We Know Where To Find The World’s Best Wines

They are at ProWein!

 


ProWein, the annual wine and spirits fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, is the high water mark for wine brands, regions, and drinkers worldwide. Nearly every wine producing area you’ve ever heard of (or not heard of) is represented at this event. The event is so huge that it should have its own postal code. This is one of those rare instances in life where bigger is in fact better. No matter your wine agenda, you'll have it satisfied at ProWein. I rubbed elbows with some of the best palates of my wine tasting generation, from rock star winemakers to Masters of Wine. Lucky for you, I tasted through a large number of selections and brought back my favorite notes to share. Keep your eyes open for these key bottles, vintages, and regions. ProWein is not your average wine and spirits show. It’s THE show, rounding up the world’s best wine and spirits. Cheers!
Champagne Drappier Carte D’Or 1976

When I found out France’s Champagne Drappier was commemorating the 40th anniversary of their 1976 vintage release by popping open a couple of bottles, I made a point to be there. Boy, am I glad I did. At 40 years of age this stunning Champagne is one of the single most delicious things I’ve tasted in awhile. There is a bit of reduction on the nose which really appeals to the palate. Candied orange zest aromas are in play too. Gentle citrus and a bit of dried pear present on the palate along with oodles of biscuit laden, yeast inflected goodness. The finish is impossibly long and impressive in its depth and precision. I spent three days at ProWein, this was the only thing of which I desperately needed a second pour. Thankfully they were nice enough to oblige.
 
Most tawny port’s are made from a cuvee of various vintages. They often have an age statement of 10, 20, 30 or 40 years, representing the average age of the wine. Occasionally though, a vintage speaks so loudly that it demands to be bottled as a singular expression. Such is the case in Portugal, 1972. The apricot hue shimmers in the glass. Stone fruits such as yellow peach and apricot fill the nose along with bits of toasted pecan. All of those elements continue on the palate alongside a hint of crème brulee, minerals, dried fruit, and wisps of brown sugar dominate the soft and silky finish.
 
Now is the time for Romanian wine. Don’t miss out on giving one of these value gems a try. This offering is produced entirely from Fetasca Neagra, a grape indigenous to Romania. Bits of toast and a compote of red fruits lead the nose. Strawberry and cranberry flavors are evident on the palate. Graphite, cinnamon, clove, and wallop of dried red cherry flavors emerge on the long finish. Are you looking for something different to bring over to a friend’s home? This food friendly Romanian red should do the trick.
 
Nobody does Old Vine Zinfandel quite like Lodi, California. All of the fruit for this wine comes from the namesake vineyard which was planted in 1909. Bay leaf and red clay aromas inform the nose along with a bit of reduced cherry. The palate is stuffed with intermingling red and black fruit flavors; cherries are the star. Earth, cocoa and cinnamon flavors are apparent on the long, lush finish. This Zinfandel has excellent but proportionate intensity and a terrific mouthfeel.
 
 
Two great wine entities have come together to produce one great wine, and it’s widely available in the United States. This red blend composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah is produced by a partnership of Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Antinori Family. Tobacco leaf and toast aromas are what dominate the nose alongside subtler red and black plum. Leather and bing cherry notes explode on the palate which shows the hallmarks of pure, unadulterated mountain fruit flavors. Red clay and dried cherry notes are present on the finish along with a final dollop of roasted espresso.

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc 2014
 
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the varietals that has helped Chile make its mark. With a host of regions and microclimates in which to grow, the faces of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc are many. The citrus driven nose shows off lemon curd and orange zest alongside a bit of white pepper and a touch of thyme. Tropical fruit, yellow melon, and a drove of citrus flavors drive the rich and layered palate. A bit of crème fraiche and tangerine zest are both in evidence on the long, zippy finish. 
 
Red blends from Chile are always a sure bet. This is a great example. Auma Koyle’s Icon wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Syrah, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. In the decade since they launched Cristobal Undurraga and his brothers have made remarkable strides with Viña Koyle. Auma, the top tier selection in their portfolio, is no exception. Toast, leather and earth notes are all present on the nose. A host of red fruits tinged with black appear on the palate. Chicory, earth, cherry and raspberry flavors are all part of the persistent finish. This is an impressive wine from start to finish, but as with many of the Viña Koyle offerings what really sets it apart is the remarkable mouthfeel and texture.
 
