A couple of weekends ago Mrs. Tiedemann and I went to Chicago for a long weekend for a little R&R, some shopping, entertaining of friends, a little business and of course some wine drinking. For our long weekends, we get to Chicago on Thursday afternoon and generally leave on Sunday midday, which was the case for this weekend. Mrs. Tiedemann and I were excited to get to Chicago, as we were to have dinner with Jack and Heather Stead on Thursday evening. Jack and Heather, who live in Chicago, are great. I first met Jack last year when he and I worked on a real estate transaction together. Heather is a graphic designer who has caught the entrepreneurial spirit and is starting Heather Stead Design. The Tiedemann Group is working with Heather on redesigning a number of our websites; it will be an exciting project.
The evening started with wine at the Tiedemann’s prior to our dinner reservations at Ditka’s Steakhouse. Both Jack and Heather have a preference for red wines so for the pre-dinner wine, I selected a bottle of Eric Kent Wine Cellars 2008 Dry Stack Vineyard Syrah. You might be thinking, as I did at first, that this is a pretty big red for the cocktail hour. Since Jack and Heather are oenophiles, I thought they would enjoy tasting this wine and it was good prelude to the evening’s dinner at Ditka’s.
This wine is made by Kent Humphrey, one of our Glenwood Cellars wines winemakers. Kent is also a good friend and co-owner/winemaker at Eric Kent Wine Cellars.
2008 Eric Kent Dry Stack Vineyards Syrah
Kent’s tasting notes on this wine suggest a “Prime Drinking Window” from 2012 through 2015, so we were drinking this wine in its prime. Although I think this wine will drink well for longer than that.
The wine scored well on a national basis. Wine Spectator scored the wine at 88 points (rather low in my opinion). Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar group scored it at 92 points while the Rhone Report scored it at 93 points.
The wine’s color was a dark purple…perhaps a little reddish. The nose produced aromas of black fruit, a hint of coffee and the typical Syrah earth, leather tones. On the palate, the wine tasted of black fruit, smoke and perhaps a little leather. This is a well-structured wine with a wonderful long finish of ripe velvety soft tannins and strong spice. The velvety tannins cause a great mouth feel to the wine.
I like this Syrah and recommend it to you. Wine-Searcher indicates it is currently selling for about $40 per bottle.
For dinner at Ditka’s I brought a bottle of 2005 Peter Michael Winery’s Les Pavots red wine. One of the good things in Illinois (unlike Indiana) is you can bring your own wine to restaurants.
Most restaurants have what’s called a corkage fee. For those of you not familiar with this term, it is a fee the restaurant charges you to open and handle your bottle of wine. Usually, depending upon the restaurant, the fee runs from $25 to $50. There are many variations of corkage fees. For example, if you purchase a bottle on the wine list they don’t charge corkage fees on your bottle. In addition, if you are a regular customer they may waive the fee. So far I have found only one restaurant in Chicago that doesn’t allow you to bring your own wine: Benny’s Chop House on Wabash. Benny’s has a good wine list and Sommelier Charles Schneider can always be counted on for great recommendations.
2005 Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots Red Wine from Tiedemann’s Cellar
This wine is a dry red table wine composed of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. When I first tasted this wine several years ago (most likely in 2008 or 2009), it was very young and tight with a lot of acidity…not a fit with my palate. It has been lying in my cellar since then. I choose this Bordeaux-like wine to match up with the other wine of the evening: the Tiedemann Signature Series Red Wine which is now available at Ditka’s Steakhouse (it was “bring a bottle/buy a bottle” night).
The 2005 Les Pavots presented a deep ruby red color with aromas of black fruit, a little cedar and perhaps a touch of vanilla. On the palate the black fruit shows and perhaps a little chocolate as well. The wine is still well structured with soft sweet tannins and a mouth feel of silky-texture. The finish hints of just a little spice, and is long and smooth.
This wine will continue to drink well for another 5 to10 years. The wine scored well by the various rating folks. Robert Parker scored the wine at 95 points in December 2007. In 2011 Wine Spectator scored the wine at 95 points while Steven Tanzier’s group scored the wine at 90 points in June of 2008. Wine-Searcher.com has an average score of 93 points.
