Sunday, January 29, 2023

Morton's Restaurant Week Special with HourGlass HGIII Proprietary Red

 Morton's Restaurant Week Special with HourGlass HGIII Proprietary Red

We took advantage of Chicago Restaurant Week, an annual 17-day celebration of the city’s award-winning culinary scene where more than 300 of the city’s top restaurants feature special dinner offerings to introduce patrons to their experience of a near-endless array of cuisines. This is the sixteenth year for Restaurant Week Chicago.

We dined at Morton's Steakhouse in Naperville, "The Steakhouse", one of our favorite fine dining sites, so close and convenient to home. We dined there earlier this winter for another wonderful exquisite wine dinner experience.

The dinner special offered a starter, an entree, an accompaniment and a dessert at a price fixe. Even at the Restaurant Week special, with a moderate wine selection, our dinner for two still cost $300. Never-the-less, it was a delightful evening out with perfect food and wine pairing.

Our selections for dinner, a Morton's Wedge and a Ceasar Salad, six ounce petit filets, mine done prepared perfectly, Pittsburgh style, mashed potatoes, sauteed cream spinach, and for dessert, creme brulee. 

For our wine pairing we selected this Napa Valley Proprietary Red from Hourglass.

Hourglass "HGIII" Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blend 2019 

We discovered this label dining at the trendy stylish RH Restoration Hardware rooftop restaurant in Oak Brook recently when I posted this tasting review. This big bold complex round fruit forward red blend was a perfect pairing with our filet beefsteaks. As I write often in these pages, an ideal pairing of food and wine amplifies the enjoyment of both for an optimal dining experience.

This proprietary red blend is from Napa Valley Hourglass, who have been producing ultra premium super high-scoring Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot since their inaugural release in 1997. The estate sits at the northern center of Napa Valley and consists of two vineyards focused on Bordeaux varietals. 

Hourglass wines are crafted by veteran Napa Valley winemaker Tony Biagi who gained notoriety working at some of the Valley's elite wineries including Duckhorn, Paraduxx, Plumpjack, and Cade, where he was founding Winemaker before joining Hourglass. 

Biagi is a sixth generation Californian whose first memories of wine go back to his father making small amounts of wine in his garage. He earned a degree in Fermentation Sciences at U.C. Davis in 1995 before working for the listed well-known estates, then joining Hourglass in 2012.

HG III is Hourglass' proprietary red blend second label produced exclusively from the Napa Valley. Biagi has made a name for himself with the critically acclaimed Hourglass wines, known for elegant tannin structure, rich mouthfeel, layers of silky textural depth and harmonious balance of richness and acidity. Biagi says: “I want my wines to be rich, but if that’s all they are they become one dimensional and monotonous,” he outlines. Writes a leading pundit, "HG III delivers a big, rich, powerful red blend, but always impeccably balanced. A real showstopper, even better with a good decant".

The 2019 HG III harmoniously combines 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petite Syrah sourced from the Hourglass Blueline Estate vineyard and a select few top-of-the-line vineyards.

This is a somewhat unconventional blend, the core trio of varieties all offer distinctive characteristics yet harmony to the final blend: Merlot leads with finesse and approachability, Cabernet Sauvignon elevates with  structure and polish, and Petite Syrah grounds the blend with what one pundit calls 'gravitas and bass'. 

The 2019 vintage was aged 16 months in a combination of new and seasoned French oak, contributing to its multilayered complexity and smooth tannins.

Winemaker Notes: “The 2019 vintage for HGIII is a knockout – an unequivocal example of how this expansive, rich and deeply textured wine over delivers. Tony’s ingenious blend, the core trio of varieties all offer distinction and harmony to the final blend: Merlot leads with finesse and approachability, Cabernet Sauvignon elevates with structure and polish, and Petite Syrah grounds the blend with gravitas and bass. With red and black currant forming the aromatic core, dried herb and fennel are their verdant, savory counterparts. A ripe juicy frame of dark sour and red cherry mingles with inky black cassis laced with fine streaks of dark Belgian chocolate. Undeniably approachable now, and yet with the structure, density, and complexity for great ageability.”

This was rated 94 Points by Master Sommelier Kevin Vogt, and 92 points by Jeb Dunnuck.

We enjoyed this so much during that RH experience, I went home and went on-line and snatched up all the remaining bottles in stock at Binny's, our Chicagoland wine superstore. 

Bright garnet colored with hues of purple, medium full bodied, elegant, polished, full round forward,  nicely integrated briary blackberry and ripe plum fruits with notes of mocha dark chocolate, clove spice, hints of vanilla, and delicate floral, with a balanced long finish combining slightly chalky tannins. 

RM 93 points.