ALKO: Wines for Christmas, jouluviinit 2015. RED!

It is a long time since I last posted any recommendations for Christmas dinner in Finland. The previous articles are still valid to some extent and available here.

This year I will regroup the wines by colour and also by price. I will first offer you a selection of affordable wines and then a more general selection of average and more exclusive bottles.

Remember that no list can be exhaustive, so don’t hesitate to ask for advise in the comment section.

About wines for Christmas

I will never say it enough but traditionnal Christmas food of non-wine producing countries is the ennemy of wine. And it is as true as ever in Finland.

The problem is not the ham or the salmon or the « rosoli », it is the combination of all, and on top of it, of the use of « puolukkahillo » (lingonberry sauce). I made a live test last year during a wine lesson and it was a revelation for the audience. The puolukka are deadly for almost any red wine. If you plan on having some, my strong advise is to serve white. And if you want a red… pick something that will match the acidity. Something not too tannic. But I must say that I still don’t have a perfect solution.

As I said, the problem is the mix. No wine can match a one serve of salad, salmon, ham, lingonberries and beetroot. Those who will handle it better are white wines. Preferably powerful ones (strong structure like Chardonnay or strong acidity like Riesling).

If you desperately want a red wine, I can offer three solutions : pick a light an crisp red and make it work. Or pick a good red but have the salmon/salads separately, before or after the ham. Or finally, pick a strong, fortified red for the end of the meal or after meal.


So, let’s start, with the red wines.
Affordable Red wines

In this category, I will select wines around or below 15€

– Argentina, Amalaya 2012, 11,99€ ref.485797
– Argentina, Del Fin del Mundo Pinot Noir 2012, 15,49€ ref.416797
– Australia, Yalumba the Scribbler 2012, ref.467907
– Chile, Montes Reserva Malbec 2013, 10,50€ ref. 405367
– Chile, Leyda Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2013, 13,98€ ref.475537
– Chile, Leyda Canelo Syrah 2013, 14,48€ ref.405337
– Spain, El Coto Crianza 2011, 11,99€ ref. 006691
– Spain, Pata Negra Gran Reserva 2006, 10,98€ ref.006242
– South-Africa, Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2013, 14,65€ ref.407597
– Italy, Nero R Salice Salentino Reserva 2011, 8,99€ ref.005155
– Italy, Zenato Valpolicella Superiore 2012, 12,99€ ref.450187
– Italy, Vigneti del Vulture Pipoli Aglianico 2013, 11,99€ ref.484037
– Austria, Feiler-Artinger Zweigelt 2014, 14,99€ ref.463937
– Portugal, Fonte do Beco 2013, 9,49€ ref.005393

Exclusive Red wines

Over 15€.

– Argentina, Norton Privada 2011, 19,50€ ref.432417
– Australia, Rosemount GSM 2013, 23,90€ ref.454607
– Chile, Montes Alpha Carmenère 2011, 16,98€ ref.484817
– Spain, Valpincia Reserva 2010, 21,60€ ref.419107
– Spain, Aalto 2010, 39,90€ ref.449247
– Spain, Muga Reserva 2011,18,06€ ref.449177
– Spain, Lan Gran Reserva 2007, 22,90€ ref.434807
– Italy, Luigi Einaudi Barolo Terlo 2011, 39,90€ ref.476267
– Austria, Gsellmann Gols Pinot Noir 2011, 19,98€ ref.426797
– France, Château Malartic-Lagravière 2010, 72,00€ ref.412657
– France, Château Batailley 2011, 52,50€ ref.497677
– France, Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage les Meysonniers, 22,90€ ref.429967
– Germany, August Kesseler N Pinot Noir 2011, 25,20€ ref.457287
– New-Zealand, Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir 2013, 19,99€ ref.408487
– New-Zealand, Kim Crawford Rise and Shine Pinot Noir 2012, 39,80€ ref.475257

What you must keep in mind is that a big ripe red will kill your food and your palate. To match finnish Christmas food, you need a wine with a very clean acidic backbone and a strong structure. Wines based on Pinot Noir, Syrah (fresh Syrah, not Shiraz), Tempranillo, Nebbiolo fits perfectly. Therefore, wines from New-Zealand, Spain, Northern Italy and French Burgundy and Rhône will work nicely.

Have a nice Christmas !

Here are the link to the selection of WHITE and SPARKLING

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