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Harvest Fest at Bin36- Blend Your Own Wine

Harvest Fest

It’s fall and that means it’s harvest season. Here in Chicago there isn’t exactly a lot of winemaking going on, but Bin36 doesn’t let its patrons miss out on harvest activities. Every fall they host a Harvest Festival. This year was the 2nd time I have gone. It’s a chance to blend your own wine. You heard me blend your own wine. It’s a fun experience and your newly blended wine is a cool gift idea and arrives in time for the holidays.

Here’s how it works. There are 3 stations a smelling station, a blending station and a buying station. Read the rest of this entry

Liatiko: Varietal #27

On a recent trip to Bin 36 I had the Domaine Douloufakis, 2010 Liatiko from Crete. It was quite the start to my wine century challenge, a varietal that was not marked on my initial list and one that my dad has yet to try (a feat with the 147 varietals currently on his list).

I have to admit that I choose the Liatiko because it was a grape that I was sure I had not had. I wasn’t too worried that I would like the wine because the description said that it had similarities to a Pinot Noir and I usually like Pinots, even if I sometimes find them to be a little thin. The notes on the wine said it exhibits qualities of black tea, subtle spice a red fruit. A quick Google search indicates that this seems to be a pretty standard description of what you can expect from the Liatiko varietal. Read the rest of this entry

Learning How to Buy Wine

Lissette and I attended Bin School last night at Bin 36 for the “How to Buy Wine: An Insiders Guide” class. As always Bin 36  did a good job of providing lots of information about wines and the terms used to describe wines. It was an informative class and highlighted the do’s and don’ts of picking a wine. I found the price to be a little steep compared to other wine classes I’ve gone to ($36, eight wines) and I wish we had spent more time discussing the wines we actually tasted, but over all it was a good experience. For those who don’t want to pay $36 for a class, try the half hour Mini Bin classes at $15.

Key takeaways from the class:

  • Know how to describe what you like: demi-sec, dry, fruity, oak, light-bodied, full-bodied, earthy etc. (If you can describe what you like and give an example of a wine you like even better).
  • Retail mark up is double so if the wine shop paid $5 for the bottle you will pay about $10 Read the rest of this entry

A Wine Filled Easter Weekend

My parents were in town this weekend for Easter. This means I had lots of good wine and good food!   They got in Thursday night and we started the weekend with a French Burgundy at the Red Rooster Wine Bar. The 2000 Laboure-Roi of the Gevrey Chambertin appellation was a very smooth wine. Being that the bottle was a 2000 the tannins had time to mellow. The wine was very balanced and had the old word characteristics you would expect from a French wine; dark fruit and hints of leather. You may be thinking leather? That’s kind of weird but leather is actually a common characteristic of wine. And can add some real complexity to a bottle of wine.

The second night my parent were here we ate in. my mother made an awesome rack of lamb and we started with a 2010 Villa Des Anges Rose from France. It’s important to note that a rose is NOT the same thing as a White Zinfandel. I repeat Rose is NOT the same as White Zinfandel. This rose run about $11 a bottle and is a perfect pre-dinner sipping wine.  It is very light and crisp. It is a dry rose (I’m not a fan of sweeter wines) and is great on its own, but would pair well with salads, seafood and other light dishes. Read the rest of this entry

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