This event was held yesterday at the Hotel Sax Crimson Lounge. Our sommeliers were up for quite a challenge- as a sommelier myself I was almost jealous! Not only would the winner receive the title, but also a gift pack donated by event wine sponsor, Terlato Wines International. This gift pack was comprised of the three-bottle Terlato "Peak Series" (Angel's Peak, Devil's Peak, and Cardinal's Peak), all excellent Napa Valley Bordeaux blends. On to the tasting!
Blind tasting is a difficult challenge, even for the most fine tuned palate. It takes good senses- sight, smell, taste. But it also takes a bit of knowledge and deductive reasoning. By using your senses, you can rule out certain varietals and wine regions in the world, while narrowing down the your choices.
Our sommeliers and guests had twenty minutes to narrow down their choices, and try to score points in a number of areas like varietal (grape variety, ie. Merlot), location (which included country, region, appelation, and bonus points for producer), and vintage (year the grapes were harvested). After that time, the sommeliers revealed their picks and how they narrowed them down. It was very informative, and I believe our guests learned alot.
Next, it was time to reveal the wines:
- 2007 Michel Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage "La Petite Ruche" Blanc. It is comprised of 100% Marsanne, a grape grown in the Rhone Valley.
- 2006 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino. A medium bodied red made from Sangiovese, grown around Montalcino in Tuscany.
- 2004 Rust en Vrede Shiraz. A full bodied red made close to Stellenbosch, in the West Cape province of South Africa.
We were finally about to find our winners and give out the prizes. By a narrow margin, Scott Tyree of Tyree Wine Consulting is the winner of Chicago's Best Palate 2009! Congratulations! Also, congratulations goes out to our Amatuer Audience Best Palate Winner, Addie Braun, who went away with two wines donated by Eno, a sparkling rose made by M. Lawrence, and a Pinot Noir made by J. Wilkes. We also had a winner of a gift certificate for Eno/Intercontinental Hotel for picking our winning sommelier. Fun, drink, knowledge, and prizes- a win-win situation for all!
I want to thank our audience for attending, our sommeliers- Scott Tyree, Michael Taylor of the Italian Village, Alain Njike of Park 52, and Lucas Henning of C-House, my partner Theresa Carter- The Local Tourist, Terlato Wines International, Eno and the Intercontinental Hotel, and the Hotel Sax.
I invited many Chicago sommeliers, and will invite many more next year- looking forward to having some female representation, as this city has some of the best in the world. Can't wait for 2010!