an article by Michele Nasoni

Merano Wine Festival NOW.

“I love the smell of wine in the morning” Ok this is not the Apocalypse of Vietnam, this is Kurhaus.

We are all in for a long and hard battle for which there is no soft or glossy overture, rite of passage, special training or prep school. The baptism by fire is only for the fearless and brave warriors.

The pressing and triumphant rhythm of Wagner’s masterpiece “The Ride of the Valkyries” is pounding in my ears, gut and heart.

We do not wield swords or have arrows for our bow, nor daggers, nor shields. We move towards the battlefield armed only with our chalice.

The Valkyries, which have come to choose the bravest warriors, give them a noble and honorable death and take them before Odin in the Valhalla, are called neither Brunilde, nor Sigrdrifa, nor Grimgerde or Ortlinde. Their names and shapes are way more powerful and grand.

Albeisa, Bordeaux, Rhenish, Champagne, Pulcianella, Anforetta, Burgundian, Alsace…

And we, the warriors, brave warriors, are going into battle knowing that we will never get out of here alive. We are fighting for the most glorious of death. Our victory will be a toast with Odin in Valhalla.

Each of us will give in to a Valkyrie who will take him or her to warrior’s paradise.

Defeated but victorious!

To call upon Thor, Thor’s father, and all the other Scandinavian Gods and divinities is never an easy task, but above all hardly a sustainable one.

Even more so, because when such divinities are mentioned with the soundtrack of “The Ride of the Valkyries” in the background, we cannot help but to feeling strength, power, exuberance, frenzy, relentless rhythms, enthusiasm, glory, emotional involvement, energy, victory…

And this is exactly what the Merano Wine Festival is all about!

You get a sense of it all even before entering. You already know that you will find selected wineries, with selected wines and even selected vintages. And there is one particular spot, one particular magical location in which all these sensations merge and you can feel the vibration growing powerful minute after minute, until it hits you straight into the stomach with all its intense and involving strength.

The balcony of the Kurhaus.

From there you can get a perfect view over the imposing Art Nouveau hall full of people. Men and women with goblets in their hands who talk to each other, whispering, confabulating, praising and tasting. A loud background buzz, of people wandering around the counters of the various producers who are always eager to talk about their nectar and pour it generously in the crystal glasses everyone greedily hold like scepters.

But you, up there on the balcony, you feel like a sniper. You’re a sniper. Sniper.

Above the crowd. Silence. Below confusion. From the balcony hush… You’re aiming for your next target.

There it is, framed, I want that. Shoot.

You then turn around excited, run across another room and stop at least 10 more times; Champagne, don’t you want to taste it? And how could you possibly leave out that Brunello? No… I’ve never tasted this before… Or what about this Burgundy, and what is it doing here anyway? And then you find friends, winelovers who, like pinches of self-styled mobsters, whisper in your ear: go to number 14, a bomb … and then go there. And then you realize that there are still other rooms, other rooms of pleasure, that make “50 shades of red” feel like a cartoon for children, here also white, pink, orange. A TV series. With the exception of blue and green, I think there is the whole chromatic spectrum here! And then you get to the point that you don’t remember what your goal was to begin with, and so you drink on to forget. But suddenly you do remember and finally you get the true and deep meaning of it all and enjoy the moment and the thrill at last. Fully, completely. Perhaps you finally get closer to the true essence of “Carpe diem”.

“O captain, my captain” in my opinion recited with a chalice in his hand on a table, maybe even from the balcony of the Kurhaus, would have been way more exciting and overwhelming indeed, and absolutely suggestive. Shall we propose the change for the remake of the movie?

Congratulations to the organization, praise to the beautiful location and remarkable selection of wines.

Those who follow me know that I never talk about the wines I taste at these events, because I love to talk about wine in detail only when I taste it directly in the cellar with the producer, but I assure you that I have made contact of many of them and I will most definitely visit.

So, stay tuned!