Monday, October 28, 2019

Eataly NYC Wine and Cheese Dining

Wine and Cheese Dining Experience at La Piazza Eataly Flatiron NYC

As I wrote the other day, we dined at Eataly in the NYC Flatiron district during our getaway weekend. We stopped back in again for a simple pleasurable wine and cheese experience. We dined in the La Piazza village center of the always bustling vast site that offers eight different dining experiences, each centered around a different cuisine and food type in an associated village market setting.

We selected the La Piazza for a Taglieri sampling of cheeses and a couple of glasses of wines. Its in the village center surrounded by a cheese bar, olive oils, breads, wines and the fish market setting.

The menu offers cheese plates and charcuterie selections accompanied by a selection of wines by the glass including some aged vintage select wines. We ordered the daily cheese plate - a selection of five cheeses and selected two wines by the glass (WBTG). The cheeses were accompanied by spreads of fig, apricot and honey and nuts with fresh baked bread.

The cheeses:

Liuzza Riccato Fresca
Gorgonzola Dolce
Taledoigo Dop
Fiore Sardo
Parmigiano Reggiano

The wines:
Poggio al Tesoro Meditérra Toscana IGT Syrah Blend 2016

The Syrah profile really shone through as the predominant varietal in the blend of 40% Syrah/Shiraz , 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Merlot.

Dark inky purple colored, full bodied, concentrated forward structured and robust fruits of blackberry, black raspberry accented by spice and white pepper with herbs, licorice and tobacco notes on a long lingering approachable tannin laced finish. 

RM 91 points.


Fontanafredda Serralunga d' Alba Barolo Nebbiolo 2014 

Winemaker notes for this release: "The results of lengthy ageing, above-all on account of their natural qualities, these robust, well-bodied wines are packed with structure and are well capable of withstanding the test of time. Barolo has an attractive ruby-red colour with garnet highlights which become orange with the passing of time. Its bouquet is clean, full and intense, with the wine's typical traces of withered flowers, dry leaves and underbrush."

Bright ruby colored, medium full bodied, tangy spicy notes of black berry and black cherry fruits. fruits with black truffles, tangy notes of dusty rose, hints of cedar and earth on the lingering finish.

RM 89 points.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Queensyard Hudson Yard NYC Dinesite

Queensyard Hudson Yard NYC Restaurant

Sunday afternoon dinner in NYC we visited the spectacular new megaplex Hudson Yards mall with its twenty plus dining options. We traversed the six levels exploring several checking out the view, ambiance and menus. We settled on Queensyard for our Sunday afternoon dinner site.

Hudson Yards is located in Manhatten on Tenth Avenue between 30th and 34th streets above the railroad yard at the Hudson River. It is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States with investment exceeding twenty-five billion dollars. It is the new heart of New York and is a metroplex where people come together to work, live and play, and enjoy chef-driven restaurants or shop the world’s iconic brands. 

queensyard is a British restaurant where the layout is inspired by the rooms of an English country home. The all-day dining destination has seating for numerous styles - a wine bar in the café, a light lunch in the Kitchen, a board room for business or private dinners adjacent the wine cellar, and an airy light filled open dining overlooking the Hudson Yard Grand Plaza, the river and views of Hoboken across the river.

Having been to Britain literally two hundred times over the decades, having worked for a British company for over a decade, I am only too familiar with British 'cuisine', or lack thereof. I accepted queensland as our dining destination presuming it was Australian. If I had known it was British themed, I would have likely been resistant. What a pleasant surprise that the food was so good, and the ambiance and setting so delightful!

There are three dining options in queensland, the bar, the cafe or the restaurant. Sunday afternoon dinner in the restaurant is a two course price fixe menu, which we chose for our dining experience. It was spectacular in almost every aspect.

The north and south ends of the grand dining room features two great murals that pay homage to the English countryside entitled St. James Park and Somerset Countryside, created by Sarah Moore, a well-respected American artist.

