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:
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.
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
Canon Peby Faugeres
Troplong Mondot Valandraud
Belair-Monage La Fleur-Petrus
Trotanoy La Conseillante