Filed under: Events, Tasting notes | Tags: Anderson Valley, Chicago, Chicago Food Whores, Hein Vineyard, La Encantada Vineyard, Mendocino County, Pinot Days Chicago, Pinot Noir, Reel Pour, Sta. Rita Hills, The Broke Wino, wine tasting
After a busy harvest at the winery focused on sorting, crushing and pressing, we were ready to get out and pour our wines. It reminds us of why we do this – to see the smiles on people’s faces and enjoy the festive atmosphere at our table when people try our wine.
So this weekend, we traveled out for the 3rd annual Pinot Days Chicago to launch new wines and meet up with old friends. It was our second time pouring at the event, and once again it served up lots of happy Chicagoans and colorful compliments.
The event began with a tasting just for the wine, food and hospitality trade from 11 am to 1pm. It was a nice way to meet potential customers from wine shops, restaurants, bars and distributors.
But, since it was relatively mellow, it also was a great warm-up for the big public event and an opportunity for us to get out from behind our table to catch up with friends and try some wines before things got too busy.
The throngs headed in for the public tasting at 1pm and that’s when the fun really began. We met a bunch of really interesting folks and even saw some fans of our wine who we’d first met at the 2008 event.
We poured our 2007 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from La Encantada Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills) and also debuted our 2008 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Hein Vineyard (Anderson Valley). We were particularly curious to hear feedback about our latest release as this was the first time that we’d poured it for the masses.
The feedback that we heard about our wines was beyond our expectations and we were delighted to have a bunch of return visitors to our table throughout the day. Like last year, our number one fan Luke ushered tasters over to us, rhapsodizing about our wines. Thanks, Luke!
Despite all of the kind words and happy tasters, you never know what people will think and remember about the event after the buzz of the tasting fades. As we feverishly searched Twitter after the event for any mention of us, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted that a food blogger from Chicago Food Whores deemed our 2007 La Encantada her top choice for the entire event.
And she wasn’t the only one enamored with the 2007 La Encantada. Another taster said that it was one of his three favorites at Pinot Days Chicago and a professed non-Pinot Noir lover was also a fan. People said that “it does a lot in your mouth” and “is a symphony on my palate.” We heard taste descriptions mentioning “spice” and “pepper” and a number of people mentioned that they struggled to find words to describe the nose. One guy detected a fungus smell, adding, “I could smell that all day.” Another said it was a “Burgundian nose.”
In terms of our new baby, the 2008 Pinot Noir from Hein Vineyard; we got equally glowing reports.
Someone pronounced that it was “by far my favorite” of Pinot Days Chicago. Many mentioned its earthy qualities, saying that “it explodes earth,” is “woody,” “dirty earth,” and “has a lot of pine.” Some detected a hint of cinnamon, calling it “spicy” with a “nice finish.” Like the La Encantada, we also heard that it “smells Burgundian.” Some Anderson Valley fans noted some similarities to Navarro’s Deep End Blend and also mentioned that they were pleased that we didn’t “overdo the oak” and allowed the Anderson Valley fruit to shine. We acknowledged that we were pouring a wine young and one taster respectfully characterized it as “young and rambunctious.”
But, perhaps Brian’s favorite compliment of the day (in regards to our wines overall) was “bangin’ juice!” Right on, Rich! Kind of reminds us of a trip to Napa when a young guy behind the bar proclaimed, “the chard’s the bomb!”
Beyond the love fest (we do have egos after all), we really enjoyed meeting a variety of folks and talking about our wines. More so than last year, we seemed to learn about a number of cool ventures related to wine. Andrew Stiles of Reel Pour is a Cinema Sommelier and Jennifer was intrigued to hear about his series of podcasts focused on pairing wines with films. Additionally, we got a visit from The Broke Wino‘s Samuel Klingberg. His website focuses on wine recommendations for young people and he seemed to have a really fresh, approachable take on wine.
At the end of the day we left Pinot Days with purple hands, a ball-bearing-less pour spout, wine-stained clothing, and a mailing list full of new names. Oh, and a lot of smiles – both ours and everyone else’s. All in all, it was a satisfying day in Chicago.
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