Saturday, January 28, 2017

Vie Restaurant Western Springs Restaurant Week Price Fixe Dinner

Vie Restaurant Western Springs Restaurant Week Price Fixe Dinner w/ Wine Flight

For the annual Restaurant Week Chicago, participating restaurants offer special price fixe dinners to introduce patrons to their venue and cuisine. Typically, these offer great value dining opportunities and sell out very quickly. Once again, we dined at Vie Restaurant in nearby Western Springs and invited Dr Dan and Linda to experience one of our west suburban dining gems.

We also took advantage of their wine accompanying tasting menu.
This was a bit of a fluke since while reviewing the menu and pairings, Dan notice Bacchus as the wine selection for the entree course. Having a collection and being a big fan of Phelps Bachus, he jumped on the choice and we all followed.

Naturally this was most likely a coincidental sleight of convenient confusion between two labels of similar name. Of course the ultra-premium Bachus would not be featured by the glass, let alone at the price fixe pricepoint. Probably innocence rather than deception since only but a few would likely consider this to be an option. Never-the-less, we didn't consider the variation and jumped on the feature offering.

Vie's Restaurant Week Menu

celery root and apple crostada, crispy chicken skin, smoked apple butter
kielbasa, sauerkraut, sweet and sour turnips, mustard

sweet potato soup, pickled cherry bomb peppers, chicharrons, crème fraiche - this was incredible - tasty, nicely presented and amazing in the unique cherry bomb peppers that exploded on the palate with tiny bursts of spicy heat, almost to vanish as quickly so as not to be offending in any way. 
roasted beets, gorgonzola, marmalade vinaigrette, grilled greens, sunflower seeds

cdk beef combination: wood-grilled sirloin and shaved italian beef, fried giardiniera, smashed potatoes, kale, grilled onions, “juice” - interesting combination, novel, but not something I would choose for an elegant dinner entree
catfish piccata, brown butter basmati rice, roasted carrots, pickled asparagus, meyer lemon, capers

dark chocolate mousse cake, sour cherry compote, whipped white chocolate
pear caramel hand pie, blonde chocolate ice cream

The wine flight was carefully selected to complement each course. Each was a lesser wine that we would not normally order or hold in our cellar, yet each held up to the occasion, thereby offering substantial QPR - quality price ratio value, with each selection.

Michael Pozzan Winery Dante California Noir 2015

Michael Pozzan's Dante Pinot Noir, named after his eldest son, Michael Dante Pozzan, and inspired by wines discovered during travels through Italy, presents a selection one might find in the neighborhood trattoria. A unique but interesting and appropriate selection both options of the First Course. 

The 2015 Dante Pinot Noir is medium light bodied, with light opaque burgundy and light purple tones in color. Aromas and flavors of fresh raspberries and rose petals, give way to tones of vanilla and lightly roasted coffee with hints of sweet spicy oak and vanilla bean throughout the finish.

RM 87 points.

For the second course soup ..

Château de Respide Graves Blanc Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2014

Light straw color with a greenish hue, light medium bodied, slightly green grass and soapy tones accented by wet stone, floral, mineral with sweet pink grapefruit citrus, peach and honey notes with bright but modest light acidity.

RM 85 points.

This is a lovely wine: made from 66% Sémillon and 34% Sauvignon.

the other middle course wine .....

 Di Giovanna Nerello Mascalese Sicilian Rosato Gerbino

This is a unique Rosato from Sicily made from the Sicilian Nerello Mascalese grape known for expressive aromatics and spice. Aurelio Di Giovanna sourced the fruit from a 100 year old vineyard in Noto in Eastern Sicily where the vine has it’s origins.

The Di Giovanna family has been cultivating their 56 hectares of vineyards for five generations just outside the town of Sambuca di Sicilia in western Sicily. Their wines are made exclusively with their estate fruit with the grapes for this label coming from their Miccina & Paradiso vineyards.

This Rosato di Nerello Mascalese is light medium bodied, soft round textured, rhubarb colored, with bing cherry and red currant fruits with notes of floral violets and mineral on the moderate finish.

RM 87 points.

For the main entree course ...

Bacchus Cellars California Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Not to be confused with that other ultra-premium Bachus label, this label is from David Gordon, the wine director at the legendary trendy Tribeca Grill New York City restaurant. Owned by restaurateur Drew Nieporent and actor Robert DeNiro, Tribeca Grill features a highly regarded wine program with a list of over 1800 selections. It is one of only six Wine Spectator Grand Award winner wine lists in New York City.