In addition to Sauvignon Blanc and red blends, over the last few years Chile has been establishing itself as an expert in Pinot Noir. Bits of forest floor, leather and red fruits are present on the nose here. Hints of savory herb, black tea and more red fruit are present through the layered and somewhat firm palate. Sour red and black fruits and spices mark the above average finish. 
 
 
Keep an eye out for wines from the trendy Jumilla region in Spain. Candied cherry and a bit of black pepper fill the nose here. From the first sip through the last, oodles of sweet red fruit flavors win the day. Kirsch liqueur, chicory, earth and bits of Mexican vanilla bean are present on the above average finish. Soft tannins and firm acid provide good structure. This wine has a yum factor that makes you want to keep drinking it.
 
This Spanish wine is composed entirely of Tino Toro, a clone of Tempranillo. All of the fruit came from a single vineyard that is over 140 years old. Red violets and leather fill the nose. The incredibly soft, deep, and giving palate is stuffed with red cherry flavors tinged with bits of raspberry. Kirsch liqueur, earth and spices galore are evident throughout the prodigiously long and simply remarkable finish. In short this is an impressive and ridiculously delicious wine that’s also quite elegant.
 
There are many reasons why Germany is known for its Riesling. This is one of them. White flower and lychee fruit aromas scream from the nose. The super concentrated palate is loaded with a host of dried and fresh stone fruit flavors as well as complementary spices. Bits of mesquite honey, white pepper, and limestone are evident on the remarkably long finish. This is an absolutely stunning example.
 
Alongside Riesling, Silvaner also thrives in Germany. I sampled quite a few examples at ProWein and this one was a favorite. The 2014 vintage represents the first vintage from a vineyard planted to a new clone. The bright nose shows of yellow fruit and a bit of anise. Bits of tangerine zest and white apple rule the palate. White pepper and cardamom are evident on the finish which is crisp and refreshing. This wine has good weight and terrific acidity; in short a killer food wine.
 
If you’re still of the mind that Germany is only producing great white wines, this Pinot Noir will quickly change your mind. Strawberry, rhubarb and bits of forest floor emerge from the welcoming nose. Dried cranberries, pomegranate and bits of red cherry are evident on the even keeled and restrained palate. Savory herbs, minerals, and a hint of truffle are present on the long, lingering finish. This is a truly lovely expression of Pinot that I simply didn’t want to put down.
 
Austria is known for its expertise with the Zweigelt grape, a cross between Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. These Zweigelt vines are more than twenty-five years old. Strawberry-rhubarb pie spices light up the nose here. Red fruits, toast, vanilla and ore are evident on the layered palate. Wisps of earth and lots more spice notes are apparent on the lengthy finish. This is a concentrated and charming example of Zweigelt which will pair beautifully with a plate of beef stroganoff.
 
Australia knows what to do with the Shiraz grape. This single vineyard wine is produced from fruit sourced from a parcel in Padthaway. Bits of eucalyptus and violets are in evidence on the lovely nose. Blueberry and black raspberry lead the soft and lush palate. Minerals, bits of earth and a dusting of cocoa dot the finish. The mouth-feel on this Shiraz is just stunning. This complex, food friendly Shiraz will age well for a decade plus.
 
Mango and dried white fruit aromas explode from the nose of this Arneis from the Roero region in Piemonte. Papaya and stone fruits dominate the palate which shows off a purity of fruit. Zippy acid, subtle spices and a hint of subtle honey are apparent on the finish. While this will pair fabulously with light foods, it’s perfect alone. Serve it as a welcome wine when your guests arrive and look for their smile when they take the first sip. 
 
Argentina does Malbec justice. Graphite, earth and vanilla dot the welcoming nose. Raspberry and red plum flavors dominate the refined palate, which is studded with ripe but proportionate fruit flavors. The long finish shows dried red fruits, earth, dusty baker’s chocolate and pepper. It has excellent structure and will age well for the next 8-10 years. 

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