The 2019 Wine Spectator Grand Tour commenced in Las Vegas on April 27, as in excess of a thousand enthusiastic wine lovers filled the Grand Ballroom at the Mirage resort.
Many were Grand Tour first-timers. Ron Trevathan came from Houston, Texas, with his wife Susie. “The trek is for our anniversary,” he explained, “and this occasion has been on my bucket list for a while.”
Susie had given Ron early VIP entry as a gift and joined him later in the evening when I made up for lost time with them at the buffet. “I’ve enjoyed everything,” he said.
There was plenty to appreciate: 244 wineries from 17 nations, each pouring a flagship bottling. All wines were evaluated “remarkable,” or 90 or higher on Wine Spectator 100-point scale.
Each participant’s features will contrast on this occasion. Going carefully by the numbers, the most astounding scoring wine was W&J. Graham Vintage Port 2016, at 98. The most seasoned vintage table wine was 2000 from Château Duhart-Milon in Pauillac, some portion of the Domaines Barons de Rothschild Bordeaux portfolio.
The greatest astonishment was at the Penfolds corner. The Australian winery had chosen to demonstrate their Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia Bin 707 2016, which earned a “work of art” rating of 95 points. Be that as it may, there were misunderstandings, and Penfolds ended up substituting their notable red, Grange 2014, appraised 98 points. Or on the other hand, as each participant who halted by the stand called it, “a redesign, a bonanza!” No declaration was made, yet some way or another along line immediately framed.
A portion of the vintners were first-time members, as well, including Andrea Wirsching, speaking to her family’s winery, Hans Wirsching from the Franken district of Germany. Not exclusively was it her first Grand Tour yet, in addition, her first visit to Las Vegas. What’s more, her wine, the Silvaner Qualitatswein Trocken Franken Iphofer Julius-Echter-Berg GG 2015, was the primary German Silvaner ever poured at a Grand Tasting.
“I’m astonished,” Wirsching said. “I thought not a lot of people would know Silvaner, and that’s true. But there are many sommeliers here who appreciate it! And when people try it, they like it. People seem so open to new discoveries.”
Jean Engelbrecht, of Rust En Vrede in Stellenbosch, had made the long excursion from South Africa to pour his Estate 2015, a distinctive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. “I’m not a major aficionado of Las Vegas,” he conceded. “However, I could never miss this event.”
Engelbrecht has now opened nine restaurants in South Africa and saw that it was altogether different from – and in numerous ways more troublesome than – running a winery. “However, the effect they have had on my wine deals, amazing!” We concurred that the essentialness of café culture was a key engine for wines’ prosperity.
Chef José Andrés thinks about the collaboration between wine and restaurants. His domain ranges from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, with various outlets in Las Vegas. That evening, he had cooked a giant paella at his Jaleo café in the Cosmopolitan. (He was additionally authoritatively presented with the keys to the city.) Andrés halted by the tasting before catching a flight back east.