More than 2,000 wine lovers, winemakers and industry professionals filed into two packed ballrooms at New York’s Marriott Marquis in Times Square last night for the first of two nights of Grand Tastings that kicked off the 33rd Wine Spectator Wine Experience, a three-day event featuring winemaker seminars, seated lunches with wine pairings and the black-tie Grand Award Banquet Saturday night featuring a performance by John Legend. The walk-around tasting, which sold out weeks in advance, featured 264 top wineries from around the world, all pouring wines rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator’s editors.
Attendees made their way from one winemaking icon to the next to sample some of the finest wines in the world—Château Margaux owner Corinne Mentzelopoulos was pouring her Bordeaux first-growth’s 2006 vintage, while 50 feet away Fred Schrader was popping bottles of his 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard CCS. Many guests opted to start with a taste or three of Champagne, of which they could choose from Krug Grande Cuvée, Louis Roederer Brut Cristal 2005 or Salon Le Mesnil 1999, just to name a few.
Choices spanned the globe, with leading producers representing every major wine region in the world, from Australia’s Henschke and Two Hands to Austria’s Kracher, Italy’s Masseto and Giacosa to Spain’s Vega Sicilia and Numanthia-Termes. Dessert wine lovers finished their evening at one of the tables pouring Vintage Port or sipping Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Essencia 2003 from a traditional crystal spoon.“How can you not enjoy this event?” asked attendee Tom Stroup. “You get to taste some of the best wines in the world.” Stroup, visiting from Virginia, should know: He and his wife, Heather, were attending the Wine Experience for the 18th time; their friends John and Cheryl Butz, also from Virginia, were attending for the 13th time.
“The Krug was great! The Dom was killer! The Giacosa … Oh my god!” exclaimed California Pinot guru Brian Loring, who was pouring his own Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard 2011.“There is an energy here tonight,” said Josh Bergström, who was pouring his 2011 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir from Oregon with his wife, Caroline. “The whole room is exciting—the Bordeaux first-growths are always exciting, and you’ve got Scavino and Giacosa—all of them in the same room!”
Master Sommelier Kevin Vogt, wine director for chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants and maker of his own Napa Cabernet called Mastery, was attending the Wine Experience for the 13th time. “There are so many great wines: I’m always a fan of Kosta Browne … the whole Italian section seems to be on fire ... I could live here.”
Unfortunately for Vogt and other likeminded enophiles, the Wine Experience only lasts for one vino-filled weekend a year, but he and thousands of others can come back tonight.
Cristian Valbruzzoli — San Francisco, California, United States — October 27, 2013 3:21pm ET
Michael Schulman — Westlake Village, California — October 28, 2013 5:53pm ET
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