Great tastings 2021: the persistence of wine


Many of the world’s greatest winemakers could be found in New York’s Times Square on Thursday evening. They hadn’t gathered to see a show in the recently reopened theaters on Broadway. Rather, they came to lift glasses and toast to be together again. After skipping 2020, the New York Wine Experience returned to the Marriott Marquis Times Square to celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary. The three-day event began with the first of two grand tastings, during which 217 wineries served some of the world’s most sought-after wines to consumers, all of which were rated 90 points or higher Wine watchers‘s editors.

The unspoken toast when glasses of champagne were raised? We are back.

“It’s so nice to be here in person and to see everyone together,” said Italian wine icon Piero Antinori, who presented his 1997 Solaia as Wine Star during the weekend seminars. Over the past 19 months, many winemakers have struggled to travel and meet with long-time customers and prospects. You have learned to run virtual tastings. They also learned that there is no substitute for punching someone and telling wine lovers face to face what makes their wine unique.

The best thing about the Wine Experience is that winemakers from different parts of the world meet: Italian winemaker Piero Antinori (left) and Antinori winemaker Renzo Cotarella met with Californian winemaker Naoko Dalla Valle and her daughter and winemaker Maya Dalla Valle (to the right). (Daphne Youree)

There was electricity in the air as the participants walked into two ballrooms. There were also new procedures to navigate, with a strict COVID vaccine mandate for major events.

As soon as the guests were at the door, there was another obstacle to negotiate: where should I start? All 217 wines not only received 90 points or more, 91 of them achieved classic ratings of 95 points or better.

Many followed the example of the winemaker and started with champagne. You could try Bollinger Brut Champagne La Grande Année 2012 or Krug Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée 169ème Édition NV or Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne Rare 1998, which earned 98 points.

    A woman pours a Taylor Fladgate 40 Year Old Tawny Port bottle into a glass

At the end of the evening, the participants were able to try a range of port wines and vintages. (Daphne Youree)

You could also explore the incredible sparkling wines of other regions, such as California’s Schramsberg Reserve North Coast 2011 or Italy’s Ferrari Extra Brut Trento Perlé Nero Riserva 2012.

How about some Chardonnay? Guests could choose between the opulence of California and Australia or the liveliness of Burgundy. There was the Arista Chardonnay Russian River Valley Ritchie Vineyard 2018 or the Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Blanchots La Réserve de l’Obédience 2019.

“It’s nice to see old friends … [the atmosphere is] inspiring, “said winemaker Mark Aubert, who poured his Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Powder House 2018 at the Grand Tasting and presented his Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast UV Vineyard 2018. Wine watchers‘s No. 2 Wine of 2020, at the Top 10 seminar on Saturday afternoon. “We look forward to many more wine experiences. It is the best wine event in the country.”

    The Californian winemakers Mark and Teresa Aubert

The co-owners of Aubert Wines, Mark and Teresa Aubert, brought one of their 8 different Chardonnay bottlings from Napa and Sonoma. (Daphne Youree)

What if you prefer pink? Several premium roses were available, including the traditional Domaines Ott Côtes de Provence Rosé Château de Selle 2020 and the modern upstart Château d’Esclans Côtes de Provence Rosé Garrus 2019.

Pinotphile examples are numerous from California, Oregon, Burgundy, and more, such as Siduri Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Barbieri Vineyard 2017, Lingua Franca Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills Lingua Franca Estate 2016, and Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley 2016.

For wine lovers and winemakers, the Grand Tasting is an opportunity to taste old favorites and discover new ones. Ever wondered how much of a fuss Bordeaux is going to be? You can train your palate with Château Cheval-Blanc 2011, Château Cos-d’Estournel 2016, Château Haut-Brion 2011 and Château La Fleur-Pétrus 2010, which have been awarded a fabulous 98 points.

    Four guests enjoy the Grand Tasting 2021

The guests (from left to right) Matt Mannarino, Robbie Carroll, Denny Yoho and Erin Kennedy enjoyed the opportunity to chat with winemakers and try different wines. (Daphne Youree)

What about Napa? The offers included Accendo Cellars 2016, Dalla Valle Maya 2018, Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace 2018 and Orin Swift Papillon Napa Valley 2018. Or you can explore Italy with Vietti Barolo Lazzarito 2016, Biondi-Santi Brunello Tenuta Greppo 2015 and Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore 2011. Other. Spain, Portugal and Germany, Argentina and Chile, Australia and New Zealand were all represented, but also Uruguay, Israel, Virginia and others.

For winemakers, the Grand Tasting is an opportunity to meet some of the most passionate wine lovers. It’s also an opportunity to learn about your fellow winemakers. Erik Elliott, manager of Napa’s Heitz Cellar, stood next to the team from Château Léoville Las Cases. Australia’s disrespectful mollydooker was one booth away from southern Italy’s historic Mastroberardino.

“It’s just wonderful to see old friends and make new ones,” said Sharon Staglin as she poured the Napa Cabernet for her family.

    Bodega Garzón founder Alejandro Bulgheroni, managing director Christian Wylie pour the 2017 balasto red mixture from Uruguay for the Italian winemaker Francesco Zonin.

Bodega Garzón founder Alejandro Bulgheroni and managing director Christian Wylie pour the 2017 balasto red mixture from Uruguay for Francesco Zonin from the Italian company Zonin1821, which also owns wineries in Virginia and Chile. (Daphne Youree)

We have made a habit of saying that we live in unprecedented times in this century – which has so far been shaped by rapidly evolving technologies, a dangerously changing climate, and a global pandemic. Wine tells us otherwise. It has survived pandemics, from the Spanish flu to the Black Death. It has endured through world wars. American wine somehow got its way through prohibition to become one of the best in the world.

Wine has seen everything. And we keep coming back to it, in good and difficult times, because it consists of bringing people together, no matter where they come from, to try, toast, to celebrate.

Grand Tasting Photo Gallery

Photos by Daphne Youree

Laura Catena is holding a glass of red wine Hugh Davies holds a bottle of Schramsberger sparkling wine in his hand The 40-year anniversary wine experience wholesale tasting book next to bottles of red wine Laurent and Beatrice Drouhin hold a bottle of white Joseph Drouhin wine Grace Evenstad is holding a bottle of Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Golfer winemaker Cristie Kerr and husband Erik Stevens hold a bottle of Kerr Cellars wine Bottles of San Benedetto water on ice. Sommelier Erik Segelbaum and Ryann Deering Deborah and Bill Harlan at Wine Spectator's New York Wine Experience Grand Tasting. Rupert Symington and his son Hugh at the table for Dow's Port Paul Hobbs is holding a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Alberto Medina Moro by Emilio Moro opens a bottle of red wine Sara Hachemian from Domaine des Sénéchaux holds a glass of red wine


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