Boston public transportation is my least favorite way to travel but surprisingly it was not bad in getting us to our destination. Alicia and I decided on the Wine Expo on a whim. The walk from the T to the World Trade Center and the Seaport Hotel was typical New England–cold, but thankfully short. Past security and through roped-in pathways we were lead to the main entrance of the expo hall. Ticket prices were a bit high, $85-105 a piece, so we expected a certain appearance to the event. While there was nothing grandiose about the exhibit hall, you certainly did not feel like cattle being herded and stored. As we walked down the last set of stairs into the hall, complimentary wine glasses were available. There were around 1000 booths of food, advertisements, and—of course—wine.
We took to the aisles—glasses in hand. Closest to the coat check was a 25-table corner of booths from the Navarra region of Spain. Starting with the red wines, we walked through the corner and sampled 5 different bottles. These were ‘un-manned tables,’ but most of the booths had at least a few people representing the group proudly displaying their wines. We agreed that no wine smelled or tasted poorly in that corner, but we could definitely taste their differences. There was also a dessert wine we passed as we made our way down the aisle. Far too sweet for me, my companion commented that it was not bad for a dessert wine. And at 11% alcohol, it wouldn’t take much to make the end of your meal euphoric and relaxing!
The Spanish wines provided no surprise in surpassing expectations of flavor and variety. We had sampled nearly every red wine. Freshness and proper handling was apparent from every booth representative. Equally eager to discuss their wine selections and share some standard baked bread and amazing fresh olive oil were the Italian Trade Commission and Vino 2009 participants.
In the Vino 2009/ITC area we came across a fantastic winery that had the highest rated wine at the show. This table displayed four wines, olive oil, and a magnificently smooth parmesan-like cheese, all from their estate. We could easily tell the increase of quality in the four bottles as we sampled them. This table may have taken up the most time for tasting but the 15 minuets were worth it for the wine, the lesson, and olive oil.
We briefly tried some French wines. Few surprises there, classics still. We then passed the Martini and Rossi table and gave in to corporate bludgeoning. The established opinion is still the same—great.
Right at the end in the last half hour of our journey through the many choices still available, we came across the Italian winery Batzella. This was our best find for the day. Showing three wines, we tasted two. The first we instantly liked, Mezzodi, as we smelled and tasted the multi layered wine. Berries, fruits, chocolate and earthy tones filled out mouths. It was worth a second taste to ensure full understanding of its complexity. Some may have disliked the wine due to the many layers but we found it to be just short of an “over thinking” experience. The woman tending to the booth described the two wines we tried from her as brothers; one being showy and attention grabbing, the other being more mellow and forthright. And, she was accurate; the two wines acted in such ways with your senses.
The wine expo was better than I could have imagined. I feel ashamed not to have tried every available option, but pleased with what I did. My partner in crime agrees that next year this is a must-do.
Photo Credit: J-CIO (first image)
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