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So Much Great Wine, So Little Time

With more than 250 wines to sample at the New York Wine Experience Grand Tasting, it pays to choose your battles
Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Oct 14, 2015 12:00pm ET

If you're going to the Grand Tastings at next week's New York Wine Experience, don't do that math. It'll just drive you crazy. There are 267 wines to taste and seven hours over the course of two evenings to taste them.

That's more than 38 wines an hour, a mind-boggling epic of palate-numbing proportions. That's why it's better to have a plan and choose your battles. You can't taste everything. Even if you narrow your list to a few dozen, there are so many winemakers and vintners on hand to talk to, you'll be lucky to taste half the wines you planned to.

Check out the Nov. 15 issue and you'll find a list of all the wines being poured, starting on page 39. Circling the wines I wanted to taste, I felt like a kid with the old Sear's catalog deciding what I wanted for Christmas.

My plan is to start with first-growth Bordeaux producers pouring older vintages, like Château Margaux 2004 (94 points) and Château Mouton-Rothschild 2009 (98). Those booths are often surrounded by crowds, and they occasionally run out of wine early.

From there, I might go Italian. Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia 2007 (97) is a must-taste, as well as Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric dël Fiasc 2006 (94) and Gaja Langhe 2011 (93).

For Rhône, there's the gorgeous E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d'Ampuis 2011 (94) and M. Chapoutier Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne 2011 (92).

All of those wines are fairly big, so a good strategy would be to take a break, have some nosh and then slowly taste some sparkling wines to clear your palate. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L'Ermitage 2006 (93) proves just what California can do, but for Champagne purists, there's the always vibrant Krug Grand Cuvée NV (95).

From there it's all about preference and mood. You could go with Burgundy and the rare Joseph Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 2012 (94) or American Pinot Noir and the likes of Donum Pinot Noir Carneros West Slope 2013 (95) or from Oregon the supple Bergström Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge Le Pré Du Col Vineyard 2012 (93).

I could go on, but you get the idea. The sheer number of wines at the Grand Tasting can be overwhelming. The important thing is to enjoy, learn and relax. See you there!

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