From the looks of my blog posts, you’re probably wondering, “Dana, when are you NOT drinking?” I swear, I don’t drink that much! But it was that time of year again, the NY Wine Expo, which means it was time to break out the water crackers and spit bucket.
The Wine Expo has been running for 4 years now in NYC, always held at the Javits Center. The three-day exposition is open to both the trade and general public, with wine education classes taught on both days that the event is open to the public.
This year’s event touted over 760 wines from 190 wineries. Countries represented included Portugal, Brazil, Spain, the US, Argentina, Greece, and South Africa. Because there was just so much wine this year, I attended both the Friday and Saturday sessions. I also attended a class on each of these days, because let’s be real: there’s no way I’d survive 4 hours of tasting on the event floor.
On Friday evening, I attended the Castilla-La Mancha tasting seminar, facilitated by Wine Spectator’s Gloria Maroti Frazee. On Saturday, Gloria facilitated a class on the ABCs of Argentinian wine. These classes are great in that both advanced tasters and those who have never gone to a wine tasting can learn at their own pace, try new wine, and understand the art of wine producing.
One of the biggest surprises for me was visiting the Greece and Cyprus importer areas. Because the climate in Greece is much more variable than a continental European climate, I’ve found the wine to be very hit-or-miss. This year, the importers brought an all-star cast of red and white wines; I was really impressed by some of the reserve blends that I tasted. Best of all: these indigenous blends retail for under $20 a bottle. (But you have to head to Whitestone to snag a case.)
Also to note: Portugal appears to be the next up-and-coming Old World region to steal the wine spotlight. Granted, we tasted multiple “less than amazing” red and white wines, but one of my favorite wines that I tasted on either of the two days was a Portuguese red, predominantly made with grapes indigenous to the area. (A lot of times, Portuguese wines will contain blends of syrah, cabernet, etc.) Because certain regions of Portugal have similar terroir to Galicia in Spain, the white wines will contain the same juicy apple, slightly flinty flavor. AND these wines are slightly less expensive than Albarino (always nice to get a bargain).
It goes without saying that I hit up the Navarra and Castilla-La Mancha tables. What’s interesting to note about wines from Navarra is that because the region borders La Rioja, you will find many similar characteristics and blends of wine (lots of tempranillo grape), but at a fraction of the cost (because they do not bear the Rioja DOC namesake).
Although tickets can be quite pricey if you do not purchase them far in advance, I always feel like I get my money’s worth at the Wine Expo. It is an excellent opportunity to learn, try new wines, and taste wines side-by-side in order to better articulate my preferences and characteristics in wines I love. Even if I’m living on the West Coast next year, you can bet that I will get my tasting sheets ready and fly out for this event.