Raw Wine New York 2019

 

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The Raw Wine artisan wine fair was held on October 27-28. It was the New York City stop on a 2019 tour that has taken and will take the fair to Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal and Berlin.

The Fair showcased low intervention, organic, biodynamic and natural wine growers and makers and afforded the opportunity for consumers and members of the trade to sample the wines and to speak to the people involved.

The mission statement of the fair states that “Raw Wine celebrates wines with emotion. Wines that have a humanlike, or living presence. They are also wines that are an authentic expression of a place”.

The Fair was held at the Knockdown Center located at 52-19 Flushing Avenue in Maspeth, Queens. This is a new venue for the event and the first time I have been to this venue. It’s a former factory and is a huge, brick fortress that’s almost a football field long that on the Sunday afternoon I attended, was crammed with tables of wineries pouring their wines. There were a massive selection of wines to try.

There were representatives of wine producing countries from the old and the new world including the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Georgia, Australia and Chile.

For the most part these are small production wineries with labels that I didn’t recognize with the exception of a couple of California producers. All styles of wine were represented including still, sparkling, pet-nats and orange wines. There was also a small selection of beer, cider and spirits.

These are niche wines that have gained more traction the last several years. According to BeverageDaily.com, the organic wine market represents 3.6% of global consumption but that number has doubled in the last five years. I can say that they have improved much for these types of wine from decades past. Still, many of the wines had the pungent aromas that these wines are known to have.

 

 

Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience 2019

 

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The 39th annual Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience was held on October 17-19.

The Wine Spectator magazine was founded in 1976 and is one of the premier periodicals dealing with wine and wine culture. It’s 100 point wine scoring system is highly influential and often used as a guide by consumers in determining wine quality.

The Wine Experience was three days of sit-down wine seminars and lunches, two critics’choice grand tastings and a Grand Awards banquet and Champagne reception which hosted The Beach Boys as this years musical guests.

The event this year was held at its usual venue at the Marriott Marquis hotel located in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan at 1535 Broadway.

I attended the Grand Tasting on Friday evening. Without a doubt this is one of the if not the best consumer wine tastings of the year. The tasting featured two floors of 273 wineries/chateau pouring various vintages of their wines that have been rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator. That’s an overwhelming amount of quality juice to be had in one evening. As such, I focused my efforts as I usually do at this event with the red wines of Bordeaux and Napa Valley Cabernet.

The Critics’ Choice Grand Tastings are sponsored by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation which awards scholarships and grants to students pursuing careers in enology, viticulture, wine service and other related fields.

 

New World

1999 Ridge “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mtn.)  Dark brick with an amber rim, perfume of sweet red fruit, chewy red fruit with great balance.

2008 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley)  Dark red with an amber rim, black licorice on the fruit and on the firm finish.

2010 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall”(Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, tree bark on the nose with concentrated sweet red fruit.

2010 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon “Hillside Select” (Napa Valley)  Dark purple, earth and black cherry on the nose, silky concentrated fruit with a moderate finish.

2013 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon “Trailside Vineyard” (Napa Valley)  Medium red with a tarry, black cherry nose, silky red fruit on the nice balance.

2014 Schrader Cabernet Sauvignon “RBS Beckstoffer” (Napa Valley)  Black in color, closed nose of tobacco, concentrated, silky crushed red fruit, firm finish.

2014 Hestan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)  Black in color, closed nose of raspberry, juicy, sweet black fruit with a moderate finish.

2014 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon “Vintage Selection” (Napa Valley)  Black in color, pickle juice on the nose with chunky, dark chocolate fruit, nice balance.

2014 Harlan Estate (Napa Valley)  Dark red, closed nose of toasty dark fruit, concentrated and juicy, balanced.

2014 Bond St. Eden Red (Napa Valley)  Dark red with a brick rim, sweet roast nuts on the nose, juicy black fruit with a moderate finish

2014 Ovid Red Blend (Napa Valley)  Dark red, sweet tar and violets on the nose, chewy with roast nuts on the firm finish.

