Boston Harbor Hotel Hosts the 28th Annual Boston Wine Festival

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A dinner highlighting the diverse flavors of Riesling wines

The 28th Annual Boston Wine Fest features dinners with wine pairings.

Like the Hidden Gems exhibit at Harvard’s National Museum of History, many phenomenal experiences are sprinkled across Boston just waiting to be enjoyed. The Boston Wine Festival hosted by the Boston Harbor Hotel is one such gem.

In addition to the fireside lounge that allows guests to enjoy the outdoors by a cozy fire with specialty cocktails and fondue, the Boston Harbor Hotel warms the winter season by celebrating its 28th year hosting the Boston Wine Festival, one of the largest food and wine festivals in the city. The hotel welcomes many of the world’s most sought-after winemakers and vineyards. From Jan. 13 to March 29 the classically elegant Harbor Hotel puts on receptions, seminars, and dinners all logistically paired with delectable food created by chef Daniel Bruce and his culinary team.

On March 9, the hotel hosted Raimund Prüm of S. A. Prüm in Mosel, Germany. An hour-long seminar in which Prüm went deep into what makes his Rieslings so pure led to a perfectly orchestrated four-course dinner in one of the Meritage restaurant’s dining rooms.

The first thing to put straight is the erroneous association between Rieslings and “arbitrary sweetness.” This untruth is something classic Riesling-makers from Germany have to deal with repeatedly. As head of the vineyard for decades, Prüm blended facts and anecdotes into the rich history of this particular vineyard, which has been producing wines since 1156.

The steep, slate-covered hills of Mosel, Germany, provide for the perfect terroir for this type of grape. There is heavy rainfall and artificial irrigation is a big no-no. The winery ages its wines for no longer than two years in oak to get the robust opening without the in-your-face oaky taste. The grapes themselves are harvested when they are ripe to overripe, making for a relatively late harvest.

All of these factors and more are what make these wines so special. On this point, Prüm was abundantly clear — the quality of his wine comes from the vineyard, not from the cellars. Feed your product with care and quality, and that is what you will reap in return.

After tasting the 2004, 2006, and 2007 Rieslings, which Prüm described as “fireplace wines,” we tasted a delectable pinot noir rosé before being ushered into the dining area. From there chef Daniel Bruce wowed the crowd with dish after dish of perfectly paired plates. With the 2013 Luminance Riesling, a bright wine with bright acidity, we enjoyed a play on carbonara, diver sea scallops with potato dumplings, spring garlic, and apple-smoked bacon.

The New England Jonah crab meat salad, a spring-esque dish with sweet lumps of crab meat, was paired with a 2013 and a 2014 wine — one was more robust and grounded, while the other had a slight effervescence and sweet mouth feel.

Third came a heartier veal dish with St. Geronimo cheese and baby kale. This was paired with a 2011 Graacher Dompropst and a 2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr. The former was almost like a white Burgundy, and the latter, orange and cloudy, was fantastically complex, each sip taking you on a journey.

To finish, a fortified version of Riesling (2002, Graacher Himmelriech) also referred to as “eiswein” was paired with a light lychee mousse and apricot sorbet. It was a perfect finish to a meal that promoted the coming of spring like no other.

Of course, to get the full effect of such an evening, a stay at the Boston Harbor Hotel itself is highly recommended. Should you be traveling from afar, or simply in the mood for a stay-cation treat, this hotel is one of only three 5-star establishments in the city. Once inside — particularly once you have settled into your room — you will understand why. The elegance of service, the tasteful white and blue décor, and the breathtaking views of the harbor from floor to ceiling windows all point toward an entirely deserved ranking.

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The Boston Harbor Hotel clearly has a keen sense of providing experiences to their guests. The Boston Wine Festival is one example of the staff’s ability not only to promise and deliver but to exceed expectations. Be sure to get to one of these wine dinners before the festival is over on March 29. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Boston Wine Festival website.