Boston Snow & Wine

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This past weekend I took a trip to the city of Boston to attend the annual Boston Wine Expo. The Expo, which was billed as “A Global Adventure In a Glass”, is one of the biggest consumer events in the country with more than 2,000 wines from more than 200 wines poured in addition to Chef demonstrations and Wine Seminars. For the wine enthusiasts, there was also a Vintners’ Reserve Lounge with higher-end wines featured.

The event was held at the Seaport Hotel and Convention center which is conveniently a few minute tram ride from the bus station I arrived at.  It’s always been a fun event. Unfortunately this year, Mother Nature was not cooperating.Prior to this event, Boston had been hit with several snow storms and another was predicted to hit town Saturday night. I decided to take a gamble that the weather forecasters would be wrong on this one. They were not. I was able to make it to town that morning and the Saturday event went off with out a hitch, but the storm did hit that evening and by daybreak the mass transit system was shut down and the Sunday event was cancelled. They had some serious snow, snow dunes at eyeball level and walking the back streets meant walking through snow tunnels. I still would have walked to the event if it came down to that.

On Saturday I attended the Vintners” Lounge and a couple of seminars. I was a little disappointed in the Vintners Lounge this year compared to the last few years events I attended. There was no live band and the food ran out about an hour after start time and more importantly, I thought the wines weren’t as exciting as in previous years with the exception of one table of library wines that were provided by the hotel. The two seminars I attended were outstanding.

Seminars:

Opus One Vertical With Winemaker Michael Silacci

1988: Dark red with a brown robe that had me worried, closed nose with some petroleum and sweet red licorice with concentrated and tight fruit, minty mouth coating tannin on the finish.

1996: Dark red with an amber to brown robe, big perfume of sweet herbs, sweet red fruit and red licorice with silky integrated fruit and nicely balanced on the beautiful long finish. Nice wine.

2001: Black with an amber robe with toasty dried leaf and red licorice on the nose and dusty and juicy sweet red fruit and sweet tannin on the long finish.

2010: Black with a purple robe, brambly eucalyptus and crushed dark berries on the nose with silky sweet fruit and moderate tannin and acids on the moderate finish. Needs time to come together but I don’t think it is built for the long haul.

Chateau Meyney 10yr Vertical With Winemaker Anne Le Naour

2003: Black in color with slate and crushed rock on the nose, very concentrated, juicy but tight with slate notes on the tight finish. Very nice.

2004: Very black with a closed perfume of red roses and dark fruit with a very concentrated and firm structure, some tartness from the acidity at the end.

2005: The winemaker called this a “Rocking chair vintage”. Black in color with a beautiful perfume of rosemary, slate and crushed rocks, concentrated with sweet, firm tannin at the end.

2006: Very black with a purple robe, aroma of petroleum, concentrated with big tannin at the finish, I thought it needed more time to smooth things out.

2007: Black in color with a nose of sweet red berries with concentrated fruit of fresh thyme notes and dusty tannin on the finish.

2008: Black with a purple robe, toasted crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and concentrated with great structure and balance and firm tannin. Tasty.

2009: Black with a purple robe, closed nose of meaty, sweet black fruit with chewy black licorice fruit and mouth coating tannin on the lingering finish.

2010: Very black in color with a purple robe with a nose of bacon and toasty sweet berries, very concentrated with slate and crushed rocks on the chewy fruit, nice hit of lip smacking tannin and graphite notes on the long finish. Very nice, my favorite of the flight.

2011: Black with a purple robe, closed nose of dark chocolate and turpentine, very tight with tongue curdling tannin and acids with a harsh finish, green.

2012: Inky black with a thin purple robe, nose of crushed fresh berries and coffee with black licorice on the relatively light finish.

Vintners’ Reserve Lounge

2007 Flowers Chardonnay “Andreen-Gale” (Sonoma Coast). A mature Chard, dark gold in color with dried flowers on the nose, light tropical notes on the good fruit, nicely balanced with a long finish.

2006 William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru “Vaudésir” (Burgundy). Light gold with ripe mango on the nose, sweet fruit with crisp acidity and a long finish.

2009 Merry Edwards Winery Pinot Noir “Meredith Estate” (Russian River Valley). Dark red for a Pinot, rosemary on the nose with tight, silky sweet berry fruit and a balanced finish. Delicious.

2004 Groth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with ripe vegetal notes on the nose, silky, toasty dark fruit, firm and balanced at the end.

2007 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley). Black in color with a nose of warm, ripe cooked fruit, concentrated and juicy with moderate tannin and acids at the end.

2002 Elyse Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Tietjen Vineyards” (Napa Valley). Black with ripe dark berries on the nose, deep sweet fruit with firm sweet tannin with some toast on the end. Drinking nicely.

2009 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Selection” (Napa Valley). Black with dried rosemary on the nose with concentrated and juicy dark red berry fruit, firm with nice balance.

2011 Chalk Hill Estate Syrah (Russian River Valley). Dark black with dried herbs and red berry on the nose, dark and very concentrated with firm acids on the finish.

 

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Burlesque & Bloody Mary’s

 

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This past Saturday I went to a couple of cocktail inspired events in Manhattan. I began the day at L’Apicio restaurant at 13 East 1st Street in the East Village for the Eat, Drink & Bloody Mary Fest. A Bloody Mary completion of more than fifteen restaurants with their take on the classic cocktail of vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, tobacco, celery salt and pepper. Variations included the use of carrot juice, mustard, various chilies and while the default vodka at the event was Tito’s Handmade vodka, bacon infused bourbon and grappa made an appearance as well. Some nice nibbles provided by the restaurant included some tasty mini fried chicken with biscuit. It was a consumer event and soon became jammed with Bloody Mary fans. The competing restaurants included:

Extra Fancy: My favorite, made with carrot juice

Dell’ anima: Salumi infused vodka

DBGB: Mustard added, smoky, chewy

L’Apicio: A green one with tomatillo and jalapeno, could use a kick of heat at the end

Bar Sardine: Another green version

Northern Spy Food Co.: Stuck to the original recipe

Osteria Morini: Bright and vinegary

Atrium: Clean tasting with real tomato flavor

L’ Apriusi: Sweet, bacony with citrus at the end

Booker Dax: Non traditional with bouillon. light brown

Commerce: Classic recipe, chewy horseradish

The Smith: Traditional, lots of horseradish

After all those Bloody Mary’s I headed to the East Ville Des Folies Beer & Whiskey tasting event held at Webster Hall on 125 East 11th Street in the East Village. It was four floors of music, beer and spirits. The theme of the event was Prohibition-era speakeasy and people dressed in period costumes, the women as flappers and the men as 1920’s gangsters. In addition to spirits, there was live entertainment in the form of bands and burlesque. Webster Hall is an old dance club with many nooks and crannies and they were all filled with beer, whisky and live music, I really enjoyed the band, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra which played in the main ballroom. It was a fun event.