Monday, March 2, 2009

Vinexpo New York....what a disappointment!?! But a few interesting wines somehow: Greek wines, La Coume du Roy Maury and Brazilian wines

Hi everybody,

Last Sunday, I went to Vinexpo New York at the Javits center and I was quite disappointed.

I went many times to Vinexpo Bordeaux which is a much bigger venue with much more producers from all around the world. And although Vinexpo Bordeaux can be a crazy house with air conditioner problems (it is usually pretty hot and tastings conditions are not always the best in June), there are a lot of producers, distributors and importers that make it worth it and it last for a few days.....

It was only my second time at Vinexpo New York. And in my opinion, the previous time was far more interesting than this year. Blame it on the economy? the people who organized it? the lack of people willing to participate? I don't know but it wasn't the best.

When I saw that it was only lasting for 4 hours (for the Trade only on Sunday), I though that it wouldn't be enough time for me to taste or at least visit as many tables as I could. Well, I was wrong. I was late. I arrived about 1 hour and a half before the end and still manage to taste a good number of wines.

The main reason is that there were not many wines to discover (or rediscover). I knew most of them and already sell them at the store, especially the present wineries from New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and most of the French ones. Some of the Portuguese and the Greek wines were new to me. I though that Italy, Spain and Germany were barely represented. Even the French wines consisted mostly of the Rhône Valley (Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf du Pape) and a bit of Languedoc-Roussillon.

In fact, the wineries present were often the usual suspects, with a sense of déjà-vu and didn't present much interest unless you wanted to check hands and socialize. Only good point, you could taste the latest vintage of most of these (known) wines and some of the first Spring-Summer rosés.

However, I didn't come for nothing. I succeed to find a few interesting wines to taste.

First stop, the table of La Coume dy Roy, Roussillon, France. I rediscovered "La Coume du Roy" wines with big pleasure.

La Coume du Roy is one of the most ancient cellars of Maury, a little village located north west of Perpignan (Roussillon). Once called MauryDoré, when it was registred as a brand in 1932 by the great grand-father Désiré Esteve, the name was later changed to La Coume du Roy. Now under the ownership of the sixth generation, the Domaine benefits of this family know-how, long winemaking traditions. Agnès de Volontat-Bachelet took over this Domaine of 25 hectares of vineyards planted on crumbling dark schist soils.

Every year, the Domaine produces 3 wines from A.O.C: Maury (natural sweet red wine), Muscat de Rivesalt (sweet wine) and Côtes de Roussillon (dry red ). La Coume du Roy also produces a fairly new sweet white called Maurydoré and also releases excellent old vintage Maury wines aged in oak for years. The love of the Terroir and the idea of keeping old vintages is an old family tradition that started with grand-pa Désiré (who first started to keep barrels of the vintage corresponding to the birth of his kids and other descendants). Aged in oak barrels and bottled in small round Cognac shaped bottles, these old Maury(s) are the real Domain's treasures.

2005 La Coume du Roy "Le Desir" Côtes du Roussillon France
Suggested retail price $12-$15
Made from 80% Grenache and 20% Carignan, it was a bit tight and somewhat restraint. However, the fruit was juicy enough to make this wine fairly interesting. Only hiccup, the tannins that add structure, were a bit dry and slightly green (kind of weird for an 05 vintage). The overall features remain interesting, but the wine needs a bit of time.

2004 la Coume du Roy "Le Desir" Côtes du Roussillon France
Suggested retail price $12-$15
Made from 70% Grenache and 30% Carignan, here again it was a bit tight and tannic, but the texture is quite enjoyable. Somehow, I think that I prefer the 05 vintage which offers somewhat more complexity.

I didn't take much notes about the following beautiful, sweet wines, but in one word, here is what I though about it:

2004 La Coume du Roy Maury (Great)
1998 La Coume du Roy Maury (Excellent)
.... La Coume du Roy MauryDoré white (Ok)
2006 La Coume du Roy Muscat de Rivesalt (Not Great)
.... La Coume du Roy Muscat Vieux (definitely my favorite of the bunch)

Due to the amount of people and because I was running out of time, it was not fair for me to describe them in one word and I should retry them soon to better describe them. However, they are worth it and somewhat different from other sweet wines, especially the old ones. Try them too, if you have the opportunity.

The second interesting stop was the Greek and Cyprus Table.

Here again, these are quick notes in a few words and I will surely retry these wines soon.

2007 Megapanos Savatiano Spata Greece
Suggested retail price $13-$16
Really good, soft, well rounded yet with a good acidity, quite refreshing with white fruit flavors. Interesting as an aperitif or with simple white fish dishes.

(....2006..I think) Vatistas Red Greece
Suggested retail price $15-$17
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Agiorgitiko, this little usual wine has a deep red color. The nose is bright, somewhat rustic, with unripe red cherry aromas. The palate is mature yet quite dry and earthy, and especially tannic. The acidity in the finish is not entirely integrated and the wine seemed disjointed. Definitely not your everyday wine. Ok not great.

(....2006 ..I think) Olympus Hellas Haggipavlu Moschofilero Mantinia Greece
Suggested retail price $15-$18
Always an interesting white wine, fruity (and I do not mean sweet), zesty, mineral and fresh.

2006 Kappa Klima Xinomavro Macedonia Greece
Suggested retail price $12-$15
In my opinion, it was the most interesting wine of the bunch on this table. Lovely nose with bright red and dark wild berry aromas, earth, smoke and spice. The palate exhibits dark, earthy wild berry flavors mixed with notes of earth and spice (in a dark way). The finish was a bit dry and tannic but overall the wine was really enjoyable and unusual at the same time.

The fact of the day is that apparently compared to other grape varieties, Xinomavro grape has 5 seeds instead of four (in regular known grapes) which somewhat accentuate the tannins and obviously the dryness of the wine. I will need to open one grape one day to really see for myself...

Despite the fabulous, easy to drink sweet, thick red wine from La Commandaria St. Nicholas, two more wines were on this table, and they were not Greek but Brazilian, yes, Brazilian wines.

I discover the wines from the Miolo winery about a year or two ago, and really love them when I first tried them. I also sell them at the store where they slowly gained a certain success.

2007 Miolo Chardonnay Reserva Brazil
Suggested retail price $11-$14
Made from 100% Chardonnay aged 20% in oak barrel and 80% in stainless steel tanks, this wine is inviting, bright, refreshing and easy going. Apple, white peach and citrus resume the flavors. Balanced and uncomplicated, enjoy it with friends and Samba.

2008 Miolo Pinot Noir Reserva Brazil
Suggested retail price $11-$14
This 100% Pinot Noir is really well made, somewhat a cross between a Burgundy and a Languedoc Pinot, but earthier and rustic yet juicy with lovely fruit texture and structure. Light to medium bodied, with great acidity, it is a great example of Pinot Noir from brazil that shouldn't be overlooked. Like for the Chardonnay, it is pretty enjoyable on its own and is even better with light red meat dishes.


LeDom du Vin

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