2015 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Cask 23” (Napa Valley)  Dark purple, crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit with a firm grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon “Special  Select” (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, mint and roast nuts on the nose with juicy, big fruit and a moderate finish.

2015 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon “Pritchard Hill” (Napa Valley)  Cloudy dark red, some cooked fruit notes on the nose, chunky, chewy and dense with black licorice fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2015 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley)  Dark purple, sweet nuts on the nose, juicy dark chocolate fruit with a sweet, long finish.

2015 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot No. 1” (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, sweet dried leaf on the nose, chewy and dense red cherry fruit on the moderate finish.

2015 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “The Reserve” (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, roast nuts and black fruit on the nose, mouth filling chewy licorice on the fruit with a long and balanced finish.

2016 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Napa Valley)  Black in color, dark chocolate on the nose, dark chocolate fruit, crisp acids at the finish.

2016 Pahlmeyer (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, dusty dark chocolate nose with dark chocolate on the fruit with crisp acids on the finish.

2016 Opus One (Napa Valley)  Medium purple, smoky red cherry on the nose, chewy red cherry fruit with lip smacking silky tannins at the end.

 

Old World

2004 Chateau Margaux (Margaux)  Clear medium brick, pretty nose of floral wildflowers, tight red fruit on the firm finish.

2005 Chateau Leoville Barton (St. Julian)  Cloudy dark purple to black, dried earth, oak and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight and tart.

2008 La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan)  Dark red, sweet flowers on the nose, dusty, tight fruit, hard finish.

2009 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan)  Dark purple, sweet red fruit and tree bark on the nose with silky red fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2009 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paulliac)  Dark red with a brick rim, pretty nose of smoky dark tar and graphite, tight and juicy red fruit, nice balance.

2009 Chateau Canon (St. Emilion)  Dark red to black with a funky, dirty nose, tight, silky dark fruit, firm finish.

2009 Chateau Clerc Milon (Paulliac)  Dark red in color, tarry, leather on the nose, tight and crisp.

2010 Clos Fourtet (St. Emilion)  Cloudy dark purple, pretty perfume of violets and stone, chewy dark fruit with excellent balance.

2011 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Paulliac)  Dark brick, sweet nose of violets and graphite, tight, red cherry fruit with some smoked earth on the finish.

2014 Chateau Montrose (St.-Estephe)  Dark purple, stone and pencil shavings on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with lip smacking tannins.

2014 Chateau Calon-Segur (St. Estephe)  Black, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight and juicy crushed black fruit with mint notes on the finish.

2014 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Paulliac)  Dark red with a purple rim, tarry nose, tight red cherry fruit, crisp acids.

2015 Chateau Pichon Baron (Paulliac)  Medium red, roasted walnuts on the nose, tight and chewy, firm.

2015 Chateau Branaire-Ducru (St. Julien)  Dark purple with black cherry tar on the nose, concentrated and dusty with firm silky tannins at the end.

2016 Chateau Duhart-Milon (Paulliac)  Medium purple with a perfume of sweet red fruit and some toast, tight, silky red fruit with a moderate balance.

***

2016 Gaja Barberesco (Piedmont)  Medium brick, closed nose of sweet tar and sage, tight with mouth watering tannins.

 

 

Scarchella Music Festival

 

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On Saturday, September 14th the Scarsdale Business Alliance hosted the first annual Scarchella music festival which supports local charities to help fund community programs.

The festival was held in the town of Scarsdale in Westchester county which is just under an hour north of New York City via the Metro North rail line and was located in the Scarsdale village center which is conveniently located just off the train station. It’s also where Zachys wine shop is located.

It was an afternoon of live music from various local bands, food trucks for the hungry and more importantly, the Zachys wine shop sponsored Grand Tasting Wine Village.

