I've noticed a spike in traffic this week due to people looking for info on Binny's Midwest Wine Expo. Last year I posted a primer about preparing for a tasting. This year I wanted to take some time to cover my plans for the tasting. I'm not above whoring content for better search results, but for the sake of good taste I'll call it catering to my audience.
First some notes about preparation. Nobody wants to think about being responsible when they go to a wine tasting. A big tasting like this is like Disney World for adults, so we tend to act a little like children. There are a few things you can do though to make sure you get the most out of your experience and don't end up puking in the bathroom or getting thrown in the drunk tank.
First off eat a good meal before you show up. Oak Brook has tons of great restaurants that will be happy to serve you Sunday brunch. Go to one of them! Second spit. I know, I know, its gross. There are 700 wines at this tasting. You CAN NOT drink a 1oz sample of each of them and live to tell about it. That would be almost 30 bottles of wine (no thats not a challenge). Spit, you'll be much happier. Besides, your mother spent your entire childhood telling you spitting was bad manners. At a wine tasting its anything but, take the opportunity to stick it to your Mom.
Off my responsibility soap box, and back onto the fun box. How do you taste all the wines you want before your taste buds are so overwhelmed that can't taste any wine at all.
If you don't take anything else from this post, take this. At least take a look at the Expo Book(PDF) before you go. It has all the wines that will be poured, along with price, and the tables they will be on. Do a little planning and figure out if there is anything you really MUST taste. You would hate to get to the good stuff last when your palate was so blown out that you couldn't taste it, and even worse, you would hate to find out that someone ran out of your favorite wine.
Another opportunity to maximize your fun is to attend a seminar. Take a look at the expo book, and see if any of them interest you. These are a great way to quickly up your wine know how. I'm zeroed in on the Bordeaux Seminar (regular readers will not be surprised by this). Should be a good one.
As far as the specific wines, I think that there will be a good representation of Bordeaux there, and it looks like a fair number of quality California Pinot bottlings will be available. There are also a couple of what look to be some really interesting and good value Spanish wines. I'm hoping to take the opportunity to try some Italian wines, since thats a region I've mostly ignored throughout my wine drinking life.
If you are planning to attend the festival, maybe I'll see you there. Have a great time, and remember to drink responsibly.