Thursday, June 30, 2022

Catch 35 Naperville Surf & Turf and Wine Dinner

Catch 35 Naperville Surf & Turf and Wine Dinner

For a business dinner with a vendor partner we dined at Catch 35 in Naperville. Son Alec works for the same vendor and was invited to join us - a real treat for a father-son business experience. 

The Catch 35 wine list features several of the Long Shadows labels - the library of Vintners Collection Series wines produced by world famous winemakers in each of the varietal select categories.

I have written in these pages about Long Shadows, the brand portfolio of several labels, all crafted by world famous winemakers from fruits sourced in the Washington State Columbia Valley. This was the vision of Allen Shoup, former CEO of Chateau St Michelle, champion and evangelist for Washington State wines. He formed the brand and recruited a world famous winemaker for each varietal based label. Michel Rolland, Pomerol vintner and consultant to many of the world’s top wineries, was selected to produce this Right Bank Bordeaux Blend wine, and legendary Napa Valley Cabernet producer Randy Dunn to produce this Cabernet. 

We've long known about the brand and joined their club while visiting their tasting room hospitality center in Woodinville WA during our Seattle Wine / Dine Experience in 2018. We remain Vault Club Members of the allocated portfolio and get a case each quarter of two of the varietal based selections including this Pedestal label.

For my entree, I chose surf and turf - lobster tail with filet with portabella mushrooms - demi-glace, with whipped potatoes, thus was able to enjoy an ideal pairing with a Merlot
Bordeaux varietal wines.

Long Shadows Vintners Collection Pedestal Merlot 2017

Pedestal 2016
We know this wine well as I have several vintages of this label in our cellar collection, having been a wine-club member for half a decade. We also know and hold several vintages of the winemaker Michel Rolland's flagship labels, legendary Pomerol Bordeaux and Napa Valley oenologist, vintner and consultant to some of the world’s best wineries. This was the best tasting of this label I have had as this vintage selection and food pairing exceeded even my loftiest expectations. 

This is a blend of 82% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, that was aged 22 months in French oak barrels, with 86% being new. 

This release was awarded 95 points by Jeb Dunnuck, 94 points by Wine Advocate and International Wine Reviews, 93P points and a Cellar Selection by Wine Enthusiast, and 92+ points by Stephen Tanzer.

Dark inky garnet purple in color, full bodied, bright vibrant opulent black raspberry and blackberry fruits with notes of cassis, spice, dark mocha chocolate, cigar box, black tea and hints of vanilla with a smooth polished medium silky tannin laced finish.

RM 94 points.

Long Shadows "Feather", Columbia Valley, Washington, 2018

Another label from a producer we know well from our broader cellar collection that span more than two decades, and vertical collection of this label. Our meeting with winemaker Randy Dunn during a visit to Dunn Vineyards estate high atop Howell Mountain was a highlight of our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience back in 2008.
One note about winemaker Randy Dunn's wines is that they tend to be long-lived. Pundits say in their reviews, "Best after 2025, with a long life beyond that"; "This wine will be even more delicious with another several years of bottle age. Cellar this and enjoy it for the next 15 years or longer."

That said, this may have been consumed too young and need several more years of aging to develop, integrate, and settle to reveal its true profile, character and potential. A risk of drinking young wines from a restaurant wine list. They might likely be better served perhaps holding this back a few years, or, more likely, featuring some of the other Long Shadows Vintners Series labels that might provide earlier younger drinking gratification. 

Aside the Pedestal above, this was rather closed and therefore somewhat subdued. Perhaps this is a vintage comparison, or reflecting its youth relative to a more vibrant younger reflective label. 

This label also got blockbuster reviews and ratings - 96 points from International Wine Report, 95 points from Jeb Dunnuck and Vinous, Owen Bargreen, and 93 points from Wine Enthusiast who awarded it Cellar Selection, Best of the Year 2021.

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Feather comes from the Horse Heaven Hills and Wahluke Slope Weinbau and Wallula Vineyards in Columbia Valley, Washington, and spent 22 months in 90% new French oak. 

Classic Randy Dunn style Cabernet with dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, tight, structured dense and concentrated yet somewhat subdued blackberry and black plum fruits accented by cassis, dust, tar, graphite, leather, tobacco leaf, with hints of dark chocolate and expresso coffee. 

RM 91 points.