Boston Wine Expo 2013

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Last month I celebrated the one year anniversary of my blog. It was the first blog I wrote and I went through the usual learning curve to get it right. If you look through the archives you can see that my first bog posting was of the Boston Wine Expo that I had attended last January. This year the event was held in February and I decided to attend the event. An early start to catch the Chinatown bus to Boston and, much to my colleagues surprise I rolled into South Station without any near-death experiences on the way up. The event was held at the same venue it was held last year which was the Seaport World Trade Center not too far from the bus station. The expo was open to the public but trade were let in a couple of hours beforehand. They held a separate “Grand Cru” tasting across the street at the Seaport Hotel. These huge mass tastings are pretty much a drinkfest with happy consumers rushing from table to table. Usually there are boatloads of mediocre wines but some drinkable juice can be had. The Grand Cru room poured some more upscale juice. After checking in I decided to start the day with the good juice and made my way to the Grand Cru room. I have to say that I was a little disappointed, I felt that the quality of the wines last year were better. But, it was an intimate room with good wines, tasty food, live jazz and a nice view of Boston harbor so it wasn’t all that bad.

Started at one of the Cali tables with the flagship wine from Beaulieu Vineyards, the 2009 “Georges De LaTour”.  It was dark purple with a nose of dusty slate, nice tannin and acids on the finish with some heat from the 15.7% alchohol peeking through at the end. The 2008 Hewett Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was dark in the glass with a nose of dusty black cherry and camphor, tightly concentrated with crisp acidity at the end and some heat peeking through as well. I haven’t been a big fan of the wines of Sterling Vineyard but I like the 2009 “Platinum” Napa Cabernet. A new bottling from them of selected lots of their best juice, it was dark purple with a nose of sweet mint with silky, chewy fruit and nice balance. Walked over to the other Cali table where they poured a few good glasses. The 2010 Mount Veeder Winery Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was black with a nose of wildflowers, dried herbs and mint, it was very concentrated and tight with notes of coffee and slate on the long finish. Tasty. A couple of wines from Caymus Vineyards, the 2010 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was black in the glass with nose of roasted coffee with dusty black cherry fruit. Their flagship 2010 “Special Selection” was also black in the glass with a nose of tar, camphor and coffee with velvet fruit, I though it was perfectlybalanced at this stage. The 2009 Robert Mondavi “Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon was inky with tar and coffee notes on the fruit.

Merry Edwards poured a nice Pinot, the 2009 Russian River “Meredith Estate” it was very dark for a Pinot Noir, with a classic nose of barnyard with bright silky fruit with moderate tannins and firm acids on the long finish. A small Russian River Valley producer, Donelan Family Vineyards poured a couple of wines. I liked the 2009 “Walker Vines Hill” Syrah, inky black and very chewy with dusty mint fruit nicely balanced and chunky. Cedar Knoll Vineyards 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was dark black with a nose of plums and stewed fruit with velvety and chewy fruit.

A couple of interesting Cali wines were from Nyarady Family Vineyards in Napa. Very small production, about 50 cases, they owners basically hand sell the wines at events like this. The 2009 “Howell Mountain” Cabernet Sauvignon was dark in the glass with a nose of cherry with black fruit on the palate and firm tannin and acid on the finish. The selection of foreign wines wasn’t too extensive but I did like a couple. The 2009 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne was medium yellow with a big nose of pineapple and honey and a touch of oak, tight fruit with balanced finesse with some mineral notes on the finish. From Italy the 2005 Franco Todini “Nero dell Cervara” was dark red with a rustic, stinky nose with cherry fruit, nicely balanced with some mint tones on the finish. I decided I had my fill of the Grand Cru and was about to leave when I noticed at this one table behind the pourer was wine in a carafe and an empty bottle of Bordeaux. Of course I asked for a glass. It turned out to be a 1985 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande. It’s always nice to try a mature Bordeaux. The wine had an amber robe with a big perfume of red roses, tar and leather with smokey roasted coffee notes on the fruit with dried leaf on the finish. Nice example of a mature Bordeaux.

I headed downstairs to the main room and the consumers were in high spirits with packs of them going from table to table drinking wine and having a good old time. Some of my favorite in the room were the wines from Gallo. The black label signature series are their high-end wines made by Gina Gallo. The 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was nice and 2009 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was excellent. The Cabernet was black in the glass with black cherry and mint on the nose with dusty crushed rocks on the balanced finish.

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