The wine shop has a good reputation for throwing good wine tastings so I had high hopes for the event. It did not disappoint and was well worth the fee that was charged for the quality of the wines that were offered this afternoon. There were a couple of quirks under the tent this afternoon. One was that none of the vendors pouring provided water to rinse out a wine glass, and the other was that you weren’t allowed (by State law apparently) to use your own wine glass. I always bring a proper wine glass with me when I go to consumer events because I know that sometimes the “glassware” consists of plastic wine glasses as it was in this case. Who knew?

In any case there were some nice wines poured this afternoon while being serenated with live music.

 

As usual I like to start the day with some Champagne.

2009 Dom Perignon Blanc de Blanc

2008 Louis Roederer Cristal

NV Deutz Classic Brut, Brut Rosé

Over 100 wines poured, some highlights:

2016 Dominus Estate Napanook: Decanted. Dark red, dried leaf on the nose, concentrated dark fruit, balanced, long finish.

2015 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Decanted. Dark red to black, crushed red berry and mint on the nose, concentrated with some oak on the firm finish.

2016 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon: Decanted. Cloudy dark red, crushed black berry on the nose, concentrated, dark dusty, firm fruit.

2016 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia: Medium purple, green herbs and black olives on the nose, tight, smoky fruit and a peppery finish that drops a bit at the end.

2016 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva: Medium amber, tar nose, silky red fruit, dusty, firm finish.

2016 Castellare di Castellina Poggia Ai Merli: Dark red with a purple rim, cooked fruit on the nose, thick and dusty.

2015 I Greppi Greppicaia Bolgheri Superiore: Medium red, sweet cherry on the nose, dusty black cherry on the firm finish.

2015 Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione: Light red, sweet cherry nose with sweet red fruit on the moderate finish.

2014 Ridolfi Brunello di Montalcino: Light amber, sweet tar on the nose, silky sweet fruit on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Poggio Antica Brunello di Montalcino: Light amber, closed nose of tar, tight with big tannins.

2016 Fattoria Le Pupille Saffedi: Dark red, sweet tar and leather on the nose, starts juicy ending tight and tannic.

2016 Louis Jadot Gevrey Chambetin Poissenots: Medium red, toast and tree bark on the nose, foral,silky red fruit with great balance.

2008 Duhart Milon Rothschild: Medium red, amber rim, sweet perfume, minty black fruit, tight and crisp with dried leaf notes on the finish.

2016 Duhart Milon Rothschild: Medium purple, pretty perfume of tree bark and dark fruit, silky red licorice fruit with crushed nuts on the firm but balanced finish.

2016 Haut Bailly: Medium purple, dusty dried leaf on the nose, tight and concentrated, firm finish.

2010 Marquis de Murrieta Ygay Gran Reserva Limited Edition: Medium red, sweet red tar on the nose, red fruit with a firm, balanced finish.

 

 

International Wine Fest At The Golden Nugget 2019

 

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On August 24th I attended the 8th annual International WineFest held at the Golden Nugget hotel and casino.

The Golden Nugget casino along with Harrah’s and the Borgata are in the Marina district of Atlantic City in New Jersey. That’s about a couple of miles from the famous boardwalk where the bulk of the casinos are located.

Originally, seven years ago the festival began as the Cal-Ital wine festival. It had paired Italian along wines with California wineries of Italian heritage. Some of those included Sbragia, Mondavi, Sebastiani, Seghesio, Peroncelli and Louis Martini to name a few. Italian immigrants had brought over their wine culture and wine making skills to the early winemaking industry in California. It was an exciting concept and they poured some nice juice.

Unfortunately I believe the organizers of the event found that concept too limiting for a large wine event so they segued into an international festival theme which gave them more product to bring into the fest.

The Wine Fest was a two day event with the grand tasting on Saturday evening which I attended. Over 100 wines from the wine producing countries of the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia were poured.

While there were no trophy wines present, it was a good opportunity for a neophyte wine drinker to experience a broad range of international wines and styles. The room was never overcrowded and there was never a long wait for a pour of wine.

Along with live music, a buffet and their signature attractive wine ambassadors pouring, it made for a fun evening of drinking wine before you got back to the business of gambling.