The queensyard menu is modern British fare, that focuses on British cooking but features influences from both sides of the Atlantic.

For our starter course we chose three different selections. Each was tremendous. 

English Rose / chicken liver & foie gras parfait, bittersweet chocolate & stout,
pickled mushroom & pumpkin

Brooklyn Burrata / muscat grapes, local wax beans, pear mustard

 Marinated Yellowfin Tuna / avocado wasabi, fermented kohlrabi, lychee, finger lime 

For our main course, we all chose the Braised Atlantic Halibut with carrot & ginger purée, yuzu glaze, lobster grapefruit sauce. It too was delicious except for the fact that the lobster accompaniment was not fresh and was gamey or a bit too strong fishy. The lobster meat was not of the tail but rather from the claw, but that was not the reason for its diminution. Furthermore, Linda's Halibut was a bit undercooked, while Viviana's and mine were good. 

For dessert we shared Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel sauce, rocky road and ginger ice cream.

Interesting that even the selection of sparkling water was British from Wales.  

To accompany our dinners, we chose from the winelist this white wine - a French Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc. 

 Jack Pinson Sancerre Domaine de la Voltonnerie Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2018

'Old World' wines are named for the region or area from which they are sourced such as, in this case, the commune of Sancerre in the Loire Valley. Those wines invariably are sourced from a single predominant varietal grape. Wines from Sancerre are generally comprised of Sauvignon Blanc. In the New World, wines are named for the predominant grape that is in the bottle, and this would be referred to as Sauvignon Blanc. 

Jack Pinson founded his 2.5-acre domaine in 1970 in the village of Crézancy-en-Sancerre. Today, the property is overseen by his daughter Alix. The property includes 31.5 acres planted in Sauvignon Blanc and 8.5 acres of Pinot Noir.  The terrior soil is generally clay and limestone. 

This was straw colored, light-medium-bodied, dry with aromas of orange blossoms and honey with a notes of lemon citrus, grapefruit, and herb turning to notes of with minerals on a crisp mildly acidic finish. 

RM 89 points. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Parents-Son Dinner features Birth Year Wine of the Year

Parents-Son Dinner features Birth Year Wine of the Year

Visiting son Alec and his fiance' Vivianna in New York City for the weekend, we took a couple of very special wines from Alec's birth year. We drank the first bottle, Château Calon-Ségur that we took BYOB to Bobo French Wine Dine Experience on Friday night.

Tonight, Alec and Viv were preparing dinner and to celebrate their engagement and the occasion, we took from our home cellar a very special bottle that I acquired upon release for his birth year. The 1990 vintage was a very unique year in the release of vintage wines in that three times, the Wine Spectator Wine of the Year was from that vintage year.

In 1993, the WS Wine of the Year was Caymus Special Select, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 1990. In 1994, the WS Wine of the Year was Chateau Gran Vin Latour Pauillac Bordeaux, from the 1990 vintage. In 1995, the ‘Red Wine of the Year’ by Wine Spectator magazine was Penfold's Grange, 1990. 

This is testimony to the fact that 1990 was a blockbuster vintage in all three hemispheres' top wine regions - US Napa Valley, France Bordeaux and Australia. Someone want to collect a birthyear vintage wine for a given year has several options from which to select. For this year, any one of these three regions offered top rated wines!

Tonight's bottle was part of an OWC - Original Wood Case of the 1990 Penfold's Grange that I picked up on release back in 1993. I actually purchased it a Berry Brothers & Ruud in London during one of my very frequent monthly trips there. In those days, they had a wine shop in Terminal Three at London Heathrow Airport. I purchased and hand carried the case of wine on the plane enroute home, and have stored it in our home cellar ever since.

For dinner, Alec and Viv prepared ribeye steak with wine reduction mushroom sauce, grilled diver sea scallops, asparagus and pomme frites.

