As you may be able to tell from our recent posts, it is festival season in Basel, where these TripGourmets currently reside. Whilst the Herbstmesse is the place to go for all-round family fun, if you want a flavour of something a little more grown-up then head on over to Messehalle 2 for the shared delights of the Weinmesse and its partner festival, the Feinmesse.
The Weinmesse is an annual wine fair that takes place at the Basel Messe, home of Art Basel and BaselWorld. While most of the stands you see there are local sellers, they are selling wines from all over the world.
For the last few years, the Weinmesse has also partnered with the Feinmesse, which is a smaller sister fair showcasing artisan foods from local producers. Both events take place in the same hall, so buying a ticket for one event will mean you get access to both.
We went along this year so here are some of the wines and foods we taste-tested.
Side note: we are not billionaire wine snobs. None of the below wines would cost more than around $30 per bottle and most are around half that price. Stockists are shown in the links. We are sharing these products with you purely because we enjoyed them, on a no-commission basis.
Senza Parole Primitivo amabile IGT (Puglia, Italy, 2014)
This wine is a personal favourite of ours and we just happened to come across it the moment we walked into the hall. Primitivo is known for its intense flavours and rich colour, and the Senza Parole is no exception. It is however notably soft and fruity to taste.
Garanoir Expression (La Côte, Switzerland, 2014)
The Swiss do not really export wine which is a shame for those who cannot travel here, as there are some excellent Swiss wines around if you know where to look for them. This one is from the region around Geneva. It is full and rich in the mouth, with notes of blackberry and spice.
Tukma Malbec Reserva (Mendoza, Argentina, 2012)
We have not yet visited Argentina but it is high on the list, and wine is a very big reason for that! This wine did not disappoint. The Tukma Reserva is from Malbec grapes grown at high altitude and carries notes of vanilla and burnt caramel. Mendoza will be a long stop when we eventually make it to Argentina.
Bianco da Nero Federweiss Biodinamico
We don’t usually drink white wine, except when we have cheese fondue for dinner (it’s a Swiss thing, you can never have too much cheese!). We were actually looking for a new white wine to accompany our fondue and we found it here. The Bianco da Nero is fresh and clean, with notes of peach and gentle citrus.
Cosaliz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, extra dry (Veneto, Italy, 2015)
We had come to this stand and first tried a Moscato. Although it was a very good one, it was still too sweet for us so we tried this dry prosecco instead. It was a very light fizz, lively to taste and with a note of apples and pears. Definitely a more sophisticated prosecco but at a reasonable price point.
This alpine cheese was the first Swiss product that isn’t wine to be awarded AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) status back in 1999. It’s origins can be traced around the small Swiss villages since as far back as the 12th century. It is a typical Swiss cheese and is hard, light in colour and with a rind. The taste is tangy and nutty, and we thought that it partnered very well with some simple crusty bread and a glass of wine.
The word “Fleischtrocknerei” in German comes from the process of drying meat. This is another local artisan producer from the Grisons Alps, or Graubünden in German. Our favourite was the Parpaner Salsiz, which is a rich salami delicately laced with rosemary.
Chalira is a self-styled “Gwürzeatelier” (Spice atelier) priding itself on making unique herb, spice and flower mixes from natural ingredients. We tried a few of their products, but we bought the “Nordsalz”. It is a Himalayan rock salt with an intense smoky flavour. We tasted some raw but have yet to cook a recipe. The website recommends it with risotto or soup.
Also a quick mention to Leonhard Art – we loved these bicycle-chain bottle openers!
For more information about the Basel Weinmesse, head to baslerweinmesse.ch. Have you visited a wine fair recently, and if so what were your top finds? Tell us about it in the comments below.