Allegrini 2018

The “New York Wine Experience”, or how to redefine the concept of exclusivity at wine events

From A for Antinori to Z for Zenato: the world’s winemaking elite in Manhattan, stars of a unique tasting

A few decades ago, Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of “Wine Spectator”, the most widely read wine magazine in the United States, had an intuition to create the “New York Wine Experience”. The United States is the reference market for global wine consumption and narrates the exclusivity and level of an event that brings the elite of world wine to the heart of the Big Apple, Times Square. So, one can sip Chateau Margaux 2011, the top of Bordeaux’s production pyramid, authorized by the historic and never surpassed — classification of 1855, or chat with Corinne Mentzelopoulos, owner of the company founded in the Fifteenth century, in broken French, or better, actually, in English, the official language of Wine Spectator’s “The New York Wine Experience”. Italy plays its leadership role in the United States, in an endless head-to-head battle with France, particularly when it comes to fine wines, and especially here, because nowhere else like in Manhattan are so many great bottles opened.
As we leave Chateau Margaux, just a few steps away, and at most an escalator ride, one immediately feels right at home toasting with Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta to her marvelous Sassicaia 2016, one of the best variations of Tenuta San Guido’s great wine. From 1968 to today, it has revolutionized an entire territory, which is Bolgheri, and has become one of the most coveted wines among wine lovers and collectors. It is no coincidence, then, incidentally, and not launching into historical comparisons that “Wine Spectator” decided to give it 97/100, more than it granted to Chateau Margaux 2011. These are two examples of the two hundred great wines to be tasted, from A for Antinori to Z for Zenato that thousands of enthusiasts rightly assaulted by, far from being an upstart of wine, on the contrary, profound connoisseurs of the subject.
This is why it is so important to be there, not so much and not only for the symbolic aspect of a prestigious event, perhaps the most prestigious one can imagine, but because not every day can one chat with Peter Gago, the winemaker of Penfolds, the company symbol of Australia of wine, of its Bin 707 2019, or bump into Angelo Gaja, Lamberto Frescobaldi, Giacomo Neri (Casanova di Neri), Valentina Abbona (Marquesses of Barolo), Silvia Allegrini, Elisabetta Gnudi Angelini in the corridors (Altesino), Giampiero Bertolini (Biondi-Santi), Antonio Michael Zaccheo (Carpineto), Paolo Bianchini (Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona), Marcello Lunelli (Ferrari), Federica Boffa (Pio Cesare), Roberto Giannelli (San Filippo) and many other Italian wine producers (55 in all, the largest group). They “abandon” their station for a moment, and run to greet colleagues and friends from France, Spain, Argentina, California, or Oregon, themselves indulging in a rare and exciting tasting.
Toasting with Pol Roger’s Sir Winston Churchill 2013, alongside Bastien Collard de Billy, and then moving on to De L'Orée 2011, the white version of Chapoutier's Hermitage, really has nothing to do with everyday life. It does have a lot to do with such an exceptional event that redefines the standard concept of “exclusivity”, where producers discover the faces of high-level consumers, and, obviously, vice versa. An unparalleled tasting, in a fantastic context, where WineNews was honored to participate, and in which we invited some of the great Italian producers, stars of the “New York Wine Experience” (the video will be online tomorrow, ed.), to narrate. They told us about the great evening tasting and the extraordinary seminars, including the one dedicated to “Wine Stars”; that is the top stars in the wine world and their symbolic wines, including Franco Conterno, and Poderi Aldo Conterno’s Barolo Romirasco 2014, the great tasting of the 2019 Grand Selection of Chianti Classico, the wines of Giovanni Manetti, who participated as well (Tenuta Fontodi), Marco Pallanti (Castello di Ama), Albiera Antinori and Francesco Ricasoli, and the one on the “Top 10 Wines of 2021”, with Brunello di Montalcino 2016 of Le Chiuse by Nicolò Magnelli.

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