Wednesday, November 9, 2022

California 2013 Duo BYOB at Vistro Hinsdale

California 2013 Duo BYOB at Vistro Prime Hinsdale

Dear friends Mark and Gayle returned to Chicago for a short visit and we met up for dinner at Vistro Prime Steakhouse in nearby suburban Hinsdale, (IL).  We've been wanting to try Vistro, sister restaurant to Vie in nearby Western Springs. I was attracted to the Dover Sole a la meunière entree selection, one of my favorite dishes, so I took BYOB from our cellar a hearty rich Chardonnay for a wine pairing. 

Vistro Prime is the sister restaurant to Vie in adjacent Western Springs which we have been to many times, including for our  Gala Anniversary Prix Fixe Dinner with Wine Pairing, just the month before last. Vie was the initial restaurant of Chef Paul Virant, where he focuses on seasonal Midwestern selections featuring local sourcing utilizing traditional methods of preservation. He was a finalist nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award's Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2011. He authored the 2012 cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-Doux.

Vistro Prime is primarily a steak house with aged prime steaks. It boasts several seafood dishes, including the Dover Sole a la meunière that attracted me. There is a selection of a dozen starter dishes, three salads, which were very hearty, and a broad selection of a dozen sides, each of which we ordered were also delicious. 

We like the ambiance with its openness, comfortable seating, bright and airy white walls and tablecloths. There is an adjacent bar in the front of the dining room while the rear has a row of tables with booths along both walls. 

Dover Sole a la meunière

Being a steakhouse, I also took this Beau Vigne Proprietary Red that we also took BYOB to Herrington Inn Atwaters Restaurant Geneva last weekend, for those choosing steak, and in the event I did so as well. I took this Proprietary Red Blend since it was so tasty then, but was projecting that may be at its prime at going on ten years and thus time to drink. I also brought a hearty full bodied Sonoma Chardonnay, also from the 2013 vintage.  

The Vistro winelist is largely American, pretty basic and straight-forward. They have a Reserve List that is limited but well selected with several favorites that we love. The prices on the primary list are customary but the prices on the Reserve tend towards being expensive, from 2x to as much as 3x retail price for all three of the bottles I almost brought, as it listed three wines that we hold in our cellar that I considered bringing. The core list covered all the wine groups to pair with every menu selection - sparkling, red, white, aperitif and after-dinner selections, while the Reserve listed one sparkling, three Chardonnays and a dozen reds split between Bordeaux varietals and Pinot's.

With the salad course, my Dover Sole and Linda's salmon we enjoyed this hearty Chardonnay that I brought from our cellar. I featured this wine in an earlier blogpost in these pages - Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard RRV Sonoma Chardonnay

Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard Russian River Valley Sonoma Chardonnay 2013

Nickel & Nickel is one of the brands of legendary Napa Valley producer Far Niente. They produce over two dozen single varietal, single vineyard designated wines, sourced from ten different Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley appellations. 

They specialize in Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays but also produce Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot varietal labels as well. 

We hold a dozen different labels from this producer going back more than two decades, all Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay varietals. This bottle is the last of a half case of this label we acquired back near release. It has been one of our favorite drinking Chardonnays for such occasions and at going on a decade is nearing the end of its prime drinking window and time to drink.

This was a perfect complement to our entrees and precourses and was enjoyed by all. I've often written in these pages about how the perfect pairing of food and wine is a force multiplier, amplifying the enjoyment of both.  

As I have written in these pages, we toured the Russian River Valley during our Napa Sonoma Wine Experience 2017.. We stayed on the coast in Bodega Bay and traveled the back roads between there and Santa Rosa to witness and experience the climate and topology that comprises the notable terrior of the area.

This is from the Green Valley AVA in Russian River Valley where, the grapes benefit from a cooling coastal influence that helps them ripen slowly and develop complexity.

From the Green Valley AVA site: "Green Valley is one of the smallest appellations in Sonoma County. It lies in the southwestern part of the Russian River Valley, bounded by the towns of Sebastopol, Forestville and Occidental. It is very tightly delineated, both geographically and climatically, and is the most consistent and distinctive of any North Coast appellation in terms of soil, climate and flavor. The fog is Green Valley’s trademark."

The 2013 vintage was a fantastic growing season in the Russian River, with dry, moderate temperatures and cool foggy mornings

From the winery: "The 2013 Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard Chardonnay is consistent from year to year. Passion fruit and floral aromas offer a mere hint of what’s on the palate: flavors of Muscat and Meyer lemon enhanced by flint and stone. A pleasant oiliness adds suppleness to the mouthfeel, but the vibrant acidity cleanses the palate and adds a succulent quality that makes one eager for another sip."

This was golden butter colored, full bodied, very forward, with some firmness and intense buttery and oaky tones and structure that amplifies the fruits - passion fruit, melon, floral, lemon, flint and stone.

Linda and Gayle liked this a lot with its classic full bodied, rich dense California Chardonnay style, and like an earlier tasting, I found it a slight bit much with delicate sole a la meunière, it was delicious none-the-less.

RM 91 points.


Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard Russian River Valley Sonoma Chardonnay 

Gayle and Mark both ordered filets of beef which was ideally paired with this aged Napa Bordeaux Red Blend.

As I wrote earlier about this wine.

Beau Vigne Reserve Proprietary Red Napa Valley 2013

Beau Vigne, (pronounced bo-veenya), translated from French means beautiful vineyard, is the same wine I received just last week from the producer and I was eager to share it as a perfect accompaniment to our diverse dinner. 

I wrote about this wine and producer in detail the other day upon receipt of this wine. This producer first caught my attention when buddy Bob brought it to our Pour Boys OTBN - "Open-That-Bottle-Night" 2022 in Charleston and I pegged it as WOTN - Wine of the Night, my personal favorite.

Beau Vigne Reserve Proprietary Red Napa Valley 2013

This 2013 is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc. The producer cited it amongst the best wines Beau Vigne had made to date. That says a lot since Robert Parker awarded the 2013 Beau Vigne "Cult" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 96 points in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. He also awarded the Beau Vigne Reserve Cabernet from this vintage a stellar perfect 100 points.

Parker wrote about that wine: "Profound, with a stunning aromatic display of blue and black fruits, charcoal, graphite, and spring flowers. The wine has a flawless entry and mouthfeel, with a full-bodied density, opulence and an incredible finish of close to a minute."

He also awarded the 2013 Beau Vigne "Cult" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 96 points in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate . That wine too contains the same Cabernet Sauvignon as in this blend. That blend contained 98:2% while this one is 70:30. Parker wrote of that wine: "Similarly styled is the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Cult, which is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. The biggest cuvée of any of these wines, the color is blackish/purple as a moonless night. It offers fabulous fruit and incredible density and richness, with lots of camphor, blackberry and cassis fruit, hints of espresso bean and chocolate as well as some background oak. This is a big, full-throttle, savory style of wine that should age effortlessly for 20-25+ years (RP)."

As a blend of the same fruit as those wines, it has a similar profile. Dark blackish purple colored, full bodied, dense, rich concentrated black fruits accented by a layer of camphor that initially may be a bit unnerving to some, with notes of cassis, expresso and dark bitter mocha with some graphite and oak on the full lingering finish. 

RM 93 points.