Wine-Searcher shows the wine available worldwide at an average price of $232. Actually the prices on their list start at about $150 a bottle. That seems a little pricey to me, but it is a really good tasting wine.
2009 Tiedemann Signature Series Red Wine
The second bottle of wine at dinner was our 2009 Tiedemann Signature Series Red Wine. I have reviewed the wine in past posts, however this wine continues to age and improve. Deep, dark, red-purple in color, with a classic nose of concentrated black fruit typical of the Bordeaux-style red. On the palate, it continues to evolve as it opens and provides layers of fruit, wild cherries and chocolate with a hint of cedar. It is excellent on the palate with a mouth feel of velvet (my daughter Elizabeth’s term). The tannins remain structured and the finish is elegant and lengthy. Of course, I am very prejudice in my opinions of this wine – can’t help myself! It scored 90 points with Wine Enthusiast.
The wines paired well with dinner. All in all, it was an outstanding evening featuring good friends, great wine and good food at a wonderful restaurant. We could not have asked for a better evening and we look forward to other evenings with Jack and Heather.
On Friday evening Mrs. Tiedemann and I were on our own as we had some wine business to do at Morton’s Steakhouse at State and Rush Streets. We had arranged for General Manager Raki Mehra to taste the yet to be released Glenwood Cellars Pinot Noir. Morton’s is considering putting our red wines on its wine list. I am doing a tasting at Morton’s Wine Bin dinner on Wednesday, September 17, and I wanted to have Raki taste the wine before the tasting on the 17th.
In a couple of weeks I’ll provide all the details for this new addition to our Glenwood Cellars label. Stay tuned…
Saturday evening was yet another great evening with friends Mark and Lisa Macheca. Mark is a principal at Business Furnishings (BF) in South Bend. Our FM Construction Company works with Mark’s team at BF and he is a member of the Tiedemann Group’s Advisory Board. It was great they could come to Chicago to join us for the evening.
The evening started at our place with Mark and me pulling the cork on a bottle of Tiedemann Red. As I have mentioned many times Mrs. Tiedemann isn’t a red wine drinker, nor is Mark’s wife Lisa. This meant that Mark and I would be responsible for wine tasting and consumption throughout the evening.
Dinner that evening was at Gene & Georgetti at 500 North Franklin. The restaurant claims to be Chicago’s oldest steakhouse…it’s been around since 1941.
I again selected another red wine from my wine cellar for the dinner. I choose the 2006 Kelly Fleming Wines Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. I have done a past article on a wine tasting I did at the Kelly Fleming Wines.
This 2006 wine is a big Cabernet with an alcohol level of 15.4%. The color was deep purple and the nose offered aromas of smoke and plums. On the palate, the wine was smooth with light tannins and the finish was soft. Frankly, the wine was just OK, it has reached or is a little beyond its peak. There are other wines from Kelly Fleming I would recommend over the 2006.
After dinner it was back to our place for more great conversation and a last bottle of wine. For this bottle I again went to my wine cellar and brought along a 2009 Mas de Boislauzon Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
2009 Mas de Boislauzon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
This is a dry red wine from the Southern Rhone Valley, Rhone, France. As all you wine folks know, the 2009 vintage in France may go down as the best French vintage ever. The wines produced in France in 2009 were, for the most part, stunning.
As I have begun to drink more Old World wines, I have become a fan of Châteauneuf-du-Papes. It takes a little while for them to open and rid themselves of the sometimes earthy and gamey flavors. They tend to require longer cellaring times and tend to be higher in tannins and maintain and gain a rich spiciness as they age.
The 2009 Mas de Boislauzon was comprised of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah. Robert Parker scored this wine in October 2011 at 93 points. The wine sells for about $40 to $42 and is a great value.
The wine color was a ruby red with a purple hue and the nose threw off aromas of black fruit. On the palate it displayed the black fruit prevalent in the nose, and offered a great dense texture in the mouth. The finish was complex and long. This is a ‘big boys’ wine and should only get better as it ages. I highly recommend that you try this wine or one similar to the 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Mrs. Tiedemann and I enjoyed the weekend in the Windy City with great friends, good food, wonderful restaurants and, of course, outstanding wines. We look forward to doing so again soon.
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Until next week!