CUVÉE Ray “Uncorked” - The New York Wine Experience, Experience
The New York Wine Experience, Experience
Whew!!! I just returned from my annual participation in a grueling wine tasting event in which over the course of 2 ½ days, participants taste say 200+ of the world’s best wines. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. All kidding aside, Wine Spectator’s annual New York Wine Experience is a crazy, exhausting, at times a real zoo of wine tasting humanity, ridiculous, hedonistic and.. the most educational, interesting, thrilling and fun get together of wine enthusiasts one can imagine.
Every year there are a number of interesting take-aways from my attendance at this event and this year I want to share some of them with you.
You go girl!! – Putting all politics aside, no one can doubt that 2018 is the year of empowerment of women (I say YAY to that!!). And nowhere was that more evident than at this year’s New York Wine Experience. While no one could provide even the slightest explanation as to how it took so long for this to happen, for the first time, an event known as the Chef’s Challenge (a food/wine pairing event) had a woman on the Chef’s Panel. While it’s an understatement to say “what took you so long,” it was obviously not happenstance that this happened this year.
And, while the Chef’s Panel is always a highlight of the Event, having a woman on the panel of course changed the panel’s dynamic for the better. And women wine makers and owners were everywhere this year from the appearance of Laura Catena of the acclaimed Argentinian Malbec producer, Catena Zapata, to Pro Golfer turned wine producer, Christie Kerr, to the maker of this year’s Wine Spectator #1 wine of the year, Renée Ary, of Duckhorn Vineyards. So great to see!!
But actually not something all that new as women have historically had an incredible impact on the wine world such as when Madame Clicquot invented the process of hand riddling champagne bottles to remove the sediment that accumulates from the secondary fermentation that takes place in a bottle of champagne or how Helen Turley became arguably the most influential wine maker of our time, just to name a few. The take away for me is that women have always played key roles in the wine world and this year at this event, that role was highlighted.
Let it Be – Every year, wine making themes emerge from the seminars presented by the worlds greatest wine makers/producers at the New York Wine Experience and this year was no exception. And the theme from one of the greatest songs ever made loomed large this year. Great wine is made in the vineyard and the greatest thing that a winemaker can do is stay out of the way, let the terroir speak for itself and just Let it Be.
More and more winemakers are recognizing that its not about trying to make an Oregon Pinot Noir taste like the Pinot Noir’s of Burgundy (a futile endeavor if undertaken in any event) or making an Oregon Chardonnay taste like a Russian River Chardonnay. It’s about taking what nature gives you and going with the identity of that to establish your wine’s greatness.
The Times They are a-Changin’ – Can’t seem to help but go with the greatest music influences to make my points, but hey, they are the poets and philosophers of our times. That said, I share this montage of brief additional take-aways regarding possible future trends, from this year’s New York Wine Experience: Watch out for great, structured non-overripe Chardonnay’s from the cooler wine growing regions of Australia; Malbec from Argentina will continue to grow in stature and popularity (watch for producers like Giant Steps, Leeuwine Estate and of course Penfolds);
Celebrities are making some great wine (we tasted a really nice rosé made by Jon Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse Bongiovi called Hampton Water…and yes Jon Bon Jovi did play Shot in the Heart after presenting his wine with his son) and I have already mentioned the wine by pro golfer Christie Kerr...and let’s not forget Sting and Trudie’s outstanding Tuscan wine, Sister Moon, among many others; Watch for a push to bring sweet wines that we have been enjoying with dessert, such as Sauternes and the like, into the mainstream by promoting them as fine accompaniments to dinner itself…the phrase being thrown around was “gold wines.”
The above is really just a sprinkling of the many highlights and take-aways from this year’s New York Wine Experience. It truly is a great event that brings together wine lovers from all over the world. And all the wine of the event is donated by the wine makers and the proceeds of the event going to wine-oriented charities like educational scholarships among others. I hope to share more of these thoughts and of course wine when I see you at Cuvée Ray!!
All for Wine and Wine for All!
(week of 10/22/2018)
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CUVÉE Ray Uncorked:Wine isn’t complicated!! And its enjoyment doesn’t belong to some elite club (even though some folks try to make it that way by employing incomprehensible jargon and let’s face it, an approach that is, well, snooty). First and foremost, wine is just a beverage and it’s a beverage that has been part of human culture for thousands of years. For our friends in say Italy, Spain or France, wine is just a part of everyday life…as it should be here! So each week, CUVÉE Ray: Uncorked will explore a new wine, wine region or topic and like Toto, we will pull back the curtain of wine mystery and share our love of this truly wonderful beverage.
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