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The (Original) Hipster's Guide to the New York Wine Experience, 2017

Out with the new: These Old World wines are your definitive unicorn pours at the Grand Tastings
Photo by: Mark Weinberg

Posted: Oct 12, 2017 3:00pm ET

By Ben O'Donnell

The Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience is upon us once again, which means it's time for my annual pre-NYWE ritual: I carefully fill my vape pen with free-trade liquid nicotine (flavor: matcha), pour my last frezcal of the season, and flip open my MLP: Friendship Is Magic Moleskine to prepare the Hipster's Guide to the New York Wine Experience. I think you will be pleased with the selection of small-batch, consciously made, terroircore wine gems I have curated for you from among the more than 250 wines being poured at the Grand Tastings on Thursday and Friday evenings, Oct. 19 and 20. As always, this guide should be treated as definitive; poseurs are not to be countenanced.

I see you scrolling for the Manzanilla Sherry like this is 2015, but that's OK: We can start on the peninsula with Spain, Portugal and Catalonia*. The Moro family were early adopters in Spanish winemaking of bottling individual parcels of Tinto Fino, cru-style, and the Malleolus de Sanchomartín, born in a 1.73-acre patch of limestone nearly 3,000 feet up, quickly took its place among Spain's most prestigious wines back in the aughts. Compare with another contender on Spain's single-vineyard scene, in Bierzo, a Kendrick Lamar–hot region right now. Mastermind of Mencía Alvaro Palacios is presenting the Descendientes de J. Palacios Bierzo Corullón Las Lamas 2014 from the vertiginous-steep Las Lamas vineyard. Head west for more tradicional Iberian expressão: Dow and Fonseca will be pouring their flagship Vintage Ports from the textbook 2000 and 1997 seasons, respectively—still young and vigorous for a style of wine that ages in human years. Or seek out benediction from a wizened mage of the Douro, the Kopke Tawny Port Colheita 1941. Never mind that Port comes at the end of the meal; march on this table as soon as doors open.

Brunellos and Barolos are belissimo, but the bounty of the Boot abounds beyond. Way up north, Nino Negri makes an extreme mountain wine called Sforzato di Valtellina; some vineyards are so rocky and perilous, Nebbiolo grapes must be airlifted out of the vineyard at harvest by helicopter, and the Sforzato berries are left to shrivel for three months, Amarone-style, before fermentation. To the east, Jermann is showing off the ageability of one of Italy's old-school great whites, the Vintage Tunina 2009 field blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit. In Basilicata, Italy's old south, the locals drink savory, smoky reds like the Terre degli Svevi Aglianico del Vulture Re Manfredi with pork sausages, pork rind, pork ragout and pork stew.

Some of France's most pocket-squared power players will be in attendance, but the gentleman farmers will be there, too. In Burgundy, family firms Albert Bichot and Jean Chartron are both offering monopole wines, the former a red from (confusingly?) Château Gris, a 6.9-acre terraced vineyard in Nuits-St.-Georges, the latter a white from the 2.9-acre Clos de la Pucelle vineyard in Puligny-Montrachet. Drappier, the firm in Champagne's on-trend Aube region, will have the 2008 Grande Sendrée, a single-site, minimally sulfured, unfiltered cuvée that checks all the right boxes for your #wineporn Instagram Story (or download our app!). If you're feeling more #RhôneForDayssss, compare the Vieux Télégraphe–owned Domaine la Roquète Châteauneuf-du-Pape Piedlong 2014, 90 percent old-vine Grenache from a lieu-dit in the north of the appellation, with vigneronne extraordinaire Isabel Ferrando's St.-Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape Auguste Favier Réserve 2014, a more classically proportioned Southern Rhône blend from vine land south of the town. 

As a wise movie called Donnie Darko once said, "Of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history ... 'cellar door' is the most beautiful." It's open.

Trade notes and pics of all your favorite Wine Experience wines with our Wine Spectator Events app, available at WineSpectator.com/NYWEapp2017.

You can follow Ben O'Donnell on Twitter at twitter.com/BenODonn.

Harvey Steiman
San Francisco —  October 17, 2017 12:50pm ET
You know, there's a whole world of wine that's not Europe.
Ben Odonnell
New York —  October 17, 2017 1:10pm ET
That sounds like a "new hipster" attitude!

(New World wine lovers can check out Emma Balter's NYWE picks: http://www.winespectator.com/blogs/show/id/New-Hipsters-Guide-New-York-Wine-Experience-2017.)

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