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Mapping Out the Grand Tastings

Wines to make a beeline to sample at the 2014 Wine Spectator Wine Experience
Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Sep 29, 2014 1:25pm ET

The Grand Tastings at the New York Wine Experience are a playground for those of us who can't get enough great wine. Two floors of the Marriott Marquis Hotel house 267 producers those of us who review the wines nominated as our choices to be there. It's a who's who of wine, an opportunity to taste wines that are hard to find or so expensive the cost of a ticket wouldn't even buy one bottle.

Even though each producer can only pour one wine, it requires some forethought to get the most out of the experience. I scope out which ones I am gung-ho to get to, especially wines I don't get to taste regularly. When I walk through the door at the Grand Tastings Oct. 16 and 17, I'll have a plan. To help with yours (and to give you an idea of the kinds of wines on tap), here are some of the highlights of my list:

Achával-Ferrer Malbec Bella Vista 2011, because past vintages of this Argentinean were classic, stunning for their expressiveness, intensity and elegance.
Aldo Conterno Barolo Granbussia Riserva 2006, one of my very favorite producers anywhere, should be a great wine in a great vintage.
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Toscana Masseto 2006, always a phenomenal expression of Merlot in Tuscany.
E. Guigal Côte Rôtie Château d'Ampuis 2007, often as majestic as the much-vaunted La-La wines.
Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle 2011, for contrast, from the other great Northern Rhône appellation.
Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley 2011, as individualistic a California Chardonnay as there is, vintage after vintage.

And from my own regions, a few suggestions (all of which I have reviewed). Not all the notes have been published yet, just trust me:

Evening Land Chardonnay Summum 2012, stunning stuff from Oregon's best Chardonnay producer.
Owen Roe Chardonnay Yakima Valley DuBrul Vineyard 2012, from Washington, contrast and compare.
Leeuwin Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series 2011, represents a lipsmacking change in direction for Australia's iconic Chard.
Bergström Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Estate 2012, a great example of the stunning 2012 vintage in Oregon.
Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve 2010, No. 3 on the 2013 Top Ten. Taste why.
Reynvaan Syrah Stonessence 2010, a great Syrah that reflects the terroir of the rocky soils in Walla Walla.
Cayuse Syrah Bionic Frog 2010, to compare and contrast, same region.

And finally, three older wines I can't wait to wrap my taste buds around:
Torbreck RunRig Barossa Valley 2003, a majestic Australian red coming into its own.
Fontodi Flaccianello 1999, one of the original Super Tuscans based on Sangiovese, in full maturity.
Taylor Fladgate Port Single Harvest Very Old 1964. Come on, 50-year-old Port. What else need be said?

James Wilthrow
Newark, DE —  September 29, 2014 6:20pm ET
Great list. Let me know if you need a wingman.

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