Friday, February 25, 2011

Sommelier Wines - Tasting

FernandoBetetaIts not every day you're served your wine by a Master Sommelier - especially at your local neighborhood wine shop. Well done, and nice touch by James and Charlene  Pontrelli of the local Wine Styles at Seven Bridges in nearby Woodridge (IL). 

At their weekly Thursday evening wine tasting they featured an imaginative selection of wines - produced, influenced or inspired by Master Sommeliers - and they brought in a Master Sommelier to present and serve the wines. Chicago's own Fernando Beteta, notably and formerly sommelier at NoMI was on hand representing the Sommelier inspired wines. He worked with James who also was Sommelier at NoMI.

A native of Guatemala, Beteta is the son of a restaurateur and great-grandson of Italian winemakers. He speaks English, Italian, French, Spanish and basic German. After attending hotel school in Switzerland, he worked in Rome, Florence, Sardinia and Thailand. Prior to arriving at NOMI in 2005, he was manager and sommelier of The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Chicago.

ccCabernet Sauvignon and ccChardonnay were sourced from top quality fruit from some of California's most prestigious vineyards. We are able to take advantage of the availability and abundance of quality fruit that is released under this private label in these economical offerings. 

2007 cc: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Second time tasted with consistent notes - a bit tart and hard on initial opening - much softer and more approachable the next day. Full bodied - dark garnet color. Complex, slightly restrained blackberry fruits, spice, layer of cassis, hint of cedar with tones of mocha on a full lingering soft tannin finish.Full bodied - dark garnet color. RM - 91 points.

2007 Once Wines "The Table" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

"The Table" - a Napa Valley Bordeaux blended by sommeliers to be ready to accompany good food was the idea behind Once Wines' Sommelier Series - a contest in which a group of America's finest sommeliers competed in a friendly 'spirited' blending competition to create the perfect wine to serve with food. The wine rumoured to be for Tom Colicchio's Craft restaurants was sourced from four highly acclaimed Napa Valley vineyards. The 2007 "The Table" Cabernet Sauvignon was the winning blend - 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot - from last year's contest at San Francisco's Le Paulee, judged by one Master Sommelier and two French winemakers.RM - 90 points.

 "Young, but accessible, it's velvety and bright, the fruit tightly woven into the structure. Barely kissed with oak, it is a blend of Cabernet with 18% Cab Franc and a wee bit of Petit Verdot (barely 4%). All this, and it's just $28? I'd say it's a gift. Enjoy a bottle with steak frites, a standing rib roast or a nice stew." (LA Times, Wine of the Week, 3/11/10)

Dark garnet color - full bodied - black cherry fruits, slight tart red berry flavors with a hint cola and mocha on a moderate tannin lingering finish. RM 90.

2006 Añoro Malbec, Mendoza Argentina 

2006 Añoro Malbec is made from an average of 22 year old vines. It is composed of predominately Malbec but also has a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. The wine is aged 30% in new oak and 70% in one year old barrels.This wine is bright with white floral notes and fresh with intense blue and black berries. The wine is rich with texture and moderately high in acidity.

Anoro Malbec is a product from Master Sommelier Kenneth Fredrickson who selected the fruit for this release. He has owned several restaurants and wine retail stores.In 2002 he started Nevada Wine Agents a boutique wine and spirit wholesaler in Las Vegas which he sold to the Wirtz Beverage group in 2005.Today Ken is Vice President of Fine Wine and Business Development for the Wirtz Beverage Company in Chicago. He spends a good deal of time traveling internationally selecting brands, aligning brands and securing the product for distribution. 
Rated: 90 by Stephen Tanzer, Jan/Feb 10-Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - Good medium ruby. Pure aromas of black raspberry, bitter chocolate and violet; much more perfumed than the comparatively wild and slightly funky 2006 example. Silky, very ripe malbec, with very good lift and precision to the sweet cherry, mocha and truffle flavors. Finishes with a sexy note of baking chocolate and surprising grip. Roberto de la Mota, who also makes the Mendel wines, took over winemaking here with the 2008 vintage.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 91 points
Rick's rating - 89 points.

2005 Tour St Bonnet Medoc AOC Bordeaux 
The 2005 vintage was so good that even lesser class wines were very good. Parker called the Tour St Bonnet a sleeper of the vintage. This production has been in the same family for over a century. The wine exhibits a big floral essence with black cherry, slight leather and cigar box tones with moderate lingering tannins on the finish. A good value at less than $20.
 RM 88 points. 

Wine Styles Seven Bridges Sommelier Flight - 2-24-2011

The selection at Seven Bridges Wine Styles reflects careful and attentive discrimination of a sommelier and James and Charlene Pontrelli offer a diverse imaginative and quality selection. I was pleasantly surprised to see some favored boutique producers such as White Cottage and Venge, alongside favorite long time reliable producers such as Robert Craig, new emerging producers such as the new Liparita, Ladera, and Robert Carr. Its not just for the value shopper, you'll find serious wines for the collector and oenephile with premium product from producers such as AltaMira, Carter, Continuum and Dominus. Its not just a California set either, there were top shelf producers Mouton Rothschild and Sassicaia, too. But the most fun might be in the interesting rare hidden value gems selections such as Stratton Lummis, CC, and The Table, featured here. 

 I look forward to discovering more creative selections from these folks and to more imaginative and creative tastings there in the future. It may say Wine Styles on the sign, but Pontrelli's Seven Bridges' store offers some distinctive and interesting well sourced product beyond a franchise site. Its worth a visit.