Don’t Miss Pinot Days

I enjoyed some great California Pinots on my trip to Napa and Sonoma, but it was just a drop in the bucket (or, should I say barrel?) to Pinot Days, an event held in Chicago each year.  At just one location, you can taste some of California’s best, along with some wines from Oregon

Some of the wines I had tasted before and enjoyed before, like C. Donatiello, Cuavaison  and Inman Family Wines.  Kathleen Inman of Inman not only remembered me from my visit, but gave me a sneak peak of their new 2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay because she remembered how much I liked that type of wine.  It was one of the best Chardonnays I’ve ever had and for $30 a bottle, I suggest you grab it while it’s available.

I sent my friend and colleague, Theresa Carter (a.k.a. The Local Tourist) to check out more of what I already knew was good and I want on a mission to find some more.  It wasn’t hard at all.  Domaine Chandon’s Pinot Mineur Carneros was excellent, with hints of lavendar, and is under $30.  I didn’t get to Three Sticks on my Sonoma trip, but am glad I find out their 2007 Durell Pinot Noir, a bit drier and fruit back than many others.  Ketchum Estate’s 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was one of my favorites of the day, along with From Santa Maria, California, Tudor Wines offers a 2006 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir with a fruity finish.  Also from that state, Youngberg Hill Vineyard’s offerings included a very good 2006 Jordan Block Pinot Noir.  Morgan Winery also offered a few good Pinots from Santa Lucia Highlands, with the 2008 a bit more fruit forward to my liking.  Among the picks from a few Oregon wines,  Sokol Blosser had a wonderful 2008 Estate Cuvée Pinot Noir which was just released. 

You don't need to down all the wine at Pinot Days on an empty stomach.  There’s also cheese and water for everyone and food sampling in between the wine exhibits.  Salted Caramel offers some heavenly treats, as does Katherine Anne Confections, which brought Chocolate Truffles filled with treats like rum, and BTrue Bakery,  which makes delicious all natural cookies. Also sampling was Rick Bayliss’ Frontera, with some delicious Mexican food). 

Pinot Days is a non-profit company who is committed to raising money for various charities.  The Chicago event takes place at Navy Pier in November, so put that on your calendar if you live in the area.  Also check out the Pinot Days website for the different events they have in other parts of the country.  It’s a great way to taste a lot of wines for a reasonable price. Many of the wineries are represented by the owners and winemakers so you can experience dozens of wine visits in one room. 


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