I love the diversity of wine, that it is made in so many different countries from so many different grapes. There is always something new or exotic to try, a new region or a new varietal. I sometimes feel like an explorer, never knowing what I might discover around the corner in some unexplored area.
So this year's Grand Cru Wine Lounge at the Boston Wine Expo was disappointing because it lacked true diversity. Nearly 90% of the wines were from California, France and Italy. Of the other 10%, there was one from Germany, one from Australia, two from Chile, two from Portugal and maybe two others from the U.S. The variety in previous years has seemed much better so I don't know why this year was different.
Of the wines I tasted, I generally favored the French Burgundies, especially the 1997 Bouchard Pere et Fils 'Enfant Jesus, the 2000 Comte Armand Close des Epeneaux and the 2002 Louis Latour Corton Grancey Grand Cru.
As a different wine, I enjoyed the 2003 August Kessler "Cuvee Max" Spatburgunder. This is a German Pinot Noir that retails for about $60. The Pinot is from Burgundy rootstock that is over 50 years old. It had an interesting mix of fruit and spice and definitely tasted very Burgundian in style. Yet it might have been a bit more intense than the average Burgundy. I will keep my eye out for more German Pinot Noirs in the future.
Another standout for me was the 1999 Paolo Scavino Carobric Barolo, a big, muscular Italian wine. Complex, lingering finish, excellent fruit, spice, leather and so much more.
Many of the other wines at the tasting were good, but not really memorable. I will have to scrutinize the tasting list more closely next year to determine whether I will attend the Grand Cru Wine Lounge again or not.