This year's Boston Wine Expo was another in a long string of successful events. Sure, some things could have been improved. The seminar schedule was the weakest in recent memory, especially on Sunday. The crowd management, both for entering the exhibit area and for checking coats, could use a lot of improvement. And the number of tickets sold for the Saturday show should have been cut by a significant percentage. However, this year saw a number of improvements, too. While the temperature in the World Trade Center was too high on Saturday (much like last year), it was much more reasonable by Sunday. The staff made an excellent effort to keep water jugs full and spit buckets empty, even though the crowds sometimes prevented them from doing their jobs efficiently. All in all, the organizers seemed to have the show running more smoothly than in previous years.
As always, one of the best parts of the show was talking to the people. And not just the winemakers or sales reps, either. I almost always end up meeting interesting people at the Expo, either on the main floor or in one of the seminars, and this year was no exception. Although I didn't take a survey, this year, more people in the crowd seemed to have some knowledge of wine and to take the tasting somewhat seriously, rather than just trying to get as drunk as possible (though there were a few of those people, too).
This year, I was especially impressed by the quality of the wines of New Zealand, particularly the whites from '99 and the reds from '98. While '99 was a typical vintage, '98 was atypically hot, which may explain why I liked the reds, as they were more powerful and less herbal/vegetal than in many other vintages. Also quite impressive were the wines from the '98 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (you can find them in the France report), which were flavorful, powerful and tannic. They are definitely wines to cellar for a while.
This report contains more main floor tasting notes than last year, and includes two interesting seminars on very different styles of Spanish wine. Because the atmosphere on the main floor is hectic and crowded, the tasting notes aren't always as detailed as my regular notes, so you may want to take this into account when using them. The main floor report consists of a "Highlights" page, containing my 20 favorite wines from the tasting (roughly the top 10%), and full lists that include notes for every wine I sampled. I tasted quite a few impressive wines this year, and some very worthy bottles had to be left off the Highlights list, so I highly recommend reading the full reports.
If you would like to attend one of these events, the next Boston Wine Expo will probably take place in late January or early February, 2002. You can find details on my Boston Wine Expo Information Page and on the official Boston Wine Expo website.
Tempranillo -- Wine lecturer Steven Olson led a tasting of eight Spanish wines made from this intriguing variety.
Emilio Lustau Sherries -- Nine wines that showcase one of the great Sherry producers, including some real bargains for fortified wine fans.
Main Floor Wines:
Highlights -- The "Top 20" wines tasted on the main floor
Full Lists By Region: (alphabetical by producer)
Email questions, corrections or
Copyright 2000, Marcel Lachenmann.