My first seminar at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was a vertical of six vintages of Screaming Eagle , the cult Cabernet from Napa Valley. What a way to kick off the weekend. Representing the winery was Ursula Hermacinski, the marketing manager of both Screaming Eagle and Jonata, the winery projects of Charles Banks and Stan Kroenke.
I just returned yesterday from the eighth annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami, where a weekend of wine, food, sun and sand lifted the spirits, at least temporarily, of thousands. Wine Spectator has been involved in the event since 2003, sponsoring seminar programs, Trade Day at the Grand Tastings and Best of the Best, a walk-around tasting of fine wines, with small plates of food prepared by some of the country’s best chefs.
Tuesday marked a significant day in the New York wine world. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti , one of Burgundy’s most prestigious estates, released its 2006 vintage in the United States with a tasting (my notes on each of the wines can be found below) and presentation by DRC’s codirector, Aubert de Villaine.
The evaluations of individual wines below are score ranges, because while I was in Burgundy, I tasted most wines non-blind from barrel or tank, or they had recently been bottled. Sometimes the tastings took place in cold cellars, giving the wines a harder, more angular impression.
I headed toward Savigny-lès-Beaune in the mist, with the smoke from the burning of vine cuttings illuminated against the hills. It was my last day in the Côte d’Or. The cellar was cold at Domaine Chandon de Briailles, where Claude de Nicolaÿ-Drouhin gave me a tour of the 2007s.
My next three visits in Burgundy were with a group of expats who have négociant operations. Canadian Pascal Marchand has been making wine in Burgundy for more than 25 years, Alex Gambal , an American, started his label in 1997 and Michael Ragg , from England, cofounded Mischief & Mayhem in 2003.
Between my visits to DRC and Domaine Leflaive , I sought refuge from the driving rain at Lucien Le Moine in Beaune. Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakin started this tiny négociant operation with the 1999 vintage , buying finished wines and maturing 33 barrels in their cellar.
What a way to end the week. I started the day at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and ended it at Domaine Leflaive. What more could a Burgundy lover want? It was a miserable morning as I drove to Vosne-Romanée, dull and raining.
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