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Thursday, October 28, 2010

N/V Domaine Chandon DKNY Twenty Year Cuvee

DKNY - when I bought this wine in a discount pack the logo looked familiar but I didn't know what it was. Apparently it's a clothing line and this wine to commemorate their 20 years anniversary. This sells for a whopping fifty dollars and is a winery exclusive.

Throw a whole lime into a blender and pour it onto a piece of granite and I think you'll get something like this nose.

To my palate, this is sweet enough for a light dessert pairing or maybe spicy fare (not to spicy considering the pricetag though). Orange notes - from the fruit to the rind to the blossom. Solid acid, in a citrus sort of way. A bit of vanilla and a bit of know what this is like? Orange Julius.

The finish is so much like an Orange Julius I'm now craving one.

I like my sparklers as close to bone dry as possible, but this one's flavor profile is working for me. For fifty bones though...

Score: 89

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

N/V L Mawby Consort Cuvee 136

Sweeter sparklers aren't normally our thing, but this was part of our wine club shipment. This goes for nineteen big ones at the winery and is part of the L Mawby line which is made with the Champagne method.

I couldn't place the nose, but I think I'm going to have to say white cherry, as in white cherry Slurpee. After consulting my archives I've only brought out white cherry once before - in reference to Mawby's Sandpiper. Does 7-11 dump excess syrup in Suttons Bay?

I gotta say it, but once the white cherry thing hit me on the nose that was almost all I could think of. Besides that though, there is pear with a bit of lightly toasted and rather yeasty white bread. Soft golden apples, a touch of mild vanilla, almost a bit of creaminess. A tad sweet (appropriately labeled as "sec"), but as one should expect with this producer, acid balances it all out nicely.

The finish brings a bit of a caramel thing with more pear and, yeah, white cherry.

At $19 I'm going to say this is well worth snagging a bottle.

Score: 89

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Atwood Cafe - Chicago, IL - 10/13/10

Every so often some random person I know who doesn't venture into the city much will tell me they're going to a play and ask for a restaurant suggestion - the answer I give nine times out of ten is Atwood Cafe.  The food is solid and the location just about perfect for many of the big theaters.

I was surprised, then, to see I have never actually written about it here.  We haven't been since the new chef, Derek Simcik, took over - so I figured it was my duty to snag a reservation and check it out.

Ahi Tuna Tartar - waffle cones, wasabi vinaigrette.


Fried Oysters - cornmeal crusted oysters, spicy remoulade, scallion relish.


Slow Roasted Rabbit - braised carrots, onions, carrot purée, beaten biscuts


Duck² - duck confit, roasted duck breast, dumplings, peas, roasted hen of the woods, English pea purée, carrot mash


"Coffee" And Donuts - house-made donuts, triple espresso gelato


For wine, we had the feature of the month that was a very nice Vina Perallilo Arenal Carmenere. While it was solid, upon further research the markup was a mindboggling, and I'm going to go right on ahead and call it offensive (to the payer, not the payee), 500% It was a good bottle, groingrabbingly good for $9 in fact, and I get markups are a fact of dining out, but 500%? I think I'm soured.

The Heather Terhune days were excellent...the new guy's been around for a few months so there are still kinks to work out - but he's well on his way.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2008 Georges Duboeuf Brouilly Beaujolais

We tried this one at Beaujolais tasting a few months back and this was my favorite on the table. It retails for about $13.

Cherry pie filling on the nose - rich, syrupy, sugarfied cherry.

More of that cherry pie filling on the palate as well, with a dash of cola and raspberry thrown in as well. A bit short of acid (or perhaps a bit too sweet), but there are a surprising amount of mouth drying tannins, so much so I can't help but get an oversteeped white tea sort of thing.

A carob sort of quality comes through on the finish, raspberry as well, with a bit of a black tea thing as well.

No arguments at all. For those who only know Nouveau and other sub-$10 Beaujolais wine, this would be a good one to try - drop a few bucks more and see what the region can actually offer.

Score: 87

Friday, October 08, 2010

Tweet and Taste Michigan!

Alright, the Tweet and Taste seemed to go rather well.

I had an array of connection issues, so my participation while not quite shameful, was admittedly lacking. I apologize to the folks at Silver Leaf and Shannon and Cortney at Michigan by the Bottle for the constant coming and going.

The wines were good - the Riesling was quite good, especially at the $14 pricetag. I've had a lot of Michigan Rieslings and this was one worth seeking out. The Pinot Gris, while not quite my style, actually worked rather well. The Purple Foot, a Lemberger, was a bit elusive - not bad, but I struggled with coming up with much beyond blueberry. It was the sort of wine I'd want to have a full bottle to myself to report on...hardly a bad thing!

Kudos to everyone involved!

