My thought after last year’s Wine Expo was that the event had run its course; frankly, the expo lacked the excitement and glamour of past years. A change was needed and, fortunately, that change did occur. This year the event was revitalized and engaging. Kudos to the organizers for realizing their vision of a better expo. Herein I offer a few of our thoughts about this year’s event.
- In years past, the Chateauneuf du Pape pavilion had always been a highlight for us. Last year, it went missing. As soon as I walked through the doors, I spied the distinctive banner and insisted we begin our tasting there. Honestly, what better breakfast could there be? Long time expo exhibitor Olivier Hillaire was again present offering tastes of his wines. As usual, his luxury cuvée, “Les Petit Pieds d’Armand”, was outstanding.
- The Massachusetts Farm Winery and Growers Association was well represented. We decided to try the Turtle Creek Cabernet Franc and were taken aback. It’s rare to find a Cab Franc that, in spite of the beautiful nose, is not thin and reedy. Winery owner Kip Kumler’s wine was full, almost lush. For those who think that Cab Franc is only for blending, this wine belies that assertion. Check out the video of the winery by French Oak TV here.
- As I’m continually attempting to overcome my trepidation vis-a-vis Italian wines, we headed to the Italian section. At the “Food and Wine Culture” tables, an importer and distributor of Italian food and wines, we sampled several wineries. The pay off was tasting through the wines of the young Piedmontese winemaker Enzo Boglietti - all superb. We also sampled two outstanding cheeses – a pecorino infused with saffron (beautiful color) and one incorporating truffles.
- Should they grow Pinot Noir in California? That’s a question I occasionally ponder – and often answer no. However, I found a California Pinot I can get excited about - the 2007 Inman Family Pinot Noir from the Russian River. Not overripe, over-extracted, nor over-manipulated – an outstanding example of a natural wine.
- As we roamed through the exhibition space, I has a flashback. No – not to the 60′s but to the 90′s and the Spinazzola Gala, that unsurpassed event of food and wine, that occurred in this very space. The reason – the increased participation of Boston restaurants and upscale purveyors. The expo benefited greatly from the enhanced food offerings. Notable for me – the torchon of foie gras from the Hudson Valley Foie Gras Company and the pulled pork sliders from Kings – an Upstairs/Downstairs assessment.
- For us, education is an important part of wine culture; after all, we did meet at wine school. This year the seminar program was greatly expanded and there was something for everyone – from the novice wine lover to the wine professional. The enhanced offerings added to the stature of the expo.
- What was missing was a more diverse line-up of wine regions. There was only one winery (Archer Summit) from Oregon that we could find, two from Washington, none from Long Island. And to balance the proponderance of Italian and Spanish wines, more French wines could be represented. (We miss the charming winemaker from the Jura we met years ago on our first visit to the Expo.)
Anyway, we’re already looking forward to the 2013 Boston Wine Expo. As Katrin has stated that for wine lovers it is “the must-attend event of the year…… the post-holiday, dead-of-winter joy”.