Midsummer is a big thing in Finland. Helsinki becomes eerily quiet and dreamy when all the forest folk (99% of Helsinki's population) goes to their summer cabins. I don't understand the appeal of the traditional midsummer ( 1) go to the countryside; 2) get eaten by mosquitoes; 3) drink a bottle of vodka; 4) chase after the family with an axe; 5) drown in the closest lake ) so I try to stay in Helsinki if only social obligations allow that. This year they gladly did.
I brought a couple exciting wines with me from my recent trip to Beaujolais; and I bought a couple big bruisers non-ottoish wines for those of my friends and family who preferred such.
The good stuff:
Julie Balagny Fleurie "La Carioca" 2011
As some of you might remember from my recent posts on the trip to Beaujolais, I ended up preferring Fleuries to almost all other appellations of the region. And this Carioca, though at the cheaper end of Balagny's wines, was pretty awesome. It's a ripe year, but unlike 2009, it has a lovely, refreshing structure, too. And drinking quite a big portion of the bottle all on my own ( [Big Grin] ) really confirmed what I suspected at our tasting with Balagny: I think she's going to be a big star and will be talked about in the same breath as Foillard and Lapierre.
Domaine de la Grand'Cour (J-L Dutraive) Fleurie Terroir "Champagne" Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2012
A marginally better known name than Balagny, Dutraive makes "natural" styled Fleurie, too, and is also fantastic. 2012 was a lighter year, quite like 2010, and this wine was ethereally beautiful. It shows no signs of the difficult vintage (very few wines on our recent trip did; the wines were great, it seems more that it's an economic tragedy for the growers since yields were tiny). It has wonderful peachy aromas; it is delightfully light bodied yet intense and juicy and full of fun fruit. Incredibly moreish.
The non-ottoish stuff since the family prefers big bruisers:
Hewitson Miss Harry 2010
A GSM blend from South Australia. It's not a bad a drop: typical aromatics for what it says on the tin, perhaps slightly more harmonious structure than most such we see here so it finishes fresh instead of just sweet and fruity. Yup, for a cheap Australian it really isn't bad and I feel kind of bad saying that I still didn't like it. I really should stick to those cool climate reds from now on.
Viña Tarapacá Tara.Pakay 2008
After decanting this I weighed the bottle. A quick calculation confirmed my suspicions that this must the reddest (as in opposite of green) wine to transport to the other side of the globe: the bottle is so heavy the Antonov 224 can only carry 3 cases of this! [Embarrassed] 15% abv; a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Syrah (sic! and yes, it really tastes like it should lose that 4% excess matter). I chose this to take to my family because it sees less new oak than most "prestige" bruisers we have available here so there was a slight chance I might find it more palatable than their usual fare. And apparently I chose well: my family loved it. (But since they also loved the Dutraive, perhaps I'll start weaning them onto good Gamay instead, because that's an adult beverage.) In some ways this was an interesting prestige Chilean since it only has a third new oak barrels and it smells a bit savoury/meaty/funky. Also, despite the massive alcohol level, it isn't jammy or excessively sweet. But the acidity is fairly low; and though it has less oak than in prestige cuvées from Chile, I would prefer still less. So, though not a style I like, I have to say that it was among the more palatable examples.