For a gala Valentine's Evening Dinner we dined at trendy, cozy, quaint Chez Joel on Taylor Street in Chicago. From their price fixe holiday dinner we dined on lobster bisque, New York Strip Steak, Canard Confit, Scallops and for dessert, Mousse au Chocolate, Creme Brulee and a medley of sorbets - chocolate, raspberry and mango.
From home, I brought this BYOB special Chardonnay from Fantesca - the first and perhaps still only Heidi Barrett crafted Chardonnay. The Fantesca branding is theme was ideal for the Valentine's Day occasion.
Fantesca Vineyards and Winery Sonoma County Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2008
I've written often in these pages about Fantesca wines and visiting their spectacular Spring Mountain Estate, winery and vineyards. We visited there with Bill and Beth and tasted and sourced this wine upon release.
WCC - 90 points.
The fruit was a bit more subdued than earlier tastings in 2010 and 2012 but this is still very tasty. Butter colored, light-medium bodied, nicely integrated, smooth, crisp and clean, flavors of tropical fruits, ripe melon, hints of lychee and under current of subtle citrus with a pleasant lingering finish.
RM 91 points.
Château Haut-Pontet St Emilion Grand Cru 2010
This was a perfect complement to my duck confit and the others' NY Strip Steaks.
Predominately Merlot fruit with but a touch of Cabernet Franc (5%) to firm up the structure and add depth and some dimension to the perfumed bouquet.
This is a nicely balanced well-made St. Émilion Grand Cru at a high QPR - Quality to Price Ratio.
Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, nicely balanced and textured, bright elegant fruit filled blackcurrants, blackberries and plum fruits with notes spice, hints of tobacco leaf, floral, earth and anise with round supple nicely integrated soft tannins.
RM 90 points.