Mentioned briefly, last week, I was lucky enough to attend the New York Wine Experience Grand Tasting (like the event itself, quite a mouthful). It proved to be a fantastic opportunity for me to taste many of the world's greatest wines. But first, lets get the negatives out the way:
Crammed full of sweaty drunken heathens, a fact which I was perfectly comfortable with. My objection lay in the dress code which forced me to wear, and then sweat into, my finest suit? Vying for top ‘classy moment'? Either the guy who grabbed a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee and drank it from the bottle. Without, then having the decency to at least finish it off. Or the guy who grabbed a whole stack of napkins (serviettes to us Euro's) and then tossed them in the air so they rained down on us like over-sized confetti. Like I said, classy!
Before moving on. My final objections? With a $250 ticket price for a 2.5 hour tasting, how unprofessional to run out of some of the wines after only 45 minutes. I feel that Krug can be excused from this - who can foresee what happened to their table? But to the rest of the Champagne houses that packed up show by 8.15? For shame. That and a lot of the expensive wineries seemed to be saving money by serving their most recent releases, which were clearly not yet aged to their prime.
Despite the aforementioned, this was still the most spectacular tasting I had attended. What it lacked for in ‘theme' it made up for in its brute force of spectacular wines. With nigh 300 producers each serving a Wine Spectator 90 point plus wine.
Where else can you start with a slew of vintage Champagnes to prepare the palette, before launching into your own version of the Judgment of Paris by comparing the finest Bordeaux with Napa's cult cabs, including the venerable Harlan Estate (very good, but not at $450 a bottle I'm afraid), before finishing with Far Niente's excellent botrytis infused Dulce.
Ultimately, tiring of the crowds, I spent most of the evening loitering by some of the less expensive, but still spectacular wineries: Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Foradori and Duckhorn. Hardly niche, of course, but its surprising who gets sidelined when Haut-Brion and Opus One are present.