The Wine Riot – He Said, She Said

GLENN – Let’s get this out of the way at the get-go. I was not the oldest person at the Wine Riot – I was the second oldest. The Second Glass, sponsor of the event, aims for a young demographic and panders to the perception that older wine lovers are  wine snobs ready to shoot down any young wine novice who wanders into their range of fire. Come to the Wine Riot, taste among your own kind and don’t worry about the disapproval of the geezers. The language used to push the Wine Riot is actually humorous – Really, what is a “baller wine”, really?

Perhaps the folks at Second Glass will weary of this cant – or grow older – and sponsor an event under a larger tent. Yet, having said that, I really enjoyed the crowd at the Riot. This was a young, actually well dressed crowd intent on tasting wine and expanding their knowledge and comfort level; asking questions of the exhibitors and taking notes. Unlike the Wine Expo, I didn’t witness sloppy people who came to get a buzz nor was I subject to the rudeness that so often occurs while vying for a spot at the tasting booths. The event hadn’t been oversold and the crowd level was quite bearable. I do congratulate The Second Glass for putting on a great event.

KATRIN – First of all, kudos to The Second Glass for a super event!  Fun, slightly irreverent, and educational, the Wine Riot outdid the Boston Wine Expo in many respects.  Short lines at the tables, not overly crowded, the seminars provided a good break from the wine tasting, and, as Glenn mentioned, attendees were having a good time and learning about wine. Only three things I would change: First, turn down the music (until perhaps closer to the end of the night).  This might be a sign that of being older than the average age of the attendees, but the DJ didn’t add much.  Second, there were some holes in the selection of wines being poured. And finally, the organizers should have splurged for glass instead of plastic cups that gave off a distracting odor.

I was also confused about the set up for Friday night.  It was billed “The Night of the Bubbles”, but the only thing that made it about sparkling wines were the seminars.  I figured that they would only be pouring sparkling wines, and quite foolishly did not bring my trademark spit cups.  Needless to say, I paid dearly for that mistake in the morning!

GLENN – The highlight of the evening for me was the crash course on champagne given by Bill Russell, winemaker at Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery. Bill is smart, articulate, funny and not above telling a bad joke. His exposition of champagne was the best I’d ever heard.

KATRIN – This was my highlight, too! I enjoyed both Bill’s presentation and having a chance to chat with him for a couple of minutes afterward, even at the risk of straying into the stalker category!

GLENN – I was also pleased that a rep was pouring the entire line of Charles Smith wines. Similarly, there was a Dr. Loosen booth representing his portfolio. And of course the winemaker and his wife from Quady, the premier dessert wine house in the US. I was particulary gratified to see young people sampling his incredible Vya vermouths and enjoying them. Ditto for the sherry booth.

KATRIN – My favorites were pretty much anything of the Albert Bichot offerings, the wines from 90+ Cellars, Bodegas Carrau Tannat, the Hess Group wines, and the two Catena selections at the Albert Winestein table. Also, it was great to see Yellow+Blue wines there.  Great forward-thinking concept and good wines.

GLENN – My favorite wines were the Artzin from the Hess Collection, the Pinot Noir from Triumvir, the Chablis from Albert Bichot and the Deviation from Quady.

KATRIN – In closing, I am looking forward to the next Wine Riot in October. And this time, I’ll bring those spitcups!

The Wine Riot was sponsored by The Second Glass and was held April 16 and 17 at the Boston Cyclorama in the South End.

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