It feels great to be back in NYC.
Even though I don’t actually live here yet and essentially backpack to different friends houses and sleep on their couches (one week til move in, I swear I’m not a bum!), it still feels great.
And what better way to get back into the NYC swing of things than a big party that packs culture and booze from all over the world into one big room for me to explore without purchasing so much as a bus ticket??
I knew New York City felt like home.
So that’s what I did on my first weekend back to the city. I attended Wine Riot — a tasting event with wine vendors from everywhere from Brooklyn to South Africa.
My friend Amy joined me for the big night and we showed up in our “straight from work to Friday happy hour” outfits (she actually has I job and I miiight have dressed in a way that suggests I do as well) and were ready to “taste”.
But as we got into our groove and discovered the refreshingly casual vibe of the event, it was a damn good time. Vendors were happy to talk shop with detailed descriptions of their samples and backgrounds on their sources, but they were equally happy to slap a fake tattoo on your arm or snap a free polaroid picture of your already empty wine glasses, moments after serving you.
I also re-discovered that I really do enjoy the art of wine tasting. I still feel like a total d-bag if I stick my whole face into the glass and suck it through my nose after a delicate swirl, but I did start asking questions and learning a lot about what I was drinking.
For example, have you ever compared oaked wine to an unoaked wine? Its pretty cool. Oaked wine is fermented in oak barrels and actually tastes woody and dry, whereas unoaked wine is smooth and “clean” as they call it. I preferred the oaked at the comparison table, where you could sample different opposing wines, like sweet vs. dry and um… oaked vs. unoaked. (There were more but really, unlimited wine? You expect me to remember?)
Anyhoo… I ended up learning a lot and discovering some fantastic new wines.
I was particularly fascinated by the brand Wineberry which boxes their wines in these lovely wooden boxes. Each box holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine, and stays fresh for six to eight weeks! I’ve gone through six years of legal drinking life thinking that whenever I bought a box of wine, I was essentially telling the world I have low standards. Turns out, there are some quality boxes out there that you don’t have to hide from your guests. I loved their red bordeaux and I’ll be seeking out this pretty box in NYC, as soon as I move in.
The Terra Andina was another favorite. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for pretty labels and the South American thing they had going on immediately drew me in. But it was the delicious cabernet that stuck with me. I love how it says “BOLD” right on the bottle. Get that sweet stuff outta here — I like my reds BOLD — even a little spicy — which Chile does, oh so deliciously.
After almost four hours of little sips here and there, we closed down wine riot having tried somewhere between twenty and fifty wines. Success. Any fears we had of a pretentious atmosphere were as dried up as our little plastic cups. We had a great time, and even learned a thing or two about our favorite boozy beverage.
The suited bouncers handed us a couple water bottles as we left with the throngs of tipsy wine lovers and emerged into a chilly night fall night in NYC, still crawling with options for the remainder of our evening. We could have kept going, but one thing I’ve missed in NYC even more than events like this one, is the ability to go home after a long night out and soak up all that liquor with a giant order of delivery food. So that’s exactly what we did — at 11pm.
If you’re in D.C., Boston, or L.A., you can still catch Wine Riot in your city this year. Check out their schedule here.
Do you enjoy wine tastings? What’s your favorite country or region for wine?
*I received free admission to Wine Riot but all opinions are of course, my own.