Blog: NY Winter Wine Festival 2014
More than 250 different wines were wheeled out to Times Square on Saturday for two filled to the brim sessions of eclectic wine tastings. The day marked the return of the New York City Winter Wine Festival to the Best Buy Theater, welcoming hundreds of thirsty New Yorkers into Manhattan’s busiest area in three hour increments of nonstop sipping and swirling. Though backed by some live jazz music courtesy of the masterful Brian Simpson and table after table of some light eats, this was hardly your ordinary wine event.
Opting for the afternoon session, we entered the Theater shortly after 3pm- the place already fully abuzz with guests’ hands outstretched for their next pour of vino. This was perhaps the most well attended of the seasonal Wine Festivals that we’ve attended and the task to actually get your glass filled seemed more daunting than it actually was based on the amount of people gathered inside of the Theater’s main space. We began by sticking to the adjacent corridors where lines proved nonexistent and chatting with each representative was seemingly no issue. Grabbing our over-sized tasting glass, we picked up a plate filled with fresh fruits, flatbreads and cheeses and set out to be wowed by the endless array of different wines. With more than fifty tables of wines, there was no way to taste everything, but we did our best to travel country by country to distinguish our taste buds some.
Of all the wine events that we’ve attended over the past few years, I can’t recall a time where we have tasted wines from the Province of Georgia. That all changed on Saturday afternoon with the 2006 “Orovela Saperavi Cabernet Sauvignon” an affordable and expertly prepared red blend with a pleasant berry nose and a smooth finish. The medium bodied wine was both well balanced and drinkable with a splash of red cherry throughout. Just steps away, New Zealand’s 2012 “Amisfield Sauvignon Blanc” was equally as eye-opening. The refreshing, ripe fruit laden white wine was insanely tasty with a dry finish. We were fortunate to taste an exceptional wine from Malvira that featured the Arneis grape (2012 “Roero Arneis”- a veritable steal at under $20. The full bodied white wine seemed to have some green apple and citrus notes, but overall was clean and crisp throughout.
Although we’re all for tasting exquisite wines, we also enjoy the value of a good, affordable bottle. Barefoot Wines and The Naked Grape always seem to make an appearance at the annual festivals and this was no different. We enjoyed repeat pours of The Naked Grape’s “Summer White Blend,” which tastes tropical all on its own. With its floral aroma and price tag under $9, this one is a steal especially for warm weather days which we are yearning for. As the day progressed the use of the Winevento Phone App proved pivotal to our enjoyment of the afternoon session. The more popular wines as voted on by attendees in real time were shown on screens throughout the venue and served as recommendations for folks to taste prior to the conclusion of the Festival. Among some of our other favorites, we supremely enjoyed Tuscany’s 2011 “Talenti Rosso di Montalcino,” a big red wine, New Zealand’s “Otto’s Constant Dream Sauvignon Blanc,” a tight clean white and an outstanding sparkling- “Domaine Bruno Gobillard Champagne Brut Vielles Vignes,” which, although its name is not exactly catchy- its dry style and its perfected acidity are especially noteworthy here.
With three hours of tasting behind us, we took some time to chat up the other friendly purveyors on hand- namely the ladies doling out samples of Cabot cheeses and the folks from Amy’s Bread- as well as some of our tasting brethren who seemed more than happy to have some light conversations especially toward the end of the session. Fortunately we were able to take home our large wine glass and our tasting book which described each of the wines being poured at the Festival. Like fine wine, the New York City Winter Wine Festival seems to become more elaborate and more fun with age and with that said, you’ll be sure to catch us at the next one. We at least owe our readers that much.