Sunday, September 9, 2012

Killikanoon Shiraz, Clos D L'Oratoire, and Dunham Cabernet Sauvignon

Killikanoon Shiraz, Clos De L'Oratoire, and Dunham Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon accompany Contemporary Latin Steak Dinner

On a gorgeous early autumn afternoon in Chicago we followed a White Sox victory with a BYOB wine tasting dinner (see below) at trendy May Street Cafe in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood not far from the ballpark. Featuring contemporary Latin cuisine they offer Allen Brothers beef with flavorful Latin accents. To match the lively cuisine we brought two vibrant and expressive wines, Kilikanoon Clare Valley Covenant Shiraz 2005, and  Dunham Vineyards Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003. Dan and Linda brought two vintage Bordeaux, a Right Bank Clos De L'Oratoire St Emilion Grand Cru 2000 and Left Bank Chateau LaGrange St Julien 2003. 

2005 Kilikanoon "Covenant" Shiraz Clare Valley South Australia

Kilikanoon produces some of Australia’s finest wines under the direction of talented winemaker Kevin Mitchell, a broad selection ranging from Rieslings to Cabernet Sauvignons and Shiraz. Their line-up of Shiraz includes some of our absolute favorites with their premium 'R' and 'Oracle' Shiraz, their 'flagship', twice recognized as the 'world's best shiraz', Testament, Parable and Covenant labels, and lower value priced Killerman's Run label. Indeed, my Wine Journal Australian Producer Index lists over a dozen Kilikanoon label reviews over the years.  

Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz is produced from fruit from six different vineyards throughout the Leasingham Valley; each is fermented separately, basket pressed and aged for 22 months in a combination of new and older French and American small oak casks.  

 The 2005 "Covenant" is a blockbuster with inky dark garnet color, full body, tongue-coating chewy supple fruit that also coats the glass with long 'legs' or 'curtains' as our British friends call them. This is a huge fruit bomb boasting flavorful, sweet ripe blackberry, black raspberry and hints of blueberry fruits, with a layer of anise and vanilla, hint of milk chocolate and sweet oak and spice with a long lingering finish of full chewy tannins. This was a spectacular starter wine - so full and flavorful it stood alone as a meal course all by itself. It only got better as a compliment to the meal courses to follow. 
 RM 94 points.

Clos de L'Oratoire St Emilion Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux 2000

From the same producers of Right Bank Bordeuax St-Emilion AOC properties Château Canon La Gaffelière and La MondotteClos de l'Oratoire is from foothill (pieds de cotes) vineyards planted with 90% Merlot and equal parts Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This much heralded 2000 vintage release is 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc and promises to provide enjoyment for several years to come.

Showing deep crimson color, this is medium-full bodied, delicate and polished with intense forward floral bouquet with complex black fruits, black currant and cherry,  giving way to pencil shaving, smoky leather, black tea with bitter chocolate and clove spice on a smooth moderate tannin finish.

RM 90 points,

The delicate and polished Clos de L'Oratoire was a perfect accompaniement to the grilled steaks and vegetables but it was overpowered by the lively spices of the mac-n-cheese penne.,10,1

Dunham Cellars Columbia Valley Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 

We first discovered Dunham Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon with the 1997 vintage and have since collected a nine year vertical of this wine, each adorned with the roman numeral denoting the sequence in the series of vintages for the label, the 2003 being the IX or ninth release. Each one we have tasted has been impressive and pleasing and this was no exception.

Dark garnet colored, full bodied, rich round, full forward fruits of sweet plum and Bing and black cherries highlighted by clove, anise and pomegranate with sweet oakey finish laced with smooth polished chewy tannins. Comprised of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Lewis Vineyard, Frenchtown Vineyard, and Double River Estate Vineyard in the Washington State Columbia Valley near Walla Walla this juice was aged in 60% French - 40% American, 70% new oak - 30% used oak.

RM 91 points.

Allen Brothers New York Strip with May Street Cafe
Truffle Mac-n-cheese penne and grilled asparagas

Dr Dan and Mario Santiago May Street Cafe Executive Chef

For dinner, most of us opted for their Price Fixe' dinner menu - a good value offering full dinner salad with mango, choice of a New York Strip with a peppercorn candied cherry and cranberry sauce (shown above), or a shrimp and scallop combination, with a side of truffle mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes or rice; and desert of mango, white chocolate or bacon flan with caramel drizzle.  

We brought our own wine but there is a serious wine list with a somewhat limited but thoughtful selection at below market prices - big reds include Darioush, Silver Oak, Ramey, and Caymus Cabernets. The service was gracious and attentive and accommodating of our BYOB with a $15 (per bottle) corkage fee. 

Don't judge this book by its cover, its a fun, fine dining spot with good food and service. They hope to keep the outside patio seating open as long as November with the California space heaters.