Updated May 3, 2012
Wine Spectator’s 2012 Grand Tour kicked off in Washington, D.C., April 27, when nearly 1,000 people attended the tasting at the Ronald Reagan Building. They sampled wines from more than 200 producers, representing 16 countries and five states. The evening was the first of three stops on this year's Grand Tour, which a few nights later filled two ballrooms in the New York Marriott Marquis.
“It’s the premier wine event,” said David Kramer. "There’s nowhere else you can taste so many of the world’s great wines." Kramer and his wife, Melinda, are both attorneys from Baltimore. They have attended many Wine Spectator events, but said this was a highlight. David had brought a bottle of Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009, Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 2011, to be autographed by Michael Browne, who was pouring at the tasting. He was happy.
Kate Bolduan, CNN Congressional Correspondent, was attending her first Grand Tour. “I wouldn't describe myself as an expert,” she said, “but I am definitely an enthusiast. The Grand Tour was the most expansive selection of wine talent I've ever seen. I was very impressed with the high quality of the wineries on hand—and all just steps from each other.”
Ed Sands, an owner of Calvert-Woodley, one of the top wine shops in Washington, D.C., observed the crowds in the Bordeaux section of the event. “I don’t know whether the 2011 futures campaign will be a success,” he observed. “But people are clearly still interested in Bordeaux wines.”
They had quite a selection to choose from. A dozen châteaus poured vintages ranging from 2009 to 1999. Among the highlights: an opulent 2009 Pontet-Canet, a focused 2008 Cos-d’Estournel, a balanced 2006 Lynch Bages, a powerful 2005 Giscours and a vivid 2002 Palmer. Then there was a 1999 Château Margaux, elegant as always.
There was food, conversation, sipping and spitting. Most of all, there was the happy buzz of the wine world sharing what they love most, in all its glorious diversity and abundance.
Tickets are still available for the tasting in Las Vegas on May 5. For more information, visit www.WineSpectator.com/GrandTour.
Below are just a few of the producers and guests who attended the first of the three 2012 Grand Tour events. Click to see the enlarged images in a slideshow format.
Below are just a few of the producers and guests who attended the second of the three 2012 Grand Tour events. Click to enlarge the images.