Events — 05 March 2012
The 5th Annual New York Wine Expo Uncorks at the Javits Center

Blog: New York Wine Expo

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Last week, LocalBozo.com brought you a full show preview of the 2012 New York Wine Expo, featuring a Q&A with show director Ed Hurley. After learning what to expect from this year’s iteration, now in its 5th year, it was time to head over to the Jacob Javits Center for the Saturday afternoon session, celebrating the sniff and sip of all things grape. A thorough mix of higher end wine enthusiasts and groups of friends looking to get their drink on converged upon the expo center, joining thousands of likeminded attendees to visit with over 150 different producers from wineries and vineyards across the globe.

Inside, the grand event was much larger than anticipated, with overhead displays for each wine region rivaling those shown at the famed annual New York Car Show. Upon arriving, guests were handed a commemorative New York Wine Expo glass as a special keepsake to take with them on their journey from purveyor to purveyor as well as to be brought home as a memento. While bottles of wine were not sold onsite, patrons were encouraged to jot down the names of some of their favorites to pick them up on their own time.

The distinction between the groups of attendees was at times, glaring. Some of the more refined wine lovers would pause for minutes at a time, sniffing and swirling each glass, looking at the wine’s tannins and chatting with each representative. On the other end of the spectrum were drinkers less inclined to discuss fermentation and simply slugged down whatever was in front of them. The line “where’s the Schnapps table?” rang out amid a sea of one group’s laughter. Despite the differing motives of the crowd on hand, everyone seemed respectful of each other and the dual motivations inside the Expo forged an energetic atmosphere full of excitement and anticipation.

For experienced drinkers like us, our tastes for the nuances of delicious wine are relatively underdeveloped. We typically opt for bottles based on the sticker price, but the Expo gave us a chance to better hone our skills, understand what we were drinking, why it tasted like it did, and how the wines differ from region to region, year by year. Our first stop upon our arrival in the main, narrow corridor was at the Finger Lakes, the upstate New York wine region (heavy on Riesling) we’d written about previously, to which every New Yorker owes it to themselves to travel. Our annual spring pilgrimage up north requires usual stops at Fox Run Vineyards, Red Newt Cellars, and Glenora Wine Cellars, each of whom were on hand at the Expo, but Dr. Frank Vinefera’s “Gewurztraminer” and Lucas Vineyard “Dry Riesling” were tasty and summery standouts, giving us other destinations to seek out during this year’s expedition.

The New Wines of Greece had an endless display of bottle after bottle of distinctive Greek wines from a region that we’d never tasted prior. The aromatic ‘Malagousia’ varietals from Porto Carras and Domain Matsa were especially flavorful and SantoWines’ 2004 ‘Vinsanto’ was as delicious a dessert wine as any on hand. Once we finished walking through the main entranceway, it was onto the window filled atrium to catch a glimpse of hundreds more people and vendors imbibing in the tastes and sights of the event. Moreover, it was in this room that we uncovered perhaps our new favorite wine- the ‘Tempranillo.’ As the main grape in Rioja wines, the black grape is actually red in color and is utilized best when aged in oak barrels. With so many Spanish and Portuguese wines at the Expo, there was no shortage of tastes around the room. The Felix Solis Avantis 2008 ‘Condado de Oriza Crianza’ was our favorite pure Tempranillo of the bunch, while the Vinos & Bodegas “Mirador de Castilla” was tops as a blend (Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet, & Merlot). There were also so many incredible Italian and French wines to be tasted, including the excellent ‘Rhone Valley Wines,’ that listing each would prove futile- at some point, listing the names of standout wines will make them all seem to run together just as many of the tastes inside began to as our day progressed. Toward the end of our stay, the purveyors with the more generous pours became one’s that we preferred to return to for repeats and as such, we wound up leaving the upscale event with only a positive experience behind us and a good buzz in front. Experts say that it’s best to sniff, sip, and spit. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Mark your calendars now! The 2013 New York Wine Expo returns to the Javits Center from March 1st-3rd. So you have a full year to better distinguish your palette.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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