For the starter wine, they opened a Orin Swift Abstract California Red Wine 2016

Penfolds Grange Shiraz 1990

For the main beef entree course, I served the Penfolds Grange. Readers of this blog know we drink a lot of Australian Shiraz' and that we like them big and bold. This Aussie Shiraz was a totally different profile than the usual shiraz we encounter. Naturally, this is an extraordinary wine that is in a totally different class, with a totally different profile than the once a week, once-a-month, or even the once-a-year wines that we drink. This is one of those very special occasion, or even once in a lifetime wines. Of course, this wine sells for more than $500, a price-point higher than we normally spend on once a year, once a month or other wines.

Grange is arguably the most prestigious and most historic, famous wine from Australia, first released back with the experimental vintage release in 1951. For its first four decades, the label was called Penfold's Hermitage Grange. With this 1990 release, the Hermitage moniker was removed and thereafter it is simply known as Grange.

The fruit for Grange is sourced from south central Australia Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and Coonawarra. The 1990 is one of the top Granges ever produced. The vintage year was an ideal completely trouble-free growing season that enabled the grapes to ripen perfectly and to be harvested at the perfect time under ideal conditions. The producer says the 1990 Penfolds Grange is one of the best ever, with the potential to eventually rival the classic vintages of 1955, 1962 and 1971. It should be aged carefully for a minimum of ten years and preferably for 25 to thirty years.

The blend of the 1990 vintage is 95% Shiraz and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged 18 months in new American oak hogsheads.

The fill level was proper and appropriate for its age, the cork was perfect, and of course the foil and label were perfect as it was still packaged in the original tissue and OWC - original wood case. 

Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, flawless, elegant, polished, harmonious, perfectly balanced, silky smooth flavors of concentrated black berry and black raspberry fruits with notes of vanilla, licorice, spice, black truffles and oak with hints of spice and cedar turning to fine grained tongue puckering tannins on the long lingering finish.

RM 95 points.

Wine Spectator gave this 98 points, James Halliday 97 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 95 points, and Jancis Robinson gave it 18 out of her twenty point scale. 

James Halliday said it was 'destined to be one of the greatest Granges'. Wine Spectator called it  'magnificent, exotic, a veritable cascade of opulent flavors'. The Rewards of Patience - Fifth Edition (2004) called it Outstanding and projected its Drinking Window from now to 2040. Southcorp Wines said, 'The 1990 vintage was the kind that winemakers only expect to see once or twice in an entire career'.


La Fine du Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf du Pape 1988

After dinner, Alec opened this special extremely limited release Chateau La Nerthe La Fine 1988.

We discovered, tasted, and Alec acquired this wine during our visit to the Château La Nerthe estate this summer.

La Fine de Château La Nerthe comes exclusively from the distillation of white wine in bottles of the Château. White wine is aged in bottles in the cellars before being tasted and distilled.

Château La Nerthe perform a triple distillation to obtain the finest and delicate aromas possible. They seek the spirit of their old white wines that make the reputation of Château La Nerthe. By its origin, its extraction, its requirement and its refinement of 10 years minimum in oak casks, the Fine of the Castle La Nerthe is the expression of the exceptional finest spirit of their wines.

Château La Nerthe have been producing these fine wines in the true tradition of fine wine distillation in Châteauneuf du Pape since this, their first vintage, 1988.

Tea honey colored, full bodied, delicious, smooth, harmonious, nicely balanced.

RM 93 points.

Beaubourg Le District NYC Wine Tasting

Beaubourg Le District NYC Wine Tasting

During our weekend visit to NYC we dined at Le District, a collection of three different French Markets and wine and dining options. Like Eataly, where we ate earlier in our trip, the Italian focused destination for all things Italian, Le District is a destination for all things French.

Le District has four different restaurants Beaubourg, classic French Brasserie, Le Bar featuring bar food and an extensive wine list, Bar A Vin offering 32 different rotating wines that can be paired with over 200 cheese and home made charcuterie, and L'Appart, a Michelin-star restaurant with a weekly, seasonal changing menu prepared under the direction of notable Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Abello.

