Thursday, August 26, 2021

Washington Prime in SoNo

Washington Prime in SoNo for prime steak and fine wine

We dined at Washington Prime in SoNo - South Norwalk, CT - the trendy hip district where the Norwalk River empties into the Long Island Sound. We dined with sister Jan and Bro-in-law Bill, just arrived in CT from Huntington Beach for our family wedding festivities this weekend. 

Washington Prime was selected by The Food Network as the Conneticut representative of their "50 States of Steakhouses" where they were Number 8 among the best steakhouses in the US. They have recognized as the "Best Steak in CT", (also #1 in Fairfield County), and the "Best Wine List in CT", (also #1 in Fairfield County). 

They have an extensive broad Wine Spectator "Best of Excellence" awarded winelist, mostly American.

Prior to dinner we feasted on shrimp scampi and local caught fresh oysters. We had the Arugula Peach salad.  

Bill and I selected prime steaks for our entrees, he a New York with bone-in, and me, a prime filet, prepared in my customary 'Pittsburgh Medium' style. Both were superb and perfectly prepared. Bill had a side of asparagus and me the standard mashed potatoes, both delightful.  

 Jan had the Lobster Gnocchi, and Linda had the Sea Scallops in pesto. Both were superb. 

With their seafood courses, Linda and Jan tasted Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017 from the WBTG special. 

With our steak and main course entrees we had two Bordeaux Blends, a classic traditional Bordeaux from St Estephe, and one from a legendary Bordeaux producer new estate label from Chile.

Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint Estephe, Bordeaux, France 2016 

We drove by the estate vineyards of Basil Tesseron’s 4th growth Lafon Rochet, which neighbors Chateau Lafite to the south and is across the road from Cos Laboury and Cos d' Estournel. We have written in these pages about Tesseron acquiring the Robin Williams Mt Veeder estate in Napa Valley and the famous Pym Rae vineyard, traditional source from Robert Craig Mt Veeder Cabernet. Thy have in the last couple years released their Pym Rae Mt Veeder Cabernet at $350.

The Lafon Rochet estate in St Estephe is undertaking a transformation in recent years. Notable consultant Denis Dubourdieu was brought in to join Lucus Leclercq, the new technical director, who was previously at Cheval Blanc and Domaine Romanee Conti. Lafon Rochet is a 4th Classified Growth from the Saint-Estephe appellation, with vineyard that covers 40 hectares, just under 100 acres. The terroir is composed of gravel and clay with mature vines that average about 30 years old. The wine is matured in 50% new French and Austrian oak for a duration of 14-16 months.

This was rated 95 points by Wine Enthusiast and Vinous, 94 points by James Suckling, Wine Enthusiast and Decanter, and 93 points by Wine Spectator and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.

The final blend for the 2016 vintage was 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

Vinous called the 2016 Lafon-Rochet "A sleeper in this vintage, positively stellar."
James Suckling said, "this the best wine from this producer in modern times. Needs two or three years to soften."
Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, subdued black berry fruits with notes of floral, lavender, tobacco, hints of cedar, mint and dried herbs with lively acidity and velvety tannins. 
RM 92

Baronesa 'P’ by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Bordeaux Blend 2018, Maipo Valley, Chile

I was intrigued by this label on the winelist, a new, prestige wine from the Chilean project of the Rothschild family, producers of first growth Bordeaux Chateau Mouton Rothschild.  
Escudo Rojo, founded in 1999, is a new Chilean brand created by Baron Philippe de Rothschild to produce the premium wines in each category and market them worldwide. The Rothschild Chilean estate Escudo Rojo is the Spanish translation of the German “Rote Schild” meaning Red Shield.

Wine producing grape vines were first introduced into Chile in the 16th century by the Spanish Conquistadors and their religious orders who needed wine to celebrate mass. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vines were imported from France in the 19th century in order to make finer wines.

The estate is in the Maipo Valley, located in Buin-Maipo, 45 kilometers south of Santiago. The Baron Philippe de Rothschild Maipo Chile bodega sits amidst 63-hectare (156-acres) of vineyards.

The estate vineyards are grown in a Mediterranean climate greatly influenced by the cold air that comes down from the Andes Mountains at night, cooling the valley all year round, but especially during the summer months. This means the day and nighttime temperatures vary significantly, a highly favorable characteristic for the maturation of world class grapes. 

The wines are made, matured, bottled and packaged at the estate under the supervision of a French winemaker and under the control of an in-house laboratory. For each of its wines, the winery selects the best parcels in Chile’s most highly reputed valleys in order to make wines which consistently combine refinement and character. Regular sources of supply and constant quality are also guaranteed by long-term contracts with partner winegrowers, especially further south, in the Rapel Valley. A rigorous parcel selection procedure evaluated each parcel for three years to ensure that the grapes are of sufficiently high quality to be used to make Escudo Rojo.

This label, Baronesa P., named for Matriach Baroness Phillippine de Rothschild, is a selection of the finest micro-terroirs, selected over a period of several years based on experience with the soils and vineyards. Over many years and after producing countless batches, they refined their selection to create this cuvée. 

This is a unique blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Carmenere, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Syrah and
5% Cabernet Franc. 

Its no wonder we loved this wine, with Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cab Franc all highlighting the Cab. What a combination!

Winemaker Notes: "The color is intense, deep ruby-red with violet highlights. The nose, intense and potent revealing black fruit aromas with predominant notes of blackberry, blackcurrant, and black cherry. Spices such as black pepper gradually mingled with subtle aromas of cedarwood, vanilla, caramel, and toasted hazelnuts imparted by oak ageing. The Palate starts out lush and complex with good concentration accompanied by elegantly structured and wonderfully ripe tannins. Nicely balanced with a natural freshness that brings out a complex aromatic expression where wild blueberry and blackberry notes elegantly intertwine with Asian spices and a hint of toffee. The exceptionally persistent finish combines power and elegance, accounting for this wine's excellent ageing potential." 

This wine exceeded my expectations with its full complex concentrated bright vibrant fruits. This was rated 97 points by James Suckling who wrote, "It’s full-bodied, but very layered and refined with fine layers of tannins and a spearmint and menthol undertone to the currants and dark fruit. This needs three or four years to come together."

Bright Ruby colored, full bodied, this exhibited, complex, deep, concentrated blackberry, blackcurrant, and black cherry fruits with a firm structured backbone, highlighted by notes of black pepper, vanilla, caramel, and toasted nuts and oak.

RM 93 points.