After presiding over a public tour including friends and family at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, we did a walking tour of the historic district viewing several of Wrights iconic buildings, ending at Eyrie Restaurant, the culinary school learning center of Robert Morris College.
Being wine centered in our dining choices, this was an opportunity to pull a prized bottle from our cellar since BYOB is the standard at Eyrie. To accompany dinner we brought a Neiman Cellars Red Wine Caldwell Vineyard Napa Valley 2001.
Part of the fun and logic of this selection was that when we last dined at Eyrie back in May, following another Frank Lloyd Wright event, we took a Neiman Cellars Napa Valley Red Blend 2004 which was sensational with our dinner that evening.
Unlike our previous dining experience there, a visiting chef's feature evening, tonight was a bit of a challenge. Considering the entree selections, I inquired about the Ancho Chili Rubbed Hanger Steak, concerned that the chili would be spicy and offsetting or overpowering of our fine wine. We were assured it was subtle, and offset by some cinnamon which added sweetness and countered any heat of the chili. Unfortunately, this was not the case and one bite almost tainted my palette for discrimination of the wine for the rest of the evening. Exacerbating the situation, while part of the allure of this entree selection was the side of polenta, but when I commented on the mis-representation of my entree, they awkwardly seized by plate and left me sitting with nothing, waiting for a replacement, while the others dined. When my replacement pork chop arrived it was a small portion, much smaller than Mark's and was slightly undercooked.
Jane and Linda had the Salmon entree and Jane's too was undercooked.
For the dessert course, there was no chocolate choice, which for me, is almost a main course, and the strawberry shortcake was woefully short of strawberry (s). Once again, to exacerbate the situation, coffee never arrived to accompany the course.
Tonight's dinner was a celebration of two anniversaries and longstanding friendship with Jane and Mark, whom we've known for more than a couple decades going back to college and high school.
Neiman Cellars Red Wine Caldwell Vineyard Napa Valley 2001
This wine comes packaged in a heavy oversized, almost magnum weight bottle.
Consistent with our last tasting of this wine, it was a perfect complement to the beef and the pork chop entrees, dark garnet/purple colored, medium-full bodied, smooth, polished, complex full flavors of spicy blackberry and subtle red raspberry with tones of clove and sweet dark mocha turning to finely integrated tannins on the smooth lingering finish.
This limited production (148 cases produced) wine was crafted by Drew Neiman, assistant to the legendary producer/winemaker John Kongsgaard.
RM 92 points.