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Saturday, April 30, 2011

2002 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

I was nutso over the 1996 of this so I snagged this bottle which currently retails at seventy bucks.

Very distinct yeast, orange marmalade, toast,

More yeast, toast, blueberry, orange, caraway, kiwi, all with a nuttiness, I'm going to go with pecan - complex and then some.

Strawberry seed, rye toast, grapefruit, even some cantaloupe way at the back end.

Damn good. Some reviews are short because the wines are dull, others are short because I just want to sit and enjoy the wine - this is the latter.

Score: 94

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2006 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Silver Oak - you have likely heard the name, it's a producer I think I've had by the glass somewhere, but really haven't had a chance to sit and enjoy.

Vanilla and cherry on the nose.

Solid. More of a plum thing on the palate, firm oak, bold tannins after six hours of air (though certainly approachable), black cherry comes through. Everything is well integrated and smooth, but it borders on too smooth, if that makes sense. I thought I'd have more to say about this one...

The finish fades with spices and eucalyptus.

A jolly good bottle of wine, but perhaps not as interesting as one would hope for in a $50 product.

Score: 89

Thursday, April 21, 2011

N/V Louis Roederer Brut Premier

Shop around some good sales and you can snag this one for under $35 - I'm shocked to see we haven't had a Roederer Champagne yet (though the Roederer Estate from CA is damn fine).

A bit of grapefruit, a bit of blueberry, and a bit of rye toast on the nose.

More grapefruit, green apple, white cherry, lime, slate, a bit viscous on the mouthfeel, a quality a normally don't care for, but sometimes it work - here it does.

Lime lingers on the finish along with some ginger ale qualities.

One of the better non vintage Champagnes I've encountered and at the pricepoint - as low as thirty bucks - this is absolutely worth a look.

Score: 91

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Moto Restaurant - Chicago, IL - April 16, 2011

Moto is a restaurant that serves a style of food called molecular gastronomy.

It's not for everyone - this is not a normal restaurant by any means....I compare it to dinner theater really. Our twenty courses meal with fourteen beverage pairings exceeded the five hour mark. Luckily, the chairs are comfortable and the room is not so quiet you're afraid to to talk, but not so loud you need to scream.

If it's before July 2011, and you're planning to go to Moto - take my advice and stop reading this. Go, have a good time, but stop researching it - you'll enjoy yourself more if you don't know what to expect. This is a spoiler alert.


The menu doubles as a deconstructed peanut butter sandwich. I didn't take a photo of the flipside, but there is also a ten course option. We had the Grand Tour Moto - 20 courses not including the menu.


What to drink with a twenty course meal? There's the list. I won't be commenting much on the pairings - mostly because with names like Shafer, Kracher, Laurent Perrier, and Goose Island you know everything is going to be solid.


"SNOW man" - Yep, that's a snow man made of foam on top of raw tuna.


"ROSE bush" - the rose was dehydrated beet (and tasted kind of bacony), micro greens, macadamia nut, with a parsley/goat cheese stem.


"GOLDEN twist ale" before


"GOLDEN twist ale" after. The liquid came out of a beer bottle that I swear the waiter uncapped at the table, the cap looked like a Three Floyd's cap...very odd. The broth tasted vaguely like a pretzel.


"CHICKEN noodle soup" - a dumpling made with half chicken flour. Chicken flour. Weird.


"MISO soup" before.


"MISO soup" after. That's a piece of seared foie gras in a miso broth. I normally don't like my foie gras cooked, but this was awesome.


"POTATO & leek" before.


"POTATO & leek" after. Skate, potato, leeks, with a powder dipped in liquid nitrogen. What the powder is...I don't recall.


"EGG3" - I don't know how to superscript on here, but that should read "Egg Cubed." Two types of fish egg with some micro greens and an egg bread.


"CAPON & corn bread" - liquid corn bread along with capon prepared two ways. A capon is...sigh...a castrated rooster. It's lack of sex hormones give it a unique flavor.


"BASEBALL snacks" - quail breast, a home made deconstructed Cracker Jack, plus some cherry flavored Cracker Jack inspired paper.


"CUBAN cigar." Yep. That's a cuban cigar served in an ashtry. The ash is ground sesame seeds, the wrap is collared greens, and the cigar was stuffed with pork.


"NUAC man" - pork belly with mushroom...that big piece of mushroom is actually pureed mushroom, formed into the shape of a mushroom, and fried to give it some texture. Yep. Why is this called Nuac man? I do not know.


"ALLEY-yum" - Onions presented five ways plus venison.


"MAI tai" - that's a brandy soaked maraschino cherry with two pieces of carbonated pineapple. That's right, carbonated pineapple.


