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A Dream Night for Wine Lovers

The New York Wine Experience kicks off with the Grand Tastings

Mitch Frank
Posted: October 21, 2011

Updated Oct. 22, 2011

What do you call 262 of the world's best wineries pouring their top wines in one place for two nights? Some might say heaven, but Wine Spectator readers know this as the Grand Tastings, the first of which kicks off the New York Wine Experience-a weekend filled with beautiful wines and a chance to meet the people behind them.

For the 30th anniversary event, wine lovers packed two ballrooms of the Marriott Marquis in New York's Times Square on Thursday evening for the walk-around tasting. Their goal? Taste as many great wines as they could handle. Producers from all leading regions around the globe were pouring. You could start with Taittinger's Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2000 and end with 2008 Port from Quinta do Noval. In between were white Burgundies, New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, Brunellos di Montalcino, Napa Cabernets and classified-growth Bordeaux.

"This is my dream weekend," said Ken Fetter, a dentist from the Philadelphia area.

The winemakers, many of whom had just finished harvest, were happy at the chance to meet so many loyal customers. "It was madness at the Pichon-Baron table," said Christian Seely, who manages properties from Hungary to Portugal to Bordeaux's Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron.

"What's great is not just the number of people, but their passion," said Marilisa Allegrini of Azienda Agricola Allegrini in the Valpolicella region of Italy.

Passion is one thing, but the Grand Tastings also demand stamina. Guests face a dizzying number of options for furthering their wine knowledge. A tour of Bordeaux's first-growths? Lafite Rothschild, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild and Haut-Brion were all pouring. Explore the diversity of Italy? One could try nuanced whites from Alto Adige, Campania and Sicily, then move into two aisles' worth of Barolo, Barbaresco, Chianti Classico, super Tuscans and other reds. Compare the styles of Malbec from different regions in Argentina or contrast the Old World and the new wave in Spain? If you couldn't get through your entire wish list, fortunately you could return for a second night on Friday.

Check out portraits of some of the notable winemakers and winery owners who were pouring their wines, along with the guests who came to enjoy them. Click any thumbnail photo to open the slideshow.

 

 

Thursday's Grand Tastings

Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross

Friday's Grand Tastings

Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross Photograph by Michael Gross

2011 Wine Experience

Thomas Kobylarz
Hoboken, NJ —  October 22, 2011 10:07am ET
I attended last night for the 4th time in my life and it was the most diversified line-up yet! I stuck to Bordeaux, Super Tuscans (ready for a resurgence IMO), Brunello, Burgundy, Napa Cabs, Chards, a little Rioja and the outstanding Sauternes. I would have liked more time to get to more Napa, CdP, Riesling, and Piedmonte...oh well there is always next year!
Ron Hussey
Mission Viejo, CA —  October 23, 2011 5:45pm ET
I'm jealous. Have yet to attend one of these but I'm weakening. Maybe the next one in LA?
Thomas Matthews
New York City —  October 24, 2011 8:31am ET
Ron,

Please join us in Los Angeles next year; the Wine Experience will take place Oct 18-20. In 2012, the Grand Tastings will focus on New World wines (basically, everywhere outside Europe). Expect the benchmarks and the rising stars, and plenty of diversity.

Thomas Matthews
Executive editor
Wine Spectator
Greg Rivera
Boca Raton, FL —  October 24, 2011 11:48am ET
The event this past week was my first of many I will be attending. The Grand Tastings provide a unique forum for consumers and wine professionals to taste and compare a multitude of outstanding wines that we might not have opportunity to taste on a regular basis. The personalities behind the wines provide information and background that enhances the tasting experience. I will start planning for LA this week!

Greg Rivera
Advanced Sommelier
The Breakers Palm Beach
Troy Campione
Boston, MA —  November 17, 2011 2:51am ET
The discerning consumer and video extraordinaire proclaims "another stunning, to die for event! ". Keep'em coming!!!

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