The Market District features a series of market settings - a Boulangerie, Delices du chef, Bar a Frites, Cheese and Charcuterie, Rotisserie, Boucherie & Poissonnerie.
For our wine selection we ordered from the extensive winelist this Echo de Lynch-Bages Pauillac. 

There is an broad selection of wines by the glass, and an extensive wine list showcasing French wines from modest to extraordinary First and Second Growths from outstanding vintages. There are more than a hundred carefully chosen labels, mostly in the $100 to $400 range, and also some outrageous selections such as Chateau Petrus 1982 for $7500.

Following our recent trip to Bordeaux, I was hoping for a St Julien and was tempted by the Second Growths, Château Ducru Beaucaillou ($360), Château Gruaud-Larose ($260), two of the estates that were highlights of our tours, a broad selection of Chateau Talbot vintages, and several second labels of some top producers Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages. In the end we chose this Echo de Lynch-Bages, the second wine of Lynch Bages, one of favorite producers we visited during our trip.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Bobo NYC French Wine Dine Experience

Bobo NYC French Wine Dine Experience

Visiting NYC we dined with son Alec and fiance Viviana at Bobo's in the West Village. For the occasion, celebrating their engagement, I brought a birth year vintage Bordeaux from our cellar to take BYOB with dinner. We also had a recent release Bordeaux with our French faire from the winelist.

Bobo is set in a stylish hundred year-old brownstone in the heart of the West Village. Opened in 2007 it is one of Carlos Suarez's Casa Nela restaurants, that include the Village hits Rosemary's, Claudette, and Roey's.

Like its sister restaurants, Bobo is a residential setting, 'paying homage to La Maison de Campagne - a neighborhood restaurant inspired by nature and by family.'

Bobo is entered off the bustling street corner to the subterranean street level into the bar, then upstairs are multiple levels of dining rooms. The restaurant is decorated in natural French country decor to match its country French cuisine.

Bobo's offers an imaginative well selected wine list of French wines from small and interesting producers as well as well known houses. The selection is superbly chosen for the menu with excellent wines at reasonable prices. They also accommodated our BYOB for a fee ($35).

For our dinner selections we ordered: 

Rainbow Trout Almondine with haricots verts, toasted almonds
Duck Leg Confit with  orange-scallion salad, green olives, truffle vinaigrette
Roasted Sasso Chicken with pommes purée, roasted brussels sprouts
Filet mignon au poivre with pommes frites 

The Menu

Château Calon-Ségur St. Estephe Grand Cru Classe 1990

From our cellar collection I brought BYOB this special birth year vintage selection. This label is famously popular for occasions such as the engagement celebration with the predominant heart on the label. This was also a special selection as we visited the Chateau in St Estephe during our visit to the Medoc this summer.

At twenty-nine years, while showing its age in the somewhat 'tired' color as being a slight bit cloudy, the full aroma and taste profile was predominant floral with hints of mushroom over the black berry fruit. This is still drinking very nicely, thoroughly enjoyable. It is time to drink over the next couple of years as it will not improve with further aging and will diminish further as the fruit gives way to non-fruit flavors.

The fill level was good, the cork was very saturated almost 7/8 of the way. I had my two pronged cork puller with me in my wine carry bag which I used to open the bottle. It would not have surrendered intact to a traditional cork screw.

I always wonder why Sommeliers don't use such a tool, also known as an 'ahso', especially in such cases. It's hard to believe they don't have the skill or technique for using such. I use mine almost always except when the cork is synthetic for which they do not work.

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, nicely balanced, elegant and refined, Jancis Robinson speaks of its "very attractive voluptuousness.. .and beautifully balanced". Aromas and bright taste profile of floral and violets, the layer of black fruits accented by the floral and tones of mushroom, spice, licorice, earth and leather and soft, velvety tannins.

