On the road with iDealwine

Our jet-setting International Team has been travelling far and wide recently, attending wine fairs where they’ve been blown away by impressive wine makers, incredible cuvées, and enthusiastic wine lovers. Orlaith and Laura recount their trips to Switzerland and Italy.

Zurich – Matter of Taste by Robert Parker, the Wine Advocate

Visiting Switzerland in early April was like entering into a fairy tale – the Matter of Taste wine fair was held in the Dolder Grand Hotel, a sleeping-beauty style castle wrapped in a blanket of snow. Ice buckets were at a premium on Saturday morning for many wineries attending (wine lovers always start with white and producers couldn’t cool bottles fast enough!) meaning many producers cooled their bottles in the snow.

All wines presented at Matter of Taste were required a rating of at least 90 by Robert Parker. Representing iDealwine were Sophie and Margaux from our sales team, and Orlaith from our international team – here’s what they brought:

  1. Champagne Larmandier Bernier, Longitude
  2. 2008 Margaux Château d’Issan
  3. 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Clos des Papes Paul Avril
  4. 2004 Sauternes Château Guiraud

The overwhelming favourite wine among wine enthusiasts was the 2005 Clos des Papes and we could see why! From the intense, crimson colour (even after 17 years in the cellar) to the explosion of red fruits and spices on the nose, to the palate where we find all the freshness we associate with the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation and style we’ve come to expect from Clos des Papes – this cuvée received a resounding yes from all parties.

Pioneer in biodynamic and organic champagne, Larmandier Bernier’s Longitude cuvée was also very well received, to the surprise of, well, no one! With grapes from the Côte de Blanc’s most prestigious parcels (on a north to south axis, from which it gets its name; Cramant, Avize, Oger, and Vertus). Champagne is always a hit at international wine fairs, and we were in good company in Zurich, with top rated champagnes (and iDealwine partners) Philipponnat and Taittinger also attending.

From Bordeaux, the third growth Margaux Château d’Issan in the 2008 vintage was particularly appreciated on our first day in Zurich, and on the second day it was the 2004 Sauternes from Château Guiraud that went down a storm!

To our surprise, many exceptionally well organised wine enthusiasts came back repeatedly to the iDealwine stand over two days to taste in the preferred order.  Tell us, do you plan your wine fair itinerary meticulously? Or do you prefer to wander in the hope of discovering a hidden gem?

Let us know in the comments and tell us where we should go next!

Trentino-Alto-Adige – Summa

Not even four days after the trip to Zurich, Orlaith was off again, this time to get a feel for a wine fair in Italy. Along to help out with the networking, tasting, conversing, and food recommendations…was Laura, our Marketing Officer for Italy. They landed in the charming city of Verona on the Friday, but this wasn’t their final destination…Up bright and early the next morning, our keen pair set out to a village called Magré in the very heart of Trentino-Alto-Adige, a spot that’s part of the region’s Wine Route. It was here, nestled among the awe-inspiring Alps, that they attended the latest edition of Summa. We, of course, wanted to find out more, so we asked Orlaith and Laura a few questions about their experience.

Could you tell us a bit about the Summa wine fair?

This fair is organised every year by the family domain Alois Lageder, owners of 55 hectares of biodynamically grown vines. After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the estate finally got to reopen the doors of its historic site to visitors. For 23 editions now, the fair has brought together wine producers with one shared objective: to craft wine with the greatest respect for nature. This is a chance for connoisseurs to taste cuvées by vignerons from around the world: Italy, France, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. The 99 exhibitors were divided between four rooms between Domain Lageder’s two central buildings; these are usually home to the winery and the casks. Surrounding the two sites are verdant and floral gardens that had been decorated for the occasion.

The itinerary included guided tastings and exclusive verticals, seminars, and visits to the vineyard. All of this is organised with ‘green’ winemaking in mind, and this from an increasingly international perspective. Visitors came from countries all over, although mainly from Italy, Germany, and Austria, and among these lucky attendees were wine enthusiasts, journalists, professionals, and sommeliers.

For us, this was a chance to meet all kinds of interesting people, as well as tasting and discovering quite a range of wines. We also had the opportunity to speak to some of iDealwine’s partner domains, all of whom were rightly pleased to be at such a magnificent event.

Which domains were there?

We got to meet several of the Italian estates we’ve been working with recently, and we also caught up with domains that have partnered with us for a long time.

Champagne Taittinger: we tasted all the cuvées and found a particular favourite in the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs

Foradori: we met one of Elisabetta’s sons, who offered us a taste of the estate’s 100% Teroldego cuvée as well as the Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco.

Caiarossa : Daniele, Caiarossa’s Export Manager, presented us with a selection of Tuscan cuvées including Pergolaia and Aria di Caiarossa

Tenuta di Valgiano: Laura and Saverio were keen to talk to us, and we tasted several vintages of their best-known Colline Lucchesi cuvée, alongside their brand-new gem, Mazzapink

Pietro Caciorga: what can we say except that we absolutely fell for this domain, with a slight preference for the Guardoilvento and Ciaura cuvées

Montevertine: it was our first time tasting the wines from this domain, and we can heartily confirm what we’d heard…these wines are bursting with finesse!

Niepoort: one of the most popular stands, and after tasting their wines, we understood why! We loved the port as well as the Bairrada Quinta de Baixo Vinhas Velhas

Peter Jacob Kühn: this is a sublime German domain that we’ve just welcomed into our catalogues. The Rieslings were amazing, especially the Quarzit Trocken

Other partner domains present among the many stands were COS, Pian dell’Orino, Tenuta Guado al Tasso (Antinori), Ampeleia, Duemani, and Luciano Sandrone.

What were your overall impressions of Summa?

This is definitely one of the finest wine fairs we’ve ever seen. It allowed us to talk to representatives from partner domains that we don’t often get to see, but the experience didn’t end there. For the two days we attended the event, it was like being transported to another world, and it was clear that producers and visitors alike had the same eco-friendly philosophy in mind. And this is something we hold dear at iDealwine, too.

You can browse all our current selections here