Things That Make NY Great: T.Edward Wines
Wine tasting trade shows in NYC are always an adventure, but never so much as when the hosting distributor is one of the “Big Ten”, as I like to refer to them. T.Edward Wines, based in Tribeca, is one of those New York ten, qualified by being progressive in the trade, seeking out mainly small estate-based producers, and remaining relatively small themselves as a wholesaler.
Founder Tom Byrnes keeps his business on that short list by maintaining a passion for artisan product, and outfitting his management and sales staffs with that same passion through generosity, keeping an open mind, and the occasional bicycling tour. The results: a standout company with enthusiastic employees who evolve with the market.
The Ties That Bind
On May 6th, Deborah and I attended a milestone T.Edward event….their 20th anniversary trade tasting on both levels of Joe’s Pub in the New York Public Theater on Lafayette Street. “Passport Terroir” featured a sizeable chunk of the wine and spirits portfolio opened to taste, presented in person by the producers themselves. I’d been following the portfolio closely from my previous post at Suburban Wines since T.Edward’s 10th anniversary….the same month that I joined a half-dozen members of their sales team and importer Andre Tamers on a wine and food excursion through Northern Spain. 10 years on, it’s admirable to see how many strong relationships still remain with the majority of those same producers, while so many new wine as well as spirits producers have come aboard!
Where Business Meets Pleasure
Turning the big 2-0, they decided to get funky with the festivities. The venue was sexy and unique, the food was among the most refined of any offered at trade tastings, a jazz trio entertained on the main stage, a photo booth complete with props brought out the wild side in many, and the entire tasting opened its doors to the public afterhours. My favorite touch involved the tasting booklets, which were designed to resemble fresh, new passports. Instead of predictably listing all of the wines, prices and producer backgrounds, they were completely blank, waiting to be inked by custom rubber stampers with producer logos, which were placed at each tasting station. Clever, and very T.Edward!
Beyond The Label
Over the course of 5 hours, wine shop owners, restaurant wine directors, sommeliers, wine columnists and wine educators from all stretches of the metro area filed in to sample the juice, make buying decisions, and show support for an admired company. It was well worth our while, as hundreds of bottlings were present, including a special “library selection” from each producer, meaning, a no-longer-available ten or twenty-year-old vintage of one of their wines, sampled as a treat to attendees. The main portfolio is nonetheless overflowing with well-chosen, world-class wines in all price ranges, most of which run the organic farming spectrum from sustainable to biodynamic. Our tasting highlights include:
Avinyo Cava Blanc de Noirs Reserva: Here’s where Mediterranean Spain gives its best rendition of Champagne. 100% Pinot Noir, this sparkler overachieves, possessing notes of brioche and fresh flowers to accent its deep, dramatic fruit. $28.
Retromarcia Chianti Classico ’11: Uncompromising and stylish, this breaks the mold for conventional Chianti. Deeply-fruited yet spicy, with serious acid structure and enough rusticity for food-pairing. Around $17.
Alpamanta Malbec Estate ’10: How refreshing to find an Argentine Malbec that doesn’t try to mimic all the others. Real depth and personality here, with truffle and game notes interwoven with its substantial, chewy fruit. We’re looking at $23.
T.Edward In Your Glass
Distribution on many T.Edward wine and spirits selections is limited as far as the production size is typically small-to-minuscule. Our strategic partner Suburban Wines carries an assortment of their wines and spirits, including the 3 aforementioned. Visit their website, and contact them for help with “shopping by the back label”. Here’s to the next 20 years for T.Edward!