Monday, June 21, 2010

Salon Jeruzalem 2010

As importers, we spend a lot of time tasting wines. The best opportunities to taste are generally with producers, at their properties. In addition to the wines themselves, you can get a good idea of their philosophy, see the actual vineyards and rummage around the cellar. Plus you can also decide if you like them or not – a lot of it is about personality as well! The downside is that it’s sometimes a bit awkward to tell them you don’t like their ones – direct to their face.

That’s where the next opportunity comes in – although it’s a double-edged sword. Wine Fairs gather together groups of producers under one roof, roughly categorised, and then let the hordes in to taste the wines – usually in badly lit, noisy, warm environments. They range from the enormous annual bash in Verona, VinItaly, that hosts some 4,000 producers (think of the RDS crammed with people, quadruple it, and then survive there for 4 days), to the more compact southern-French focus of Vinisud. But they do serve a useful purpose in that they can provide very broad brush strokes of a particular vintage style, or the opportunity to taste a whole batch of wines from one region against eachother – and of course, occasionally you can strike gold.

However, if I had to choose my perfect location for a wine “Fair” it would probably be on top of a hill in the middle of rolling vineyards, with good food, under 20 participants all from the one region, interesting seminars and an amazing choir performance in the open air under the stars the night before. Sound unlikely? Well it did to me – until we attended the annual Salon Jeruzalem last weekend.

It was a great opportunity to taste with a variety of local producers – many of whom are now internationally recognised – and to compare notes. From the Decanter World Wine award-winning Dveri-Pax, to our own mini-gang of Miro and Verus, and a whole host of others, the whole day was a pleasure. It was the proper way to taste wine – in good company, in a relaxed manner, with plenty of enthusiastic opinions and lots of good wine.

Roll on next year…..

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