If you're interested in reading what people had to say, just hit up Twitter and search #ttmi - you can read the old posts. I'd also check Michigan by the Bottle for a video recap and transcript in the coming days.

N/V Silver Leaf Purple Foot

Silver Leaf is a new winery on the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan. The grape in this wine is Lemberger (or Blaufrankisch). This retails for $16 through the winery.

Black fruit - superripe plum - and a bit of black pepper on the nose.

I don't know. This is a tough wine. Tart cherry. Quite dry, nice tannins, black pepper, but...well, I just don't know. Nothing is jumping can go either way with this, either it's crap and nothing's there or it's coy and elusive....I'm going closer to coy. As it opens, some blueberry really comes through. Nice.

A bit of chocolate on the finish.

A really tough wine to rate. I like that it's dry and firm, but it's just not really working for me....I hate to say it, but I'd need another bottle to really know, but for now I give it a B.

This wine was consumed and reviewed as part of the Tweet and Taste Michigan Wine on Thursday, October 7, 2010. This was not tasted blind and the bottle was comped - all effort has been made to be as objective and honest as possible.

Score: 85

2009 Silver Leaf Riesling

Silver Leaf is a new winery on the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan. This bottles retails for $14 through the winery. There's a ton of solid Riesling from this state, let's see how this one holds up...

Pink grapefruit and a bit of spiced peach on the nose, with a dash of fresh chamomile.

Nice balance - not much sugar, so the acid balanceds it out without being too overpowering. I get more a floral thing on the palate - orange blossom I'm thinking. Spiced peaches, maybe some apricot thrown in as well.

A bit of that fuzzy spiced peach on the finish, with more orange blossom.

For $11, I quite like this. It's nicely put together, nothing overwhelms, but nothing is out of order.

This wine was consumed and reviewed as part of the Tweet and Taste Michigan Wine on Thursday, October 7, 2010. This was not tasted blind and the bottle was comped - all effort has been made to be as objective and honest as possible.

Score: 87

N/V Silver Leaf Pinot Gris

Silver Leaf is a new winery on the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan. This is one of "those" wines - finnicky with serving temp and air. Serve this as you would a Beaujolais, cool, but not cold - too cold and it's a tight mess.

A little bit of pineapple on the nose, with some general tropical qualities, with a vaguely buttery thing as well.

More pineapple with a buttery mouthfeel on the palate. Dry with a nice acidic zing - fine balance and a bit of vanilla plus some interesting tropical fruit, papaya mostly and even a bit of starfruit. I generally loathe even a hint of oak in my whites, but this is subtle and balance enough that while it's there, it does kinda work.

Papaya on the finish big time.

I wasn't too keen on this when it was right out of the fridge, but it comes together very nicely with some air and as it approaches room temperature. Anyone wine with prominent papaya gets a nod from me, so kudos.

This wine was consumed and reviewed as part of the Tweet and Taste Michigan Wine on Thursday, October 7, 2010. This was not tasted blind and the bottle was comped - all effort has been made to be as objective and honest as possible.

Score: 87

Monday, October 04, 2010

2009 Old Shore Vineyards Tree Line Pinot Noir

It's funny, when I hate a wine I have no problems with how pointless scores are, but when I love one it really makes me question the process. Give any wine this strong a review? I go all Paul Hodges, ....and then I realize I'm taking this little blog far too seriously.

This is a $28 Pinot Noir from Old Shore Vineyards.  Old Shore Vineyards is a brand new winery in southwest Michigan and this is their second release. Based on the website photos, everyone associated with the winery seems to be young. What do the youth bring to wine in an under-appreciated region?

Raspberry, both the fruit and the leaves of the plant - think raspberry herbal tea - on the nose with a bit of earth and chocolate, way in the back I get some plum as well.

Every once in a while I call a wine 'dangerous' or 'misleading.' Dangerous as in it's so good and easy drinking you drink a bottle over 30 minutes and misleading for you drink it over 30 minutes without much thought beyond 'yep, it's good.' This is that sort of wine. Immediately approachable on the first pour. This is the sort of wine with acid so well integrated, you don't even really think about it. Fruit and earth in such balance it barely registers unless you're concentrating. We're talking raspberry, chocolate, cola, cherry, poached peaches (in some sort light German red wine), black tea, sassafras, almost a rosehip quality as well - all of this put together in a subtle, light bodied wine that if you are a fan of Burgundian Pinot Noirs will almost certainly knock your socks off.

This is a finish that lingers of well over a minute starting with rich, ripe peaches fading to plums and rainier cherry and far on the back we get some nectarine - I love this stone fruit thing all with a good dash of black tea.

This is one of the few wines where I've felt compelled to open a second bottle (several days later, mind you) and reconfirm my initial thoughts. Let me tell you, I don't feel this strongly about wines often, but when I want Pinot Noir, I want this.

Score: 95