"COOKIE monster" - cookie crumbs are under the spoon, on the spoon...well, the waiter came out with a grill dipped in liquid nitrogen and squeezed some sugar cookie batter on top which "cooked" the cookie on the spoon.


"FRITES, frozen & fried" - shredded sweet potatoes. Both crispy sweet potatoes and shredded sweet potato ice cream. Yep. Shredded ice cream.


"GREEN CURRY lime" - a palate cleanser, that's not a real lime, it's lime jelly with a thai basil "rind."


"BANANA split" - the squiggley thing is banana ice cream, the three pipes include cherry, caramel, and chocolate sauces.


ACME bombs" - they bring out what looks like a cherry bomb, set it on fire at the table, and when the wick completely burns out you pop it in your mouth and you get a chocolate explosion.


"COOKIE crumbs" - that's earl grey infused chocolate moose, early grey infused graham cracker crumbs, and earl grey ice cream. As a fan of earl grey, this ruled.


"SODA du jour" - that's an edible packing peanut with soda (that was somewhat fufu berry like) served in a beaker.


There you have it. Moto is a must visit restaurant - go for the grand tour, take your time, sit back and enjoy the five hour meal. Yes, it is expensive, but it's an incredible, unique experience that you should try at least once.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

N/V Cristalino Brut Rose

Check that out - "not affiliated with Roederer or Cristal." Did some jackass buy this thinking it was a tremendous deal only to get mocked by their wine snob friends? Who knows. New label, new vaguely Blade Runner looking font reminds me of a friend of mine who had eyes that glowed yellow, but after four years we had a falling out and I never heard from him again - weird, no?

A little bit of cherry and perhaps some lime on the nose.

Clean, crisp, almost cherry 7-Up like - actually this reminds me of that Cranberry Twist Sierra Mists, one of my favorite sodas out there. In fact, beyond that, I'm not getting much else. When you think about it, this wine is somewhat sweet, but it doesn't really hit the palate that way - be it acidic balance or more fruity than sweet, it all really comes together nicely. A dangerous wine - half the bottle disappeared in a matter of minutes.

The finish, of Cranberry Sierra Mist, actually lingers for a reasonable amount of time.

This wine is why scores are stupid. It's simple, it's one dimensional, and it's incredibly drinkable. There's nothing here worth looking at academically, but considering that a case will set you back eighty bucks, are we really going to complain about such things? Serve it at a party or pop open a bottle with jalapeno poppers.

Score: 86

Monday, April 11, 2011

2006 Tabor Hill Dry Traminette

I had a few days off of work and had planned on heading up to Michigan, hitting wineries, and driving around, but when push came to shove, heading down the road to Meijer and sitting at home seemed more appealing. This was eight bucks and is perhaps a tad too old, but whatever.

Grapefruit, orange, apricot, peach - a rather bold nose.

To me, this is reminiscent of a slightly over the hill Gewurz from Alsace...vanilla, peach, apricot, lychee, orange blossom, chamomile, nice acid, thick mouthfeel, a touch of sugar, but nothing overbearing.

Stone fruit and lychee on the finish.

Pretty damn good, I'll definitely grab a newer vintage without question.

Score: 87

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

2009 Owen Roe Sinister Hand

I dig this label a lot - we had this wine a few years back, so let's see how the 2009 is - about $24 retail on this blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre, 2% Counoise. (Wine Century Club nerds take note - you don't see Counoise often.)

Black raspberry (or perhaps super dark strawberry) in that stem, leaf, tea sorta way.

Raspberry dominates along with dark cherry, and almost a Juicy Fruit gum sorta thing - what flavor is Juicy Fruit? Something vaguely tropical, papaya or peach I suppose. A nice touch of oak, some vanilla comes through, and a reasonable acid, give it some balance, but it's definitely a juicy, fruit forward sorta wine.

Licorice, black and red, with some of the sweetness included, linger on the finish.

Certainly a lighter style red, but it's all put together nicely - if you like fruity, Grenache based wines, this is for you. If you haven't had a fruity, Grenache based blend, this is a good one to start with...some can be a tad over the top and this one is pretty well integrated.

Score: 88+

Sunday, April 03, 2011

2006 Primus Veramonte

This half bottle ran me ten dollars - it's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Carmenere.

A somewhat muted nose - a bit of that petrol/gasoline thing, appropriate seeing as Jerry was a Racecar Driver, a bit of rainier cherry, and yes indeed, I do believe that's barnyard.

Plum, blackberry, big in terms of black fruit - cigar, brown spices mixed in, and on the back end some nice black cherry.

Vanilla and blueberry on the finish with some cherry cola qualities coming through as well.

I initially thought this wine was kind of blah, but with some time in the decanter it started to shine, and by the time it got really good, the half bottle was gone. At ten bucks for a half bottle, I could easily see buying a few more of these and pulling one out every year to see how it progresses.

Score: 88