Events — 10 November 2013
The ‘NYC Autumn Wine Festival’ Comes to Conrad New York

Blog: NYC Autumn Wine Festival 2013

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The Conrad Hotel was the hosting site for two jam packed Saturday sessions of the 2013 “NYC Autumn Wine Festival” bringing more than 300 different wines, live music, and hundreds upon hundreds of imbibing guests together for separate three hour tasting sessions. With the prospect of a long day ahead of us, we headed downtown for the afternoon session, kicking things off promptly at 3pm. The weekend would be the latest in a run of fantastic events by the folks from NYWineFestivals.com, hosts of the “NYC Winter Wine Festival” which emanated earlier this year and returns for its 5th annual event once again to the Best Buy Theater on February 8th.

Once checked in, we grabbed our commemorative Riedel wine glasses and head upstairs where we were immediately greeted by a few dozen patrons already tasting ahead of us. There was a nice selection of food laid out, courtesy of the hotel from various cheeses and charcuterie to some small bites like “Albondigas” (Spanish style meatballs), “Catalan Flatbread” with caramelized onions and anchovies, and some savory sliced tender sirloin with a dollop of horseradish atop some fluffy bread squares. Toward the back of the room an erected stage housed the day’s live band featuring Grammy nominated jazz musician Gil Parris and his band, who busted out TV themes from The Flintstones and Night Court to our sheer delight.

While there were certainly enough distractions to keep even the most casual wine taster entertained, the tables of wine bottles quickly came calling and we began at a familiar table. The Finger Lakes region produces some of the country’s finest Rieslings and Dr. Konstantin Frank‘s table brought just a few of their award winning wines with them to the “NYC Autumn Wine Festival.” Each of the 6 wines were priced at $25 or less making the outstanding “2012 Semi Dry Riesling” and our favorite the “2012 Gewürztraminer” even more notable. Both wines were light and crisp without being overly sweet white wines. Speaking of familiar wines, the perpetually affordable wines from The Naked Grape were just a few steps away pouring six wines all priced at under $10. Our favorite was the “Harvest Red Blend” ($7.99), but for the value any of their red wines will suffice.

One of the more distinctive features of the 2013 event was the availability of the “Winevento” app which allowed us to track and rate the wines that we had sampled as we paraded around the room for much of the afternoon. After sipping on dozens of different wines during an event, they tend to run together which makes the app pivotal in recalling many of the day’s best wines. So with our app opened up, we sought out some wines to taste for the very first time. The 2012 “Dirty & Rowdy Semillon” from California was one such standout to our palates. Priced at just $30, the light bodied red was sharper than we had anticipated following the melon hints evident from the wine glass’s nose. We also went wild for the “Vance Clippert” Champagne Brut NV, a refreshing glass of bubbly with tastes of ripe fruits and an overriding distinction of spice atypical of many of the Champagnes.

All of the wines selected for the Festival were curated by Vintry Fine Wines, whose shop on nearby Murray Street is among the finest in New York City and frankly, we didn’t find ourselves pouring too many glasses into the tabletop buckets- a testament to the many tasty varietals that were chosen for the event. There were plenty of other fantastic wines from around the globe; the “Hesperian Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Anatomy’ 2011” (California, $25), the “CVNE Rioja Reserva 2008” (Rioja, Spain, $25), the “Mauro Veglio Barolo DOCG 2009” (Piedmont, Italy, $38), and the incredible “George Hansen Pinot Noir ‘Hansen Vineyard’ Vintage 8 2010” (California, $108) were standouts and some of the various tables.

After walking the space for close to three hours, the afternoon session had come to a conclusion. Many of the guests posed in front of the step-and-repeat for some camera pictures before grabbing their gift bags for the ride home. Fortunately the “NYC Autumn Wine Festival” was as laid back and unpretentious a wine event offered in some time and in many ways only served to wet our whistles for the upcoming follow up this coming February. Hopefully, we didn’t overstay our welcome with our bellies full and our teeth completely purple.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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