Log In

Reset Password

Sixty-five thousand wine glasses

I feel it appropriate to write one more time about the New York Wine Experience.

When close to 1,000 of us sat down for the morning session of seminars on Saturday, 22 October, I noted that 18 glasses were set at each place.

At the lunch sponsored by the wines of Rioja in Spain, we each had five glasses — and ten wines. When we returned for the afternoon sessions we found 13 fresh glasses set for each of us. Wine Spectator magazine says that 65,000 glasses were used and 24,264 bottles were opened of more than 350 wines during the three days. The organisation to make it all flow so smoothly is truly remarkable.

On the Thursday and Friday evenings the grand tastings were open for those of us that bought the complete package as well as folks that just purchased grand tasting(s) tickets.

Two hundred and sixty seven wineries were there and every wine rated 90/100 or more. When I was chatting with the team from Whispering Angel rosé ($24.75) I met the USA importer and I told him that even though it has been rated “a hot import brand”, that per head of population we sold 50 times as much in Bermuda (indeed true).

When I stopped at the Royal Tokaji Wine Company booth to taste their great dessert wine from Hungary I was somewhat taken aback when I was thanked for our recent order.

After all, we are a tiny dot on the map and how could their managing director, Charlie Mount, remember it? They were also one of four presenters at a seminar on international dessert wines. If you have never tried their wonderful Royal Tokaji Kek 5 Puttonyos (level of sweetness) made in their 13th-century underground cellars and from our world’s very first official wine appellation, then I suggest you pay us $47.70 for a half-litre bottle and do so. It is the 6 Puttonyos that we are out of and have on order.

Laurent Drouhin had his Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir open and it is always good to see him as we carry so many of the fine burgundies from his family. At present we carry the 2012 Grand Cru Chablis from him from the even more renowned Les Clos vineyard, for $78.05. This is chardonnay in all its glory.

There were just so many old friends to see: Doug Shafer pouring the outstanding Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, that we carry a few vintages of; Beringer offered their Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which is one of the historic greats and I told them that there would be a lovely dinner here on 16 November where various vintages would be poured at one of our finest restaurants. We currently list 1984, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2010.

I stopped to see Gino Gallo and, as it was her family that got me involved and provided my initial training in the world of wine, I thanked her for all that her family has done.

Now that they are on a quest of buying some very fine wineries around the world we do very well with their overall portfolio. With 267 booths to visit, including all the great first growths of Bordeaux, I could go on and on, but enough for now.

Every year four famous chefs present small dishes to us and the chef picks a wine to match their food and a Wine Spectator staff member picks another. This year the event took place on Saturday morning. We all taste and then we vote on who picked the best pairing for each dish. Emeril Lagasse, as always, was most amusing as was Piero Selvaggio of Valentino in Santa Monica and Michael Lomonaco of Porter House in NYC, but it was José Andrés of Bazaar in Washington that had us in fits of laughter. He complained loudly that he would probably not accept the voted result as the whole thing was fixed and rigged against him.

So that you may better understand this, let me say that he is a Spanish immigrant and he had originally planned to open one of his famous restaurants in a brand-new hotel.

I see on the news that the owner of this venture is on his way to Washington today (26 October as I write) to open the hotel.

He is well known for developing real estate and it is rumoured that he did plan to sue José for backing out.

Let me just say that this hotel owner seems to have ambitions of occupying the most famous house of all in Washington DC if the vote goes his way on 8 November and one gets the idea that he really does not like Spanish-speaking immigrants very much!

Incidentally, one of the eight wines was from CUNE in Spain and one from Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley and we are most happy to carry many wines from these two fine producers.

Two last notes; I mentioned in the previous article that someone in New York told us that within the next 15 years all vineyards would be sustainable, organic or biodynamic.

Looking at my notes I see that I should have said all the vineyards in France, although much of the world is following this path.

I also wrote of us being the first to taste a 30-year-old Spanish white wine that had just been released.

An e-mail has just come through from London saying that Parker has rated it 100/100 and that they have two cases at €1,495 each.

•This column is a paid-for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm