Blog: NY Autumn Wine Fest 2014
In the shadows of the New York Stock Exchange, the NYC Autumn Wine Festival carefully selected a unique venue in downtown Manhattan to host its second annual tasting over two three-hour sessions on Saturday. More than two hundred different wines lined tables around the interior of the Broad Street Ballroom, a dimly lit and tasteful space that worked extraordinarily well considering the array of distinctive bottles being poured. Nearly eight hundred guests would attend the Festival throughout the day- replete with live music, some tasty food bites for pairing and commemorative glasses to take home as keepsakes.
At 3pm, the day’s afternoon session kicked off in style and the room was immediately packed with thirsty wine-lovers as we arrived. Priced at just $99, you’d be hard pressed to find as reasonably priced an affair considering the sheer number of wines from around the world being shown. The selection, expertly curated by Vintry Fine Wines, was diverse and with the use of the free-to-download Winevento app showcasing the day’s most popular wines inside of the room on a projection screen, finding some of the event’s best of the best was relatively effortless.
Whether your palate was refined enough to distinguish wines from different regions or whether you attended the Festival to drink a bunch of different styles on the cheap, there was something for everyone to enjoy. California’s ONEHOPE wines were on display, distinctive because each wine in their line donates proceeds from each bottle to a different cause. Though the World Food Program USA‘s focus on ending childhood hunger is one that hits close to home in New York City, their “California Brut Sparkling Wine” was equally notable for its taste alone. Pleasantly peachy and offering hints of apple, the sweet bubbly wine pour was remarkably refreshing and was one of our first repeat visits along our makeshift trail from table to table.
Despite the inconsistent weather we’ve been experiencing in New York City, our tastes when it comes to vino haven’t shifted much yet. But before it gets too cold outside for the season, we’re still hanging on to some easy drinking white wines- of which there were plenty at the Autumn Festival. It’s hard to forget the bottle design and name of “Otto’s Constant Dream,” a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that we’d enjoyed at more than a few tasting events. Its under $20 sticker price though makes the fruit forward wine as affordable as it is approachable in bright white wine fashion. Held in similar esteem, the more complex 2012 “Muddy Water,” James Hardwich Riesling was nicely herbal with hints of honey through to the finish and the perpetually outstanding pour of Dr. Konstantin Frank’s “Gewurztraminer” offered up a pleasant array of spices in its 2013 vintage. Dr. Frank’s line of white wines are unparalleled evidenced by the high marks of praise that their table was receiving from the crowd around us all afternoon long.
Between pours, we made our way around the festivities where there were several tables outfitted with assorted meats, cheeses, crackers and fruit among some of the lighter fare being offered. With a little bit of exploring, guests were also welcome to sample thinly sliced tender cuts of steak topped with decadently caramelized onions for a heartier wine pairing option. Nothing goes better with a savory cut of meat than glasses of red and we certainly found ourselves in the right place for that. Some of the standouts included the 2012 Foxglove Zinfandel, a fantastic (and affordable) smooth bodied wine from Paso Robles, the 2013 Stringtown Oregon Pinot Noir which was bursting with berries and finished remarkably clean, and the gimmicky-named “Sharp Zombie,” a Spanish wine from Rioja that was nice and earthy and at just $9 bottle, would make for a perfectly fine table wine.
Though pours were sometimes diminutive, this wasn’t an exercise in liquor fueled gluttony by any means. The refined tasting allowed attendees to sip and sniff the different flavors personified by each region without having to slug down- or worse, waste- full pours of wine. That said, after awhile, we were certainly appreciative of the more generous pouring stations like the friendly folks from Barefoot Wines whose portfolio of affordable wines can be found in just about any shop that you stumble into. Their delicious “Prosecco” (priced at just $11.99) was perfectly crisp with hints of citrus with each repeated sip. From the well-priced to the award winning, the 2009 “Sami,” courtesy of Marani Kondoli Vineyards was our favorite wine of the afternoon. The Georgian red was truly unique with fresh mint notes immediately noticeable. The characteristic worked well as the wine was far more balanced than our description might imply- but a tasty red wine nonetheless.
With live music playing throughout the three hour session, the time seemed to pass in a hurry. We made sure to gobble up some additional cheese and grapes just before cleaning out our new wine glasses to take home with yet another outstanding seasonal wine festival now in the books. Make sure to check out NYWineFestivals.com for the next events popping up in and around New York City for the opportunity to sip and swirl some exquisite wines from around the world amid a posh and chic setting for imbibing.
- Jane Van Arsdale