Exhibition season is coming to an end and was capped off with a small trip to southern Europe just as the weather started to pick up. Vinitaly in Verona and Alimentaria in Barcelona are two good opportunities to check the vitality of Mediterranean wines. Alimentaria is a multi-faceted fair, presenting a vast array of food products with a hall reserved for wine. The exhibitors are largely Catalan although other Spanish wine regions do attend, all of them offering a fairly precise vision of Iberian wine production with some real boutique gems alongside internationally renowned groups like Freixenet and Felix Solis Avantis.
Vinitaly – the clue is in the name – is exclusively dedicated to wines, mainly Italian but also Mediterranean and from other origins with a total 35 countries represented in addition to Italy. The show is one of the season’s pivotal events, in the same way as Prowein for example, especially as François Gilbert holds a Champagne Master Class there that has become a classic. This year's theme was the diversity of the Champagne appellation, illustrated by the labels presented and tasted with attendees:
Collet Brut Cuvée Vintage 2008 Collection Privée
Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs brut and Grand Blanc de Noirs extra-brut
Jeeper Grande Réserve
Michel Gonet Brut Grand Cru 2011
Drappier Brut Grande Sendrée 2008
Collard-Picard Brut Cuvée Essentiel 2010
Alexandre Bonnet Brut Cuvée Perle Rosée
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs 2008.
François Gilbert with the sommeliers tasked with serving the wines during his Champagne masterclass.
As every year, the room was packed to the rafters.
Champagne is undeniably an extensive wine region, boasting more than 34,000 hectares of vines divided between 320 localities and 278,000 different plots. The region is therefore home to an incredibly complex range of wines with endless possibilities offered by blending. This vinous symphony is constantly being recomposed by winegrowers and Champagne houses which illustrate to perfection the incredible diversity of the region's wine styles.
By Sylvain Patard