Guest Post: The Boston Wine Expo

Dave Glod is a law student at Boston College, and filed this report

I had never heard of the Boston Wine Expo prior to this year, or you may rest assured that I would have written this article at least one year earlier. I will not cite any specific reason for having been remiss in this regard – perhaps it is because I lived in New York until now; perhaps because I did not run with the correct crowd, colony, and/or pride; perhaps because wine was not invented until just recently. The world may never know. What the world must know is that this – provided that one enjoys wine – is precisely where one should be on a particular weekend in mid-February.

For $60-$85 depending on where you buy tickets (some liquor stores have them discounted), and when (ordering online more than a week early puts you at $70 instead of $85), you get four hours of tasting from as many different producers, in as great a quantity, as you desire. The price may seem steep, but with minimal effort I’m sure most people can drink enough in an afternoon to make it worthwhile – not even speaking of the amount you’ll learn about wine while there.

This year’s expo took place February 10th and 11th at the Seaport World Trade Center (accessible by Silver Line), in a gargantuan hall just barely large enough to contain the swarm of wine enthusiasts. They bubbled and flowed through the place like an organic mass, perhaps extending a pseudopod to sample a Riesling here, and as quickly retracting it into their writhing midst. And they drank – they drank with an unquenchable thirst, which I would hardly have blamed the suppliers for failing to keep up with. Yet keep up they did, and so the wine flowed. Not merely in quantity, of course, but from some of the finest vintners around. And with over 450 of them, there was certainly something for everyone.

The hall was organized roughly by geographic area, with large signs making it easy to find Germany, or Italy, or South Africa – easier, in any event, than if one were to wander the earth looking for them. I spent at least half an hour overwhelmed by the selection, and so meandered down each aisle to get my bearings before settling briefly in Spain. My first wine was a tempranillo from Bodegas Beronia, which eased me nicely into the event. It was fruity, with perhaps some cherries, and medium-bodied, with a very smooth oak finish – I know because I made a point of taking notes when I came across anything worthwhile. I recommend this technique, because toward the end of the event, you will find it difficult at best to remember what you’ve had, or for that matter, whom you’re trying to drunk-dial and why. Even spitting most of the samples out, it comes out to quite a bit of wine.

From Spain, I moved to France (Chateauneuf du Pape made a very large showing, with a number of excellent wines), then South Africa (I was unaware of several wines produced by Goats do Roam, of which I’ve long been a fan), and then progressed more or less at random to whatever struck me as interesting in a given moment. One exhibitor who really stuck in my mind was an importer from New York Mutual Trading, who was the only one at the event giving out sake. He had four very distinct types, and gave a quick but informative tutorial as you progressed through them. The first was quite generic, but good, simple sake. The second had a strong wood flavor from the barrels it had been made in. The third came in a can, and was fortified – 19% alcohol by volume, where most sakes are closer to 14%. The fourth was the most exciting – a sparkling, or cloudy, sake, which is filtered less than usual, resulting in little bits of rice floating around therein. It was heavier, tasted strongly of rice, but was quite pleasant – almost like the Guinness of sake, texture-wise.

I could go on listing highlights, for there were a number of them, but I won’t bore you or demand that you trust me – as we hardly know one another, that would be unwise. Instead, I will merely recommend in the strongest terms that you check the expo out next year. You can bet your ass, or really any piece of your or anyone else’s anatomy, that I will be there.

1 Comment so far

  1. Dale Cruse (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 8:27 am

    I was there as well. Unfortunately, this event has become a victim of its own success. With so many people crowding in, it become prohibitively difficult to get any samples, much less move. While the event was well organized, most vendors definitely didn’t bring their “A games.” I found the whole thing disappointing.

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