We joined friends Eric & Cathy in from Indy to join the kids, Elyse and Ross, and Sean and Megan in Chicago for dinner at the legendary Kinzie Chop House. Looking forward to great steaks, we took along a classic red, BYOB, for the occasion and matched it with a staple standby and a new discovery for our red wine flight.
As is protocol when bringing a BYOB to a fine dining restaurant that offers a wine selection, be sure to bring a unique vintage selection that would not be available on the wine list. Then, be prepared to purchase a bottle for each bottle that you bring. Kinzie Chop House staff were gracious and accommodating in serving our wine.
|The wine flight|
From the winelist we selected a Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2009 - a staple consistent producer with a broad selection of labels and varietals. The Merlot exceeded expectations and was a good choice for a steak friendly wine. We also purchased from the winelist a previously unknown producer and label, Bennett Family Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.
The Matthews Cellars Yakima Valley Red Wine might be considered a surprise selection as this is a relatively unknown producer outside the Pacific Northwest - a region not known for Bordeaux style wines. Interestingly, we first discovered and tasted this wine at fabulous Aureole Restaurant at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas - a great value find on their spectacular winelist. My tasting notes from Aug 8, 2005 - Matthew Cellars Yakima Valley Red Wine 2000 - "Full bodied Bordeaux style - forward fruit of red cherry, hint of currant and spice come together in a nicely balanced and polished firm red with a lengthy finish". My notes from this and other tastings are similar and consistent.
RM 89 WS 91 -
From the winelist we selected a Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot 2009 - a staple consistent producer with a broad selection of labels and varietals. The merlot was a good reliable choice for a steak friendly wine that was a good value.
Medium bodied, the color is a deep, rich ruby-garnet. Forward spicy sweet oak, layers of black cherry, raspberry and dark plum flavors with hints of dark chocolate, cinnamon and clove spices and touch of vanilla. This is a pleasant easy drinking wine with nice complexity and depth.
RM 89 points.
The fruit for this wine is sourced from several Freemark Abbey vineyards two in the mountains overlooking Napa Valley, Keyes Vineyard high atop (35.3%) Howell Mountain near the town of Angwin near the Las Posadas State Forest and Stage Coach Vineyard up on Atlas Peak (30%) high above Napa to the Northeast; and three vineyards from the Rutherford appellation - Wood Ranch vineyard (8.9%) in the heart of the Rutherford appellation, east of the Napa River, the nearby Red Barn Ranch Vineyard (6.9%) in the creek beds of the Napa River and Conn Creek, and the legendary Beckstoffer Vineyard Rutherford (4.8%) in the heart of Rutherford on the valley floor.
We've been collecting Freemark Abbey wines since the eighties. We met Jeff Jaegar, a partner of Freemark Abbey at the time at a wine tasting at Binny's in Naperville back about 1994. Jeff helped source a case of Freemark Abbey Bosche Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 and a special library selection large format Jaegar Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1981(shown left) for our daughter Erin's birthyear. We served this wine at her wedding in 2006 along with several other large format selections collected for the occasion.
We've visited the Freemark Abbey Winery north of St Helena in Napa Valley several times over the years including during our Napa Valley Wine Experience Freemark Abbey Wine Visit in 2009.