Thursday, September 26, 2019

Bellemore West Loop Chicago

Trendy Bellemore West Loop Chicago Restaurant Dinner features Red Wine Flight

For a dinner meeting hosting EMEA team and a key business partner, we dined at trendy Bellemore Restaurant in the West Loop, Chicago. The bright, vibrant, trendy, chic high-end spot is from the group behind Girl & the Goat and Somerset. In partnership with Boka Restaurant Group, Bellemore aims to define the category of "Artistic American" in both cuisine and decor. Since opening in November 2017, the restaurant has been awarded #1 in Robb Report’s Best of the Best in the "10 Best New Restaurants in America’. Chef/Partner Jimmy Papadopoulos was also named as Robb Report’s 2018 Best Young Chefs in the country. 

In 2015, Papadopoulos was named Eater Chicago’s Chef of the Year, as well as one of Zagat’s ‘30 under 30’. Papadopoulos has been praised for his ability to “take the familiar and add layers of flavor to make it outstanding.”  He describes his style of cooking as "bold, bright and beautiful."

Chic, elegant, bright and airy, Bellmore features sleek interiors with brass details accentuated with natural elements, plush blush sofas, nostalgic wood & wicker seating, and theme of colorful birds highlighted by peacocks.

We dined at the 'chef's table adjacent and overlooking the kitchen.

Bellemore do not have a deep or broad wine list but the selection of offerings are carefully chosen to complement the menu.

and the Nori Radiatore with peekytoe crab, breadcrumbs, yuzu kosho & mint. 

Chardonnay - Louis Moreau, Chablis - Burgundy, France 2016

Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhône Valley 2017

We had this label from the previous 2016 vintage during a team partner dinner in Paris back in May of this year. Producer Alain Graillot founded his domaine in Crozes-Hermitage in 1985, and has since become one of the most in-demand producers in the Northern Rhone. He is known for exuberant, robust, and complete Syrah based wines sourced from his 50 acre estate of 30-year-old Crozes-Hermitage vines on the flat alluvial plain at the junction of the Rhône and Isère rivers.

Photo-label from 2016 release
Alain is joined by his two sons Antoine and Maxime working the estate. They produce rich, concentrated reds that represent the best art of the possible of the Syrah grape: black fruit, intense aromatics, pepper and spice complexity underpinned by crisp acidity and fine tannins.

Graillot works organically, harvesting fruit by hand and fermenting in whole bunches. He ages his wines in used barrels, one to three-years-old, purchased from Burgundy’s best estates. His Crozes-Hermitage is approachable and enjoyable young, yet will age nicely for a decade or more. Despite the tannins that inevitably come from the inclusion of whole bunches in fermentation, Graillot wines are seldom hard-edged, overly tannic, or in need of extended cellaring. 

This 2017 release was bottled in March of this year, 2019. gave the 2016 a rating of 91 points when he wrote:“The 2016 Crozes Hermitage from this terrific producer offers a big blast of classic Crozes – dark fruits, earth, truffle, olive, and pepper on the nose. This is followed by a medium-bodied, rounded, nicely concentrated effort that has good acidity, building tannins, and a great finish. An incredibly successful wine in this vintage, it will benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for 7-8 years.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave it 91-93 points.

Tonight, the 2017 was bright ruby colored, medium full bodied, notes of floral and violets, black berry and dark plums fruits with notes of black olives, truffles and earth with hints of pepper on a silky smooth tannin laced finish.

Vieux Telgraphe Piedlong, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rhône Valley 2012 

We first discovered this label at Il Fiore Restaurant and Bar at the Langham Hotel in NYC last year. This is the second release of this Piedlong label that was first released in 2011. It comes from a 29 acre vineyard site from the stony soils on the Piedlong plateau in the heart of the appellation, north of the village, the highest point in the region. The Mourvèdre, comes from the Pignan lieu-dit, just to the east of Piedlong. We visited the Vieux Télégraphe estate during our CDP appellation tour back in 1998 and then again this year during our 2019 visit with owner/producer Alain Brunier at the Estate. was a highlight of our visit to the Luberon and Southern Rhône.

