Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Boston Wine Expo: Summary Thoughts

Where is the Sake?  Yes, I asked this question last week as I couldn't find any listed on their website.  And when I attended the event this past weekend, I couldn't find any either.  They have had some in prior years, but not this one.  So why not?  Maybe next year.

The Boston Wine Expo took place this weekend, a massive tasting with wines from all over the world. It is certainly a very popular event, and probably the largest wine event in the Boston area.  This year, they expanded the trade hours by an additional hour, providing the media and other members of the trade three hours to visit the Expo before the consumers were permitted into the event.  The trade hours are a quieter time, allowing you the ability to speak with the wine makers, distributors and representatives about the wines. You still cannot taste all of the hundreds and hundreds of wines that are available, but you have the time to concentrate on those you do taste.

Despite all of the wines though, there are still omissions from certain regions and types.  I did not see any wines from Israel or Lebanon, and I failed to find any Sake.  Though there were wines from the Finger Lakes of New York, there were no wines from Long Island.  Such omissions appear to be due to wineries and importers who have chosen not to attend the Expo or showcase such wines.  It is disappointing that they choose to stay away as it is a lost opportunity to get their wines better known.   

Another partially frustrating aspect of the Expo is that many of the wines don't yet have a local distributor. So, though I might find a superb wine, it may never become available in Massachusetts. The three-tier system can make it very difficult for wineries to acquire representation, and I heard that complaint from several wineries. My hope is that if I highlight some of these unrepresented wines, maybe it will give a distributor an added incentive to bring the wine into Massachusetts.

With all of the wines, I am always glad that there is plenty of free food available to help refresh my palate.  Samples of cheese, bread, pasta, nuts, chocolates, chips, and other snacks are all around and make for a good stop between tastings.  With so much wines, palate fatigue is a definite worry so you should be taking breaks to refresh yourself.  Not all large wine tasting events provide enough food for the attendees.  Some mainly provide food you must pay for, which lessens the incentive for some people to eat.  Plus, you often just want a few handfuls of quick snacks rather than an entire sandwich or slice of pizza.

This year, I tasted a fair share of South African wines, further solidifying my love of this region, as well as finding one of my top wines of the Expo.  I also visited the Georgian wine table, one of my pre-Expo objectives, and found some impressive wines from their more unusual indigenous grapes.  I knew little about their wines before the Expo so wanted to educate myself, to see what type of wines they had to offer.  I am very pleased that I did so.  I also made some brief stops at the Finger Lakes, Massachusetts, Italy, and Portugal.  I will soon be posting my thoughts about all of these wines.

So what was your experience this year at the Boston Wine Expo?  

1 comment:

Jake said...

South Africa wines were some of my favorites as well. Which ones really stood out to you?