Wines entered at Mondial du Merlot up sharply
Ticino winery wins for 3 consecutive vintage wines
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – A Merlot from Frioul, Italy, won a great gold award, the top prize, at the Mondial des Merlots: Merlot Masut Da Rive 2009. The awards were announced at the Hotel Metropol in Zurich Tuesday 20 May. It also won the prizes for the best wine of the competition and the best foreign (non-Swiss) Merlot.
This is the fourth year that the competition has been run by the Vinea Association in Sierre, which also organizes the Mondial des Pinots and the Grand Prix du Vin Suisse, Switzerland’s national wine competition. The organization has made a push in the past year to encourage more wines from outside Switzerland to compete, and it appears to have paid off: the number of producers entering wines was up 43 percent and the number of wines rose by 34 percent. In the end, 41 percent of the 430 wines were from outside Switzerland, marking this more clearly as an international competition.
Canton Ticino, which has made Merlot its hallmark wine for the past 100-plus years, is starting to see stiff competition for this wine which is otherwise known as a component in bordeaux. The canton held its own, however, with Cantina Kopp von der Crone Visini Bargengo winning the Gran Maestro prize for the best three consecutive vintages.
Other winners, with my notes on the wines tasted Tuesday morning in Zurich:
Best Swiss Merlot varietal (single grape wine): Clos de la George 2011 Merlot Yvorne AOC Chablais, Hammel winery, Rolle, canton Vaud. My notes: Absolutely lovely! Nose is very pleasing, classic Merlot red fruits, in mouth still feel the wood but it’s a big, elegant wine that I’ll like even better in a year. Slightly sour finish which clears the palate.
Best rosé or white, first year for this prize: Castello di Morcote Bianco 2012 – Ticino DOC Tenuta Castello di Morcote Vico Morcote in Ticino. My notes: It’s mainly the Swiss who make whites from Merlot although apparently this is growing in popularity in Italy and some were entered. This is a wine with a startlingly rich nose of pineapple followed by coconut! In mouth good acidity, surprising after the nose, and complex although it’s so intense that at first the complexity is not apparent. Wood well integrated.
Best blend (at leat 50 percent Merlot): Camerlon Oak Wood2011 Slovakia Vino Matysak s.r.o. Pezinok Slovakia. My notes: I’d prefer to wait a year or two, found it slightly disconcerting. A good wine, but outside my own experience of Merlots!
Best older vintages: Rotenberg Merlot Ceptura 2007 Dealul Mare Ceptura Cramele Roteberg srl Bucharest. My notes: elegant nose, classic, slightly spicy despite 7 years, probably at its apex. Mouth, smooth, elegant, tannins integrated.
Vinofed prize for best overall performance was surprisingly shared by three wineries with identical notes. These were among my favourites of the wines tasted. For me, the best is the Merlot Inspiration 2011 from Cave Cidis in Tolochenaz, near Morges in canton Vaud. Velvety, elegant. The other two are also very good: Merlot Côtes de l’Orbe AOC 2012 Cave Mirabilis Agiez and Merlaü 2012 St Saphorin Grand Cru Domaine des Faverges St Saphorin, Vaud. If anyone thinks all good Merlots come from Ticino, here’s proof that this is a grape with wonderful potential in other areas!