David created this Bacchus label sourced from many producer contacts he has in Napa and Sonoma. While the wineries that are currently used wish to remain anonymous, producers such as Caymus, Lewis Cellars and Miner Family have provided grapes and helped with the winemaking for earlier cuvees. The result is an incredible high value QPR (quality price ratio) wine at a modest price point.

Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, bright and approachable, with balanced flavors of black plum and black currant fruits, tones of cassis, mocha and a touch of earth and cedar, finishing with moderate tannins and oak.

RM 87 points.

 The Dessert Course accompaniment ..

Warre's Heritage Ruby NV Port

A nice easy casual sipping accompaniment to the dessert

Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio 2014

Bodegas El Nido Jumilla Clio 2014 at Corkscrew wine shop in Springfield

In downstate Springfield, IL on business, colleague Eric W and I stopped in The Corkscrew wine shop for a casual wine tasting. Primarily a wine shop, they provide a nice selection of wines and a modest selection of cheeses, but also have a wine bar with casual seating for a small wine party or a simple tasting. For an impromptu tasting, we selected the latest release of Clio which was perfect accompaniment to some artisan cheeses - a spectrum of French Brie and Swiss to a bold Danish Blue.

Clio is a label from El Nido, a partnership between the Gil family and Chris Ringland, one of Australia's best known winemakers. The winery is in the Valley of the Aragona, 10 kilometers north of the town of Jumilla. Their vineyards are in the "top boundary", or the area of the highest altitude in the region. They produce Estate wines, (meaning they grow their own grapes) that are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from their 29 acres of vineyards, and the Monastrell varietal from 79 acres of very old vines in small plots. They produce very low yields that result in rich concentrated wines. They have two labels, Clio, a blend of Monastrell accented by Cabernet, and their ultra-premium flagship El Nido which is predominantly Cabernet, accented by Monastrell. They also have a few acres of Syrah that they produce under the label Corteo. Their first vintage release of the brands El Nido and Clio occurred in 2002. They've had a succession of highly rated and acclaimed releases ever since.

Jumilla is the town as well as a Denominación de Origen (DO), the Spanish official designation of an appellation or viticulture growing area, like the American AVA or the French AOC. The area is in the north of the city of Murcia and includes the municipality of its namesake Jumilla and the contiguous southeast of the Albacete province in the Castile-La Mancha region in southeast Spain. The area lies between the Mediterranean coastal area and the high central plateaus of the foothills leading up to the mountains. The altitude of the vineyards vary between 400 and 800 meters which moderates the heat of the climate. There are about 65,000 acres of vineyards in the Jumilla DO, 45% of which are in Murcia and 55% in Albacete. There are about 3,000 grape-growers registered in the region. The widely planted Monastrell grape is the same varietal as France’s Mourvèdre, a common grape in the French Rhone Valley and in Australia. (Monastrell is the 'M' in the red 'GSM' blend from those regions - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre or Monastrell). The Monastrell produced in Jumilla is often considered the best. 

The town of Jumilla is becoming a popular tourist destination along the Jumilla Wine Route that traverses  the Region of Murcia. The city of Murcia is a historic picturesque old town, and the surrounding area produces wines which are becoming ever more recognized at the national and international level.

Clio is the one Spanish wine we collect each year and hold in our cellar in a vertical collection of a series of vintages. It is a consistently high-achieving highly rated wine in a style that we like - big, full bodied, bold, with concentrated forward fruit. I recommend this as a must have in any cellar, for a big thick dense opulent wine to have on hand for impressing guests or anytime tasting enjoyment. At $40, its more suitable for special occasions than an every day wine for most folks. It begs for hearty cheeses, spicy pasta, BBQ or even a charbroiled steak.

Consider the impressive track record for this wine over the last several years. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate scores for this wine: 2003 - 96 points; 2004 - 97 points; 2005 - 95 points; 2006 - 95 points; 2007 - 94 points, 2008 - 94 points, 2009 - 90 points.

This latest release follows in this tradition of a bold wine that provides instant, early gratification, or one that can be aged for several years to settle a bit. As is customary, this Clio is a blend of 70% old vine Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon that was barrel-aged for 22-26 months in French and American oak.

The 2014 release bears Clio's hallmark opulence, a powerful, decadent wine with bold aromas and flavors, a thick, dense palate, and a long finish.

Like its traditional lineage of vintages, the 2014 vintage is another huge powerful fruit bomb. Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, 15.5% alcohol with dense concentrated blackberry and black raspberry fruits with layers of complex flavors of dark mocha, graphite, expresso and tongue coating dusty tannins on the big long finish.

RM 92 points.