I don’t usually blindly trust someone, especially when they’re discussing events and/or architecture. When people talked about the size of Prowein, I shook my head and said to myself, “Ok, I believe that exhibitions are big, but that they are boundless, yep, let’s slowly re-evaluate this step by step.” But what I saw in Dusseldorf was totally unexpected, so to say Prowein is big is an understatement. As soon as I set foot on the escalator, I saw what awaited me in the next three days. It was a bit like when Frodo approaching Mordor – excitement escalating from minute to minute, combined with immense happiness and a hint of fear.
I was lucky that I visited this wine attraction at 24 for the first time, which is a great age, because the visitors were, in average, between 30 and 60. Being a newcomer at an event like this is no easy task. Expectations are high and days are short, as with everything in life. For the first day, I made a plan – to visit Italy, France and Southeast Europe. Seven hours is just enough. At least I thought. I cannot help saying that I was not able to meet even one-third of my set plan.
I started with the graceful Balkans. Why try wines that you’re constantly surrounded by? Because not every day is Drinking-Kamnik-Merlot-Signature-with-a-Ham-&-Cheese-Sandwich Day. And what about tasting all the whites from the Verus winery, which received exceptional scores from Jancis Robinson? In addition to the strictly-business character, this is a exhibition showed its entertaining side as well. I attended a Masterclass presentation of Macedonian wines held by the famous Decanter critic and journalist Darrell Joseph. Mr. Joseph is specialized in wines of Southeast Europe, so he introduced us to the fifty shades of Macedonia, starting from Temjanika and ending with opulent Vranac and various cuvees.
Passing hastily through Slovenia and Hungary, I come to Turkey. I would single out the Kocabag winery and their Kaya Kapadokia 2012 (50% Okuzgozu, 50% Bogazkere) made in the style of a Bordeaux-Rhone blend – fruity & dirty. Aromas of dark fruit, chocolate and spices melt into a juicy body and a smooth tannin structure. Quoting the owner – “the Germans are crazy for this wine.” The winery is currently among the top five in Turkey, and on the market since 1986.
Immediately beside Turkey stood Georgia by which I was particularly impressed. Chateau Mukhrani, created in 1876, offered excellent wines from indigenous varieties – Rkatsiteli, Shavkapito and Saperavi. It was interesting to hear about the long history of the winery, starting from kings, progressing to the Soviet Union and ending up with ultra-modern ISO technology. Enologist Patrick Honnef says that combining traditional and modern methods of production is best for getting wines (especially young ones) which are both very fruity and infinitely complex, similar to the Chilean wines I tasted from Caliterra and Errazuriz.
The first day was full of adrenaline and now it’s time to blow off steam in Cologne and Dusseldorf. What kind of tourist would I be if I didn’t try their famous sausages paired with beer. Yes, beer. I know that I just uttered a winelover’s blasphemy, but c’mon, you know what keeps a man happy after a long day’s work.
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Written by Aleksandar Draganić.
I’m a WSET certified grape juice drinker, and yes, I’m that 1% of people that love their job. I drink wine, write about it, preach about it, even take pictures of it. Find me at @grapenomad