The New York City Wine and Food Festival descends upon us again this weekend, running officially October 17 through 20. And although the high-profile dinners and tastings have traditionally been either sold out or terrifically expensive (sigh, like all things in New York), the under $100 category has a collection of cool events with tickets still up for grabs.
Here’s our last minute guide to five of the best of what’s left.
Unusual Grape Varieties with Jancis Robinson, Saturday, 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., $85
Curious winos and budding wine geeks can take a spin around the globe with wine expert Jancis Robinson, tasting less obvious grapes from locales like Greece, Slovenia, Chile, and Spain. Highlights include the chance to taste Vranac from Montenegro and, most of all, seeing wine goddess Jancis in action. She’s awesome.
From Pasta to Prost! Italy Meets Germany in Wine & Food hosted by Harold Dieterle and Ray Isle, Saturday, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., $85
Despite the old mantra that what grows together, goes together, chef Harold Dieterle has proven that wine and food can easily cross borders to meet at the table; for proof, check out his latest restaurant The Marrow. At this seminar, Food & Wine magazine wine editor Ray Isle–industry luminary and all-around fun guy–will be tasked with pairing wines to Harold’s fave dishes.
Sake Simplified: From Rice to Riches hosted by Monica Samuels, Sunday, 1 to 2:15 p.m., $85
Just accept that sake is confusing–mostly because you don’t spend your free time studying it–and let someone else that does guide you through a tasting of different styles and regions. Eight sakes will be poured, and tips on food pairings will come from Monica Samuels of Southern Wine & Spirits.
Fall Vegetables and Their Favorite Wines, Sunday, 4 to 5 p.m., $85
You might’ve once questioned the efficacy of a seminar on pairing wine with root vegetables, but now, thanks to foragers and Scandinavians, veggies are the “it” food (as in, that’s it, that’s all you get on your plate). So it’s time to take your parsnip’s drinking partner more seriously. If you’re searching for wines that work with your annual all-things-butternut-squash frenzy, Gramercy Tavern’s chef Michael Anthony and bev pros Juliette Pope and John Ragan aim to offer insights on how to do it.
Classic Crab Boil at Willow Road, Sunday, 3 to 4:30 p.m., $85
Evoke the carefree spirit of summer and get your fingers dirty by digging deep into heaps of seasoned crabs. You would be laughed at in Maryland for spending $85 on a crab boil, but then again, you’d have to live in Maryland to reap the rewards of a cheaper bash, and we all know crabs don’t grow on trees (or, frankly, in the water) this far north. Plus, the digs at Willow Road are handsome, there’ll be fried chicken and mac & cheese for weary crustacean-cracking fingers, and, most importantly, beers and wine are paired and free flowing.