Visiting friends Bob and Gloria in Florida, they took us to the Wine Room Kitchen Wine and Cheese Bar in Delray Beach. They boast to have "The World's Largest Selection of Wine by the Glass!" with over 200 hand-selected wines available through their Enomatic wine dispensing machines. The Italian made, state-of-the-art machines are equipped with a wine-preservation system which guarantees to serve a fresh pour every time in pre-calibrated 1oz, 2.5oz, or 5oz size servings.
More noteably, they have an extensive wine cellar of fine wines with top vintage wines dating back several decades. Most importantly, they offer such wines at close to retail prices rather than marking them up 1.5, 2 or two and a half times retail or more.
I've written in these pages about the margins various dinesites extract from their winelist selections and the resulting values offered to patrons. This is the best value, highest QPR dining site I have ever experienced anywhere.
Moreover, they have a Reserve Wine List of extraordinary vintage selections of premium and super premium wines including First Growth classified Bordeaux that are also offered at fair market price or current retail prices for such wines, a fraction of what most other restaurants would charge.
The secret to the extensive collection and extraordinary values provided by the Wine Room and Kitchen is that it is sourced from the personal private cellar of the owner, a long time collector of fine wines. He shares his extensive cellar collection with patrons, and uses the restaurant outlet to 'thin' his cellar collection.
We started with a pre-dinner cheese and charcuterie plate and ordered a bottle of Washington State Quilceda Creek CVR - Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend.
At the near retail price for a current vintage release, I originally thought it was a mistake on the wine list and offered at close to half price. On further investigation I realized this was the norm for all offerings, including old vintages.
As Bob and Gloria are not obsessive oenphiles, with the level of interest or enthusiasm for wines as me, they also don't share my level of investment I might spend on a special bottle.
This provided a perfect opportunity to share a favorite selection of a vintage fine wine at a great value price to suit even a modest budget or appetite. The same could be said for our next selection, another Washington State wine from a legendary cult producer, Cayuse.
Quilceda Creek CVR - Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend 2011
This is a Bordeaux Blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. It was projected to improve with age and drink well for a decade. At this stage, it is very likely drinking at the apex of its drinking profile and window - certainly so for wine geeks such as me who enjoy drinking aged wines, later in their aging window/profile.
This was awarded 91 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.
Quilceda Creek owners/winemakers Alex and Paul Golitzin produce outstanding Bordeaux Blends with their Columbia Valley label at the pinnacle of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. We love this label and consider it a high QPR great value more affordable alternative to the flagship that costs 2-3x more.
K&L, the SFO Bay Area wine merchant cite this wine represents a great value and has received an average score of 92 points from the Wine Advocate over the past five years. The 2011 Quilceda Creek Red Wine Columbia Valley is a blend of declassified lots that didn't make it into their flagship wines that cost several times more in price. It was a delicious accompaniment to our selection of artisan cheeses and charcuterie.
The fruit for this label was sourced from all the Quilceda Creek vineyard sites, Columbia Valley vineyards - Champoux, Discovery, DuBrul, Galitzine, Klipsun, Palengat, Shaw, Tapteil and Wallula.
The Blend was aged for 22 months in 100% French Oak.
Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, fruitful, plush, sweet ripe cherry, currant and boysenberry fruit flavors with accents of mocha chocolate, creme de cassis, graphite, spice and hints of licorice and coffee.
RM 91 points.
We had dinner reservations at another restaurant in town but ended up staying at Delray Wine Room and Kitchen for dinner too. Bob ordered the fresh salmon, Gloria and Linda had the fresh day's catch Red Snapper, and I had the beef in puffed pastry with whipped potatoes and red cabbage.
For dinner wine selections we ordered from the wine list another Washington State cult wine Cayuse and Pride Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cayuse Cailloux Vineyard Walla Walla Viognier 2011
We tasted another Cayuse label at our recent OTBN gala wine event the other night. At that time I noted that Cayuse is a limited production boutique producer whose wines are much sought after and highly allocated.
This Cayuse Viognier is another unique label offering on the winelist, an interesting and imaginative pairing with the seafood entrees.
This release got reviewed 93 points by Jeb Dunnuck and 92-93 by David Schildknecht, both for The Wine Advocate. Dunnuck wrote of the 2011 Viognier Cailloux Vineyard, "One of the best examples of the variety coming out of Washington".
Golden straw colored, medium bodied, Dunnuck writes of notes of 'white peach, citrus rind, liquid mineral and hints of white flowers'.
Schildknecht wrote, "Baron’s 2011 Viognier Cailloux Vineyard is redolent of acacia and honeysuckle along with lime and orange zests, ... also of pungent floral and white pepper .... reminiscent of Roussanne or even of Riesling from Austrian Urgestein."
RM 89 points.
Pride Cellars Napa Sonoma Valley Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Bob was up for drinking a red with his salmon entree and I ordered hearty beed so we also ordered this Napa Cab, one our favorite labels. There were more than a dozen different vintage label releases of Pride Spring Mountain Cabernet and the Reserve on the winelist. I selected the oldest vintage of the Estate bottling that I had not already tasted. Once again, this was offered at close to the fair market retail price, a high QPR value offerings.
Napa and Sonoma Valley ? What gives? As the label notes, this is sourced from the Pride Mountain estate vineyard, high atop Spring Mountain above Napa St Helena, 53% from Napa and 47% from Sonoma. The vineyard is one of two wineyards along the Mayacamas Range separating Napa Valley to the east, and Sonoma Valley to the west, that straddles the summit and actually can be attributed to both Napa and Sonoma Valley.
Napa Valley Wine Experience in 1998, and Constant during our Napa Wine Experience 2011.
Pride Family acquired this property in 1990 and have been producing Cabernet Sauvignon from this Estate vineyard since 1994. Interesting, we have had or still hold bottles dating back to the 1994 vintage, some that we tasted and acquired during our visit in 1999.
Another reason for this selection tonight is that we gave mutual fellow fraternity brother and fellow Pour Boy wine buddy Dr Dan a large format magnum of this label for his (second) wedding present. Dan and Bob both brothers, were college roommates, and Bob and Gloria were with us, all together at the ceremony and celebration occasion.
This is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot.
Winemaker's Notes for this release. "Sumptuous nose of dried black cherries overlays a sweet background of cassis. A caressing texture initially coats the mouth with pure flavors of black cherry that give way to dark berry, subtle cedar, smoke and graphite on a long evolving finish framed by just the right amount of acidity. This wine is all about balance with supple ripe tannins providing a beautiful foundation for the ample dark fruit and with nuanced acidity giving structure and lift without bite. An absolute pleasure to roll around the mouth."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar gave this 91 points.
Bright garnet ruby colored, medium full bodied, full forward blackberry fruits accented by notes of bitter dark chocolate, black tea, and hints of creosote and tones of graphite, cedar and oak with supple full tannins on the lingering finish.