Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Force Majeure Red Wine BYOB Fried Green Tomatoes Galena

Force Majeure Red Wine BYOB Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant in historic Galena, IL

The first stop of our cross country roadtrip getaway was the historic town of Galena (IL) where we stayed in a farmhouse amidst the vineyards of Galena Cellars Vineyards and Winery. This was one of the first nights out on our cross country road trip on which we took several of our favorite label wines from our home cellar to enjoy BYOB or with carry-out dinners at our hotel or other special venues.

We dined the first night downtown Galena at Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant, purveyor of Italian and American Cuisine. I ordered a New York Strip steak with their port wine reduction sauce and mashed potatoes. To accompany our dinner, we brought BYOB from our home cellar a Big Red Blend from Washington State Columbia Valley.  

Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant is in the historic Galena, IL, home to former US Civil War General and US President Ulysses S. Grant. From the restaurant website ...

"In 1854, Jesse R. Grant (General Grant’s Father) owned the Leather and Finding Store located in this building, Grant dealt in all kinds of leather, coach trimmings, saddlery hardware, shoemaker's kits, and findings. Ulysses S. Grant, a West Point graduate and experienced military officer, moved to Galena in 1860 to help his father and brothers with the leather business.

In 1900, Frank Owen, who was a mayor of Galena, ran a saloon in the upper part of the building. For nearly three-quarters of the 20th century, the Dowling Building was a monument shop. Most recently, the building housed a drug store, a sports outfitter, and an antique store.

Restaurant owner, Fred Bonnet, wanted a building with history and vintage character to support the distinctive dining. “I left the brickwork exposed. I left the patterns on the wall and reproduced them elsewhere in the restaurant. The history of the building Mr. Dowling built is part of the experience for our guests,” explains Bonnet."

Force Majeure Washington State Columbia Valley Red Mountain Ptera Red Wine 2012

We visited the Force Majeure Vineyards Site Visit and Tasting in Walla Walla Washington back in 2018. We met winemaker Todd Alexander and marketing director and wife Carrie when they visited us in Chicago during a release tour stop in Chicago in 2016. As a member of their wine club we've collected a selection of their red wines every since, as well as older vintages dating back a decade such as this Force Majeure 2012 vintage release. 

his vintage release is a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This label, Ptera, was only made in a few vintages and quickly become a mailing list favorite. This was from the Force Majeure Collaboration Series, begun in 2004 with a partnership between viticulturist Ryan Johnson, owners Paul and Susan McBride and seven specially selected winemakers, each chosen for their proficiency with various grape varietals and styles.

The “Collaboration Series” was produced in small quantities of Bordeaux- and Rhone-inspired wines, sourced from the notable Ciel du Cheval Vineyard from 2004 to 2013, and including in later years the Force Majeure Vineyard.  This and the follow on 2013 release were the final vintage for the “Collaboration Series” wines, as Force Majeure estate production increased to allow them to be a completely estate-focused winery sourcing fruit from their own vineyards.

This label was a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It was awarded 95 points by The Wine Advocate and 91 points by Wine Spectator. 

Completely consistent with earlier tasting notes of this label release, at nearing a decade old, this was likely at its prime, at the apex of its drinking window and profile. The cork was in perfect condition as shown.

Dark inky purple garnet colored, full bodied, firmly structured but nicely balanced and approachable full black raspberry and black berry fruits are accented by notes of cola, coffee, spices with lead pencil graphite and floral turning to fine grained tannins on the long lingering finish.

RM 92 points.