Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience

I am thinking about getting tickets for my son who lives in NYC and is really getting into wine (he spends an inordinate amount of time in the home cellar when he visits, checking out/coveting his father’s wines). Is it something worthwhile? I am particularly concerned about overcrowding. FYI—each night costs $375 (and an extra $100 for VIP). Thanks.

Overcrowded and jammed up. And a good opportunity to taste a lot of wine he wouldn’t otherwise get to taste as a consumer. So IMHO, worth it. A lot of money, but if you’re providing the tickets, he should go. Tell him to make a plan before hand - the event is usually over several floors and IMO it’s stupid to go to each table and taste everything they have. If he wants to taste Burgundy, go to all of those, or at least a bunch of them. If he wants to taste Chianti, go to all of those. Or Bordeaux. Or whatever. And then start on something else.

Usually people go to the bigger names first, so they’ll go to drink up all the d’Yquem and then go to Haut Brion, etc. The way to avoid those crowds is have a different plan. And I always taste all reds first and then whites. You drink whites first only because you’re having a multi-course dinner starting with a fish course, then moving on to poultry, game, and a roast. But nobody eats like that these days and it’s a very bad way to try tasting wine. The white will be refreshing after a bunch of tannic reds, whereas the tannic reds after whites will pretty much suck until your palate becomes accustomed.

OTOH, he can just go taste randomly and figure it out.

I’ve twice attended a Wine Spectator Grand Tour Tasting, and thought it was well run and worth the ticket. Each of the two grand tastings, a winery table only featured one wine, so it moved quickly and efficiently. They didn’t oversell, so it wasn’t too crowded.

If he is getting into wines, it will be the best experience you can give him, other than drinking both of you together.
Scott, the extra $100 is worth because he can enter 1 hour before and taste at a slower pace when the floor is less crowded.
Tell him to be in line about 6 pm. Decide which floor to start that day.
Drink first the big names, as there is plenty big names, much more than in the Grand Tour event (the Wine Experience is a higher end event in terms of quality and vintages).
It you have the money, get tickets for both days, and use each day at each floor (5 and 6), and you can retaste if you like .
If you can go only one day, Thursday is better (less crowd) as most new yorkers prefers to go Friday as they don’t want to be hangover for work.
The idea of getting to champagne first is good, but will consume your first 15 minutes, so I taste halfway in the night to clean palate. I do the big reds first.
The big reds first is best because they had been decanted, while during the following hours, they are not because they don’t have time,
You have to spit, most of the wines.
Drink water about 5-10 wines, to clean palate and refresh.
Concerning the wines, the big names are California and Bordeaux, some Italians, and some Spain. The burgundy section is rare, Germany is small and many are sweet.
Y’quem is always there, but to sweet, drink at the end.
All ports are there, but most of them are the current vintage.
There is a book given at the entrance with the wines, but you don’t have time to check while tasting.
It is better to go online and get the wine names and vintages, so you know which ones to taste. It is online a few days before most of the times.
Some bordeaux are not from a great year, so you may like the house, but not the vintage, so I skip those even. But I think most will be 2014 or 2015.
California is always the current vintage 2015, except that Ridge Monte Bello is always a 20 year old, so this time should be 1998.

Greg and Orlando have good points. You must get the VIP and definitely arrive 30 minutes in advance to line up. The first 75-90 minutes are key for less crowding, availability of the expensive/high rated wines and maybe more importantly, the temperature of the wines/room. The wines and the people are a hot sweaty mess 2 hours in from VIP start. Very few wineries plan for that heat and it’s really appreciated when they do.

Most Bordeaux is weaker vintages but usually has 10 years of age. They will send out a map of producer locations in advance of the event which is very helpful in plotting your path/plan in advance (also advised). California wines are typically current release except Heitz Marthas and Ridge Monte Bello.

The annual NY event has 5x the wine quality of the weak Vegas, Chicago and wherever else they try to road show.

I’ve been a couple times and completely agree with Greg’s comments. Get in line early, too, to maximize your time in the tasting, instead of in line.

Yeah - whatever he does, it’s good to have a plan. I forgot about the early part - that’s well worth the extra money. It’s a great way to learn about wine. And if he’s in the NYC area, don’t overlook some of the retailer tastings coming up towards the end of the year - PJs, Wine Library, Gary’s and a few others that are good for someone learning. My advice is the same - have a plan. Those are really good ways to get to understand a region, a grape or blend, a vintage, etc.

Here’s the tasting lineup I worked through in the Grand Tasting. Still missed lots of great wines…

2002 Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill
2002 Piper Heidsieck Rare
2008 Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque
NV Krug Cuvee 16eme
1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs Millemse
2010 Cos D’Estournel
2009 Shafer Hillside Select
2010 Pichon Baron
2010 Chateau Pavie
2012 Bond Vecina
2012 Harlan Estate
2009 Masseto
2003 Chateau Leoville Las Cases
2008 Ramey Pedregal Cabernet
2008 Ridge Monte Bello
2008 Chateau Lafite Rothschild
2010 Carter O.G. Beckstoffer To Kalon
2013 Kerr Reserve
2015 Eisele Vineyard
2015 Pontet Canet
2015 Peter Michael Pavots
2014 Schrader CCS Beckstoffer To Kalon
2005 Chateau Montrose
2006 Vega Sicilia Unico
2014 Paul Hobbs Nathan Coombs
2014 Darioush Darius II
2014 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red
2015 Round Pond Estate Reserve
2015 Joseph Phelps Insignia
2015 Penfolds 707 Cabernet
2014 Revana Cabernet
2015 Sinegal Estate Cabernet
2015 Chateau Coutet
2015 Chateau D’Yquem
2003 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Porto
2015 Quinta du Noval Porto
30 year Dow Tawny

We went to the one in DC this past April and did the VIP. It was not as expensive as the NYC version. But, VIP is worth the money. It was practically empty for the first hour so we got through all the high demand wines and then concentrated on the Italians which was the goal for the evening.

Worth the money! While there are many newer vintages it is nice to try them to see if they are something one would want to buy. $100 for an hour early is a no brainer.

Nice to see this feedback. Have not been to one but almost went this year. Will plan on going next year and doing VIP. Some nice wines were poured it appears.

I do wish they would let you attend one off individual seminars instead of having to buy the full ticket.

invite him down to your cellar for the Papa Zimmerman Wine Experience. Tickets are free, no crowds, good company, wines are actually properly aged.

Sounds like I’m going to the next one!!
The line up looks juat amazing and for 375+100 it looks like a no brainer!

Masseto 2009?? Chateau D’Yquem?? Lafite ecc… a must in my opinion