We were a tad surprised when we heard that Denmark’s best wine wasn’t made from grapes but from cherries. Although there are vineyards and (grape) wine producers in Denmark, it’s been the Frederiksdal Estate on the Danish island of Lolland that has been making a name for itself. It has become the country’s largest winery; it’s cherry wine receiving numerous accolades.
The medieval estate, dating back to 1305, became a winery almost by accident. The estate’s owner Harald Krabbe had 24 hectares of Stevnsbær cherries, which were sold to the juice industry. He was planning to uproot the trees and grow grain instead. That plan, however, changed when he received a visit from chef Jan Friis-Mikkelsen and journalist Morten Brink Iwersen. They had heard of the excellent cherries from the region and, with their vast knowledge of wine production, inspired Harald Krabbe to turn the cherries into wine.
Today, there is a total of 44 hectares of Stevnsbær cherries at Frederiksdal. The estate is located on Lolland’s westernmost tip, right next to the Langeland Strait. The island’s climate is perfect for cherry production. Winter is mild, spring is early, and the sun is reflected in the sea. All these factors contribute to a long growing season, resulting in great and complex fruit.
The Stevnsbær cherry is a Danish variety, referred to by experts as the Nordic grape, and is not suitable for eating but excellent for wine production. The Stevnsbær cherries grow throughout Northern Europe, yet the Danish ones are the highest in quality.
The cherries are harvested as late in the summer as possible. This usually results in a lower yield but also means the cherries are riper and have a more concentrated flavor in the final wine. After harvest, the fruit is off to the winery where they are left to wild-ferment for three days before they are pressed. The natural yeast present on the fruit attributes for an intensely powerful and deep flavor. After the pressing the hulls and kernels are sent back to the plantation as fertilizer and the semi-fermented must is pumped into new tanks where it is left to complete the fermentation process.
Frederiksdal uses three different types of fermentation vessels. Most of the wine is fermented in steel tanks, giving the wine a neutral and non-affecting flavor. One of the wines produced in the steel tanks is called crisp and undisturbed. It’s a wine with a heavy focus on the original flavor of the fruit.
Another large part of the wines are stored in oak barrels, the minimum amount of aging being six months but it could run up to thirty. According to Frederiksdal, oak is the perfect partner for their cherries. It rounds off the flavor and adds subtle aromas and tannins to the wine.
Last but not least, a small amount of the cherries are used to create an outdoor wine. The wine is placed into small glass vessels and left outdoors. This is a Spanish method called ‘Rancio’ meaning rancid and to burn in Catalan. The wine is left outdoors for one year regardless of the weather conditions. Due to the huge temperature fluctuations and the sunlight, the wine develops its own unique flavor nuances.
In general, Frederiksdal cherry wines are medium sweet with a rich and intense palate. It’s somewhere between port and red wine, but it’s really neither of those. It very much has its own character. Frederiksdal Estate produces around eight different wines ranging from fruity and acidic to rich and complex.
This wine and the gorgeous estate are the ideal excuses for a trip to Denmark. But if that twelve hour plus flight is rather annoying or you have used up all your vacation days you can experience these unique wines at About Eatery as well. Come and try them and let us know what you think.
About Eatery is located on G floor of Ocean Tower II in Asoke Soi 3
Only 10-minute walk from Asoke BTS station or
you can take a motorcycle taxi (near Robinson) to Ocean Tower II building. Only 10 Baht.