Naperville 4th of July Weekend Ribfest

Ribfest PigIndependance Day 2009 is here, and the Windy City Wine Guy and family decided to head out to Naperville for Ribfest.  If you like smokey BBQ, rock and roll, and good suburban family fun, you should make your way out there.  Many tips on how to get there, best plans, and food and beverage for this yearly event are up for grabs in this article.

If you are coming from the city, like us, you have many options.  We drove straight there using I290 to I88, but you can also take the Metra straight there.  Once we arrived, we parked in the Burlington parkling lot, where the Metra drops off, and proceeded to the free shuttle which took us to Ribfest- extremely convenient.  The shuttle runs all day, from multiple lots. 

You will have no problem finding food and drink, as it is spread throughout the park, with the BBQ close to both music stages.  We tried ribs from Sgt. Oink, and they were flavorful, meaty, and tender.  They seemed more Texas in style, with a flavorful dry rub, accompanied by smokey sauce.  We also sampled pulled pork sandwiches from Aussom Aussie BBQ Co. which was extremely tender and rich.  They had an extremely spicy sauce to try on the side which was at an atomic level!  Both made good cornbread.  I really wanted to try a double deck sandwich made by Porky 'N' Beans of pulled pork and beef brisket, but had no room left.  I did save a bit of room for some fried dough covered with powdered sugar.

The beverage options were limited.  They had vending machines and fresh squeezed lemonade for non-alcoholicDancing Bull choices, while Miller Beers MGD and Miller Lite was there for adults at $5 each.  Zinfandel and Chardonnay from Dancing Bull Wines in California were the wine choices, a great option for mass vending- definitely offers value.

If you go, bring a blanket and some foldup chairs.  Pick out a spot to camp out that is in close proximity to food, beverage, Port-o-lets, music, and an exit.  Fireworks are always on July 4th, with Chicago fireworks being on July 3rd.  For all additional info, check out the Ribfest site- they offer detailed maps, transportation options, entertainment schedules, and the menu.  Hope you all have a great time and stay safe!

4th of July Wine Picks


So the 4th of July weekend is upon us and now it's time to add the finishing touches to your shopping list.  Whether you are grilling, BBQ-ing, cooking in, or ordering out, these are some sure-fire picks to please all palates.


We are going to start off with a couple of good rosé wines.  Now you have to have a sparkling choice, since it is a holiday.  And for that I choose the Mionetto "il" Rose NV ($9.99) sparkling wine from northeastern Italy.  It has a great nose full of raspberry, along with minerality, bing cherry, and light crisp bubbles.  Great with almost any food options.  I also chose a still rosé, the 2008 Gustave Lorentz "Le Rosé" of Pinot Noir ($10.99) from Alsace.  A bit more depth and fruit flavor, it is light enough to enjoy on a hot sunny day- and very versatile with food.



Moving along, we may have some guests who think of sparkling or rosé as a bit "phoo-phoo".  These next cool picks aim to please.  2008 Tabali Viognier ($10.99) has honey citrus, peach, fresh herb, and creamy texture- excellent with fried foods.  For another honey toned wine, we have the 2007 Simonsig Chenin Blanc ($10.99) from Stellenbosch, South Africa.  This wine is packed with tropical flavor and complexity.  Next we move to 2007 Leitz Dry Riesling ($14.99) from the Rheingau in Germany.  Apricot, lime, and a floral nose are enough to tackle most spicy dishes.  For the ultimate summer wine, try the 2007 Puiatti "Zuccole" Pinot Grigio ($16.99) from Friuli.  This version has a bit more weight than your usual, with apples and pears, perfect with anything from seafood to 80015407_label[1]spice. 

No party would be complete without beer, and my choice is the North Coast Brewing Co. Blue StarNorth Coast Brewing Co. Blue Star Wheat Beer.  There might be nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice cold wheat beer, and this one packs light hops and citrus fruit flavor.  Stick it in the cooler and enjoy the food and fireworks.

For those that need some red wine, I would choose to go with wines packed with fruit, so off to Australia.  Red Heads Studio presents 2005 Barrel Monkey Shiraz ($16.99).  Full of red rich fruit and light spice.  For aKilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz Grenache bit more, try 2006 Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz Grenache ($18.99) blend.  Charred red fruit and chocolatey coffe flavor on this well balanced wine will make it the hit of the day.  Both wines are the perfect complement to BBQ and sauces.

No matter what you pick, I hope you all enjoy your holiday, and stay safe.  As for me, I will be indulging in Rib Fest '09 in Naperville!


(image courtesy of flickr)