Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Boston Wine Expo: A Preview of 2016

The Boston Wine Expo will be toasting its 25th Anniversary next President’s Day weekend, February 13 & 14, 2016, at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center.  Presented by the Boston Guild of Oenophilists, the Expo will be even larger this year with a number of special features to celebrate this milestone.

Last week, I attended a media preview of the Expo, which including a wine tasting with over 30 wines from all over the world. There was also some food provided, from salami to risotto. For dessert, McCrea's Candies provided samples of their delicious caramels. Back in 2012, I first tasted their caramels and they were one of my top three finds at a dessert showcase. Since then, I've seen them each year at the Boston Wine Expo and last year, one of their new flavors, their Highland Single Malt Scotch Caramel, was excellent. At the 2016 Expo, I highly recommend you stop at their table to sample their caramels.

Of the wines I tasted at the preview event, I wanted to present my Top Three Favorites.  I highly recommend you seek out these wines at the Boston Wine Expo, as well as seek them out at your local wine shop. You won't be disappointed.

Humboldt Imports
The NV Rossinyol de Moragas Extra Brut Cava (about $15) is produced by Fermi Bohigas, a which has been involved in working the vineyards for over 800 years. This Spanish sparkling wine  is produced from a blend of traditional Cava grapes, Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada and it is made by the Champenoise method. It is organic and low production, and at this price is an excellent value. With a nice golden color and plenty of tiny bubbles, this is a dry, crisp and delicious Cava. There are tasty flavors of apple and pear, with a tiny hint of toast. It was nice paired with a creamy risotto, its acidity cutting well through the creaminess. With the holidays approaching, this would be a great choice for inexpensive bubbly.

90+ Cellars
I've long been a fan of the wines from 90+ Cellars and they recently have been creating some new labels to showcase different types of wines, especially wines that showcase terroir, which possess a sense of place.

From their Magic Door Vineyards label, they recently released the NV La Clé de la Femme Champagne (about $35), a blend of 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. This is a more unusual blend as Pinot Meunier rarely headlines a Champagne, most often being a minor player in a blend. The vineyard is located in the Marne Valley, and the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation as well as spends at least 20 months on the lees. You'll love the flavors of green apple, red berries, and underlying spice and nutty notes within this bubbly.It is dry and crisp, an easy drinking Champagne with plenty of character for the price. This Champagne can easily compete with many House Champagnes that cost $50 or more. For the holidays, if you desire Champagne, this is an excellent value choice.

From their Earthshaker Wines label, they also have recently released the 2012 L'Amis Barbaresco (about $25), which is produced from 100% Nebbiolo. The wine is aged for 16-24 months in large Slovenian oak barrels. With a light red color, it has an appealing nose of red fruits with a hint of spice. On the palate, there are pleasing flavors of bright cherry with some black fruit notes, some floral elements and underlying spice. It is elegant with mild tannins that make it very approachable now without the need for cellaring, though it should age well too. In addition, it would make an excellent food wine, with dishes from pizza to pasta.

At the 2016 Boston Wine Expo, there will be the usual Grand Tasting, which will feature over 200 producers and about 1800 wines. As always, there will also be numerous other vendors, many food-related, which offer samples of their products. You can check this site for a list of the participating exhibitors. You will even have the opportunity to purchase wines through the Drync app which will be delivered to your home. There will be Chef Demonstrations on both days, with appearances by chefs including Ming Tsai,  Barbara Lynch, Chris Coombs, Louis DiBicarri, and Rachel Klein.

Debuting this year will be a special W?NE Bar,  where you can stop and ask members of the Boston Sommelier Society your wine-related questions as well as get a retrospective of the industry’s past 25 years and what to expect in the next 25 years.

Prices for Grand Tasting:
--Early Bird Tickets (through November 29): Saturday: $89 per person; Sunday: $79 per person
--Advance Tickets (November 30 – February 14): Saturday: $99 per person; Sunday: $89 per person

The Vintners’ Reserve Lounge is also returning, a place to taste special vintages, as well as unique d small production wines. Located in the Seaport Hotel’s Plaza Ballroom, the Vintners’ Reserve Lounge gives guests a chance to taste special wines that commonly retail for $75 and up per bottle, while enjoying tastings from the city’s finest restaurants. New this year, you can indulge your sweet tooth at the 25th anniversary Dessert Bar featuring treats designed to pair with the Vintners’ Reserve Lounge’s wines.

Prices for Vintners’ Reserve Lounge:
--Early Bird Tickets (through November 29): $185 per session
--Advance Tickets (November 30 – February 14): $200 per session
*Tickets also gran you access to the Grand Tasting.,

This year, there will be about 40 different Seminars which you can attend, educational programs for both consumers and those in the trade featuring top winemakers and industry experts. You can learn about Champagne and Chianti Classico, Rioja and Burgundy. A few Seminars which sound especially appealing to me include: Buffalo Trace's Singular Bourbons (where you'll get to taste 20 & 23 year old Pappy Van Winkle); Sherry for Billionaires and Historians (a chance to taste some very old Sherries); and Decadent & Delicious: Sweet Wines of the World.

Prices for Seminars:
--Prices range from $25-$225 by seminar

As always, the Boston Wine Expo contributes money to a local charity & in 2016, the major charitable benefactor will be the Tufts Medical Center’s Summer Camp Program for Children with Disabilities. To date, the Boston Guild of Oenophilists has raised over $1.4 million for worthy causes.

If you want to attend the Boston Wine Expo, now is the time to buy your tickets to pay the lowest price. In addition, some of the Seminars will sell out so it is better to get your tickets now if you are really interested in attending one of the seminar events.

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