Wine Spectator kicks off its 37th Wine Experience with the opening act of the weekend, a Grand Tasting of 267 outstanding wines.
Among the hundreds of people lined up for opening night at the 2017 Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience, there was a sense of anticipation, of excitement, of thirst. But for many California vintners, the evening also brought the emotional healing of seeing good friends and loving fans.
“I never thought I’d say I wanted to come to New York to breathe clean air, but the air is a lot better here than in Santa Rosa,” said Mike Officer, co-owner of Carlisle Winery & Vineyards, in Sonoma County. The massive wildfires that have burned in Northern California for nearly two weeks, as well as the blazes in Spain and Portugal, were on everyone’s minds, and the attendees wanted to show their support for Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and all the impacted wine regions.
At the first of two Grand Tasting nights, more than 2,400 people came to sample wines from 267 of the world’s finest wineries, a fitting kickoff for the 37th Wine Experience. The three-day event, held at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, includes tasting seminars with leading winemakers, lunches with wine pairings and the black-tie Grand Award Banquet, celebrating the best restaurant wine programs in the world. The Wine Experience has become a must for wine lovers, a chance to taste the benchmark wines of the world and discover new favorites. And for the people who make the wine, it is a joyous annual reunion.
“It’s the only place in the world where you can taste all wines of the world in two days,” said Tony Bernard, president of l’Academie du Vin, based in Brussels. “I’ve been coming for 17 years. Wine Spectatornever disappoints.”
For Pinot-philes, Erwan Faiveley of Burgundy poured his Mazis-Chambertin 2014, and just around the corner, Maison Champy offered its Mazis-Chambertin 2011. New World Pinot Noir fans could contrast Craggy Range Pinot Noir Martinborough Te Muna Road Vineyard 2015from New Zealand and Bergström Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Le Pré Du Col Vineyard 2015 from Oregon.
“It’s such a phenomenal event—the chance to experience all different wines and varietals,” said Anne Peters of New York, who has attended multiple times. “I just love the environment, the camaraderie, the wines.”
Anyone looking to learn about the benchmarks of Bordeaux could choose Château Mouton-Rothschild 2005 or Haut-Brion 2006; or perhaps sample two St.-Emilion neighbors: Château Cheval-Blanc 2006 and Château Figeac 2010. Italy was represented from the top of the boot to beyond the heel, with Vietti’s Barolo Lazzarito 2010, Volpaia’s super Tuscan Balifico 2012 and Firriato’s Nero d’Avola Sicilia Harmonium 2013. Tucked among the big names were some surprising newcomers and stars from rising regions that most attendees had never had the chance to try, such as Virginia’s RdV Vineyards Lost Mountain 2013, Israel’s Recanati Special Reserve Galilee 2013 and a new project in China from Moët Hennessy, the Ao Yun Shangri-La 2013, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Himalayan foothills.