The heritage and use of Danish cherry liqueur is well known in many cocktail bars around the world. In recent years, a unique cherry wine has emerged, giving fruit wines a different perspective.
Frederiksdal is an orchard located in Lolland, an island south of Denmark in the Baltic Sea. The orchard’s owner, Harald Krabbe inherited the 1,000 acres farm from his father. At that time, the farm was cultivating crops like wheat, barley and sugar beets with only 10% of the crops being cherry which was grown to make juice. It’s a small return for such a labour-intensive crop as the berry yields only two-thirds flesh.
But things changed from a random visit by Journalist Morten Brink Iwersen (a wine lover) and Chef Jan Friis Mikkelsen in 2006. The two, together with Krabbe, decided to venture into making wines from the excellent cherries. Throughout the years, Frederiksdal has developed new methods for producing cherry wines that they claim to be “combining technique from Bordeaux, Banyuls, and Burgundy with wine ageing in Cognac, Port, red wine and Grand Marnier barriques”.
The terroir in Lolland with its rich clay soil and mild maritime weather is ideal for producing the highest quality of the small dark Danish Stevnsbær cherries, often referred to as the “Nordic grape”. Whilst not suitable for eating, these sour cherries have high acidity and develop complex flavours for the winemaking. The cherries are initially wild fermented before being pressed, with the must (semi-fermented pressed cherry juice) completing their fermentation in steel tanks. Although most of the wine is fully fermented in steel tanks, some portion is also aged in barrels for further complexity.
Cherry trees take 9 years between planting to actual harvesting. The orchard has slowly been growing from the original 1,000 acres to 44 hectares today, full of Stevnsbær cherries that allows a production of 200,000 bottles per year.
Cherry liqueur vs cherry wine
Frederiksdal cherry wine is usually mistaken for a cherry liqueur or compared with Banyuls or port but the difference is that no alcohol is added into the former and the alcohol level is achieved through natural fermentation.
The label’s yearly vintage is the best introduction to the Stevnsbær wine and reflects the quality of the harvest each year. The Reserve contains a blend of wines aged in French wooden barrels for up to 30 months. The Sur Lie is a mix of young and old vintages.
The much sought after vintages are the Solera which has wine aged since the beginning of wine production in 2006 and the Rancio. The latter is a small batch production that is aged in 25-litre glass carboys and left to sit outdoors throughout the year to be seasoned under whatever Nordic weather transpires, then further aged in cognac barrels for up to a year before bottling.
Chef Mikkelsen creates recipes to include or pair with the wines in Frederiksdal, and you can try them by following the recipes on their website; or try their drinks recipes designed for hot summer days here.
Frederiksdal cherry wines are now available in Singapore.
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