Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Chez Joel Chicago Little Italy Dinner

 Chez Joel Little Italy Chicago Dinner features Croze-Hermitage Syrah

With a colleague in from out of town, we dined at Chez Joel Bistro in Little Italy on Taylor Street in Chicago on the near south side, near the UIC, not far from our office, one of my favorite neighborhood bistros. 

The ambiance and atmosphere at Chez Joel is relaxing, quaint and cozy, ideal for a business dinner. 

From the menu my colleague selected the Duck Confit with red cabbage, one of my favorites and a usual selection. I chose the petit filet of boeuf with the buttered potatoes. 

Prior to dinner we had the endive and the beet salads, accompanied by the pate with cornichons, mustard and toast points. 

We chose the wine list a perennial favorite that I have had several times, a Crozes-Hermitage Northern Rhône Syrah, an ideal pairing with the pate, our salads and the entrees.

Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Syrah 2018

We've had several vintages of this label, most recently on our visit to Chez Joel a couple months ago, tonight being the first time tasting this 2018 release. 

This is from estate vineyards between the towns of Vienne and Valence,  in the Northern Rhône Valley, where the terrior is ideally suited for the Syrah grape. 

The right bank of the Rhône River is composed of old volcanic Gneiss and granite rocks with sandy-clay soils that give the wine a powerful and rustic character and minerality. 

The opposing left bank of the Rhône also has granite soil with pebbles from the glaciers, rounded and polished by the Rhône that keep the heat of the day and give it back at night resulting in  concentration of sugars and aromas.

The North Rhône River valley climate is semi-continental of Burgundy and Mediterranean as in Provence, with cold continental winters with wind and little rain and summers that are Mediterranean: hot with storms and little wind. This contrast in climate produces a Syrah with intense aromas of red fruit and spices and minerality.

The Maison les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage vineyards are composed of young vines of an average age of 15 years, planted on terraces that covers the hinterland of the Nothern Côtes du Rhône, and situated on localities of the Southern Rhône, Loire, Isère, northern Drôme and north Ardèche.

This vintage release is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier.

It was awarded 89 points by Wine Spectator. 

The winemaker's notes on this wine: "This 2018 Syrah immediately displays its colour: it is a gourmet wine that comes in a beautiful concentrated red robe. Precise on the nose, it offers an attractive variety of aromas like small red fruit and liquorice. On the palate, it already reveals its roundness, with a nice acidity on the attack and a fruity finish."

This was dark garnet with deep purple colored, medium full bodied of blackberry, black cherry and ripe plum with notes of spice, black pepper, tobacco and black tea with round full approachable tannins on the tangy finish. 

RM 90 points.