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Scirocco chimes Maltese wine at Vinitaly

Members of the wine press examine Medina Chardonnay Girgentina at Vinitaly.

Members of the wine press examine Medina Chardonnay Girgentina at Vinitaly.

A wind of change is blowing through the wine world and a new generation of Mediterranean winemakers is offering an exciting kaleidoscope of well-made, distinct wines that don’t fail to attract attention.

A full house of curious but serious oenophiles, wine critics and merchants gathered recently at Vinitaly, the massive international wine and spirits exhibition in Verona. They enthusiastically sniffed and sipped through a flight of six distinct wines grown in terroirs bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Malta.

The tutored wine tasting was prepared by Gruppo Cantine Ermes-Tenute Orestiadi, the organisers of the Scirocco Wine Fest in Gibellina. The event doubled up as a press platform for the second edition of the Sicilian festival, which is dedicated to culture, gastronomy and wines of the Mediterranean. This year it will take place from June 28 till July 1.

Delicata’s latest 2017 Medina Chardonnay Girgentina DOK Malta was served first-up before wines from Greece, France, Spain, Italy and Turkey.

The ensuing tasting note by the Cronache di Gusto, one of Italy’s foremost wine websites, describes the dry white wine as “having a straw yellow colour with greenish reflections, followed by a nose of Mediterranean herbs and a fresh, sapid and pungent palate, with a beautiful persistence.”

It always surprises me how people new to Maltese wine, enthusiasts and professionals alike, act astonished upon their first taste of this wine. Often that is because they have preconceptions that white wine grown this far south, under the hot Maltese sun, must be clunky only to discover that it can indeed be wonderfully floral, delicate and fresh.

Last year, Delicata’s bronze medal-winning 2016 Grand Vin de Hauteville Viognier mono-varietal DOK Malta Superior was chosen as the only wine to represent Malta at the maiden occasion of the Scirocco Wine Fest. But the forthcoming, second edition will pit no fewer than four Maltese labels against wines from the other Mediterranean countries.

Besides the Medina Chardonnay Girgentina 2017, three other Malta-grown wines, also by Delicata, have been selected. These are Gozo’s Victoria Heights Chardonnay 2017 (silver medal winner at Chardonnay du Monde), Medina Grenache Cabernet Rosé 2017 (a gastronomic dry rosé) and the Grand Vin de Hauteville Shiraz Cabernet 2016 (an New World inspired brick-red blend with startling classic characteristics).

It seems that wines from Malta and Gozo are no longer a well-kept secret. My guess is that they won’t remain for long the preserve of the islanders either, with interest growing among foreign wine lovers wanting to pry the already limited quantities away from the Maltese shores.

So, why not grab every occasion you can to enjoy our vinous treasures? And, if you are thrilled by the prospect of comparing them to other wines coming from incomparable, ancient vineyards throughout the Mediterranean, then go with the wind and visit the Scirocco Wine Fest in Gibellina this summer.

There will be a masterclass on Delicata and each other winery, conducted by Nino Aiello journalist of Gambero Rosso, Fabrizio Carrera, director of Cronache di Gusto, and a representative of each winegrower, as well as many other activities.

More information will become available at www.sciroccowinefest.it and www.facebook.com/sciroccowinefest/

Georges Meekers is Delicata’s head of sales and an award-winning wine writer.

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