Blog: Peoples Voice Wine Awards
The folks at Snooth.com know a thing or two about wines. Their comprehensive website is a cornucopia of vino related information that allows you to do everything from discover new wines, pick out some gourmet recipes to pair, and even discuss your personal tastes in their large community. With so much of Snooth’s content revolving around the palates and the opinions of its users, it seemed only fitting that Saturday evening’s Grand Tasting be titled “The People’s Voice Wine Awards.” Held inside the grandiose space of The Altman Building in Chelsea, hundreds of attendees would enjoy a two plus hour tasting filled with some of the finest wines available anywhere. And with choice food selections being doled out courtesy of The Cayman Islands, the Awards became a full on extravaganza of elegance in taste and smell.
The VIP hour kicked off promptly at 5pm as guests excitedly ditched their winter gear at the coat check downstairs before grabbing an empty glass for tasting. The more than 300 selected wines being poured during the entirety of the evening were each chosen as favorites of the website’s readers. Before getting started we found ourselves immediately drawn to the ice covered table which was actually a makeshift raw bar, with two hustling workers shucking Blue Point oysters for much of the three hour session. A squeeze of fresh lemon and a drizzle of passion fruit mignonette later and we were ready for some deliciously succulent slurping. Spotting a familiar yellow label, we stuck our glasses out for pours of Veuve Clicquot’s ‘Vintage Blanc 2004’ champagne. Crisp and refreshing bubbles rinsed out the brine from the tasty oysters for a delectable pairing of ‘this is the good life’ flavors. The award winning 2004 “Vintage Reserve Rose” was equally as delicious going down with its fruitier distinction and floral aroma.
Among our favorite pours of the day was Jordan Vineyard & Winery, whose Alexander Valley 2008 “Cabernet Sauvignon” on its own was outstanding. But hidden behind the pourer’s table was a secret bottle of the winery’s 2003 “Cabernet” which was smooth all the way down for a wine with such earthy notes. Oaky and rich, we returned back to Jordan’s table time and again. We’d also be remiss if we failed to mention the friendly folks at Silver Oak and the outstanding tastes of their 2006 “Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.” Delightfully full bodied, the dark red cherry flavors exuded from each sip of the complex red wine. We also seriously enjoyed Simonsig’s 2009 “Pinotage,” a relative steal at around its $15 retail price. The big South African red was richly purple and full bodied and despite described as ‘gamy,’ was a very enjoyable spice infused tasting.
Though much of the credit goes to the winemakers and the tremendous staff that ensured the Grand Tasting would run so seamlessly, the food samples being handed out were equally as outstanding. Tastes of freshly chilled crab salad and the warm cups of coconut soup were refreshing alternatives to take our attention away from the pours wine, while the tender lamb meatballs doused in a coffee sauce and jerk pork shoulder provided some heartier fare to appease our hunger. If sipping on expensive wines and nibbling on some tasty eats wasn’t enough to keep guests occupied, a live cooking demonstration was staged in the center of the floor’s main space and plates of the “Chipotle Rubbed Swordfish” over a mango-fennel slaw were passed around the room.
With our bellies now full, we made a few more trips around the space to taste some more of the award winners. The likes of “Goats do Roam” (2009 Red), “Finca el Origen” (2011 Malbec Reserva), “De Bortoli Wines” (2011 DB Family Selection Chardonnay), and “Gnarly Head” (2011 Authentic Red), were each distinctive and highlighted outstanding first time tastes for us. And as quickly as it seemed the Wine Awards began, more than two full hours had suddenly passed and the evening drew to its conclusion. After tasting some truly fantastic and affordable wines, it became infinitely clear that the people do in fact have a voice- and they sure do know a great deal about good wine.
- Jane Van Arsdale