RM 91 points. 

Wine Spectator gave this 93 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar 90 points, and Jancis Robinson 18.5 on her 20 point scale.



Grand-Puy-Lacoste Lacoste-Borie Pauillac 2012
From the winelist, we also ordered this Pauillac from the legendary Borie family who also own Ducru-Beaucaillou and Haut-Batailley. Our visit to the classic second growth Ducru-Beaucaillou was one of the highlights of our trip to the Medoc.

The history of Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a family saga going back to the 16th century.

The name Grand-Puy comes from the ancient term "puy” which means "hillock, small height” as true to its name, the vineyard sits on outcrops, with a terroir similar to that of the Médoc's first growths. The property was held by a single family from generation to generation, in a direct line through marriage from the 16th century until 1920, before connecting with another family in 1978—the Borie.

The family's history took a decisive turn in 1978 when the owner of Grand-Puy-Lacoste "chose” Jean-Eugène Borie to buy the property. Borie and Raymond Dupin, owner of Grand-Puy-Lacoste since 1932, were close friends which led Dupin to sell him the domain. After acquiring the estate Borie turned to his son François-Xavier to manage it; his challenge was to awaken this "sleeping beauty”.

François-Xavier Borie has directed the estate since its acquisition in 1978. He lives on the estate in the at the château, a rather rare occurrence in the Médoc. With him at the estate is his wife Marie-Hélène. Also involved in the business are their three children, the next generation who will manage the property.

Over time, the château became a true family home, with its traditions, celebrations, and ceremonies in its chapel. The three Borie children, Emeline (1982), Laurence (1983) and Pierre-Antoine (1986) were born there, grew up at the property, and attended school in Pauillac.

Today, François-Xavier and Marie-Hélène's eldest daughter Emeline is in charge of communication and public relations at Grand-Puy-Lacoste. She travelled widely as a student and received valuable international experience during two years with an importer of wines in Vietnam. I've had the pleasure of meeting Emeline at industry events over the years. 

François-Xavier Borie on the brand, "Grand-Puy-Lacoste is a classic Pauillac, that is to say, characterized by class, allure, harmony. We are fortunate to have one of the finest terroirs in Pauillac and our wines display what may be called a French taste: aromatic, with body and a great sense of balance."

We drove by the estate during our visit to Pauillac this summer. 

"These wines are structured, with a fine attack, great presence in the mouth and a remarkable length. Each stage of tasting gives harmonious pleasure. The tannins are never aggressive, an expression of elegance is always present."

Wineamaker notes on this label, "This wine presents a very ruby red color. The nose is dominated by black fruits with black cherry very much to the fore and by coffee aromas. The mid palate has the sweetness of ripe fruit and rounded tannins. The richness is well balanced by some bilberry freshness. This wine will need a little bite of patience before starting to enjoy it."

This is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc.

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, nicely balanced and structured, black berry fruits, notes of coffee, hints of anise and forest, well integrated tannins and some nicely balanced acidity.

RM 88-89 points.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pavillon Leoville Poyferre 2014

Pavillon Leoville Poyferre 2014

Following a casual dinner at Eataly on our NYC weekend getaway, we walked back to son Alec's apartment along the highline in trendy Chelsea. We stopped in at the Chelsea Wine Cellar and picked up this St Julien Bordeaux for casual sipping after dinner.

We toured Châteaux Leoville Poyferré in St Julien Bordeaux during our recent visit to the region, hence we were eager to taste this label from the producer.

Pavillon de Léoville Poyferré is the second wine of both Châteaux Leoville Poyferré and Moulin Riche. Made from younger vines, it is balanced, fruity and easy to drink.

As the second wine of Leoville Poyferre it is available at a fraction of the price of the grand vin thereby representing significant QPR - quality price ratio. Tonight at Chelsea Wine Cellar, this was almost 1/5 the price of the grand vin, albeit a relatively recent release 2014 vs. an slightly aged 2010 vintage. Never-the-less the price differential is substantial relative to the wines.

