Archive for February, 2009

Feb 27 2009

What Are You Waiting For? Open That Bottle Night

Published by under Savvy Sip Tips

There are a few bottles of wine on the bottom shelf of our wine rack that are the “Special Occasion” bottles. Ironically enough, they were both gifts from the same couple. The first is a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (from a town called Grapevine, Texas) with a custom “On Our Wedding Day” label, which our friends gave out as wedding favors at their November 2004 nuptials. They have begged us to drink it already, and we keep meaning to on their anniversary, but for some reason, we never do. The other is a more recent gift, which the couple gave to us when we got engaged last summer. This is special for several reasons. First, it’s an engagement gift from a happily married couple that we adore. Secondly, it’s a Rioja, which is the one wine that my fiance and I can always agree on. And third, it’s a 1999 vintage, which makes it the oldest bottle we’ve got, and it just doesn’t feel right to open a wine from the last millennium for no reason.

One response so far

Feb 24 2009

Tour de Languedoc

On Tuesday, February 17, I attended the first Languedoc Ambassadors Tour tasting and luncheon in Chicago, hosted by the Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Languedoc. Held at Avec, the event featured 28 wines that a jury of American tasters had deemed best-representative of the region. Considering that Languedoc is France’s largest wine region, I was surprised not to have heard more about the unique, intriguing wines produced there.

27 responses so far

Feb 20 2009

The Wine that Defied Murphy’s Law

In the sea of wines out there, some are good, some mediocre, and some, well…just plain bad. And, every now and then, you taste a wine that stops you dead in your tracks. Speaks to you. Makes you aware of what style of wine just might be your bag. That happened to me today.

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Feb 19 2009

Alsace By Moonlight

Would you believe that some biodynamic winemakers look to the skies–more specifically, the moon–for guidance in vineyard practices? At a luncheon hosted by Josmeyer Vin D’Alsace at La Sardine on Wednesday, Vine Grower and Managing Director Christophe Ehrhart showed me his pocket guide to the Earth’s distance from the moon at any given time, which helps govern planting, pruning, and harvesting at Josmeyer. Additionally, in lieu of pesticides and chemicals, the Josmeyer vineyards follow typical biodynamic practices of using other plants–such as willow, horestail, and nettles–to control mildew and disease.

2 responses so far

Feb 18 2009

Languedoc Wines Give a Little Taste of the South of France

I attended a tasting Tuesday at Avec of 28 Languedoc wines from the south of France which had been selected through a blind tasting by a group of American journalists and sommeliers from more than 150 wines. We tasted the stand-outs, which all offered a different taste of the region. Languedoc wines have a particular […]

4 responses so far

Feb 16 2009

Celebrating “Good Eating” – and Good Drinking – with Bill Daley

On Thursday, I attended the first of a 4-part event series called “Celebration of Good Eating” at Kendall College. (The next event will take place in May.) The series highlights the themes and recipes of the Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating section and wine and food writer Bill Daley selects wines to pair with the evening’s menu. Thursday’s event focused on “Comfort Cooking & Wines to Warm Your Home.”

2 responses so far

Feb 13 2009

Shafer’s Well-Crafted California Cult Cab

Let’s talk about California cult wines a bit, shall we? I was prompted to think more about these after attending a tasting of Shafer Vineyards Napa Valley wines yesterday at Blackbird. One of the wines was the Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon which is known to be quite a collector’s wine (we got to […]

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Feb 12 2009

Lots to Know (and Love!) about German and Austrian Wine

I love good German Rieslings because of their perfect balance of unctuous fruit flavors, minerality, and naturally high acidity levels. This is why I was in heaven Monday night at the Thierry Thiese portfolio tasting of German and Austrian wines at Bluebird in Bucktown. After the walk-around tasting, we all sat down for a perfectly paired family-style meal of arrugula and wild mushroom pizza, homemade veal and pork sausage, mussels and frites, goat cheese mac ‘n cheese, green beans and shallots and sautéed pork loin. Delish!

33 responses so far

Feb 09 2009


On Thursday I was fortunate enough to attend a Taittinger Champagne luncheon at Sixteen restaurant in the Trump International Hotel & Tower. (FYI: While not necessarily monetary, unpaid internships do have their perks!) The views from the restaurant are absolutely stunning. The 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows leave nothing to be desired when gazing out over Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Wrigley Clock Tower. It couldn’t have gotten much better than that, but it actually did. Learning first-hand about one of the oldest and most prestigious Champagne houses in France from export director Ambroise Bobtcheff, while sipping the goods, was a real treat.

One response so far

Feb 09 2009

The Juice on Burgundies

I attended a wine tasting of the 2007 Burgundy barrel samples on Thursday, which was hosted by the importer Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. (A barrel sample is a wine which has not yet been bottled; so while you can get a good sense of what the wine will be like when released, it will undoubtedly change a good bit more once bottled.) Many great producers and winemakers were on-hand pouring samples from some of the most renowned appellations in Burgundy: the Côte de Nuits, the Côte de Beaune, and from the southern part of the region.

44 responses so far

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