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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.

 

blindtasting_653

 

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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?”

bottles653

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Luxury Wine Gifts

Whether you’re impressing the boss, giving the perfect gift to your loving significant other, or just finding a special bottle for the holidays, Binny’s has the answer. Sure, we have hundreds of high end wines. But our friendly, knowledgeable and good looking wine consultants will help you find the perfect wine gifts without the dreaded stress. A few ideas to get you going:

 

Gift Ideas

 
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Our New Favorite Value Bubbly

It’s called Henri Leblanc, and we think it’s the best thing going for under ten bucks.
 
See, sometimes, we feel like real consumer advocates.
 
We weren’t happy with inexpensive bubbly in general. We wanted to offer a value – something clean, fresh and easy to drink. We already have a good product in Cuvee Tradition, but we wanted to offer a step up in quality that’s still a great value. Something wine nerds would drink, and something they wouldn’t mind popping on a Wednesday. So we went to work.
 
It took five months. Five months of combing catalogs, tasting samples, beating up suppliers. We narrowed it down to just a few possibilities, then tasted them blind against the best of the category. That’s when we found our bottle:
 
Henri Leblanc Brut Blanc de Blancsleblanc-12-12-2013

Orchard fruit on the nose, with citrus over granny smith apple and some cream. Creamy on the palate, with bright green apple and mineral undertones. Warm and inviting, vibrant and energetic. Drink it on its own, but we won’t mind if you mix it in a mimosa or bellini. – Binny’s Tasting Note

 

For more wine news any time, check out the Wine Hotline.

Staff Picks from The Wine Hotline

What makes Binny’s Beverage Depot the best place to find your new favorite wine? Is it our low prices? Our breathtaking selection? We like to think it’s because we have the friendliest, most knowledgeable wine staff around. So for this month’s Wine Hotline Staff Picks, we turned to our Downers Grove wine department for their favorite holiday recommendations.
Thanksgiving Wines
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Wine Staff Picks

This month, we turn to Binny’s Highland Park Wine Consultant Keith Akers for a few of his top recommendations. With his eye for value, he offers up five great selections from all over the world.

 

2011 Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet
Aromatic and mineral driven with seashells, crushed rocks, white fruits, and a touch of floral notes. Light bodied with crisp and refreshing medium/high acidity. Summer is over, but this is still perfect with lighter foods and is a pleasure to drink all the time.

 

Tissot Rose Tissot Rose jura-9-20-2013
Crisp and aromatic with a red fruit base of red berries, red fruits, warm dough, and a bit of mineral tones. Medium bodied with zippy high acidity, this is a great sparkling rose that competes with many Champagnes that are twice the price. Also, be sure to check out Tissot Indigene, a dead ringer for a Blanc de Blancs from Champagne at half the price. The sparkling wines of Tissot only at select Binny’s locations.

 

2011 Evening Land Blue Label Pinot Noir
The pretty and perfumed nose shows fresh picked red berries, cherries, spice tones, and roses. Medium bodied with nice and tart medium acidity. This beautiful pinot leans more towards the nuanced side instead of raw power.

 

2010 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico rocca-9-20-2013
Tones of red cherries, berries and roasted herbs fill the glass and have a great savory quality. Medium bodied with medium acidity and silky tannins, this Chianti Classico is great to drink on its own and to have with food.

 

2009 Argyle Brut
The nose is lively and balanced with red apples, yeast, white fruits, and mineral tones. There is a real freshness on the palate as well, with a silkiness to the medium body and medium/high acidity. This is a great sparkling wine buy that is a real pleasure to drink.

 

Keith has been a fixture in the Highland Park Binny’s wine department for six years. He especially loves the wines of Italy, Champagne and Burgundy, having graduated from beer to wine after falling for wine’s sense of place. Email Keith at kakers@binnys.com or stop by Binny’s Highland Park.

 

For more wine news any time, check out the Wine Hotline.

Our New Favorite Pinot Grigio

arboreto-9-20-2013

Introducing Arboreto, the new Italian pinot grigio exclusively at Binny’s.

 

Sometimes it seems that all a pinot grigio has to be is clear and wet…. What makes Arboreto stand out?

 

“It’s vibrant, with lots of tart green apple,” says Binny’s Wine Buyer Barbara Hermann. “It drinks like a pinot grigio that might usually cost you 18.99, only it costs half that price.”

 

Hermann is excited to bring in this exclusive new product. “We’re working with a hometown, Chicago-based importer. But she was originally from Verona, in the Veneto. She’s from the same region as this wine.”

 

What should you expect when you pour a glass of Arboreto? Light bodied and full flavored, it shows notes of orange zest, fresh melon and spiced pear. The finish is dry, tangy and delicious, with the spicy flavors lingering.

 

 

For more wine news any time, check out the Wine Hotline.

Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Ribera del Duero

A small group from Binny’s visited Spain’s Ribera del Duero. Bill Newton reports from the road:

 

Ribera del Duero

 

Spain’s Ribera del Duero is beautiful and rustic. On one hand, the region is home to world-class wine producers such as Vega Sicilia, Pingus and Pesquera. On the other hand, nobody acted surprised when a herd of sheep blocked traffic to cross the road.

 

The guys at Vega Sicilia don’t leave room for surprises. They want complete control over every aspect of their wine making process, including making and toasting all of the barrels used at the winery at their own on-site cooperage. Coopers everywhere char the insides of their barrels, determining the flavors that barrels instill in the wines they hold (just like with spirits, or even beer).

 

Toasting Barrels

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Wine Hotline Updated

The Wine HotlineBe sure to check out the brand new update to the Wine Hotline. And goodness, this update is a big one, including hard-hitting issues:

 

exotic, but not too exotic ♦ what California chardonnay should be ♦ wine and food from Nantucket to Washington State a buyer’s vintage ♦ a bit of chantilly cream ♦ a wisp of creamy smoke ♦ spring flowers, crushed rocks, smoked game ♦ steamed buns ♦ what Oregon pinot is all about ♦ Walla Walla 

 

Yes! So for all that and more, be sure to check out the newly updated  Wine Hotline.

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