Wine With Me Tackles Wine Riot

Wine Riot- Chicago  2011

This past weekend, Lissette and I went to a wine tasting event called Wine Riot. There were over 250 wines to taste. This may seem like an outrageous number of wines and it is true that it would be very difficult to taste them all, but events like this are a great opportunity to try a lot of wine and really figure out what you like in a wine and what you don’t. You’ll probably leave with a pretty good list of wines you now know you like. Plus these events are really fun!

If you go in prepared to just have a small taste of a lot of different wines, you can work your way through a good portion of the wines. Lissette and I tried approximately 50 wines at Wine Riot and no, we were not drunk by the end! The way to get the most out of an event like this is to just have a sip of each wine you try and dump the rest. The goal is to taste the wine, see if the nuances and flavors are what you are looking for and then move on to the next wine. If there is one you really love, by all means drink it up. Just remember the more pours you finish, the less wines you will be able to taste. (For tips on tasting wine read our post How to Taste Wine)

Wine Riot had something for everyone; sweet, dry, red, white, rose, dessert, sparkling- you name it. With an event that has so much going on, it is important to have a game plan. Lissette and I decided we would start off tasting whites and then move on to reds. We had no illusions that we would make it through every wine at the event, so we decided to pick out regions in which we were interested and hit up those tables. We spent time at the Italian, French, German, Spanish, South African, Michigan, and Illinois booths.  We also tried a few California, South American and Australian wines. We even tried a Croatian wine and a Bosnian Wine.  Second Glass, the sponsors of Wine Riot, had a handy iPhone app that made checking off the wine you liked and taking notes on them very fast and easy. Nice work Second Glass!

Clearly, I can’t talk about each wine we tasted or we would be here all day, but I’ll give you the highlights on a few of the wines we tasted.

The top three wines of the event, as voted on by the attendees, were:

  1. 2009 Giorgio & Gianni Lambrusco $6.99– A sweet frizzante (fizzy) from Italy. Both Lissette and I enjoyed this unique wine. I was shocked when the wine distributor called this a sweet wine because it was not a wine I would consider sweet. It was refreshing and would be a nice summer wine, especially for those wine drinkers who aren’t that into white wine (it’s meant to be served slightly chilled).
  2. 2010 Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz $9.99- This semi-sweetShiraz, fromSouth Africa, just didn’t do it for me. Lissette loved it, but it was too sweet for my liking. It had flavors of dark berries and chocolate
  3. 2010 Brys Estate Pinot Noir Riesling $17.99- This was probably one of the most interesting wines of the night. Technically, it would be considered a Rose since it is a blend of Riesling and Pinot Noir. Slightly sweet (due to the Riesling), this wine was like nothing I had ever had before. Lissette was a fan and I surprisingly didn’t mind it. It was sweeter then I normally would drink, but on a hot summer night this could really hit the spot. 

Now on to the important stuff! What Lissette and I liked. Not surprisingly, based on our tastes, Lissette preferred the sweet Rieslings and the medium bodied reds and I was a fan of the dry whites and full-bodied reds. This being said, there were some wines that we both really enjoyed (in no particular order).

  1.  2010 Gaga Wines Rose $12.50– Lissette and I were pretty happy with this wine and not just because it shares a name with Lady Gaga (no affiliation — we asked). This was just a nice light California Rose with hints of strawberry.
  2. 2007 Gaga Wines Rouge $12.99– This Red was medium bodied and was creamy, with a nice long finish.
  3. 2010 Seven Sisters Dawn Pinotage-Shiraz $9.99- We were loving the South African wines!  This medium bodied red has plum flavors with a little bit of spice and a lingering finish.
  4. 2008 One World Shiraz $14.99- This was defiantly one of my favorites of the night! This South African wine had a nice full body with deep rich fruits and good tannin structure. Interesting fact: One World is a “Fair Trade Certified” wine.
  5. 2007 Chateau du Trignon Cotes du Rhone $13.99- If you are into the old world style of wine this might be a good choice for you. French wines are known for earthy characteristics and this one does not disappoint.

There you have it – a few highlights from our experience at Wine Riot. It was a great event and a fun way to discover some new wines. If you have a chance, go to a wine event like this. They are well worth the money and a great way to spend the evening. Have fun and happy tasting!


Posted on May 27, 2011, in Recommendations, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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