Heritage Wine Cellars Gala 2009

Today I attended one of the Midwest's largest yearly wine events, the Heritage Wine Cellars Gala.  Heritage is an extremely large importer and distributor of wines- there were almost 200 producers present.  They put on quite a show at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton in the Grand Ballroom.  So much wine to taste, wine sales reps and producers willing to pour and give out info, gourmet food, espresso, and bottled water everywhere!  Now you may ask yourself, with so many wines, what do you do, and where do you start?

As one who is involved with wine buying, I start before I even go.  I look at my wine bottle and glass pour list, and write down what I am missing and in need of.  Then, I will go to the event and, with the price sheet, will set a fast priority on items I would like to see on the list.  After that business is done, it's time for pleasure!  I then seek out items I have wanted to try, even if I have no intention of purchasing them in the near future.  This also aids in tuning my palate, and adding to my memory of varietals and wines I have tried.

Now, some of the wines I loved.  My favorite was the 2006 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove.  It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.  The vintage turned out excellent and, though it could use more aging, is so complex and full of flavor.  There is rich red and dark fruit, tobacco, leather, and spice.  I also really loved the 2006 Mitolo GAM Shiraz.  It is a huge Aussie Shiraz, with sweet ripe cherry, licorice, smokiness and spice.  Other big hits were the Terra Valentine single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, Marchesi di Gresy Nebbiolo delle Langhe and Barbarescos, Tenuta Sant'Antonio Valpolicella and Amarone, 2006 Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel, 2005 M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, Domaine Serene Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Au Bon Climat 2004 Hidegard white blend.

Overall, a great time, and an event not to be missed.  If you can get your hands on any of those wines, try them out, and let me know what you think!