I've written often in these pages about the Saturday afternoon wine tastings at Chicagoland wine merchant Vin Chicago. Today's flight featured a selection of Big Red's with diverse styles. Unlike the typical popular distributor tabletop tastings set up in local merchants, Vin Chicago features a selection from their inventory with highlights of quality and even premium labels, with serving duties shared by staff rotation. It's started to become routine to check out the Saturday Tasting lineup on their website blogpost each week. Today's flight featured four popular premium Reds with diverse styles, some premium champagnes, and a top flight Sauterne dessert label.
The occasion for this special selection was the 30th Anniversary of the opening of their first flagship store on Elston Avenue in Chicago - the precursor to todays' Vin Chicago with four stores throughout Chicagoland including our hometown of Naperville. In addition to the premier tasting, they also offered over 100 wines at special anniversary discount pricing.
The flight included:
- Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
- Silver Oak Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
- Chateau Troplong Mondot St. Emillion 2012
- Snowden "Brothers Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
- Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes 2009
- Etienne Doue "Cuvee Selection" Brut Champagne NV
- Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne NV
- Vilmart "Grand Cellier" Brut Champagne NV
Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Another blockbuster from this legendary producer that is known for silky smooth easy drinking quality Napa Cabernets that are approachable at an early age that still have the potential for aging. Caymus has held this price point of this premium label for several years such that this offers good QPR for a premium consistent, dependable label.
For anyone bewildered by the abundance of labels and wines in their local wine shop that are not certain what to buy for a quality bottle to drink, share, gift or serve, you can't go wrong with this label for any occasion. This was Linda's favorite.
This resembles their classic 2012 40th anniversary label that got 96 points from leading reviewers.
Dark garnet colored, full bodied, rich, silky smooth black berry and black raspberry fruits accented by tones of sweet oak, mocha and hints of clove spice on a soft elegant polished finish.
RM 94 points.
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Dark inky garnet colored, medium full bodied, classic Silver Oak signature profile - focused core (some might also translate this as single dimensional) of dark berry fruit with predominant mid-palate toasty oak that lingers on the finish. Minutes later hangs on the palate like a fine cigar.
Silver Oak continues to enjoy an almost cult following. Unless you are just fixated and locked in to Silver Oak and that classic style, at $70 for the Alexander Valley label, and approaching $100 for the Napa Valley label, this price has crept up to a point that there are many producers that offer more for the money.
RM 91 points.
Château Troplong Mondot St Emilion Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux 2012
We tasted this wine on release at the UGC Bordeaux North American release tour tasting in Chicago a year before last where this was one of the standouts of the 2012 vintage release.
Blend of 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc.
RM 92 points.
Snowden Brothers Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
The flagship Reserve Cabernet is being replaced by series of single-vineyard designated wines from Snowden's estate vineyard which lies on the border of the St. Helena and Rutherford AVAs adjacent to Hall's Sacrashe vineyard, which is just above their magnificent Rutherford winery, cave and tasting facility. They are also releasing small amounts of limited release bottling of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This label is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot which adds, body, structure and color.
Château Suduiraut Sauternes 2009
There is always room for 'stickies' ... sweet thick unctuous dessert wines - delicious and applicable to anti pasta pre-dinner course, with salads, with cheese, with dessert, or as a course by itself. This one is a classic - ready for drinking now, or aging for decades. At $48 for a 375 ml half bottle, its not for the average consumer every day sipping wine, rather for special occasions. Dessert wines can run from $4 to $400 - and every price point in between. I would say for the average palette, one won't find anything better and more enjoyable at any price, and you can find one for less. In any event, this one is delicious and enjoyable for many occasions.
We tasted this wine at the UGC Bordeaux release tastings in Chicago.
Light honey colored, full bodied, thick, tongue coating, chewy, almost syrupy, sweet honeyed fruit flavors of peach, mango, papaya, lychee, hints of apricots and sweet apples with tones of almond nut on a long mouth puckering lingering finish. Hold them for long term cellaring and watch them darken with age over the years or even decades.
RM 95 points.