If the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter in London is now a firm favourite, the Merano Wine Festival was a first for iDealwine, since it wasn’t only our first time at this salon, but also our first time in this beautiful country!
The Merano Wine Festival has taken place every year since 1992. It may have been a small event to begin with, specially reserved for the winemakers of the Trentino-Alto-Adige region, but it has become the most important event for wine enthusiasts throughout the Italian peninsula. It brings together hundreds of exhibitors and attracts thousands of visitors into the Kurhaus, a most beautiful backdrop.
After a somewhat convoluted journey from Paris to Vienna, Vienna to Innsbruck, then two hours on the road to reach the Austrian Alps, we finally arrived! Merano was a sight to behold. Surrounded by snow-tipped mountains and vine-covered slopes, this little town in the North of Italy teems, once a year, with wine lovers from across the country. During these four days of lively activity, Merano lives and breathes wine.
For such a salon, iDealwine had prepared a selection of high-flyers to delight visitors.
To begin with, the Crus d’Agrapart & Fils Champagne 7, which was probably the favourite of the weekend. This blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir from seven of the domain’s plots was greatly appreciated for its finesse and mineral quality. With this cuvée being difficult to find in Italy, word of mouth brought the crowds right in our direction.
The second wine in the line-up was Etienne Sauzet’s 2015 Puligny-Montrachet, wow! Of exemplary purity of expression and elegance, this invaluable benchmark was equally acclaimed by all wine enthusiasts in attendance.
Let’s cast an eye toward the reds, without leaving the environs of Burgundy, with Domaine Arlaud’s 2014 Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru Les Millandes. Still young but already delivering a surprising aromatic complexity, this is a truly fine wine.
Next, our tasting takes us to the Loire Valley, more specifically to the region’s rising star and a favourite of the iDealwine team, La Porte Saint Jean. Its 2016 Saumur Les Cormiers blew tasters away with its supple palate and precise aromas. “Nothing like the Cabernet Francs we often find in Italy” was the oft-repeated reaction to this cuvée. Simply delicious!
To change the tone a little, we next tried a 2005 Château Prieuré-Lichine, surprising for its fruitiness and freshness even after 14 years. A fine, mature vintage from Bordeaux also enchanted the Italian oenophiles, with some describing the experience as a kind of ‘communion’.
To finish off the tasting session, we offered Glenelly’s 2012 Stellenbosch Estate Reserve, a renowned South African domain, whose wines are known for their power, elegance and depth.
A room full to the brim is the best proof of keen interest in international wines (especially French wines, evidently😉). We punctuated our three days at the show with some mystery wines. These blind tasting sessions, now a tradition for iDealwine, were quickly figured out by those passionate about this challenge. At certain moments, it seemed like the whole salon was at our stand to try their luck…to the point where some even wrote their responses on serviettes!
This first Italian experience was a great pleasure for the iDealwine team, and we will be back for more before too long! Alla prossima!