What a whirlwind weekend! A travel and food writer, I’ve been focused on far-off destinations and exotic locales, barely stopping to check out what was happening in my own backyard. Luckily, Leslie and the Thirsty Girl gang were quick to remind me that the New York Wine Expo was taking place at the Javitz Center this past weekend. As a New York Thirsty Girl, I just had to attend.
Leslie had been informing my drinking palate over the past year, and Kristen, her gorgeous partner in crime, had taken me on a whirlwind tour of Napa and Sonoma during fall harvest. In my continued wine education, the New York Wine Expo was just the thing I needed to keep pushing me in a more savvy direction. It was a perfect one-two hit, as the New York Times Travel Show, the other event on my weekend’s appointment calendar, was taking place next door! Wine plus travel; what could be better?
I arrived on Friday night primed for some tasting. Leslie was hosting a seminar Taste Wine Like a Pro: Learn the Secrets of Tasting Through a Blind Tasting when I arrived, captivating the audience with her easy, fun-loving approach to the enjoyment of wine and wine tasting. After collecting my tasting glass, I headed off. Over 700 wines, almost 200 winemakers—how would I get through it all? Confession: it wasn’t that hard.
Though Leslie and Thirsty Girl I’ve learned that committing to wine is a pleasure, not a chore.
With exhibitors from some of my favorite regions in Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and the Rhône Valley, I stopped in for some familiar sips of Tempranillos, Alentejo reds, Malbecs, and Côtes du Rhônes. I was thrilled to stumbled across the Graham’s & Dow’s Port table, one of my favorite indulgences from Portugal. In sampling these favored regions, I discovered a few new additions to my regular rotation.
In Spain, I enjoyed the Zagarrón Sandogal Ciranza Selección, an especially lush Tempranillo, and Las Reñas from Dos Familias Importers, cheap and easy everyday reds. In Argentina, I swooned over the Vinorum Bradsen Gran Reserva, a 100% Malbec affair. In the Rhône Valley, I discovered the Côtes du Rhône, Familie Quiot–Château du Trignon and the Côtes du Rhône, Ogier, “Les Moirets.” Both were light and fruity, not too tannic. Hands down, these two were my favorite new wines of the night.
Chatting with the various distributors, I learned about Ice Cider from Vermont (too sweet), Jam Jar sweet Shiraz from South Africa (way too sweet), sparkling Shiraz from Australia (delicious), and a new Pinot from Napa’s Fulcrum Wines. I also turned onto wine regions in places I didn’t know were making wine—The Finger Lakes in New York, Santorini, Greece, and Brazil—and wondered how to work these lesser publicized wine destinations into my work as a travel writer.
At the end of the night, I jumped over to the Thirsty Girl booth to say goodnight to Leslie and company. I admit, I didn’t always spit, so I was a bit wobbly for wear. There, a couple of old favorites like the Ravenswood Zinfandel (Sonoma) and the Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) begged favor, before a hint of bubbles set me back on the road. All in all, a wonderful night full of experimentation and learning about one of my favorite topics: wine!
For more information on Marie Elena Martinez, a travel, food and lifestyle writer check out her site (www.marieelenamartinez.com) and most recent work in the Huffington Post, the Miami Herald, and Newsday. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.