Last week was the biannual Chicago stop of the Wine Spectator Grand Tour, held at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. The best thing about this tasting is that all of these wonderful wineries pour just one wine each, soyou can taste the highlights quickly. Noted:

- Vintage means a lot in Bordeaux, but the best vintages don't always show better at any given time. The 2004s that were open were absolutely gorgeous and complex, while the 2005s were mean and tannic and austere and not in their prime.

- The less time you spend eating, the more wines you can taste.

- In a room of monster wines at monster prices, it was amazing how well the inexpensive but delicious wines from Spain held their own. I'm talking about Tres Picos and Volver here.

- 2007 is an amazing year for California blue-chip cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blends.

- Tasted a wine from Long Island, 2007 Bedell Musee. It was pretty good!

- The phrase "pretty good" seems to carry more weight in my mind than it does for people who pour wines professionally. I got a lot of raised eyebrows, but I meant it with excitement and sincerity each time.

- My phone camera doesn't work well in the dark, so most of my pictures didn't turn out. You can still click the images below for a better view.