried were reds made from the variety rondo! I was totally expecting cool climate whites to be coming from Sweden. Sweden is probably better known for it’s knit jumpers, tall blondes and the brooding detective Wallander but they are quietly working behind the scenes on becoming recognized quality wine producers. The man behind this stealth move into the wine industry is Hakan Hansson, the owner of Hallakra Vingard, set just outside the lovely town of Malmo, in the southernmost province of Sweden, Skane. After driving through the hay fields of southern Sweden for about half an hour, I was beginning to wonder where the vines were when a wine barrel with the words Hallakra Vingard popped into view. Yup, this had to be it. Going up the winding road, I still didn’t see any vines but thought they had to be here somewhere and the taxi driver assured me that they did make wine there. At the top of the hill we arrived at what looked like a farmhouse and 2 other buildings in the middle of the fields. The driver dropped me off and then…nothing. Hmmm, as I wandered up the path, I entered the first big building on the right. Looking in, I spied a long table with the detritus of a wine tasting (half eaten cheese, empty bottles, used wine glasses) but absolutely no one about, not even a dog, the silence was a little bit eerie. I was beginning to feel like Wallander at a crime scene when suddenly a smiling blonde woman came rambling up the path. It was Hakan’s wife, who explained to me that Hakan was finishing up a vineyard...

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Funky English varietals at the annual trade show(w/ video)

Huxelrebe, Siegerrebe, Regner, Schönburger. The ill-fated cast of characters from an little known Wagnerian opera? “Reichensteiner and Würzer are dead” -The original title? Rondo, Ortega, and Phoenix. The Mexican villains from a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western? Madeleine Angevine. Latest X-Factor winner? Triomphe. A sports car? Orion – oh, I know that, that’s a constellation, right? Well, yes and no. Orion is a constellation but it’s also a cool climate hybrid varietal used in England to produce wine.   In fact, all of the above are just some of the rather esoterically named varietals that have been put into use to produce English still and sparkling wine. Along with the more familiar müller thurgau, dornfelder, and bacchus, and the downright prosaic chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. I just love the monikers of this cast of characters but what have the English been doing with their wackily named varietals? There are two opinions about English wine. One, the still wines are a work in progress. Two, the sparklings, though, are winners. I had the chance to put the wines to the test at the recent English wine producers Annual Trade Tasting. The show was an opportunity for us to see what those English have been up to and the launch of English Wine Week 2009. English Wine week will be held at the end of May (23rd-31st) and encompasses a variety of activities including tours, tastings, and special events in vineyards around the country. There are also plans for a Welsh Wine Week and a Devon Wine Week alongside the English events. All events can be found on their website, www.englishwineweek.co.uk  I found that the whites were not quite ready for prime time. They were competently made and drinkable but nothing really shouted out to me except the one varietal that I discovered and actually liked, the Madeleine Angevine, a white grape that produced some lovely dry and fresh wines, aromas of orange blossoms and white flowers with nice acidity and rounded body but no flabbiness. It reminded...

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