Vinitaly: The Aftermath & After Party

Vinitaly: The Aftermath & After Party

Post by Chuck Hayward | May 25th, 2011

After any major wine event, the behind-the-scenes folks gather together, take a load off and have a drink (or three). Standing on your feet all day and pouring wine to assorted consumers and sales reps, followed by entertaining clients at dinner takes its toll. So when everything is said and done and the credit card slips are signed, those with some spring left in their step converge on “the” place to be. Every city has one: The Supper Club in Melbourne after Wine Australia, The Matterhorn in Wellington following a session at the New Zealand Pinot Noir Conference and RN74 after anything in San Francisco. And following a big day at Vinitaly, the entire wine world crowds into the Bottega del Vino, one of the best wine bars on the planet.

Wall of Armagnacs at Bottega del Vino

Tucked away on the Scudo di Francia, the traditionally-styled wine bar Bottega del Vino had an inauspicious appearance from the outside, save for the throngs of people that packed the alley and made getting to the door quite a challenge. Working the crowd, I shouldered my way through to the entrance,  greeting friends and business associates along the way.  Once past the security guards (Vinitaly crowd control), you enter a warm space crammed with wooden tables and walls lined with hundreds of old wine bottles. Every seat was occupied, and waiters and busboys darted past clutching bottles and glasses. The noise level seemed to ebb and flow on the same tide as the bottle fills. (more…)

Burgundy Brigade

Burgundy Brigade

Post by Chuck Hayward | October 11th, 2010

Getting wind of a Burgundy tasting sends most of us in the wine trade into a vinous tizzy. And so it was last week that we jumped across the bay to

Some '06 Burgs, ready to taste

RN74, San Francisco’s shrine to Burgundy and location for a tasting of assorted releases from the Vineyard Brands portfolio. Founded in 1971 by Robert Haas, a former New York City retailer, Vineyard Brands quickly became one of the country’s top importers of quality Burgundy and we looked forward to exploring their collection of estates.

Rather than the new releases we were expecting, we were fortunate that Vineyard Brands had decided to give us another look at reds and whites from 2006. Four years after vintage, it was an ideal time to assess the development of these wines and get a feel for where they are headed. Upon release, Stephen Tanzer observed that the ’06 whites were “rich, powerful wines, often high in alcohol. Their glycerol textures and often exotic tropical fruit character give them great early sex appeal.” At the same time, Bruce Sanderson noted in the Wine Spectator  that “the young Pinots also amazed me, with their immediate charm, seduction and balance.” (more…)