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Last May, I took a month leave from work to go to my friend’s wedding in Albuquerque, as well as to relax and visit my friends and family in Chicago.

It also so happened that the day my flight arrived, Wine Spectator was hosting Grand Tour at Navy Pier. 

I bought my ticket for it around March when I had my flight ticket to Chicago and thought it was genius to go straight from the airport to the wine tasting.

Obviously, it wasn’t a genius idea, because I only had a couple of hours between my flight arrival till the event starts. I still had to go to my cousin’s house in Hinsdale and deal with rush hour traffic going downtown. Plus, there was my massive jetlag, dragging me down.

Anyhow, I made it to event, severely underdressed (but warm and fuzzy). I also looked out of the place, easily the shortest, and maybe the youngest-looking. I kept getting stopped every turn I made to “double check my ID” even though I already had my wrist band. 

As soon as I stepped into the grand ballroom, I gasped. SO MUCH WINE. SO MUCH AWESOME WINE. SO MUCH 90+ POINTS WINE!!!! My crazy eyes returned. And out comes my camera.

I really tried to taste carefully and discerningly, but I don’t get these wines at home. Since i paid for my ticket, I might as well drink it. It was a bad idea but my jetlag was clouding my judgement. I did try to choose which wines I would drink but there were so many, I still ended up tipsy. 

Below are the photos of wines I tried. No notes because some of my notes in the notebook they gave me are quite long and the others are illegible. 

I started with the Champers. 

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I was a little disappointed with the Dom. I didn’t expect it to taste that way. I didn’t like it so much. I didn’t even finish it. 

 

After the Champers, it came in a random order, depending on whose table had less people and whom I could ask from. I’m small so it takes me a while to get noticed. HAH!

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I did try to get through all my best friends’ wines…the Italians….

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Dropped by the Banfi booth…

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Stopped by Barone Ricasoli, where they had the higher end wine of the one I carry in the restaurant.

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Checked my notes and this one stunned me for some reason. “Amazing depth”. 

Tried an Ornellia…just because I can….

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Tried Felsina’s Chianti Classico which I really liked.

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Somewhere in the middle of this, I was in the same table as James Molesworth of Wine Spectator. I didn’t have the guts to talk to him so I just watched him taste. HAHA! I really just wanted to ask for a job. “Hi Mr. Molesworth, can I be your assistant? I can cover all your wines with brown paper for blind tasting…and maybe I can try some?”

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This Barolo by Poderi Aldo Conterno drove me wild. My notes has a giant OMG on it. with rhubarb, ripe plum and potpourri. 

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Drank this one to check because the last one I had was in school.

Then I hit my other friends, the Australians…

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By this time, i was upstairs and already woozy. So I had to go REALLY SLOWLY but also quickly because I had to catch my train back to Hinsdale, last train.

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I finished off the night with my American friends…

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Oh, don’t forget the Argentinians…

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Yeahh…Catena Zapata….I love their wines!

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Some Spanish wine?

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I think I stopped taking pictures towards the end because my eyes were closing.

I finally left because I still had to find a taxi to take me to Union Station and then take the train. I fell asleep on the train and the conductor had to wake me up.

Wouldn’t trade it for the world though.

AMAZING EXPERIENCE.

I’ll try to catch the next one, next year. Hopefully, I’m in town again.

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