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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Downtown Roselle Wine

Yesterday we decided to hit up the Taste of Roselle located in downtown Roselle, Illinois. Part of the motivation of going was to revisit the Lynfred Winery ( and the wine shop Vine Tastings (

We started at Lynfred which is a winery located just south of Roselle Road and Irving Park Road in Roselle. They offer a tasting of seven of their wines for $5 (they pick the wines and they rotate them monthly). The winery also offers free tours every weekend which is interesting or you can schedule a group tour at any other time for a charge. It’s worth a look, you get the see the whole facility.

We went for the wine tasting and my notes are as follows. When you enter the winery you go to a bar area, get your glass, walk through the gift shop to a balcony that overlooks some of the tanks. That’s where the table with the wine is. It’s a very nice winery, but the setup makes getting back and forth from the tasting table difficult if it’s crowded.

We started with the 2002 Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a bit sweeter than I’d expect from a Sauvignon. Lots of pink grapefruit on the nose. There’s a lot of grapefruit flavors as well as pineapple, Fruity with a nice bit of acidity, I’d call it off dry.

Next up was a 2003 Viognier. Lots of melon on the nose, this one smells a lot sweeter than it tastes. There’s a bit of honey and a bit of melon with suggests sweetness, but there’s a whole lot of acid that balances out the taste. I personally tasted cantaloupe in this one which is a flavor I rarely encounter–perhaps because we don’t drink much Viognier?

2002 Organic Chardonnay. I hate Chardonnays in general and this one didn’t sell me. Buttery with a bit of pineapple, no thank you.

The 2003 Vidal Blanc was up next. I’ve had a lot of ice wine made with Vidal Blanc but I’m not sure I ever had a regular harvest one. This one had a ton of floral aromas and the only thing I tasted on this one was honey. My note says: “Honey Assault.” That’s about right. Vidal Blanc Icewines are well worth your time, this one I found interesting because the varietal characteristics are very clear but without the overwhelming sweetness. I’ll give it an “interesting.”

Next up was the 2001 Old Vine Zinfandel. This one absolutely fascinated me. If you gave this to me and asked me what I thought it was I’d tell you it was a Pinot Noir. The nose had a bit of blackberry and earth. The taste was light, earthy, and a bit oaky. I like Pinot Noirs and I like Zinfandels, but it was just strange that I found it to have basically no of the jammy characteristics I’d expect from the varietal.

The 2003 Cabernet-Merlot blend was our sixth wine. The nose on this had both berry and a wallop of cedar. This one tasted of blackberry and wood, the tannins were very smooth making this a great, relatively mild, easy drinking red. I enjoyed it a lot.

Finally, we had their non-vintage Strawberry Wine. Indeed, there are no grapes in this, it’s straight up fruit rain. Though it had a bit of tartness and wasn’t too sweet, all I could think to compare it to is strawberry Kool-Aid. When I tried it I assumed this had very low alcohol, but it has 11% which surprised me (I would’ve guessed 8%). Drinking this for dessert with chocolate and strawberries would be an ideal match.

The staff at Lynfred is generally quite good and friendly. There’s typically a very laid back atmosphere. We had a bad incident there a few months ago, but after I complained the winery really went above and beyond to make amends. That really goes back to our first post–bad service happens, don’t automatically count an establishment out until you give them a chance to correct mistakes made (unless, of course, the poor service was given to you by the that case, screw ‘em).

My overall opinion of Lynfred is that all things considered, it’s a worthwhile place to try. It is a winery a suburb of Chicago, so no it’s not Silver Oak caliber. The wines are generally quite good and it’s always nice to support a local business.

Later in the evening we went to Vine Tastings also located in downtown Roselle. Vine Tastings is a wine bar/shop that has around 20 bottles open that you can try by the glass (a small “taste” or a large “glass”) or by flight (3-5 smaller servings that have a theme–all Chardonnay, all South African, all Syrah, etc). The service is always top notch, the decor is very nice, and best of all–there are gargoyles all over the place. They also do a “wine club” that’s well worth joining.

Prices by the bottle are reasonable and the glass/flight prices are actually a bit cheaper than I’d expect.

Here’s what we had, but for some reason I didn’t get vintages on any of these wines.

We started with Hopler Gruner Veltliner. Gruner Veltliner is a varietal almost exclusive to Austria and is frequently (fairly or unfairly) compared to Riesling. This is the third Gruner I’ve ever tried. The first one I had a few months back was excellent, the second was absolutely sickening–in a Chardonnay kind of way–and this third one was somewhere in the middle. Apples on the nose. In the mouth there’s lots of minerals and slate. The wine had a lot of acid and a bit of Granny Smith apples. If this was sweeter, I probably would’ve liked it a lot more–there was a bit of sweetness, but not enough.

Next up with the Seifried Gewurtztraminer. On the nose and palate there’s subtle apricot. It’s tart and has the spicy bite you’d expect from a Gewurtz. Personally, I like my Gerwurtz to have a bit of sweetness and then a bite. There was some fruit in this but really not much sweetness. It’s certainly not bad, but it just didn’t work for me.

Finally, we had the Wente Riesling. I taste honeysuckle in this one and really didn’t get a whole lot on the nose. No real sweetness, but there was some peachy flavor and even a touch of spice. It’s a decent, crisp Riesling. If I’m going to have a cheap Riesling (this one was $10 a bottle) I want a bit more residual sugar.

None of these reviews are terribly good I realize, BUT I must remind you before I type up my notes that this is absolutely no fault of the shop. The shop is great (they are a shop/bar–not a winery), we just chose poorly.

There you have it!

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