We argued with the weather, delayed our arrival, but ultimately enjoyed a great Chicago evening with a glass of wine at hand at the 7th Annual Windy City Wine Festival. We did Day 1 of the two day event.
Based on the number of tastes your entry fee gets you, the strength of my tasting palette (I can drink wine all night and enjoy it, but changing what I get with every other mouthful wears me out relatively quickly) and the lateness of our arrival we aimed on tasting 10 wines - we actually did 11. That means there's 259 and a beer we didn't get to. Maybe next time...
Our Selection Process included the following criteria:
- gotta get a hold of some Côtes du Rhône
- wanna do some white and red and bubbles
- wanna mix up the varietals
- should try some different price points
- gotta do new stuff to us
Here's what we came across, in the order we did them and not our order of preference. These are also our impressions and may or may not jibe with any official tasting notes you can find. Prices noted are what were listed at the Festival, so I can't promise you'll get the same at your favorite wine store.
- Four Vines Chardonnay Naked (Heritage Wine Cellars) $11.99
- Naked means unwooded, not how you should dress
- Not a lot to the nose, quite a long gentle acidic finish
- Perhaps better with seafood?
- Rock Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc (Heritage Wine Cellars) $11.99
- Quite dry, but crisp
- Melony type things going on
- Sit on the deck in the sun with this one.
- Mionetto Prosecco Brut (Mionetto USA) $17.99
- High on the bubble count
- Pale in color, light in body
- Says Brut, but not really that dry.
- Hey Mambo Swanky White (Pure Wine) $11.99
- A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc and others
- Heavily wooded tones (but not sure if it actually was)
- Flowery nose
- Short finish.
- Ogier Heritages White (Cotes du Rhone Wines) $15.99
- Grenache Blanc is the backbone
- Soft on the palette, kind of buttery, citrus hints up front
- If you can't get some Rock Rabbit, then get this out on the deck.
- Bluefield Riesling (Constellation Wines) $10.99
- Spritzy in feeling, not in appearance
- Sweetish but balanced
- Would probably benefit from food, perhaps something with a little kick, but light at the same time.
- Moobuzz Pinot Noir (Pure Wine) $14.99
- Quite big within the range of Pinots
- Toasty and a bit peppery
- Probably benefit from food.
- 7 Deadly Zins (Michael David Winery) $19.99
- Smokey nose
- Earthy to the palette
- Full bodied, almost a big wine and fruity.
- Woop Woop Shiraz (Tenzing Wine & Spirits) $12.99
- A jammy sort of nose
- Cherry up front, with a bit of a peppery feel going on
- Smooth, long finish.
- Fun to say!
- Chateau de Saint-Cosme Red (Cotes Du Rhone Wines) $17.99
- Syrah / Grenache
- Big fruit on the nose
- Lots of fruit on the palette
- Short, dry finish.
- Gascon Malbec (E & J Gallow Winery) $15.99
- Lighter than expected
- Sit on the deck in the evening, perhaps with some cheese and meats, but was just fine all on it's own
- A nice well balanced wine.
There's a couple we could declare to like more than the others if we were really forced to rank them, but we would be happy if friends turned up for dinner and plonked down anyone of these. Which, in general, I think you'd expect to have happen at an event like this one...
The producers / distributors / makers have a lot of people whizz by them over the two days they are there and the goal is obviously to show off their wines. But, they also are probably trying to make as many people finish their 'whizz by' happy and to do that I think they would be bringing out mostly the wines that fall into the good honest range of what you'd expect to see - that is, Chardonnays that look and taste like a typical Chardonnay; Sonoma wines that look at taste like a typical Sonoma. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think, in general events like this help you find a new favorite, whereas your favorite wine store helps you find a new experience.
We admit to finding one old favorite, but we could easily declare that there were some new favorites to be enjoyed!
We had fun, we were unstressed (once we avoided the rain...) and we did get our palettes around some new stuff. We'll be keeping an eye out for next year's event, but can already mark our calendar knowing they'll be back the week after Labor Day.