VinT was in town from Canada and Redhawk and his wife were in town from Michigan so we set up an offline with some of the Chicago Wine Mafia at Glen Prairie restaurant in Lombard. In attendance were VinT + 2 work friends, Redhawk and his wife, JCubed, BillHiketheCubsFan, DantheRhoneFan, LostVerse and his wife and myself. I had a great time meeting our out of town guests and seeing all the locals again. Here are my notes on the wines:
NV Philippe Prié Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne (2/19/2013)
Opened by BillHike. My introduction to this grower/producer in the Côte des Bar. Notes of citrus and brioche but without any red fruit nuances that can make Rosé so unique. Moderate bead. Not as deep as the other Champagnes at the dinner. 89 points.
NV Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve - France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne (2/19/2013)
Opened by VinT (or his friend). 2nd time I have had this within the last week. Similar notes as before (chalky, apple, biscuit). Perhaps a little tarter than the last bottle. 91-92 points.
1998 Jean Laurent Champagne Millésimé Blanc de Noirs Brut - France, Champagne (2/19/2013)
Opened by Redhawk. Jean Laurent is a grower/producer located in the Aube region which is about 70 miles South of the main Champagne growing areas. He has a reputation as one of the best winemakers in that region and his family has been growing Champagne for almost 1000 years. I've had several of his wines. This was my favorite of the 3 champagnes at the dinner. Chalky with almond and biscuit notes. Solid bead. 92-93 points.
2011 Domaine Lafage Grenache Blanc Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Cuvée Centenaire - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (2/19/2013)
Opened by LostVerse. First time I have had any wine from this producer. Sweet cotton candy nose. Spices, poached pears and floral nuances on the palate. Medium to full bodied. 88 points
2009 Château Carbonnieux Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan (2/19/2013)
Opened by LostVerse. Floral aromas. Thought this bottle was a slightly flat and a little off. Might just be in a dumb phase. 86 points.
2003 Weingut Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (2/19/2013)
4th time I have had this wine and it was the best showing yet. Weil probably had the best reputation of any producer in the Rheingau. A serious spatlese at 107 Oechsle. Old vines with deeply set roots helped Weil in the Grafenberg vineyard during the hot dry Summer of 2003. Fine underlying minerality. Lime, petrol and pear notes. Subtle acidity which deftly balanced the sweetness. Expressively tart finish. Luckily I have 2 more bottles of this. 94-95 points.
2005 Domaine Vallet St. Joseph - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (2/19/2013)
Louis Vallet and his son Anthony run this small artisan domaine which owns 30 acres of vines (including the oldest vines in the appellation planted in the 1970's). This family has been growing grapes for 150 years on steep slopes in St. Joseph and are known for making ripe wines. This wine is 100% Syrah. Splash decanted an hour before dinner. Light red color and cloudy. Some coffee and berry notes. Medium body. Integrated tannins. Smooth finish. 90-91 points
1998 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Laurence - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (2/19/2013)
Opened by Jcubed. Jim opened the 1995 Cuvee Laurence a year ago and I liked it slightly better than the 1998. It was smoother with more fruit. The 1998 was earthy withe a forest floor character and notes of charcoal and cassis. If this bottle is indicative of the wine, I might give this a few more years. 92-93 points
1990 Ridge Monte Bello - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (2/19/2013)
Opened by Dan. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Petite Verdot. Decanted right before dinner because the cork disintegrated. Dark crimson color. No bricking. Cocoa, currant, cedar and olive notes. Drinking very well without any signs of fading (don't see this improving though). Medium to full body. A beauty. Just edged out the 1989 Gruaud Larose for my red of the night. Only the 2nd Monte Bello I've had (the other being a 1995 opened by Stefania) which was very similar in quality. 94-95 points
1989 Château Gruaud Larose - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien (2/19/2013)
Opened by VinT. 2nd time I have had this with similar scores (however, this time it was more evolved and rounded than 8 years ago but less fruity). Red with a brown hue. Typical Gruaud. Smooth and integrated. Notes of tea, lead pencil, wet earth, minerasl and black currants. Medium bodied. Fine tannins. Of the aged Gruaud Larose wines I've had, this one is right up there with the 1982 and better than the 1981 and 1996. 93 points.
2003 Neal Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (2/19/2013)
Can't recall who brought this. 5th time I have had this wine. Not decanted. This bottle was showing very well at 10 years old. Herbal and charcoal notes with dark berries. Integrated tannins. 91 points
2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (2/19/2013)
VinT's friend brought this. The only other Isosceles I've had was the 1999 which I liked better. This wine stood out from the rest of the reds at this dinner (even the 2003 Neal) because it was much more forward and new world in style. Big, thick and creamy. Fruity with black and red berries. I would give this wine time and it should improve and round out some of the harsh edges. 89+ points
2008 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA (2/19/2013)
Opened by VinT. The best of the 3 icewines he opened. This was almost as good as the 1999 and 2001 vintages I've had. Notes of peach nectar, pear and nectarine. Sweet but with solid acidity. An intricate and focused dessert wine which made it stand out from the others. 92 points
2008 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA (2/19/2013)
Opened by VinT. 4th time I have had this icewine and it has been rather consistent. The others being the 2001, 2002 and 2004. Notes of strawberry, bing cherry and rose petals. Firm acidity. Not as deep and fruity as the Riesling. 91 points.
