Blog: New York Fine Wine Alliance Tasting for Sandy Relief
For over twenty years the “New York Alliance of Fine Wine Wholesalers” has been working tirelessly to foster the common interests and goals of fine wine wholesalers in New York State. Their passion is therefore unquestioned in their overall mission as advocates for local small business. On Wednesday evening, the organization would host the “New York Fine Wine Alliance Tasting for Sandy Relief,” with the proceeds from each ticket donated to the “Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City” in support of Hurricane Sandy victims. With over 500 of the best wines in New York State as participants, the selection was bountiful as guests would help lend support to those still affected by the horrible storm that ravaged our region.
This expansive charitable event was held at Soho’s own 82 Mercer, one of the City’s premiere venues. And at 6pm we descended the stairs and into a vast cornucopia of some of the best wines that our beloved state has to offer. After grabbing a large tasting glass we made our way over to our first tasting of the evening at the table housing Opici Family Distributing. Their team wasted not a moment to pour us the good stuff. Since the night had only just begun we opted for a light white wine- “Inception,” a California Chardonnay. The nose presented a lovely bouquet of summer flowers and the tasting yielded a crisp light profile making this a flawless wine for the warmer months. After one more pour to truly taste all of its flavors (and because we loved it so much) we moved onto more of the fruits of these purveyors’ labor. A few tables away we met up with a representative from Polaner Selections and their collection of fine French and Italian wines. Our group stayed with whites for another round and thankfully we did as their “Castelcerino Soave Classico (2011) by Filippi” was a complete sea of change from our first offering. It was not only more complex but became a challenge for us to put our finger on the scents that the wine held. Its use of the Garganega grape presented us with a highly drinkable experiment for our palette. And the pourer, dressed in a red crusted velvet blazer was more than happy to let us stick around to let it all sink in.
Reds were on our mind from this point on. Fortunately for us there was a vast selection to taste for the first time. Our immediate favorite was the “Pecchenino Siri d’Jermu, Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore,” an Italian wine with a bold nose and a dry taste profile that can easily pair with a deliciously rare steak, fresh from the grill. And speaking of food, there was plenty to go around to help eventgoers make it through this huge tasting while savoring every bite. The food was catered by Esquared Hospitality, who run the popular “BLT” collective of fine restaurants throughout town. Throughout the evening we sampled outstanding charcuterie, cheeses and seasonal vegetables from tables located throughout the venue. At the same time, servers walked through the house with delicious offerings like tuna tartare and plates of tomato basil crostinis.
Once we filled up on these choice eats it was time to move on to a few more samples to really get a feel for the other side of 82 Mercer. This is where we encountered the fun crew from Martin Scott whose “Sauvignon Blanc (2011) by Mason Cellars” was a spicy little treat to say the least. Both it’s nose and taste somehow reminded us of fiery sriracha sauce. The popular Thai sauce is truly one of our favorites and to pick up notes of it in a crisp white wine was a sweet discovery. To close out our experience, we headed to Benmari Winery for a pour of their “Stainless Steel, Chardonnay (2012).” Made in the Hudson Valley region of New York, the wine perfectly captures a blissful day out of the city and into the countryside. It is a perfect wine for a picnic in the park or while at the beach.
For two hours we tried some outstanding wine offerings and met some great people in the business along the way. The evening was not only delicious but an uplifting experience for both Hurricane Sandy relief and the local wine business as a whole. We’ll most certainly drink to that.
- Jay Rubin