I have written in these pages numerous times that in top vintages, as 'all boats rise with the tide', where in good or great vintages second labels can be very good and therefore offer substantial savings or QPR relative to the grand vin flagship labels, which will command much higher prices.

Châteaux Leoville Poyferré on the shelf at Chelsea Wine Cellar is shown here.

This was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, flavors of currant, blackberry and black cherry with notes of bell pepper, olive, spice, with hints of oak, vanilla, smoke, tar and tobacco.

RM 89 points. 

Eataly NYC Flounder Seafood Dinner

Eataly NYC Flounder Seafood Dinner

Our first night in NYC for a getaway weekend, we dined with son Alec at Eataly in the Flatiron neighborhood, one of our favorite visits when there. Eataly is a unique destination experience of all things Italian food and drink in a small village market like setting. There is a an Eataly in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, LA, two in New York, Toronto and in Las Vegas.

Dining at Eataly is an experience of an Italian village market with a market section featuring meat, cheese, seafood, pasta, wine, desserts, and a corresponding adjacent restaurant for that selection. Restaurants at the Flatiron location include Serra which means  “greenhouse” in Italian,, a seasonal rooftop restaurant, Il Pastaio di Eataly, which means "pasta maker,", a new fresh pasta bar, Manzo, meaning "beef" in Italian, a vibrant butcher-focused restaurant offering meat of all kinds, La Pizza & La Pasta featuring two of the best-loved Italian dishes: Napoli-style pizza and al dente pasta, and Il Pesce offering fresh seafood that is also sold in a market type seafood counter. There is also a wine bar with adjacent restaurant, and a Piazza village like setting offering wine, cheese and charcuterie.

As has become almost a ritual for our visits east, we ate in the Eataly Il Pesce (seafood) restaurant. We ordered for sharing the grilled flounder, one of our favorite dishes.  It is such a large portion that it is easily shared by two people and could probably accommodate another person as well.

Alec order one of his favorites, octopus.

From the winelist we ordered this white wine as an accompaniment to our seafood dinner selections.

 Bastianich Vespa Bianco Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016

The winemaker notes say of this wine; "A tightly-wound balance of minerality and citrus, evolving over time into a denser expression of wildflowers, honey and ripe pear. Its tannic structure and acidic backbone lend it not only immediate impact, but also a long life."

This is a white wine blend of mostly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with a touch of Picolit. It is from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, from the most north eastern corner of Italy, one of the twenty different wine regions of Italy.

One of the reasons I don't invest intellectually and economically in Italian wines is the complexity of having more than 500 different grape varietals, from twenty different wine regions. 

Picolit is one of those obscure grape varietals, also known as Piccolit and Piccolito. It is a white Italian wine grape varietal that is primarily grown in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy. Historically it was planted in poor and infertile vineyards. It reached its height of popularity in the 1960s & 1970s, however Picolit's extremely small yields made it economically difficult to grow and therefore has limited the number of plantings.

Butter colored, light body, nicely balanced, bright tangy flavors of crisp green apple with accents of pear and citrus, nice acidity and minerality on the pleasant lingering finish.

RM 90 points.

This got 94 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and 90 points from Wine Spectator.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sassicaia Owner Dinner and Vivere Vertical Tasting

Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Owner Dinner and Vertical Tasting at Italian Village Vivere

Special wine dinner featuring a flight of eight vintages of Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia paired with a tasting accompaniment four course dinner - hosted by Italian Village Chicago and Wine Director Jared Gelband and featuring producer co-owner Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta.