This label is a blend of 90% Genache Noir and 10% Mourvèdre. Comprised of but two varietals of the thirteen that are allowed in the AOC sanctioned blend, its a simpler less complex wine than the flagship label which under appellation rules can contain up to thirteen different varietals. 

The predominant Grenache grapes are sourced from 70 year old vines on the Vieux Telegraph 27 acre site on the stony Piedlong Plateau which is in the heart of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC area. Piedlong is north of the village at the highest point of the appellation. The Mourvèdre fruit is sourced from 50 year old vines on the 22 acre Pignan lieu-dit, east of Piedlong.

This 2012 Piedlong was only the second vintage for this label. It was vinified all in wood tank, with 30% whole-cluster, it possesses medium to full-bodied richness, firm tannin and excellent purity, with plenty of blackberry fruit, dried spice and licorice on the nose. It should continue to age nicely in the cellar and for another half decade or more. 

Giving up loads of kirsh, strawberry, dried soil, flowers and hints of meatiness; this classic Grenache is medium to full-bodied, ripe and textured, yet remarkably focused and fresh. While the acidity here is relatively low, it has plenty of fine tannin that keep it focused

Wine Advocate Jeb Dunnuck gave this wine 91-93 points.

Wine Spectator J.Molesoworth and International Wine Cellar Josh Reynolds both gave this 92 points.

Bright ruby color, medium-full bodied, vibrant black cherry and black raspberry fruits accented by dried flowers and peppery spices, notes of kirsch, dark mocha chocolate with a gripping but manageable tannins on a long lingering finish. 

RM 91 points.

Château des Eyrins - La Closerie des Eyrins - Margaux 2015

We stayed a short walk from this estate during our recent trip to Margaux. Husband-wife winemaking team Julie and Xavier Gonet-Médeville are a prodigy of French wines having both been raised in notable winemaking families: Julie’s family famous for its incomparable Chateau Gilette, and Xavier comes from a long line of Champagne growers in Le Mesnil.

Julie and Xavier bought the seven-acre Château des Eyrins estate in the village of Margaux from Eric Grangerou in 2008. The Grangerou family has been cellar masters for Château Margaux for three generations. Sited on a hillside plateau in the heart of Margaux, Château des Eyrins produces a classic Margaux: dense and deep, with incredible finesse and freshness, the wine undeniably expresses the identity of this glorious appellation.

This is the second wine of this small boutique producer - a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and the remaining 35 Petit Verdot. Evidence that in great vintages, all boats rise with the tide and second labels can also be quite nice, offering wonderful QPR (quality price ratio).

This was a nice progression in our wine flight to a more focused, complex and sophisticated wine to accompany our dinner entrees; dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, elegant, polished and nicely integrated notes of black cherry, ripe plum, accents of spice box, dried herbs, tobacco leaf and silky smooth tannins on a moderate lingering finish. 
RM 90 points.

Domaine du Collier Saumur La Ripaille 2015

From a small lot producer, not yet on the winelist, this label rounded out our flight for a simpler, more focused and enjoyable sipper to wind down our dinner evening. Comprised of 100% Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, the vines of Domaine du Collier lie within small parcels which are separated from its neighbors by a 12th century wall which protects the site from chemicals that may be used by neighbors in their farming. 

Each of the domaine's parcels lie on the flowing hill now famously known as the Brézé commune. The domaine is split 2/3 to 1/3 - Chenin to Cabernet Franc. For this La Ripaille rouge, vines range from 30 to 80 years in age. 

Aged for 3 years in a combination of used Burgundy barriques (1-3 years old). The domaine as a whole produces around only 1200 cases per year.

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, bright vibrant, focused black raspberry and black berry fruits with notes of spice, herbs and cigar box. 

RM 89 points.