Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Illinois Sparkling Co.

On our latest wine adventure, we went south to Peru, IL for a unique experience exploring the best sparkling wine we’ve tasted from the midwest. August Hill Winery, which grows grapes for Illinois Sparkling CO. is owned and operated by Mark and Teri Wenzel. They take great pride in their work and don’t narrate the typical “this winery has been in our family for 12 generations…” story. Rather, they are two hardworking winemakers with a passion for Champagne and sparkling wine.

 

Illinois Sparking CO

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Pics from September 2014 Taste at the Track

The start of fall means another fantastic day for Binny’s Taste at the Track at Arlington Park. What made this one different? Guests sampled from hundreds of domestic and international wines with special high-end, allocated wines, including Caymus, Silver Oak, Rombauer and Cakebread. French and Italian large format bottles were also a highlight. This event featured an expanded craft beer selection with 20+ beers, with food tastings from top Chicagoland restaurants including Jake Melnicks, Bar Toma, Café Spiaggia, Cowboy Grille and Mr. D’s Sports Bar.

 

Taste at the Track

Check out these pics of the event – there’s a bunch more after the jump, plus a whole album of pics from the afternoon on this Facebook album. Check it out, and tag your friends! Continue reading

Meet Food Network’s Executive Chef Rob Bleifer

Join us and Food Network’s Executive Chef Rob Bleifer for a wine and food experience featuring entwine wines. Sample a few of Chef Bleifer’s favorite food pairings such as mini Chicken Mango Tostadas, Herb-Ricotta Meatballs or his famous Macaroni and Three Cheeses with garlic breadcrumbs. He will also be available for photos and bottle signings during the event. Arrive early to be one of the first 50 guests in line and you’ll receive a fun giveaway!

 

Entwine Wine

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Italy

Just returning from Italy, on a trip to experience and discover and bring that energy back to you, Barb S, Binny’s Des Plaines Wine Manager, reports from the road:

 

The variety across regions is striking. Starting in the south, the region of Puglia has almost tropical heat humidity, yielding forward wines that are juicy and jammy and just a little rustic. But as we went north to Chianti in the heart of Tuscany, the heat became arid and dry. Then, on the west coast in Bolgheri, the air cooled with a nice breeze from the sea.

 

We came back with an overwhelming impression of the charming hospitality and incredible scenery. Even if you don’t care about the wine (which we do!) the sweeping landscapes, the color and beauty of the countryside are an incredible experience. We also came back suffering prosciutto withdrawl.

 

 

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Bordeaux Day Four

A small group from Binny’s visited Bordeaux, tasting samples of the 2013 vintage and more, with stops at chateaux and negociants. Find the rest of the trip here. Binny’s Wine Guru Steve Reiter concludes with day four:

 

Not everything is about the 2013 vintage. Our first stop is with Francois Thienpoint. While we taste a couple 2013′s, our focus here is more on previous vintages, mostly 2010-12, that are now bottled and ready for sale.

 

A few stand outs include the 2011 Roques de Jean Lice which offers nice dark plum, dried herbs and clay notes with a light spicy oak on the finish. The 2012 Manoir de Gravoux is equally nice with plum, hints of black cherry, light cocoa and soft tannins. The 2011, 2010 and 2005 La Violette are wonderful, exhibiting warm flavors of black cherry, cola, clay earth and light clove. But the best by far is a barrel sample of 2012 La Gravette de Certan, the second wine of Chateau Vieux Certan. With a heady perfumed nose of blue and purple flowers and fruit, hints of clove, followed by lush blue and black fruit, all balanced and round. This is what Bordeaux offers that no one else can!

 

Bordeaux Bottles

 

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Bordeaux Day Three

A small group from Binny’s visited Bordeaux. They tasted samples of the 2013 vintage, with stops at both chateaux and negociants. Find previous reports here. Steve is back with more:

 

Chateau Pichon Baron

 

Day three starts with an appointment at Pichon Baron to taste and have lunch. We also have the distinct pleasure to taste with the winemaker, and to tour this lush and iconic chateau. Just check it out:

 
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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Bordeaux Day Two

A team from Binny’s visited Bordeaux, one of France’s most famous wine regions. They tasted samples of the 2013 vintage – now available en premier – visiting chateaux and negociants. Read yesterday’s report here. Steve is back with more:

 

Day two and we’re on the right bank in St. Emilion and Pomerol. Vineyards spread out along the countryside, but upon reaching St. Emilion, the city is right on top of the vineyards. In fact, Chateau Ausone is on a hillside above their vineyards just 500 meters behind town. Just like we saw on the Left Bank yesterday, the local population and the vineyards are completely interwoven. Towns have grown as a result of the success and history of the wine region, which again is so different from the other regions I’ve visited. St. Emilion especially is a gorgeous old commune straight out of a fairy tale. Old with buildings staggered over steep hills, narrow passageways, vineyards enclosed by stone walls. A tourist destination and certainly worth the visit.

 

Vineyards and Towns in Bordeaux

 

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Bordeaux Day One

Binny’s Wine Managers Steve Reiter and Chris Speir joined Wine Buyer Barbara Hermann on a trip to one of France’s most famous wine regions, Bordeaux. They tasted barrel samples of the 2013 vintage – now in the early stages of its en premier campaign – visited Chateaux and negociants. Steve reports from the road:

 

Binny's in Bordeaux

 

 

First Impressions

 

I expected the city of Bordeaux to be large (the 9th largest in France) but not quite the expanse that it is. We’re staying in a charming, modern sprawl radiating from the river with a modern, urban feel. However, the “Centre” or old part of Bordeaux, is just as large, and definitely has the rustic feel I expected. With stone buildings, colored shades of earthy white, grey, orange and green, it reminds me a lot of Venice. Old churches and architecture dot town squares where people pass time. We wander a few hours through the alley-like, brick-layered streets. I would hate to have to park here. No wonder there are so many bikes.

 

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Wine Hotline: Varietal Profile

Blind Tasting: Chardonnay & Cabernet

 

Recently, a bunch of Binny’s wine consultants got together to do a blind tasting of chardonnay and cabernet. No, we didn’t blindfold our employees. We put a bunch of wines in brown paper bags and let the chips fall where they may. Wine education comes in many forms, but one of the most humbling is to asses a wine without knowing the name, region or price. Here are six of our favorites after the jump, all chosen blind.

 

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Wine Hotline: Ask The Wine Guy

This month, our “wine guy” is actually Barbara Hermann, Binny’s fine wine buyer. Barbara has traveled all over the globe and has decades of experience under her belt. She is an eight-time winner of Geja’s blind wine tasting. So we went to her with this month’s Ask the Wine Guy question. Check out Barb’s answers after the jump.
 

“I sometimes hear wine drinkers use words like ‘jammy’ or ‘buttery.’ Are these typical wine descriptions?
Do they literally mean what they sound like?”

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