 

I was in a Champagne drinking mood that evening so my go to drink for the night was Champagne.

Paul Goerg: Brut reserve, blanc de blanc , brut  .

Pol Couronne’s: Brut cuvee, blanc de blanc, brut rosé.

 

Some others I sampled:

Robert Mondavi: Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet Sauvignon, barrel aged Chardonnay, rum barrel aged Merlot.

Rodney Strong: Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Vallery estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Merlot.

Francis Coppola: Sofia Rosé, Diamond Collection Oregon Pinot Noir.

Heavy Weight: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Knockout Red.

Smoke Tree: Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

Dancing Crow: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel.

19 Crimes: Hard Chardonnay, Shiraz, The Warden, Red Blend.

Oyster Bay: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Barossa Valley GSM.

Perrin: Cote du Rhone Rosé, Cote du Rhone Villages Rouge, Vinsobre Les Cornuds.

Louis Jadot: Macon Villages Blanc, Rosé, Beaujolais Villages.

Cavaliere D’Oro: Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva.

Laurennz V: Friendly Gruner Veltlener, Charming Gruner.

Quinta Do Crasto: Douro White, Douro Red.

Montes: Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

Sonoma Barrel Tastings Day 1

 

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The 42nd annual Sonoma Barrel Tasting was held the first two weekends in March from Friday to Sunday each weekend. Over 100 wineries participated in the event in which you had the opportunity to sample their wines that are still aging in the barrels. The wineries also offered the opportunity to purchase “futures” of those wines at a discount.

It’s a yearly party with groups of people coming back year after year for the weekend. Many of the wineries had live bands and music and though not billed as a food event, many served nibbles.

Many of the superstar wineries in Sonoma did not participate in the event but it was a great opportunity to try the smaller, off the radar wineries that would have been overlooked at another time.

Many of the barrel wines were not surprisingly from the 2017& 2018 vintages but some wineries were pouring from older vintages in barrels as well. Surprisingly I found many of the barrel samples less harsh than I anticipated, no doubt because of the warmer growing seasons that kept the acids low. Not too long ago I had a tasting of newly bottled 2016 Bordeaux and my mouth was shriveling from all the tannin.

I was at the event the second weekend which means I missed the extensive flooding that had hit the wine region the previous week. Some wineries told me they had floodwaters coming up to the tasting room door! Since the wines were unfinished, I didn’t take notes, I just enjoyed the party.

Some of the wineries I stopped by for barrel samples:

 

Balletto Vineyards: 2018 Winery Block Pinot Noir, 2018 BCD Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2018 Emerson Block Pinot Noir.

Clos du Bois Winery: 2016 Fumé Blance Reserve, 2017 Chardonnay Reserve, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2014 Briarcrest.

Davis Family Vineyards: 2017 Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir, 2017 Soul Patch Pinot Noir, 2017 Old Vines Zinfandel.

Deloach Vineyards: 2018 Estate Pinot Noir

D’Argenzio Winery: 2018 Marcucci Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2018 DeNatale Sangiovese, 2018 Marcucci Vineayrd Zinfandel, 2017 Anthesis Pinot Noir.

deLorimier Winery: 2017 Primitivo River Lane Reserve, 2016 Cabernet Franc Romazzotti, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Crazy Creek Reserve.

Fog Crest Vineyards: 2018 Rosé.

Porter Creek Winery: 2018 Fiona Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2018 Carignane  Old Vine.

Pedroncelli Winery: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Block 007, 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Block 007.

WestWines: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

Starlight Vineyards

 

 

 

Matter of Taste New York 2018

 

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Wine critic and writer Robert Parker’s wine magazine, the Wine Advocate, hosts a series of global wine events throughout the year “bringing iconic wines of the world to Advocate’s members”. They host walk-around tastings, Master Classes and Dinners. In 2018 the journal hosted events in London, Singapore, San Francisco and on November 10th, their 40th anniversary addition of Matter of Taste New York City. The event was held this year as in last at the Conrad Hotel  located at 102 North End Avenue down the block from the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.

