There were tables covered in Riedel Champagne glasses. There were tables for white wine glasses. There was the red wine table, and the table for Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo glasses. In short, everything was organized so that even the most discerning sommeliers would have the right glassware as needed.
The occasion was Meininger’s Finest 100 International Wine Summit, a two-day event held earlier this week, to bring Germany’s top sommeliers together. The first day is a seminar, which this year covered topics such as Champagne ageing, Austria’s Erste Lagen and Beaujolais.
The second day is a tasting of the world’s top wines, held in the Saalbau in Neustadt an der Weinstraße. Each year, 100 wineries pour their wines, by invitation only. This year the lineup included such names as Château Pontet-Canet, Tempos Vega Sicilia and Champagne Jacquesson.
“We’re here because we were invited and it’s an honour,” said Christoph Kammüller from Familia Torres. He added that Germany is one of the world’s major export markets and connecting with its gastronomy is important. “This is a top event in Germany.”
John Novak-Milliken from Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery in the Napa Valley had come, he said, because it was a wonderful chance for a winery without a big marketing budget to put its wines in front of important influencers. “Our total production is 8,000 cases,” he said. “We export 10% to Germany, Switzerland and the Benelux countries.” He had come with his wife Beth Novak-Miliken, president & CEO, but she was not available to interview, as it was her turn to circulate the room and taste the wines on offer.
Matthias Aldinger, winemaker at Germany’s Weingut Aldinger, said his biggest regret about coming was that he had to come alone, because the colleague scheduled to come couldn’t make it. “We wanted to be two so one could be at the stand while the other one got to taste,” he said. “This event is the highest standard we have.”
This was the third edition of the Meininger’s Finest 100 International Wine Summit, organized by Sascha Speicher, editor-in-chief of Sommelier magazine, which is also published by Meininger Verlag.