If you consider yourself a pinot noir conoisseur, Pinot Days, which will be taking over Navy Pier on Saturday, Nov. 15, is undoubtedly the festival for you. There, you'll get to sample some 150 pinot noirs from every important growing region around the world, including California, Oregon, New Zealand and Burgundy. In many cases, the winemakers will be present, so you'll have the unique opportunity to hear the story behind the wine while drinking it.
Participating wineries include Cuvaison Estate Wines from Napa Valley, Esterlina Vineyards from Sonoma and Mendocino counties, Le Cadeau Vineyard from Oregon and Veramonte from Chile. Items will be up for auction, such as rare vintages and winemaker dinners, with proceeds benefitting the Pinot Days 2008 Auction Beneficiary, the Tanzanian Women's Sewing Project. The public is invited to Pinot Days from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $50. (Members of the wine industry can attend the event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Several events lead up to the Grand Tasting at Navy Pier. On Thursday, Nov. 13 and Friday, Nov. 14, there will be free tastings taking place at Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park, The Bottle Shop in Wilmette, SavWay Fine Wines & Spirits in Oak Brook and Geneva, and Perman Wine Selections in Chicago.
Also on Friday night is the Winemakers Table Hop dinner at Bin 36. Chef John Caputo has put together a pinot-friendly menu of appetizers and a four-course meal. With that, guests can taste 16 acclaimed pinot noirs and meet the winemakers behind them. The producers will "table hop" during each course, allowing guests to mingle and ask questions during the dinner. Tickets are $130.