2008 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine - Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA (2/19/2013)
Opened by VinT. I've had the 1998 and 2001 Oak Aged Vidal before but never this regular Vidal. Thought it was overly acidic compared to the other 2 icewines but still very tasty. Only had a very small sip so no formal notes. 89 points
Great notes, VM. Thanks for posting them.
Really bummed that we had to miss this- Domino particularly as she absolutely loves her some Monte Bello.
Jean Laurent makes wonderful Champagnes, and we are happy to have some in the cellar. He and his wife are regular attendees at the Glunz/Handpicked tastings in the spring. Last year he had some old (early to mid 70s IIRC) vintages under the table. Unfortunately they were gone before I got to them, but I heard about them for the rest of the afternoon.
Based on your TNs, it sounds like I probably would have enjoyed the Pegau and Gruaud even more than you did.
Well done ladies & gents.
Wine is passion. It is family and friends, warmth of heart, and generosity of spirit.
~ Robert Mondavi
Sounds like it was quite an evening! Thanks for sharing. IMO, Weil, Donnhoff, & Prum produce some of the best bang-for-your-buck whites in the world.
Nice notes VM, thanks for posting them. It was great to meet Mr. and Mrs. Redhawk, VinT and the others. Any more Canadians want to visit and make us go out on a weeknight?
......ahhhhh I miss those days. Looks like a great time with some nice wines. Hope to get back there at some point this year but nothing planned at this point.
A very good night even though much of the talk centered around a sport they were calling hackey.
It was great to meet two more forumites. Anytime you guys are in town, let us know.
VM, I brought the Neal. Thanks for posting the list as I gave up early on trying to enter them at the table.
I thought the Carbonnieux began the night as you described, but for me it really bloomed over the evening. Loads of floral, especially rose petal and lavender. I'm glad I have a few more of these in the cellar.
The Lafage Grenache Blanc was the first time I've had this producer, but I liked it a bit better than you did.
The Robert Weil was certainly my favorite white of the night and was a nice treat.
On the red side, it was a toss up between the Monte Bello and the Gruard, with a slight edge to the Monte Bello. I think the Isosceles would have shown better had it not been with the rest of the wines we had at the table.
As for the Icewines, loved them all, but I'd give the edge to the Riesling for its depth of flavor.
Another excellent offline, but I could live without Glen Prairie in the future. It's tough to beat the food and service we get at Adelle's, not to mention the free corkage on Tuesdays.
I hope you're right as I have a few also. I like mine older. I haven't opened my '06s yet.
"Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste."
Thanks to VinT for initiating the offline, and thanks to the Chicago Gang for hosting. We really enjoyed meeting all of you!
Thanks to VinoMe for the GREAT notes.
My note-taking wasn't as thorough, but I thought I would add my
NV Philippe Prié Champagne Brut Rosé - On the lighter side for Rose, nice elegance. agree with 89
NV Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve - Crisp bright citrus, consistent with my previous tastings. 91
1998 Jean Laurent Champagne Millésimé Blanc de Noirs Brut - Although I've had his NV BdB, BdN and Rose numerous times, this is my first experience with a Vintage bottle. I loved the fuller body and flavors on an elegant frame with lingering finish. 93
2011 Domaine Lafage Grenache Blanc Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Cuvée Centenaire - The nose reminded me of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, loaded with peach and exotic fruit. But without the grapefruit and grassiness. The palate followed through with a nice minerality. I liked this. 89-90
2009 Château Carbonnieux Blanc - I'm more in Thelostverse's corner on this one. I liked it. I do not think it was a flawed bottle. The entry wasn't as flashy or fruit forward as the other whites. My notes are "delicate entry, lingering finish". This is an elegant wine 90
2003 Weingut Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Spätlese - Ripe, rich and balanced with a lingering finish. Excellent. 93
2005 Domaine Vallet St. Joseph - Hints of black fruit and lavender on the nose. Gentle entry of black fruit with nice minerality. I liked this, but it was overshadowed by the Pegau. 91
1998 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Laurence - This was my WOTN. Loved the currant and garrigue on the nose. Classic "traditional"-style CdP in a good spot right now. This is a wine I could just sit and smell all night and be happy. The palate followed through, with nice balance, rich flavors and structure. 96
1990 Ridge Monte Bello - This missed being WOTN by a hair. Again, just a wonderful nose, maybe leaning more towards Bordeaux than aged Napa Cab. Drinking beautifully right now. 95+
1989 Château Gruaud Larose - Ultimately, a close 3rd place for me. This changed more over time than any of the other wines. I was fortunate to take the last 3 oz in the bottle up to my room to enjoy after the rest of you left, and that was the best it was showing all night. 94
2003 Neal Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon - This was a solid Napa Cab, with a nice core of fruit, good weight, and earthy, coffee notes. It is unfortunate that it was placed among so many wines with flamboyant characters, to which it tended to take a back seat. 91-92
2009 Justin Vineyards & Winery Isosceles - A nice expression of youthful cab/meritage fruit with typical young California cab oakiness. Very hedonistic. I'm not sure how it will age, but this tends to be a style I enjoy so much when it is young, that I hesitate to let it age.
2008 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine - I completely concur with VM. This was clearly the best of the icewines, with rich varietal fruit, full body, and balanced with a nice core of acidity. Really nice 94
2008 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine - A gentler, more subdued ice wine, with hints of rose petal and strawberry fruit. Nice. 89
2008 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine - Also firmly overshadowed by the Riesling, but with a touch more weight and character than the Cab Franc. 90
Stay thirsty my friends.
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