Friendly Wines for Friendly People

If you ever thought that a Monday night couldn’t work as a wine tasting event, you’re probably right. But Maanantaiklubi (Monday Club) organised by the Wine Minister Veli-Antti Koivuranta himself, is always a success. It’s got a lot to do with lots of factors that turn dull Mondays into celebrations, not least of all the friendly crowd and Veli-Antti’s knowledgeable and laid-back demeanour.

The tastings are always blind i.e. the bottles are wrapped in tin foil. The descriptions help you along to guess what’s in the glass. The wines are handpicked and high quality. The snacks are superlative and best of all the price is within everyone’s reach.

Friendly Wines, just in time for Valentine’s Day, is kick-started by Mionetto Gran Rosé Extra Dry, recognisable as a Prosecco but not made from Glera grapes but strangely reminiscent of the classic pear and apple flavours. At €8,99 from Alko, it’s a nice little number with a touch of strawberry to remind you it’s a rosé.

More bubbles are next leaping forward into a whole new category with André Clouet No 3 Rosé Champagne Brut. At €39,95 you would expect so. Hailing from Bouzy, a region known for it’s Pinot Noir grapes, this one gives you opulence and plenty of red fruit pulled together by that lovely yeasty character of baked bread.

Not being much of a Viognier fan myself, The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2015 is surprisingly acidic, the one element I usually find lacking. It’s got honey melon and a little ginger too which turns it into a good choice for seafood. McLaren Vale, Australia, is where it’s made on the d’Arenberg Estate and the name is appropriate for the terroir of calcerous remains of shell fish, the hermit crab being one.

In the set of reds, the Kleine Zalze Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 catches me off guard when I’m almost convinced it’s from Bordeaux with that unmistakeable fireplace ash nose. It’s bold with enough body and tannins to match any pan-fried steak or roast beef. And while we’re on the subject of tannins and body, get your tongue around Numanthia Termes 2013, a robust wine full of blackberry, plums and wood. This wine’s not for the faint-hearted and can stand its own with any red meat.

The line-up at the Monday Club usually consists of at least 6 wines, 7 to 8 more often than not. Good bread, cheese, cold cuts and lots of sweet goodies all from Stockmann’s delicatessen adds to the sheer pleasure and enjoyment of tasting quality wines for a mere €25. For an evening out in Helsinki, that’s a real deal.


To join, look at the website:

Wine Minister’s Wine Club

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