The Boston Wine Expo was two weeks and yet I’m just finally getting this review up. I think I’ve written and re-written this post five different times, but I really wanted to capture my entire experience at the Expo to be able to share with all of you!
When we first walked in to the Seaport Trade Center, I admit I was slightly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the whole thing. I wish I had snapped a quick photo! Colorful country flags hung from the ceiling indicating different areas of the world and the smell of food coming from different vendors around the room made me that much more eager to get started.
Coats checked and souvenir wine glasses in hand, Sean and I began walking around the large room, trying to decide where to begin. They did provide a floor plan and guide booklet, but that effort was quickly abandoned when all we wanted was wine in our glasses.
The first booth that caught my eye was a label that I’ve seen on multiple occasions in the wine shop Sean and I frequent in the town we live in, but have never purchased. From 90+ Cellars, we tried Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. We enjoyed both, though the Pinot Noir was definitely the favorite of the two. It was a great way to start our time at the Expo.
From there, we dove head first into the rest of the afternoon, tasting all different types of wine, many we had never heard of before. And while Sean and I are primarily red wine drinkers, there were some whites we couldn’t pass up. One of these whites is from New Zealand winery, Vela Wines, called “Twelfth Night”. If the title and beautifully designed label don’t immediately pull you in, the wine certainly will. Normally I shy away from Reisling because of it’s traditionally (very) sweet flavors, but Twelfth Night had a welcoming dryness that I appreciated. The Sauvingnon Blanc and Pinot Noir were also enjoyable.
Rioja caught Sean’s eye next. We somewhat regularly drink Campo Viejo, but never really explored other Riojas. The table was set up in a circle and the vendors urged us to try to the lighter varieties before tasting the Reservas. So that’s what we did. (Important note: The Conde Valdemar Crianza pairs very well with dark chocolate.)
When we got to the Reserva portion of the Rioja station, we couldn’t pass up a chance to taste a Gran Reserva from 2001. We don’t usually get to indulge in wine that has been aged this long, and the difference was astounding. The depth and complexity of the Gran Reserva was unlike anything I had ever tried before.
Knowing that we would get to experience more Rioja later in the day, we decided that drinking all of this wine somewhat quickly warranted a little bit of food. Lucky for us, we had been granted access into the exclusive Vintner’s Reserve Lounge. Walking in, I felt a little bit like a small child on Christmas morning. Food and wine vendors lined three walls of the room, comfy lounge chairs and tables flanked the entrance and a large cheese display sat center. We took our time indulging in oysters in the half shell, dry Italian reds, and perfectly cooked free-range beef tenderloin from a company called Del Terrunio. Simply spectacular.
At 2:30, Sean and I attended the “21st Century Rioja” seminar with tickets courtesy of the seminar. Seven types of Rioja wine were at each place setting and Ana Fabiano, author of The Wine Region of Rioja, led the seminar. Ana discussed a brief history of Rioja, where and how its made, and why it is a perfect match for any time of food. We sampled each of the seven wines, including Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year: Cune Imperial Gran Reserva 2004. I personally had never tried the Crianza variety and found Luis Canas Crianza to be remarkable. Sean loved Bodegas LAN Crianza as well. Overall, the seminar was educational and insightful and was absolutely worth the hour spent.
At the very end of the expo, Sean and I stumbled upon a table display full of different kinds of sauce. Yes, sauce! A company called “Hoboken Eddies” and the owner and founder, Eddie himself, was stationed at the table. After sampling the Raspberry Honey Mustard, I was hooked.
And if I wasn’t already happy enough with my experience at the 2014 Boston Wine Expo, I received a call a few days later from Renewal by Andersen, a window replacement company, telling me that I won a wine gift basket from their table. Insert happy dance here.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Boston Wine Expo to any foodie friend or wine lover I know. The tickets are worth every penny and you may even consider going both Saturday and Sunday, as Sean and I hope to next year.
Thank you to the Boston Wine Expo, the coordinators of the Rioja seminar, and especially Janet Fouts, for the opportunity to be a Social Media Ambassador for this year’s Boston Wine Expo. I look forward to next year’s event!
Full Disclosure: I was given 2 complimentary tickets to the Boston Wine Expo and to the 21st Century Rioja seminar. All opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.