Blaxsta Vidal Icewine 2009 Sweden


699 Swedish krona (about £65/$100) for 25 cl of the 2007

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Yes, you read that correctly. Here is a glorious sweet wine from Sweden of all places. We all know that one of the more beneficial effects of climate change is that the world of wine is expanding. The next, seventh, edition of The World Atlas of Wine will be published in early October (see A steal of an iBook). I do seriously wonder whether we will have a special section devoted to Scandinavia or at least far-northern Europe in the eighth edition to take account of the vineyards burgeoning in Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and even Norway.

This golden treasure, sold in small, tapered bottles, is made about 50 km west of Stockholm on the Blaxsta vineyard that is rather charmingly measured in the number of vines it grows (about 5,500) rather than by area. The winemaker spent some time in Canada, where Vidal is widely grown for Icewine and very successfully too. Although it is not a 100% vinifera variety, Vidal has no off-putting odour – unlike, say, the Concord grapes that are so widely grown in the US for grape juice and jelly. And, thanks to its winter-hardiness, Vidal is particularly well adapted to Icewine production. The fruit is generally bright and pure and a good foil for the naturally high acidity of Icewine

Actually this one, by now four years old, is a bit richer and broader than most Canadian Vidal Icewines and has that tarte-Tatin-juice quality with a hint of burnt toast, appetisingly offset by the refreshing acidity. I should imagine that, at nearly 60 degrees north, acidity is not something they are ever short of at Blaxsta. Blaxsta is one of those outfits with a restaurant, accommodation and conference facilities according to its website, which also points out helpfully that it is just a hop and a skip from the airport that Ryanair deem to be Stockholm. 

I'm afraid this wine is not exactly widely available – although Blaxsta's website is still advertising their 2008s, which presumably have not sold as readily as they might...? Or perhaps they just haven't updated the site in a while. And the Swedish wine monopoly Systembolaget is listing quarter-litres of the 2007 at the exorbitant price stated above. I'm really including it not because I expect you to go out in droves to buy this expensive curiosity but merely to draw your attention to the fact that this little-known corner of the wine world can produce delicious wine.

I was given a taste of the 2009, which has won an award or two, by Swedish wine writer Erica Landin, who visited London last month with a clutch of Swedish bottles. Purple Pagers can read my tasting notes on the others by putting Sweden in the search box of our tasting notes search, which now ranges over nearly 90,000 wine reviews. (However did that happen?) 

Blaxsta now have a representative in London E1: Lisa Amnegård on +44 (0) 7925 785859. 

The photograph from their website was taken by Jan Lindblad Jr.

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