I made it out to Sam's Wine and Spirits in Highland Park this Saturday. Sam's was pouring wine from 1-4PM, and serving burgers and brats alongside it. There were about 5-6 distributors there pouring wine, as well as probably a dozen more pouring beer, and serving snacks.
I tried too many wines to remember what they all were. There was a downright excellent Duero red wine being poured for about $20. In fact I think the wines at the "Spanish Table" were the highlight of the afternoon. The distributor was very knowledgeable of each of his wines, and he was very friendly and entertaining.
As an interesting side note, one of the distributors had Dancing Bull Zinfandel open. I begged a taste off of him, and was pleased to find that there were no harsh notes to the sample at all. I suppose I owe an edit to my previous post.
I think the most memorable portion of the afternoon was the Italian sausage, cheese and vinegars. I snacked on some cheeses and sausages that were quite good, but the thing that stood out most was a balsamic vinegar. I make it a point to buy what I've always considered good vinegar when I buy it for salad dressings. The vinegar I tried (80 year old) was incredible. At $40 a bottle I wouldn't be putting it on salads, and I don't think it was intended for that purpose. I think it is fair to say that this vinegar was an eye opening experience. The distributor suggested drizzling it on strawberries or ice cream. As crazy as that sounds at hte outset, by the time I'd tasted the stuff, I was convinced he was right on. I'll have to try it sometime soon.
Overall the event was wonderful. Some great wines, some good food, and lots of friendly people getting together to share it all. Thanks Sam's. I'm looking forward to some of their upcoming grand tastings this fall. I'll try to keep everyone posted of when those are coming up.