On the East Side of Manhattan, representatives from countries all over the world meet to discuss international law and politics with the goal of achieving world peace. Good luck with that. This past weekend representatives from countries all over the world met on the other side of town to discuss something a little less depressing. Wine! From March second to the forth, the fifth annual New York Wine Expo took the stage showcasing wines of the world at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side.
Although seminars were available on topics like tasting and Rhone valley wines, the main event was the Grand Tasting. Over 600 wines from 150 producers were on display and available for the mob of curious, thirsty New Yorkers to sample and inquire about as they made their way through the Special Events Hall of the massive Javits building. Whether or not they remembered everything (or anything) they tasted was up to them. Four hours of tasting—no matter how small the pour—will do some work, and the spit buckets that graced the tables were noticeably not full. Needless to say, everyone had a great time.
One thing was for certain at this year’s Wine Expo; the winemakers all came from incredibly diverse backgrounds, with differing intentions, style and marketing strategies. Unfortunately, there was also a wide range of quality. Seeing how this was the expo of New York City, home of the snobbiest wine snobs in the world next to the French, one would think that every table would be presenting wine of extremely high quality. This, however, was not the case, and a little bit of searching was required to find the true gems.
During the search there were plenty of distractions in the form of extravagant marketing strategies. Aprés Soirée offered Napa Valley varietals poured from a keg, boasting better efficiency and fresher wine in this alternative format. Available were Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, and were all quite tasty. Happy Bitch Wines, a wine based on a Keryl Pesce book about a woman emerging from a painful divorce, showed off their sparkling rosé that “pairs well with girlfriends and great memories.” There was even a sparkling wine producer that included the prize of a one-carat diamond in every 500th bottle.
The big to-do on Friday night was the appearance of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice, there to promote her wine called Fabellini. A large crowd gathered around the table to taste the Raspberry and Peach-flavored sweet sparklers poured by Teresa herself, exclaiming, “I love it!” and “it’s great!” Whether or not these sentiments were true is yet to be determined. Directly next to the Fabellini table, in an all-too-perfect snapshot of the New York Wine Expo was Good Earth Winery producer Girish Mhatre. With the star-crazed crowd overflowing to his table, the portly and humble older man confidently stated “My wines come from India.” Perhaps the Wines of Portugal banner that hung overhead in the Events Hall proclaimed it best with, “Fame is fleeting. Heritage endures.”
Here are a few of our favorites:
Good Earth Winery
We tried the Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Both of these wines were incredibly unique and terroir driven. The Cabernet showed notes of tobacco and dark fruits and the Sauv. Blanc was vegetal, but in a good way. Both wines shared characteristics of offering great minerality and being peaty, smoky, and all around delicious.
Check out www.goodearthwinery.com.
Predator Old Vine Zinfandel
This California Zin flaunts a nose of bacon and other bold aromas. With a velvety texture, and luscious, jammy flavors, it reminds us not to forget the grape that first put California on the list of premiere wine regions. (Not to mention, we love their emblem.)
Check out www.predatorwines.com.
Subarashii Kudamono Asian Pear Wine
Producers of both a dessert wine and semi-sweet, this Asian Pear based winery uses fruit harvested in Eastern Pennsylvania. With their silky texture and present, but not overwhelming sweetness, one might compare these wines to a late harvest Riesling. We’re excited for the release of their Asian Pear eau de vie, which should hit the New York market soon!
Check out www.winesofsubarashii.com.
Although this winery is only a couple years old, they certainly know how to capture the flavors of great Argentinean Malbec. We tried the Cuvée Terroir and the Cuvée Réserve, and both showed fruitiness but also concentration and depth. Look for great wines to come in the future from this producer!
Check out www.raffyestate.com.