Saturday, February 10, 2018

Chateau St Jean Indian Wells Merlot 2014

Chateau St Jean Indian Wells Merlot 2014 at Misty's Steakhouse Lincoln, NE

Traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska for a business meeting, we had a team dinner at the local landmark steakhouse, Misty's Steakhouse (and Brewery) downtown, which also features a microbrewery.

Legend has it that Bob and Grace Milton began Misty's as a "bottle club" in 1963, known as Club 63. In 1965, the Nebraska liquor laws changed allowing restaurants to sell liquor by the drink, so Misty's started serving food with the ability to prepare six hamburgers or four small steaks on a small propane grill. The grill and the business grew and Misty's Restaurant, named for Bob and Grace's favorite song, "Misty", became known for serving quality prime rib. Bob and Grace also became known for their seasoning recipe, originally mixed in a large barrel, which has now grown to a complete family of branded seasonings, commercially blended and sold in grocery stores nationwide as Misty's Original All Purpose Seasoning, Natural All Purpose Seasoning, BBQ Seasoning, Cajun Seasoning, and No Salt Seasoning.

Today, Misty's Restaurant & Lounge is considered locally as Lincoln's Best Prime Rib, Best Steak, Best Place for Dinner and Best Restaurant.  Bob Milton was recognized as Restaurateur of The Year in 1998 before passing away later that year.

Being a wine snob, oenophile, I generally will choose my restaurant based on the wine list as I place a high priority on the total wine and dine experience. Its unfortunate then that Misty's showcase their steaks and micro-brew sports bar theme and atmosphere, catering to the University of Nebraska crowds that come to town and gather there for the State's major sports events on the Big Ten campus just a few blocks away, rather than a steakhouse with fine wines.

That said, while I was initially disappointed generally in the lack of a published or posted wine list, then finding it somewhat limited, my overall dining experience, including the wine, met or exceeded all my expectations. I ordered Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Columbia Valley Merlot BTG (by-the-glass) and it proved to be a perfect complement to the superbly prepared and delicious S.O.B.'s, "Sweet Old Bob's" Favorite Top Sirloin. 

My steak was prepared perfectly to my precise specifications, 'Pittsburgh style medium' (charred, grilled, medium with hot pink center), along with an excellent baked potato and spinach raspberry salad. The result was an extraordinary, superbly enjoyable dining experience that, as I state, exceeded my expectations. 

Chateau St Jean Indian Wells Merlot 2014

Another remarkable, huge QPR offering from Chateau St Jean that is available in huge quantities so as to be widely and generally available across the marketplace with 50,000 cases produced of this label. Another such offering is their Cabernet Sauvignon, recently reviewed in these pages.

Chateau Ste. Michelle has developed a very successful brand with its fruit-forward wines from the Indian Wells Vineyard and surrounding vineyards on the Wahluke Slope. The Wahike Slope area is bordered by the Columbia River to both the west and to the south as it winds around the area.

The Indian Wells Vineyard lies near the Columbia River between the towns of Desert Aire and Mattawa. Interesting that while Chateau St Michelle label it as, or imply that this a single vineyard designated wine, its isn't but rather as they state, this "Merlot is sourced predominately from vineyards throughout the Wahluke Slope in Eastern Washington, including our Indian Wells Vineyard".

This was was dark garnet colored, with medium-full body, nicely balanced, polished and integrated flavors of blackberry and black cherry fruits accented by notes of cocoa and mocha chocolate with hints of vanilla and smooth silky tannins on the lingering finish that belies its very affordable modest pricepoint resulting in huge QPR value. 
This release includes 14% Syrah which no doubt contributes to the full forward fruit flavors and weighty body.

RM 89 points.

This got 90 points from Wine Enthusiast and 88 from Wine and Spirits,

Kudo's to Misty's for this BTG selection, as well as to Chateau St Michelle for this extraordinarily enjoyable good value wine.

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