Background - The Story

In the 1920s the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta dreamt of creating a ‘thoroughbred’ wine and for him, as for all the aristocracy of the time, the ideal was Bordeaux. This is how he described it in a letter to the esteemed wine critic, Luigi Veronelli dated 11 June 1974: “…the origins of my experiment date back to the years between 1921 and 1925 when, as a student in Pisa and often a guest of the Salviati Dukes in Migliarino, I drank a wine produced from one of their vineyards…which had the same unmistakable “bouquet” as an aged Bordeaux….”

In the 1940s, having settled with his wife Clarice on the Tenuta San Guido on the Tyrrhenian coast, he experimented with several French grape varieties (whose cuttings he had recovered from the estate of the Dukes Salviati in Migliarino) and concluded that the Cabernet had "the bouquet I was looking for."

A wine made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon was a fundamental change to the Tuscan and Piedmont tradition of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, respectively. The innovative decision to plant this variety at Tenuta San Guido was partly due to the similarity Mario Incisa had noted between Tuscan terrain and that of the Graves area in Bordeaux.

‘Graves’, or ‘gravel’ in French refers to the rocky terrain which distinguishes the Bordeaux area; similarly, the gravely vineyard sites in Tuscany impart the same characteristics on Sassicaia, "stony ground", as its cherished French brother.

The Marchese's first vintages were not warmly received. Critics accustomed to light, local wines were not encouraging; it was not taken into consideration that wines made from the more complex Cabernet Sauvignon grape would need more time to mature and develop. And thus from 1948 to 1967, Sassicaia remained a strictly private affair, only to be consumed at Tenuta San Guido.

Each year, a few cases were stored to age in the Castiglioncello di Bolgheri cellar. The Marchese soon realized that by ageing the wine it improved considerably.

Friends and relatives now urged Mario Incisa to experiment further with his project and perfect his revolutionary winemaking style. It was not until 1968 that Sassicaia was first commercially released – the welcome was worthy of a Bordeaux Premier Cru.

Over the next few years, the cellar was moved to a temperature controlled location, steel fermentation vats replaced wooden vats, and French barriques were introduced to the aging process.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, Sassicaia has been produced in the style of a Left Bank Bordeaux Premier Cru - 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.

On this night, Italian Village in Chicago hosted co-owner of Tenuta San Guido co-owner Pricilla Incisa della Rocchetta. A special menu course was prepared to complement a flight of eight vintages of Sassicaia, served from the cellars of Italian Village by Wine Director and co-host Jared Gelband and the Vivere Restaurant staff.

The dinner was featured in a article submitted by wine write Tom Hyland and included a picture of Ernie seated next to Priscilla

 In attendance were the 'Pour Boys', our wine group, below, above, Dr Dan, Vivere manager Gerardo Castillo, Rick, and Vivere wine director Jared Gelband.


Priscilla spoke of the history and heritage of Tenuta San Guido, then introduced each course with an exposition of the vintages and the releases.

Prior to the courses we were served Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana 2017- a Bordeaux varietal comprised of Merlot.

With the dinner courses we started with Sassicaia 1998 and 1999, two contrasting vintages - a warm year and a moderate year - served alongside chanterelle mushroom plate - a perfect food wine pairing!


Portabella Mushroom Guanciale
White Polenta Mascarpone and Tomini

Next was an incredible lamb ragu in bolognese sauce with pasta served with Sassicaia 2000 and 2001. This was another incredible food wine pairing experience - perfectly matched complementary tasting profiles.


Braised Lamb Shoulder Ragu - Saffron Tagliorini
Charred Tomatoes - Shallots - Parmesan Regiano

This was followed by ribeye steak in a rich red wine reduction sauce served with Sassicaia 2004 and 2005, another contrast in two disparate vintages - a warm and a moderate year.


Rib Eye Fiorentina - Salsa Verde
Purple Peruvian Potato Puree - Guidalberto Jus

Finally, Italian Pecorina cheese with toast points served with young brash, bright, brilliant Sassicaia 2015 and 2016.


Pecorino Capriano
Fig Jam - Crostini

Italian Village - Chicago Vivere Restaurant -