Blog: Taste of Spring 2014
Hundreds of thirsty lovers of vino braved a rain filled Wednesday night, heading to Manhattan’s west side to seek refuge inside of the luxurious Espace, which in recent months has played host to some of the more interactive and exciting wine tasting events available anywhere in New York City. This night would be no different and despite the elements, the evening dubbed “Taste of Spring” a presentation of Opici Wines in partnership with all things wine website Bottlenotes, would serve to showcase an array of wines across different countries and varietals that are ideal for drinking in warmer months.
With almost 50 different brands in Opici’s wide ranging portfolio, guests were able to take their pick from the likes of Chile, Argentina, Spain, France, Hungary and Italy. Grabbing an empty glass we approached the modern, dimly lit room which as usual was a suitably lavish setting in which to sip and swirl wines. The energy in the room was unmistakable as guests began flocking to the tables filled with trays of freshly sliced meats, cheeses and crackers. Just a few steps away, special guest Chef Bill Telepan (Telepan, Telepan Local) was serving up some of the most bulbous jumbo shrimps we’d ever seen, pan fried atop a rich dollop of creamy aioli.
Filling up our plates, we began on our tasting journey around the sprawling Espace ballroom opting to stick with Italian wines at first- a good decision considering that we stumbled onto the Luiano table with wines from Tuscany. Among the four wines being poured- each of which was superb- the “Chicanti Classico Riserva DOCG” was our hands down favorite. Noticeably pungent with fresh red berries, the oak aged red wine was pleasantly clean and a veritable steal at just $28 per bottle. Their “Lui” was equally as delicious, though it was more intense and full-bodied than its predecessor. Just around the room’s bend, we also thoroughly enjoyed tastes from Conti Zecca, a brand that comes from Puglia, a part of Italy that we don’t recall having tasted wines from previously. The $55 “Nero” was perhaps the finest wine being poured at “Taste of Spring” though. With its full body and long finish, the wine proved to be an excellent compliment to our plate of charcuterie and especially to the smoky cheeses that we nibbled upon.
After sampling some of the sweeter tastes around the room- namely Brinley Gold Shipwreck rum from St. Kitts, Rebellion Bourbon, Opici Sangria and a flight of sweet liquers from Meletti which ran the gamut from their “Annisetta” to “Limoncello” to their thick and decadent “Cioccolato”- we headed back toward the entrance to sip on some sparkling wines. The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is known primarily for its exceptional hand made pastas, but on this night, we enjoyed some of their fine Lambrusco. First, the “Lambrusco di Sorbara DOP” ($20) with effervescent bubbles brought forth floral aromas but was a softer crisper wine than the “Lambrusco Reggiano DOP,” ($20) which was a bit more tart despite being well balanced and full bodied. As the clock wound down on our two hour tasting, we paced ourselves among some of our favorite samples which included the citrusy Albet I Noya “Brut Rerserva Natural Penedes” (Spain, $22), the spice filled Viberti “Bricco delle Viole Barolo Riserva DOCG” (Italy, $105), the smooth Chateau Grand Renom “Bourdeaux Blanc AOC” (France, $19) and the everyday and affordable table wine De Martino “Estate Organic Sauvignon Blanc” (Chile, $13).
Though many of the wines varied greatly in price, we found ourselves finishing just about every last drop regardless of what we found in our glass. We certainly preferred some to others, but Opici’s collection of wines at “Taste of Spring” was exceptional and effectively geared us up for the start of a new season. Now if we could only get that temperature to rise some so that we can enjoy sipping on these wines outdoors.
- Jane Van Arsdale