This past weekend my wife and I travelled to Chicago to celebrate her birthday and attend the Taste of Chicago. We took a bottle of Barnard & Griffin Merlot from the Columbia valley with us to enjoy in our room. I had not tried this producer before and we were both really impressed. This is an opulent and rich bottle of wine. It has notes of plum and black raspberry as well as satisfying smokiness. It made for a great interlude to the food fest that awaited us in Washington park. We tried over 30 food items over the course of three meals and had a ball. Chicago does it right, each booth featured a dish that was available in a taste portion for approximately $2.75 to $3.50. These portions were not skimpy, yet generally were not so much that you could only have a couple before getting filled up.
We also made a pilgrimage to our favorite tasting room in the world, The Tasting Room/Randolph Wine Cellars and enjoyed several wine flights and some appetizers. I tried a really good Napa Merlot from a winery called Bayfog (retail 17.99) and we had a great Brut Rose from Spain called Llopart which was creamy and very good (retail $19.99). It was great weekend away. I would recommend Taste of Chicago for those foodies looking for a road trip next year.