Wine fair season is already upon us but how do you make the most of them when a crowd of aficionados are all clamouring for attention and fill-ups?
- Get there punctually, even early. Fresh and alert, winemakers are up for chatting but they’ll be knackered as the day goes on thanks to all that standing around. Come break time, they’ll be gagging for caffeine, not fermented grape juice.
- Get there punctually! Wine does actually run dry and you’ll be gutted you didn’t get to sample that Per Se reductive Chardonnay because you couldn’t get your shit together.
- Choose a grape or a region to focus on. You’ve heard Bonarda is the next big thing, so stick to that. Or, go bubbles. Why not pick a region such as Cafayate, San Rafael or San Juan. That way, you’ll start tasting a thread in each grape or region’s story.
HAPPENING NOW: Ozono Drinks, 10-11 August, Palermo
Today’s (11 August 2106) the last day of online wine store Ozono Drinks‘ Enólogos & Bodegas fair at Lo de Joaquín Alberdi in Palermo Soho. A relatively intimate space on the first floor (where JA whips up awesome asados, FYI), this is a splendid chance to meet the likes of ALL the Michelinis, David Bonomi, Pancho Bugallo from Cara Sur, the Reginatos from Chaman, Ariel Angelini from Bodega de Tupún and others. And, as most of the 16 producers are small time but making incredible wine, it’s a chance to sample some off-the-beaten track wares. With spring in the air, I went floral, loving Cara Sur’s Moscatel Blanco 2016 from San Juan and Via Revolucionaria’s Gewürztraminer.
Tickets: 550 pesos
Premium Tasting, 18-19 August, Mendoza
Winter getting you down? Pep it up with a 350-wine blind-tasting mini-break in Mendoza at the hands of Premium Tasting on 18-19 August. Now in its sixth edition, this is a chance for Argentine wines to flex their muscles given that they need to have scored 93+ Wine Advocate points, 92+ Stephen Tanzer points, a DWWA trophy 2016, or be Outstanding/Highly recommended in Decanter (current reports) to participate in PT.
Bearing in mind Mendoza airport will close for maintenance from September to December 2016, this is your chance for a final flight fling before you have to fly to either San Juan or San Rafael, or bus it overnight to reach Mendoza. Premium Tasting attracts a lot of well-known winemakers, critics and sommeliers – the world’s fourth-best sommelier, our very own Paz Levinson will be in town from Paris, for example – so start inventing sickness excuses for next Thursday and Friday as it’s totally the place to rub shoulders with the wine-erati.
Alta Gama Buenos Aires, 18-19 August, Recoleta
Following several fairs organised in Rosario and Santa Fe, Alta Gama makes its début in Buenos Aires. Hosted at the sultry The Brick Hotel, expect the big boys such as Bodegas Etchart, Familia Zuccardi, Terrazas de los Andes and Finca Sophenia to play nicely with smaller folks Laureano Gómez, Gauchezco Wines and Jean Rivier.
Bonus track: no need to try and ‘acquire’ your wine glass and stash it about your person. Your 400 peso entrance includes a San Carlos crystal glass to take home.
Fería de Vinos Orgánicos, 19-20 August, Monserrat
It’s great to have a specific focus, and organic and biodynamic wine is the angle at Fería de Vinos Orgánicos. This is also your biggest bargain at 300 pesos a pop. Get down to Botica del Angel for Latin America’s only organic af-fair to sample wares from Ernest Catena Vineyards, Domaine Bousquet, Finca Dinamia, Finca Esmeralda, Chakana, Costaflores, Familia Cecchin and Familia Boarelli.
Sparkling & Special Wines, Mendoza
This is a save-the-date jobbie as November is all about bubbles and ‘special’ wines including mistela, vermouth, natural sweet wine and wine-based spirits. At Park Hyatt Mendoza, and a reason to book that bus ticket…