So, yesterday I took myself and a Willing, if n00b, Companion to the New York Wine Expo.
It's been a while since I did a large-scale tasting (when at Total Wines, we could taste 30 wines in a day, and the experience [even with spitting, even with fabulous wines] of overloading your tastebuds isn't as much fun as it might sound. But I figured this would be a good chance to seek out some new varietals, find out what's getting pushed on the market, and just generally get my neep on with winemakers and distributors [oh how I love talking shop with winemakers. Well, obviously, or I would never have written The Vineart War].
The show was only one hall* (about 350 vendors, each offering 2-5 wines) but very well attended, with noticeable energy. It also had some lovely sideline distributors, everything from food to cutlery to hand-crafted wine cabinets
and OMG WANT.
A lot of people pushing wine groups, too -- most notably Thirsty Girl, which looks like fun. I'm all for getting more women experienced with/educated about wine -- the things that make a great winemaker are gender-equal, and some claim women are actually better at evaluating wines than men (many people also contest that claim... welcome to the fray!)
I was more in sip-and-chat mode** than serious tasting mode, so I didn't keep detailed notes, only jotting down the names of the ones that made me sit up and pay attention. A lot of Greek wine producers there -- trying to undo the less-than-stellar reputation their wines have in this country, clearly. I did a dip-and-sample and am still not wildly impressed with the reds, but the whites I tried retained the interesting, slightly resin-y flavor while bringing forward the fruit as well. I was pleasantly surprised, and will investigate further.
I will say, however, that there were a few wines of note. Firat and foremost, Tarras Vineard (New Zealand), who blew my socks off with their Pinot Noir: the '08 Tarras, the '07 The Canyon, and the '08 The Steppes. I doff my hat and raise my glass to the winemaker and the growers, because I'd rate these alongside some of my Burgundy favorites for delicacy, flavor, and finish
Wagner (NY) '07 Meritage
Fat Tree '08 Chardonnay
Bodega Monteviewjo "Festivo" Torrontes
Vidigal '05 Douro (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca & Tina Amarela)
Sadly, I didn't seem to have gotten a card from an Umbrian producer who made some reds that really wowed me, including a Chianti that might get their heads (rightly) handed to them by Traditionalists, but whatever you call it, was lovely. I need to go back and try to remember the name....
and, of course, thanks to my old favorites Fonseca, for pouring me a nice little glass of the 20 year Tawny as I was heading off to collapse.
I'll let D chime in with a newbie's perspective, once she recovers... *grin*
*to give you an idea of the Javitz Center's size, there were three other trade shows going on this weekend, including the Travel Show (I bopped in there briefly), a jewelery marketing show, and a restaurant industry show that looked interesting but I didn't have time to investigate). By contrast, BEA (Book Expo Amerioca) takes over the Entire Damn Space every May. BEA exhausts
** more than twice, mid-discussion someone looked down to check my vendor badge -- and of course, being a civilian attendee, I didn't have one. But a lot of distributors had good things to say about my former workplace, which was nice to hear.