Italy’s excellences in Merano

The great selection from the 23rd edition of the Wine Festival offers the opportunity for some special tastings

The 23rd edition of the Merano Wine Festival ended

The 23rd edition of the Merano Wine Festival ended on Monday. After the founder Helmuth Koecher illustrated this year’s programme, we present a first round of tastings from selected Italian wineries, some of which are organic or biodynamic

Entering the Kurhaus in Merano with the ambition of being able to taste all the wines selected for the Merano Wine Festival is pure utopia. The atmosphere you experience when going up towards this palace is truly fable-like, the rigour of the visitors coming from all over the world is a little less so, as they wind through the rooms with their glasses, eager to taste elegant, simple, authentic wines that can arouse a thought and remain kneaded in the memory of the visitor.

Imagining an hypothetical, fantastic journey across Italian regions, Alto Adige offers some interesting tastings with the Col de Rey Rosso Weinberg Dolomiten IGT 2009, a selected blend of 50% lagrein, 25% petit verdot and 25% tannat from winery Landesweingut Laimburg. Given the presence of a grape variety, namely tannat, which despite being French apparently has Basque origins, and today can also be found in Uruguay and Argentina, lands of structured red wines, it could appear as an austere wine. Instead, it turns out to be a complex red wine, with well-balanced spices.

We remain in the North, in Veneto, in the area of Valdobbiadene for the inevitable tasting of Prosecco. In particular, Más de Fer Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg by Andreola, with grapes from the Col del Fer and San Gallo vineyards, at 400 metres above sea level, a selected cru with flowery and fruity bubbles, a fine and persistent perlage, made with 100% Glera and a sugar residual of 14 grams/litre. A truly versatile and straightforward wine.

In the North West, in the Langhe, there’s Icardi producing Montubert, Barbaresco Docg from Nebbiolo grapes grown in Neive – converted to organic production three years ago. Claudio Icardi, the oenologist and the soul of the firm, is most of all a man who can tell about his wine through experiments, as a real king of anthropophysical agriculture. He created a brand called "vino Biodinamico" that all producers will be able to use on condition they previously send a sample of their wine, a photo of their vineyard to the Icardi winery and receive an approval of Claudio himself who will let his colleagues wine producers use this brand for free. A nice example of how to act as a group.

Of course producing organic or biodynamic wines is a real way of being, not a question of appearances, nor can it be a purely marketing operation. There’s seriousness, professionalism and most of all commitment in shaping a territory that in this glass of Barbaresco Montubert 2011 can be elegantly noticed.

The tasting of a wine that Helmuth Koecher effectively included in the "Estremis" category was unforeseen: we’re in Montalcino, in Tuscany, at Podere Le Ripi, with a production of 20,000 bottles. Here’s Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2009 Bonsai; the producer says how in the early years of the millennium he decided to plant, in a space of a few metres only, precisely 4 by 4, a huge amount of vines of Sangiovese, with plants only 40 cm apart. An extraordinary density followed by an obsessive selection of the best bunches.

The wine thus produced is delicate, elegant, with velvety tannins, despite hiding a great structure and a decisive muscle. Violet, tobacco, light spices in the finish, some really beautiful emotions. Just like Emidio Pepe’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Doc 2010, the perfect interpretation of a territory from a winery turning 50, true artists both in the vineyard and in the cellar.

Last but not least, Nero d’ Avola Deliella 2012 by Zonin’s Feudo Principi di Butera, a oenological jewel from Sicily. A wine that is a custodian of a territory, unveiling its red, ripe fruits on the nose, and a more complex, mineral and floral palate. In a word: elegant.

Winery’s Landesweingut Laimburg barrique

Winery’s Landesweingut Laimburg barrique

A view from above of Podere Le Ripi’s

A view from above of Podere Le Ripi’s "bonsai" vineyard


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