The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2014 NEW YORK CITY SIPS story and photos by Lana Bortolot W e have a feeling that the direct flight from Oporto to Newark International Airport has been getting a fair workout, carry- ing Port producers and their bottles to New York this month. Happily, we were invited to some civilized sipping. Frederick Wildman & Sons hosted a dinner for Johnny Graham, founder of Churchill's. He was accompanied by the very lively Maria- Emilia Campos, Churchill's Commercial Director (though we would have nominated her social director, based on her ability to work a room!). Graham, formerly of Graham's (now owned by Symington Family Estates), was in town to introduce the newest vintages of the terroir-driven wines he's making at his Quinta da Gricha in the Douro under the Churchill's Estates label. "We've had terroir for a long time, but we've never made any noise about it," he quips. But now, he says there's no reason for Douro wines not to toot their horn. "The styles of wine and Port complement each other" in minerality and elegance, he says. He topped the evening off with a 2011 Vintage Port—what he called Churchill's "statement wine." Christian Seeley, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes, arrived with a boxful of wines from Quinta Do Noval, the first unfortified wines to be made by the iconic Douro valley estate. Seeley said in his 21 years at Noval, he's long harbored a desire to "make wines that express the terroir." Touriga Nacional, Portugal's calling card varietal, has expressed surprising elegance and aromatics. "The future is in blended wines, but it's possible to have a light hand and make red wines in the Douro that are light and fresh," he said. He called the movement "thrilling," not- ing that the Douro is reinventing itself with young new winemakers. The 2004 vintage is their first, but not their last. "Watch this space," says Seeley. It wasn't Port, but a port of call that brought us to a "Merroir and Terroir" event hosted by Loveblock's Erica Crawford (another wine- maker who no longer owns her eponymous winery). Crawford, who now owns an organic winery with husband Kim in New Zealand's Central Otago winemaking region, chartered the Prudence, one of only three original Maine steamboats still on the water and one of oldest working ships in America, for a day cruise of oysters and wines. Joined by members of the Terlato Wines team, she showcased her Sauvignon Blanc—a brilliant citrus match for the freshwater oysters harvested by local aquaculturist Jardar Nygaard—Pinot Noir (lighter than its Central Otago cousins) and Pinot Gris. Loveblock's Erica Crawford, aquaculturist Jardar Nygaard and Laurent Gallais-Pradal, Terlato Wines' District Manager. Ports of Call Maria-Emilia Campos, Churchill's Commercial Director, and Johnny Graham, Churchill's founder. Christian Seeley, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes, and Marie- Louise Schyler, the company's Chief Communications Officer.

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