Wine Enthusiast "Toast of the Town" Hits Chicago

Wine Enthusiast's Toast of the Town is on a five city tour across the country and will be stopping in Chicago on Friday, June 17th at the Field Museum!  Join with the rest of the city to enjoy 500 world class wines and gourmet dishes from Chicago's top restaurants.  Some of the wineries represented include Castello Banfi, Feudi di San Gregorio, Le Domaine de la Vougeraie, Hall Wines, Stag's Leap Winery, Schramsberg, Yalumba, Penfolds, Cloudy Bay and Casa Lapostolle, while the restaurants involved include Aria, The Purple Pig, Bistronomic, Chizakaya, The Florentine, Coco Pazzo, Sixteen and Rhapsody

Wine Enthusiast has been providing readers with valuable wine information and reviews for 23 years and Toast of the Town is on it's 11th tour.  Come out to one of Chicago's greatest venues to enjoy the food, drink and fun!  Click here to purchase your tickets today.

Hall Wines

Windy City Wine Guy attended a tasting of Hall Wines from Napa Valley at Tru and the wines impressed.  When I first walked in, I tasted their 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and it was instant refreshment- citrus and tropical fruits accompanied by minerality and a long finish.  I soon met Kathryn Hall, who owns the winery along with her husband Craig.  Kathryn has a very colorful background of being an attorney, community activist, and former US Ambassador to Austria.  Her views on organics and the environment are very conscious and refreshing.  Then it was time to try the wines...

We were ushered into a meeting room where seven red wines were sitting in front of each of us.  President and former wine maker for Hall Wines, Michael Reynolds, was onhand to introduce each wine and lend his extensive knowledge. 

The tasting was a great opportunity to not only taste different terroirs, but also different vintages.  It is always amazing and fun to see how each of these can have such differing aromas and tastes.  We started off with "Jack's Masterpiece" 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was named after Mike's son, who painted the very colorful label when he was 18 months old!  This is a very likeable Cab, with big fruit flavor and easy tannins.  Next was Diamond Mountain 2005 Cab which was very earthy and structured while Kathryn Hall 2005 Cab was like a combo of both wines with some slight earth and spice to accompany dark fruits. 

We were priveledged to taste four 2006 vintage wines which have not been bottled and released yet.  This showed the difference in the years.  2005 was clearly a great vintage for Hall and brought out alot of what the grapes were capable of.  2006 seemed a bit hot with the alcohol coming through a bit more.  The great structure and earthiness was still there, and I could tell the wines needed a bit more aging- they will turn out great in a few years.

The owners, winery, and vineyards are riding a green wave for the environment.  Also, Hall is in its last year of the three year organic certification process.  Recycling of packaging, paper, and water is extensive and they have taken huge steps toward carbon zero by using bio-deisel to fuel farm equipment.  Water efficiency, solar power, and sustainability are practiced.  The Hall family is also involved in the local community and donate a portion of profits to their charity foundation.  This is a company and family to be followed in this new century.