This wine event is one of, if not the best consumer wine tasting of the year. The walk-around tasting featured a staggering amount (over 300) of some of the best wines from the wine producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

At these mega-tastings, there are far too many wines to try to sample in one afternoon or at least sample all and still be standing by the end of the afternoon, so I did what I usually do at these huge events and focused my tasting. That meant meandering around the Bordeaux and California tables and stopping to sample outliers at Spain and Italy. I was able to attend one of the interesting master classes as well. I tasted a lot of good juice this afternoon.

Some of what I sampled:

 

New World

2014 Kistler Vineyards Chardonnay “Kistler Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Light gold, dusty nose with gun-metal notes on the moderate fruit.

2014 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay “Estate” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark gold, juicy tropical nose with tropical fruit and lime notes on the finish.

1996 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark brick with a pretty perfume of sweet fruit and dark chocolate, chewy and dusty fruit with firm acids.

2002 Joseph Phelps Vineyard “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roasted coffee and dried leaf on the nose, chunky with some cooked fruit notes on the fruit, still has good balance.

2007 Crocker & Star Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Stone Place” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red with dark red fruit on the nose, chunky and juicy with silky, firm tannins.

2008 Ramey Cellars “Pedregal” (Napa Valley) From a 3 acre plot, black in color, dried leaf and black licorice on the nose, chewy and thick with herb notes on the finish.

2013 Continuum Estate Red (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, barnyard fruit.

2013 Donelan Family Syrah “Obsidian Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Medium red with dusty barnyard on the nose, thick and chunky with smoky, dusty fruit on the balanced finish.

2014 Opus One (Napa Valley) Opaque black, warm crushed black fruit on the nose, tight and concentrated with a silky, tight finish.

2014 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Dancing Bear Ranch” (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard notes on the nose, dark chocolate on the fruit, firm tannins.

2014 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark purple, floral herbs on the nose, chewy with a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2014 Brion Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Moon Mt” (Napa Valley) Deep black in color, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick dark chocolate fruit, balanced, long finish.

2014 Harlan Estate “Harlan Estate” (Napa Valley) Dark red with dusty crushed red fruit with some barnyard notes on the finish.

2014 Krupp Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon “Stagecoach Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, crushed black fruit on the nose, chunky and chewy black licorice on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Pahlmeyer “Proprietary Red” (Napa Valley) Dark red in color, toasty red fruit on the nose with dusty red fruit.

2015 Gallica Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley) 96 cases made, medium red, dusty plums on the nose with concentrated dark red fruit with a dusty finish, balanced.

2015 J. Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir “West Block” (Sonoma Valley) From old vines (1869), Medium purple with dark fruit and a touch of pine on the nose, tight, chewy fruit with some tart notes on the finish.

 

Old World

2014 Domaine Jean Chartron Chevalier Montrachet “Clos des Chevaliers” (Burgundy) Light gold, dirty nose with lime notes on the finish.

2005 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paulliac) Dark brick with an amber rim, crushed dark fruit, mint and some barnyard on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate tannins and acids, long finish.

2005 Chateau Trotanoy (Pomerol) Dark red to black with an amber rim with a floral perfume, chewy with bell pepper notes on the tight and tannic finish.

2008 Chateau Pape-Clement (Pessac-Leognan) Black in color, dark chocolate on the nose, tight with frim tannins and acid.

2009 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou (St-Julien) Dark purple, closed nose of mint and bell pepper, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Black in color, dusty red fruit on the nose with slate notes on the fruit, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Figeac (St-Emilion) Dark red, toasty crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose with dusty slate notes on the finish.

2015 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Very dark amber, warm cooked black on the nose with tight, silky tannins.

2007 Marchesi Antinori “Solaia” (Tuscany) Black as tar with silky red fruit, tight finish goes long.

2013 Marchesi Antinori “Tignanello” (Tuscany) Dark red, green herbs on the nose with very tight fruit.

2013 Tenuta Guido “Sassicaia” (Tuscany) Medium red, warm dried leaf on the nose, tight, moderate juicy fruit with firm acids.

