With the holidays fast approaching, the number of wine tastings that I am doing has increased dramatically. So much so that I considered consolidating my last two events into one. Gives me more to write about and you to read (aren't you the lucky one?). As I started to write about the first tasting I realized that I had more to write than I thought so looks like I'll be writing about each tasting separately (again, aren't you the lucky one?).
So my first event this particular weekend was at Downers Grove Wine Shop off 75th street in, you guessed it, Downers Grove. First time I have ever poured there although I've attended a couple tastings there (where haven't I?) The venue is really quite different. The store is pretty small, so they don't have the room to have a tasting in the shop itself. Instead, they use two stores next to them to hold the tasting. One is a home decor shop and the one I was in is a fireplace store (that's where I was). Now on this particular day, it was the start of our cold spell along with some rain. Glad that it was indoors. BUT, more importantly, I was set up about two feet from a working fireplace that the store has for display. I'm usually not a person that reacts to cold, but on this particular day, I was glad they revved that puppy up.
I finished setting up my wines and was all set to go. I want to say that it was good to see a shop owner who really knows what their customers are looking for. I say that as each table had a couple of sweet wines. The wines were listed on the tasting sheet as the last two for each table and highlighted so folks would know which ones were the sweet ones. Kudos.. BTW, I had a German and an Australia Riesling. Nice contrast.
I'm not going to through each and every wine, but I will try and highlight one or two that I felt were the "cream of the crop" so to speak. At this tasting, it happened to be a Rhone wine (you know how I like those) from the 2015 Vintage (a great year). It was the Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Cotes du Ventoux 2015 (click here for tech sheet). Ventoux is an area just to the South and a little East of Chateauneuf du Pape. The wine was a blend of Grenache (70%) and Syrah (30%). True to form for most Rhone wines, the wine had layers of dark somewhat dried fruit carrying a nice spice note on a frame of taut but not harsh tannins. Great food wine. I knew that Wine Advocate had given it 92 Points and at a price around $15, it was a great value as well.
The one thing (okay there's probably a lot of things) that I what to improve upon is my interactions with the customers and being able to write about that as well. I might even add a few pictures when I can remember to do so. Interestingly, I had my picture taken by a group that came to my table. You'd think that would be a good reminder???
Without any special folks to make fun of, er I mean talk kindly of, I'll just say that I had a great time. A diverse group of wine drinkers. Some more knowledgeable, some knowing exactly what they want (always good) and those just having a good time trying wine and learning more about things. I know there was a fair amount of those yearning for information as there were times I hardly kept quiet. Of course, that could be that I just love to talk wine.
One last thing, at least for this tasting, is that I have to start reading the information about the tasting a little more carefully. At 4 o'clock I started to pull my pour restrictors out of the wines and as I had little left in any, I almost poured them all out. A new group of customers came into the fireplace store and I couldn't help wonder why the wine shop owner would let new people in this late. That's when one of them came up to me and wondered why I was stopping to pour when the tasting went till, you guessed it, 5. After a double check of my email and an embarrassing acknowledgment of my mistake, I placed the pour restrictors back into place, opened new bottles where needed and continued for another hour. Probably wasn't my worse mistake I've ever made (I've made plenty) but it was one of the most embarrassing. All was forgiven and with any luck, I won't make that mistake again.
So except for the hiccup at the near end, I had a great time. Think I sold some nice wines and with any luck, brought a little sunshine and fun into an otherwise rainy and cold day for those attending.