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Wine of the Week

Danish wines to new heights

My private wine club ends each season with a bring-a-bottle tasting. It’s wonderful when people bring wines they have collected and guarded for years, done a great deal of research to find, or brought with them from travels. And the selection was never better, more curious and overall interesting than the one last Monday. There were aged wines from classical French, Spanish and Italian regions, dessert wines for the season, curiosities like an old Peruvian rosé, a Syrian white, and why not… an up-and-coming producer from the unlikely but emerging wine country of Denmark.

Vejrhøj Vingård in Odsherred (northwestern Sjælland) is run by Nina and Niels Fink. The place sits on an old moraine at 121 meters above sea level, which is high for this generally flat country.

Nina and Niels (credit: Verhøj)

To make the story short, both came from occupations within the economic field when they decided to settle down here in 2009. They have also agronomist background, and with a little help from their friends, they are doing everything in the vineyards themselves. German winemaker Jens Heinemeyer (from Solveigs in Rheingau) assists in the cellar. He has also, with his knowledge and contacts, helped to find equipment for the new winery that was opened in 2015.

Vineyard and wines

The vineyard has southern exposure, with the most sunlight possible here. The approximity to the sea reduces the risk of frost in May, when the vines are blooming. Respect for nature and biodiversity has always been important. There is no spraying, and they will soon have their organic certification.

Solaris grapes in winter (credit: Vejrhøj)

The wines come in different categories, but they have a common denominator, a cool, Nordic freshness. A link back to their economy background is the wine names: Skilling, sterling, seksling, klipping, styver and gylden are all names for old coins. It also gives a nod to the archeologic reminiscents on the site.

The choice of grape varieties were carefully selected to fit the (still) extreme, cool climate. They were all originally crosses, most often with some German parent. Solaris is the main variety (crossed from merzling, with riesling, pinot gris a.o.) In our wine it is complemented by souvignier gris (with cabernet sauvignon in the mix).

Skilling is a rounder, more full-bodied wine than other wines in their selection. 2018 was a very hot year, so the crisp acidity is complemented by some extra richness. Solaris is the main grape, with some souvigner gris. The fermentation was stuck earlier than expected, thus the residual sugar ended at 19 grams, which balances the acidity and gives more richness.

Skilling 2018 (Vejrhøj)

Light yellow. Aroma of yellow fruits (yellow tomatoes), elderberry, citrus, white peach, and a light touch of honey. Rich, full-flavoured, with a nice acidity to keep the sweetness in check.

Price: Medium

Food: Apéritif, salads (with mango, sweet melons etc.), light dessert cakes (panettone), cheeses, light Asian dishes…

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