Chicago tastings

After a brief hiatus, I am back in blogging action. I was in Chicago and didn’t even access my email for 48 hours! (Fortunately it wasn’t that long between glasses of wine.)

I taught a one-day course at the University of Chicago entitled “critiquing the wine critics.” The participation was terrific and the wines were controversial–we had the Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastel, 2002 that the NYT tasting panel had dismissed on 11/2 as “off – not exactly corked, but with musty, unattractive aromas” but that Parker blessed with 92 points. (We generally liked this wine more than the NYT’s bottle though it was not a Parker-style hedonistic fruit bomb.)

The most bizarre wine of the day was the Connor Park, Shiraz, The Honour 2002, which was a disjointed, glycerin alcohol bomb that clocked in at a stunning 17% alcohol. (Parker all but calls you a “girlie man” if you don’t like the wine by bestowing it with 95 points and writing “Readers looking for restrained, Euro-styled wines should steer clear of this behemoth.”)

Perhaps the most popular wine of the day was something that, tasted blind, one participant said tasted “Northern Rhonish” and indeed turned out to be the Domaine de Colombier, Hermitage, 2000. But it may have been infanticide to drink it this young as it undoubtedly has many years ahead of it.

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