2004 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Dark red to black with dusty, dried leaf notes on the nose, dusty fruit.

2014 Pingus “Pingus” (Ribera del Duero) Dark purple to black with an amber rim, slate notes on the nose, tight with gun metal notes on the dusty finish.

 

Master Class: A Preview of the 2016 Bordeaux Reds

From what I’ve been reading, the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was weird. The first part of the year saw massive rains which worried the owners and wine makers that the vintage would be a washout, but then the rest of the year was bone dry which seems to have balanced things out and many are calling it an excellent vintage. At this seminar I was able to sample one white and thirteen reds, many of which were recently bottled. At this stage they haven’t had a chance to settle in, with that I found a lot of concentrated red fruit with robust tannins. These wines are built for aging, I would love to try this tasting again ten years from now.

Smith Haut-Lafite Blanc                Smith Haut-Lafite

Pape Clement                                   Leoville Barton

Pontet-Canet                                     Rauzan-Segla

Canon                                                 Peby Faugeres

Troplong Mondot                             Valandraud

Belair-Monage                                  La Fleur-Petrus

Trotanoy                                           La Conseillante

 

 

 

Raw Wine New York 2018

 

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The 3rd annual New York City Raw Wine Fair was held on November 4-5. This is the latest stop in an itinerary that has stopped at or will stop at London, Berlin, Montreal and Los Angeles. The New York event was held in a warehouse venue at 99 Scott Avenue in trendy Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Raw Wine is “committed to empowering wine drinkers through real informed choices” with wines that have “emotion and living presence”. The fair was an opportunity to try low intervention organic, natural and biodynamic wines from over 140 wine makers and growers.

According to Beverage Media Group, a trade publication, “green wines” are a small niche in the United States with 1% of wines by volume but has grown by 10% volume growth outpacing total wine growth which is nearly flat. When it comes to natural, organic and biodynamic wines, the rules can be a little fuzzy but basically they are wines made with minimal manipulation. I remember a time when the selection of these wines were pretty limited and the common theme through most of them was “funky”.

I attended on Sunday afternoon which was a beautiful Autumn day and the venue was packed with people. These guys are the mad scientists of the wine world which made for a lot of interesting characters at the fest, most are small producers and I wasn’t familiar with many of the labels except for a couple of California producers. Usually at a mass tasting like this I try to have a focus on what I will try but today I just wandered around the rooms stopping at tables that looked interesting (and not have a mob of people surrounding it).

 

Some of what I sampled:

Couquelicot Estate (Santa Ynez Valley) 2015 Malbec, 2015 Rose & Son Red, 2016 Rose & Son Red

Lo-Fi Wines (Santa Barbara) 2016 Grenache Noir, 2017 Cabernet Franc Couquelicot Vineyard, 2017 Malbec

Hiyu Winery (Oregon) 2016 Falcon Box, 2016 Columba, 2015 Argo Iris

Swick Winery (Oregon) 2017 Pinot Noir, 2017 Bring It, 2017 Un Oeuf

Domaine de l’Ecu (Loire) 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Rednoz, 2015 Cabernet Franc Mephisto, 2017 Syrah Noblis

La Baronne (Rousillon) 2017 Grenache Gris De Jean, 2017 Les Chemins de Traverse

Chateau Guadet (St-Emillion) 2014 Grand Cru Classe Red

Closerie Saint Roc (Bordeaux) 2015, 2016 Red

Collina del Pernione (Lombardy) 2016 Agnore, 2017 Alma

I Mandorli (Tuscany) 2012 Sangiovese, 2015 Cabernet

Castello Poggiarello (Tuscany) 2012 Collerosso

Amepeleia (Tuscany) 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2017 Carignano

Il Monte (Veneto) 2016 Valpolicella Superiore, 2015 Amarone

Paolo & Lorenzo Marchionni (Tuscany) 2016 Rossovigliano, 2015 L’Erta Poggio della Bruna