Laurel Glen dinner at Naha w/Patrick Campbell & Bettina Sichel

LAUREL GLEN DINNER - Naha, Chicago (10/24/2012)

The Wine Discount Center hosted founder Patrick Campbell and proprietor Bettina Sichel of Laurel Glen Vineyard for an intimate dinner at Naha. Naha's team in the kitchen executed perfectly and put together some excellent dishes to match to the wines. Service was adequate, but at times clumsy. It was a pleasure to talk to Patrick and Bettina. One quickly realizes how very much she enjoys the wines and history of the estate, and wants to continue crafting wines that are classically-styled, balanced and age worthy. The cost of the dinner was $139/person, including tax & gratuity.

Reception
  • NV Charles Bove Crémant de Loire - France, Loire Valley, Crémant de Loire
    This Crémant de Loire is 100% Chenin Blanc and very pale, almost colorless. It features a persistent mousse and medium bead, with notes of mineral, citrus and florals. Soft and elegant, the palate follows the bouquet, with a nice grapefruit quality on the finish. (87-88 pts.)

Whole Roasted Brussels Sprouts & "3 Sisters Garden" Polenta with Confit Duck & Oxtails, Brown Butter Breadcrumbs & Fried Quail's Egg
A delicious dish which worked rather well with this young Counterpoint.
  • 2009 Counterpoint Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    Deep garnet color. Opens with notes of vanilla and red fruit, followed by currants, black fruit, cassis and plum. Medium tannins, with flavors of vanilla and black fruit. Finishes nicely with red fruit and vanilla dominating. (89-90 pts.)

Hot Smoked Arctic Char with "Vibrant" Cauliflower, Matsutake Mushrooms, Fregola Sarda & "Luxury" Pumpkin Puree
  • 2009 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    Deep crimson color. Aromas of violets, rose petal and lavender accented by red fruit, vanilla and black fruit notes. Firm tannins, with vanilla, black fruit and cassis flavors. Long finish. Balanced and elegant. (91+ pts.)
  • 2005 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    Opens with a pleasant roasted red bell pepper quality- something I expect in older vintages thus a bit of a surprise here. Also has black fruit and herbal qualities. Structured yet elegant, with flavors of dark fruit, cassis, florals and vanilla. Shuts down hard and fast in the glass though. 92+ pts, if only briefly. Hold for a few years yet. (92+ pts.)

Braised Chicken Thigh & Slow Roasted Bacon, "Cabernet" Onions, Beluga Lentils & Cranberries
My favorite dish of the night, with which the wines paired perfectly.
  • 2001 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    Aromas of black fruit, violets, plum, saddle leather and florals. Very well-balanced, with flavors of black fruit, mineral and florals. Initially a little thin through the midpalate and finish, but filled out as it opened in the glass. Needs time to reach its full potential. 90 pts now, 93+ potential. (90 pts.)
  • 1996 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    Black currant jam, plum, leather and mineral qualities. Well-balanced, with flavors of currants, red fruit, mineral, violets and leather. Long finish. Has some tannin to shed. Hold until 2015+. (92 pts.)

Pave of Bittersweet Chocolate with Raspberries and Red Wine
We brought a magnum of the 1986 to have signed by Patrick, but thought we might also open it, which we did. It was a pleasure to share the experience with those in attendance, made all the more special by having Patrick and Bettina there as well.
  • 1986 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    From magnum. Faded crimson color with aromas of saddle leather, cedar, violets, roasted herbs and black fruit. Medium-bodied and well-balanced with integrated tannins and flavors of red fruit, black fruit, leather, violets and mineral. Lengthy finish. Lacking the power and complexity of the finest example of this wine, but still an excellent showing. (91-92 pts.)
  • 1989 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
    Light crimson color. Notes of black fruit, currants, violets and florals, roasted bell pepper and weathered saddle leather. Well-balanced and nicely integrated, featuring flavors of black fruit, violets, minerals, herbs and leather. Long, balanced finish. Elegant. Drinking well now and should hold for a few years. (92-93 pts.)

For whatever reason, it seems that the wines of Laurel Glen remain somewhat unknown, or at least are not what one might consider "mainstream" and that's fine by me. Prices remain very reasonable, and the wines elegant, balanced and a joy to drink. Thank you Bettina, Patrick and WDC.
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