Saturday, April 2, 2022

Catch 35 Naperville Seafood and Wine Dinner

Fabulous Seafood Wine Pairing Dinner at Catch 35 Naperville     

We took fellow Pour Boy Dr Dan to Catch 35 - Naperville to celebrate his decade birthday. He brought from his cellar this ultra-premium Chateau Boswell Chardonnay for a BYOB wine pairing. The girls went to the Boswell estate while hiking during our Napa Wine Experience in 2017, the estate  burned down during the raging fires that ravaged the Napa mountainsides during 2020. 

Our dinner at Catch 35 was wonderful - exceptional in every respect - each entree exceeding expectations. Dan and I ordered the Georges Bank Scallops with braised shortrib & red potato hash on black pepper aoli. Both Lindas ordered one of the two daily special Halibut dishes - Sweet and Sour Crispy Halibut with bell peppers, onions and pineapple with jasmine rice, and Alaskan Pan Seared Halibut with Panko, Asiago-Parmesan in cannellinis beans with onions and heirloom tomatoes. 

The Georges Bank Scallops with braised shortrib & red potato hash on black pepper aoli was a mind-blowing combination pairing, almost like two separate and distinct entrees thrown together. The scallops were perfectly prepared and tasty, but almost overpowered by the somewhat off-putting braised short-rib which was delicious in its own right. The two foods compete with each other for center stage with the bigger bolder braised short rib overtaking the more delicate and subtle scallops.

Alaskan Pan Seared Halibut 

Sweet and Sour Crispy Halibut

 Our server Denzel, was exceptional, professional, hospitable and friendly, knowledgeable and attentive to the details of astute proper wine service of our wine selections, properly served, chilled and offering appropriate glassware. 

Chateau Boswell Absolutely Eloise Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2016

Dan brought this ultra-premium limited release label from his cellar, this from producer Richard Thornton Boswell, who in the 1980's pioneered the concept of a "Boutique" winery crafting small lot French Style wines sold directly to the client, at a time when the other 71 wineries in the Napa Valley sold mostly through distribution. Today, Chateau Boswell remains among the diminishing handful of privately owned family wineries amidst what has grown to 554 wineries in the Napa Valley today.

The fruit is from the Sonoma County, Russian River Valley, bordered by the Russian River and the Mayacamas mountains with the climate defined by its proximity to the ocean with coastal breezes bringing cooling fog through the Petaluma wind gap in the morning and evening, balancing the afternoon heat enjoyed in this appellation. This temperature differential creates excellent conditions for Chardonnays fruit with the long growing season, allowing time for optimum fruit maturity.

The grapes are from the Purrington Rued Vineyard, Ritchie Vineyard, and Dutton Ranch Sebastopol Vineyards, the fruit from each of these vineyards from very old vines which lends the complexity and intense fruit flavors which are key to the composition of memorable Chardonnay wines.

In the early days, famed winemaker André Tchelistcheff graced the Boswell winery with his immense knowledge and directed their early efforts. Building on that legacy and history, Boswell wines today are crafted under the tutelage of consulting winemakers Philippe Melka and Keith Hock who both work closely with Allison Nunnikhoven, Associate Winemaker for Chateau Boswell.

This was straw colored, medium bodied, with a slight haziness, rich, powerful, complex exotic medley of apple pear and apricot fruits, with a unique distinctive layer of dark toasted nuts with hints of dark toffee caramel with a cognac like lingering finish. 

RM 93 points. 

Besides the Chateau Boswell, we ordered from the broad and carefully selection winelist an as yet undiscovered label from a well known producer - Dance Chardonnay from Long Shadows. 

Long Shadows "Dance" Columbia Valley Chardonnay 2017

What a surprise to discover this label on the Catch 35 wine list. We've been Long Shadows Key Club Members since our visit to the Woodinville tasting room during our Washington Wine Experience when we visited the winery tasting room in Woodinville back in the fall of 2018. 

We receive a case of Long Shadows wines every quarter and hold several cases of their labels in our cellar and this was the first time we have seen or heard about this label, purported to be the latest addition to the portfolio.

Dance also has specific significance as just this very day we learned our daughter-in-law Vivianna's sister, Grace was engaged to be married. Grace was a career professional performing arts dancer having studied dance at New York Fordham University and then traveling with the world famous Alvin Ailey dance troupe. Indeed, when they toured Illinois, we met them for dinner at Angeli's Italian, our local neighborhood trattorria. 

Based on the enjoyment of this wine this evening, I promptly called Long Shadows and ordered a case of this limited release label, "Dance" as part of my wine club entitlement allocation. We'll look forward to serving Dance with the family at our next gathering, our upcoming Easter celebration dinner. 

This is 100% Chardonnay from the Washington State Columbia River basin Yakima Valley from the Wente Chardonnay clone plantings at two of Washington’s oldest Chardonnay vineyards, French Creek Vineyard, east of Prosser and Boushey Vine at the Boushey Vineyard, the Crawford Vineyard,and the old block at French Creek Vineyard.

Notes from the Winemaker: Introducing the newest addition to the Long Shadows line-up. This unique and wonderfully complex Chardonnay was fermented and aged using proprietary techniques with a combination of concrete eggs and French oak barrels for sixteen months.

The result is a rich, yet refined Chardonnay with a beautiful viscosity that carries the mid-palate while the acidity persists across a lengthy finish.

Winemaker Tasting Notes: Great balance between vibrant fruit and minerality with flavors and aromas of white peach, apricot and baked apples. 

Straw colored, medium bodied, fresh apple and pear fruits with notes of lemon citrus, floral and toast with hints of tropical fruit, pineapple and spicy oak on a tangy acidic finish.

RM 90 points.

After dinner we retreated back to our house to finish the celebration dinner with German Chocolate Cake. 

With the cake we opened from the cellar Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 1994. The 1994 vintage was one of the top vintages of the century with the top labels including Taylor Fladgate and Grahams Vintage Oporto both getting 100 points. 

At 28 years, this showed no signs of diminution from aging whatsoever, likely at the peak of its drinking window, but with another decade or two of life left yet. The label, fill level, foil, seal and cork were all in pristine condition. sea

This was a nice pairing with the chocolate cake, silky smooth, superbly balanced, ripe sweet fruits for wonderful casual sipping.