Light shining through the windows from the long-setting sun twinkled upon a line of glasses through which the varied hues of white and rosé wine refracted, one glass after another in a row. Five wines from Vingården i Klagshamn, a winery in Sweden's southern Skåne region, awaited us at the splendid Swedish Taste restaurant in Göteborg, Sweden's second largest city.
Sweden's winemaking community is tiny, constrained by cooler climate and fairly restrictive laws there concerning the sale and production of alcohol. So small, in fact, that Swedes themselves seem to laugh off the notion that the country would make wine at all, instead preferring wine from historic European producers such as France, Spain, and Italy. We think this is an oversight, and at least in Klagshamn have found wine similar in style and quality to the nice cool climate whites produced along the South Coast of Massachusetts in the United States, or more famously in New York. We'd love to see this wine exported such that we could get a bottle in the United States, and so that others around the world can share in our surprised delight.
Most of its winemaking -- including Vingården i Klagshamn (Vineyard in Klagshamn) -- is concentrated in the southernmost Skåne (Scania) county around Malmö, the country's third-largest city, itself located across the Baltic Sea spanning bridge from Copenhagen, Denmark. Göteborg (Gothenburg) is about two and a half hour's drive north of Skåne. In any case, the odyssey of the nascent Swedish winemaking industry is nicely documented in this 2015 piece from The Guardian, Sweden's wine industry is maturing nicely – thanks to climate change.
As for Swedish Taste in Gothenburg... wow. Situated along the waterfront near Gothenburg's Opera, the big open windows let in beautiful natural light during the summer when the sun sets long past the evening's ten o'clock hour. Our host for the evening, Ida, exuded both warmth and knowledge, fully conversant in the wine we were drinking and other glasses to recommend. We'd actually have preferred her to pour herself a glass and talk with us all night while the chef served up delicious torsk (cod) and broccoli, grilled lamb served atop a charred split of wood, and an appetizer of smoked potato, cream, and fish roe served on a shrimp crisp. We finished with a uniquely flavored and beautifully presented dessert of carrot cake and sorbet, dried horseradish flakes, and dill. We'd not in a million years have thought up this combination ourselves, but it worked beautifully.
NV Vingården i Klagshamn "Terra Scania"
Our introduction, the Terra Scania table white wine is very juicy, yet slightly alcoholic with notes of lychee, mango, and some yet unidentifiable fruit in the nose. It's sweeter, but not all syrupy, and is on the younger side so comes across a little green. There's a bit of juicy pear and spicy melon on the palate, leading us to think this a good pair with a light appetizer of cantaloupe and Serrano ham or prosciutto. It ends rather abruptly and dry without a lot of lingering in your mouth, and is well suited for casual, summertime drinking.
2015 Vingården i Klagshamn "Inkognito"
Our favorite in the lineup, the Inkognito took home silver at the International Wine Challenge in 2017, so we were pleased to see that our newfound appreciation for Swedish wineis shared by others. Pineapple, apricot, and the ever slightest essence of sweet frosting like what you'd find atop a cinnamon bun (we really mean slight… this is not a dessert wne by any stretch) leap from the nose in what feels like high notes on a piano. The palate carries on those pineapple and apricot notes alongside those of yellow apple and a little bit of cream.
NV Vingården i Klagshamn "Ego2"
Ida tells us the Ego2 has recently become more popular alongside the Inkgonito. The color of the whites in our lineup have progressively changed from pale straw with the Terra Scania to an almost Alsatian gold with this glass. There are some interesting qualities of Port or Sherry in the nose, or a dessertwine aged in a whisky barrel. Rather spicy on the palate, perhaps herbaceous as well, with a little dill, earth, pepper, and toasted coconut. We tried it alongside a simple ramson leaf, at Ida's request, which mellows out the wine while introducing new layers of green herb complexity.
2016 Vingården i Klagshamn Rosé
We transitioned from white to rosé with this bottle, offering a little spice up front in the nose alongside typical strawberry and cream. It begins with a bit of astringency, but is then floral in the nose, then a bit sour on the palate. Made from the Rondo grape that tends to perform well in cool climates, this rosé is the least complex of all the wines on the table, but is also far more substantive than expected.
2016 Vingården i Klagshamn Rosé Barrique
Very much our favorite of the two rosés, the Barrique (that's French for "barrel") is strikingly dark hued, the color of beach plum jelly, almost like a pale Pinot Noir. It's deep for a rosé, like reaching into a barrel of rich fruit. Lovely nose, and a palate that reminds us of mild rhubarb with thickly whipped or ice cream. It's somewhat flat in the front but extremely active towards the back of the mouth, and a really great dark rosé experience.