I was looking forward to attending Wine Riot NYC this past weekend, and it did not disappoint. With 300 wines set up in a trade show manner by distributor, maker or region in the massive 69th Regiment Armory, it did take a few minutes to get my bearings. Whilst I had every intention of taking a systematic approach, I of course went about in an entirely non-methodical manner, just sort of wandering about the labyrinth of tables.
Ultimately, I tasted about 50 diverse wines, ranging from some that I absolutely loved to mediocre to a couple that were, honestly, rather dreadful. Overall, it was a thoroughly fabulous adventure, and difficult for me to distill all of my notes and photos into a post rather than a small novel. Below is the condensed version of my favourite wines that I will be seeking out to enjoy from my local wine shops.
Three absolutely spectacular wines from the Languedoc, all biodynamic [and vinified with indigenous yeasts, unfiltered and unrefined] with a lovely balance of fruit, spice and earth. One always hears the term ‘Garrique’ in describing the distinctive earthy, shrub and herb flavours in wines from southern France. I thought it was rather fantastic that they had a glass jar filled with ‘Garrique’, it was such a practical way to detect and understand such a fundamental characteristic.
Mas Foulaquier L’Orphee Pic Saint-Loup 2010 $19
Well structured with blackberry blueberry, Mediterranean herbs and a compelling flinty minerality.
Chateau Maris Natural Selection Biodynamic Syrah 2009 $17
Minervois la Liviniere
Black currant, blackberry and black peppercorn notes accompanied an earthy undercurrent of roasted herbs and velvety tannins. Fantastic with all kinds of spicy dishes or sipping on its own.
85% Syrah, 15% Grenache
Domaine des Deux Anes L’Enclos Corbieres 2009 $19
If I were asked what does a Languedoc wine taste like, I would give this a pour to explain. Packed with rich velvety flavours of blackberry, black cherry, smoky herbs, black peppercorn and hints of chocolate. A fantastic expression of southern French reds.
50% Grenache Noir, 20% Carignan, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah
I’m a huge fan of budge friendly Bordeaux, and the ladies at Bordeaux Wines really brought some fantastic gems for everyday enjoyment.
Chateau Côte Montpezat Côtes de Castillon 2005 $17
Black cherry, blackberry flavours were supported by earthy tobacco notes in the full body, whilst toasted oak and traces of pink peppercorn and dark chocolate comprised the lengthy finish. Well structured and easy drinking, this is a refined glass that keeps you reaching for more
Chateau Puynard Premiѐres Côtes de Blaye 2010 $13
Somewhat unconventional for a Bordeaux, reminiscent of a crème de cassis, absolutely bursting with black currant fruit and a rich mocha undercurrent. Delightful on its own or with a decadent chocolate desert.
Haut Charmes Sauternes 2007 $15
Produced from the younger vines of a legendary chateau, a somewhat lighter Sauternes but still brimming with sweet honey, pineapple and mango flavours. A fantastic value, try it with gamey cheeses and spiced or grilled fruits.
Catherine Marshall Nine Barrels Reserve Pinot Noir 2011
Sourced from high elevation vineyards in the cool Elgin Valley, so very dissimilar to most Pinot Noir [especially from California] with more in common with Pinotage. Dense fruit flavours of black cherry, and blueberry comprised the nearly full body, whilst black peppercorn, sweet vanilla and traces of campfire smoke lingered enticingly between each sip.
Wines de Alsace
Trimbach Riesling 2010 $15
Brooklyn Winery Rosé 075
Bright fruit flavours of cherry and watermelon, with a dry, zippy mineral finish. A fantastic warm weather sipper or with its ‘summer in a glass’ vibe, lovely to pour to brighten the cold winter months.
Wineberry Perle de Rose
This isn’t the nasty boxed wine that comes in ‘white’ or ‘red’ varieties and has a terrible image throughout the States. Wineberry is a boutique importer/distributer based in New York with an emphasis on natural French wines. Juicy fresh fruit with clean minerals and white flowers make this an uncomplicated, truly gulpable glass.
60% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 15% Syrah
Monte da Glória Reserve Red 2008 $9
Concentrated fruit, big tannins and an intriguing savoury herbaceousness. A very powerful sip and a superb value.
Terra Andina Carmenere 2011 $9
Blackberry and blueberry fruits with a spicy, earthy backbone, refined and elegant, a fantastic value.
The Seeker Cabernet Sauvignon $11
Jammy fruit with warm vanilla, toasted oak and cigar box spice notes, a crowd pleaser and great for the table.
Overall, this was a fun time, and I can’t wait for Wine Riot 2014!
[All prices are the average online price.]