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Vinisud 2016: Mecca for tasting unusual Mediterranean wines

Posted: Tuesday, 01 March 2016 14:31


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Vinisud 2016: Mecca for tasting unusual Mediterranean wines

Feb 27: Vinisud has become one of the top international wine exhibitions for Mediterranean wines and has gained a reputation over the years as an exemplary showcase that offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate the variety and quality of Mediterranean wines under one roof, writes Sommelier Rakesh Awaghade who visited the biennial Show as a representative of the Indian Wine Academy to study the uniqueness of wines on its behalf and who shares some of the wines that impressed him the most

Click For Large ViewEarlier last month wine buyers from all over the world attended the 12th edition of the 3- day wine trade fair Vinisud, held in Montpellier, France on February 15-17. This 100% professional trade fair has asserted itself in a 20-year period as one of the top 5 international appointments. In fact, because of the success and increasing demand the show has decided to go Annual from next year when it will be held on February 20-22 at the same venue. Many potential export clients, wine professionals and wine critics visited the fair- including me, tasting the winemakers’ comprehensive range of wines and report for delWine.

This year the fair welcomed about 32,000-33,000 visitors with almost a third being international (especially from Americas and Asia). 1,750 exhibitors were there to meet the trade buyers not only with French wines but also from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Slovakia, Greece, Croatia and many more.

This year Vinisud invited Bordeaux and California as special guests; a major delegation of American buyers came to attend. Jean-Marc Quarin, a wine educator and critic from the south of France hosted a special tasting-conference about “What do Bordeaux wines have Southern and what do southern wines have of Bordeaux?”

Wines that impressed me

Click For Large ViewNevertheless this is a vast fair, making it impossible to taste all the wines I wanted to taste. There were several gems in my wish list but I could not access all of them due to paucity of time. But here are 4 whites and 4 reds which stood out. In some cases, a producer had different wines or appellations which were also excellent. I have restricted the choice to one from each domaine and from each appellation.

  • Solstice 2011, Mas Zenitude, St Jean de Fos. Clairette and Grenache Blanc

I am not usually a fan of orange wines, but this worked for me. A half-day skin maceration, battonage and malolactic fermentation with no sulphur or filtration has resulted in a wine which has good weight, balanced fresh acidity, almond and orange fruit, a hint of tannin and a long dry finish.

  • Domaine des Lauriers 2015, Cabrol

Rolle is slowly gaining ground in South, moving eastwards as Vermentino moves westwards. This beautifully perfumed Rolle grape has lovely ripe weight, hints of roses and long crisp mineral acidity.

Click For Large View
  • Bel Arme 2014, Clos Ste Magdaleine, Cassis

Made from Marsanne, in a concrete egg. The round creamy fruit, gentle herb notes and long dry finish had a weight and texture similar to that gained from oak ageing but with a different freshness and purity of fruit.

  • Emotion 2013, Domaine Gavaisson, Côtes de Provence

100% Vermentino, aged in concrete egg, barrique and stainless steel. Hints of nuts (from the oak), fresh crisp acidity (from the stainless steel) lovely intense roundness (from the egg). Very fresh, very long, gentle and balanced- a winning combination.

    Click For Large View
  • Meridiano Refosco Pinot Nero 2014, Novacorte

 Refosco is a venerated regional varietal from North Eastern Italy, and Novacorte vinifies from the finest of Refosco clones Peduncolo Rosso. Novacorte Refosco is ruby-red with purple reflections and an intense, herbaceous nose enhanced by wild blackberries. In the mouth, this medium-bodied wine has notes of bright, plummy and pomegranate fruit, and a long, quenching finish. This unique wine evokes the undiscovered region of Italy.

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  • Nemea Agiorgitiko 2013, Tselepos

This Greek wine is mouth-watering from the first whiff, with dried cherry, mushroom and smoke scent. The flavours follow, retaining an ethereal, airy quality, even as the wine builds in earthiness. It goes down easily, the tannins ferrous but smooth, light enough for seafood.

  • Hello World Cabernet Franc Roble 2015

With its compact nose of blackberry and cassis aromas, this wine comes across as ripe and modern. In the mouth, it is round, bouncy, tannic and exuberant, but not overdone. Flavours of blackberry and fig are smooth, while the finish is rich and ready.

  • Il Falche Pinot Nero 2011 Fratelli Forno

This impressive wine is from Italy and has nothing to do with the Fratelli vineyards in India! It showed density, concentration, depth and persistence, with layers of blackberry, mocha, cedar, spice and berry pie. The Pinot Noir finishes with a strong presence.

I was amazed by some interesting findings during the course of my tasting:

  • There is a huge and significant difference on the texture of the wine and at times more than that when fermentation and/or ageing whether on their own or with oak and stainless steel is being carried out in concrete egg vats.
  • The Wine Mosaic Association promoted number of different grape varieties none of them were international superstars.

For earlier article click Vinisud 2016: The Promise of a Great Vintage

Rakesh Awaghade

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