I have reported in past blog articles on my 9-year-old “Superhero” grandson Adler Bear Carris who has inoperable brain and spinal cancer. He was diagnosed at age 4 and has been suffering ever since.
Unless you have experienced cancer firsthand or through a loved one, it is difficult to understand all of the issues and emotions associated with this awful disease. What people or families go through physically, emotionally and financially can be difficult or impossible to comprehend.
Over the last five and a half years I have been a part of the mental and emotional highs and lows our family has been subject to because of Adler’s cancer. The financial issues associated with cancer patients is unbelievable and un-survivable for some.
In most instances it gets more difficult as time goes on. The Carris family is fortunate in many aspects but still has to struggle emotionally and financial.
Over the last five years Mrs. Tiedemann and I have, under her remarkable guidance and strength, arranged, put on and funded as needed, several Adler fundraisers and benefits. The intent was and always will be an effort to raise funds to assist Adler’s family with the incredible costs that have incurred during Adler’s battle with cancer.
Several months ago, I came up with the plan to combine a number of favorite things in my life: good friends, good food and great wine to create a once-in-a-lifetime wine event to benefit Adler. The plan was to invite a number of friends to a wine dinner that served great food and only wines that had been rated at 100 out of 100 points. All the wines would come from our personal wine collection.
We would hold the event in our new LEX 530 Event Center and Executive Chef Chad Coryn would be in charge of preparing a five-course meal to pair with the wonderful wines. Chef Chad and I had a number of discussions on the menu, wines and the event in general. To make sure every portion of the event remained special for all.
There were 21 people in attendance as several had to cancel due to various issues. The evening got off to a great start at 6:00 p.m. which was the beginning of a 30- to 45-minute reception where everyone enjoyed Chef Chad’s hors d’oeuvres along with three wines I had selected. Here are the pairings:
- Crème de brie and fig jam crostini
- Gougères with truffled mornay and pickled shallot
- Mini crab cakes with creole remoulade
Wines served with hors d’oeuvres:
- 2005 Verite La Joie Red Wine. Rated at 100 out of 100 points by both Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck. The wine is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. The wine featured an excellent texture and was a lovely ruby color. The complex Bordeaux blend offered aromas of dark fruit and nuts. The wine was full-bodied with a palate of blackberries, fruit cake and tobacco. The finish featured low tannins and was of a block buster length.
- 2007 Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Vin. The wine was rated at 100 out of 100 points by Robert Parker. The wine was a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and a few tiny dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This was an outstanding Cabernet. The aromas of cedar, flowers, and coffee were very prevalent. On the palate there were wonderful tastes of black fruit, cherries, blackberries and some nutmeg. The finish was of unbelievable length and seemed to change several times during its minute-long finish. This was a full-bodied, well-balanced wine.
- Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was rated at 100 out of 100 points by Robert Parker. Like the Kapcsandy Cabernet described above, this wine had all the characteristics of a 100-point wine with stunning aromas of black fruit, licorice and some oak. The palate was multi-layered with hints of mocha, black and red cherries, tea and spice. The finish was full-bodied and of exceptional length with lovely tannins and mild spice.
The dinner was outstanding and offered the following courses and wines. The wines are listed in the order they were served.
1st Course: Butter-poached lobster, sweet corn risotto and pea shoots.
2nd Course: Roasted beet salad with toasted hazelnut, gorgonzola, and aged balsamic.
3rd Course: Roasted Ōra king salmon, watercress, French green lentils and grain mustard beurre blanc.
4th Course: 28-day dry-aged strip loin, pommes purée and short rib jus.
5th Course: Flourless chocolate torte, tart cherry compote, cocoa nibs and crème Chantilly.
- 2010 Aubert Chardonnays. A selection of 2010 Aubert Chardonnays were served. All were rated from 93/100 to 97/100 points; sorry I didn’t have any of their 100-point Chardonnays. The nose on the wines featured aromas of hazelnut, mango and pineapple. They had beautiful color with tastes of apples, peaches, fruit and minerals. Aubert Chardonnays are full-bodied and feature long, tropical fruit flavored finishes.
- 2009 Château Pontet-Canet Grand Cru – Pauillac. The wine received three 100 out of 100-point ratings from Wine Enthusiast magazine, Jeb Dunnuck and Robert Parker. The 2009 vintage was one of the greatest vintages of France. Some say the best ever. The wine was a deep purple in color and was very tight in the glass. It was full-bodied and beautifully balanced. Here are the winemaker’s notes: “Deep purple color. The exceptionally complex nose is dominated by fruits such as blackcurrant and a very noticeable graphite presence. A flowery touch of violets adds extra elegance. In the mouth, the attack is yet powerful and contained. The high in tannins, long and highly refined structure is accentuated by a refreshing acidity. A great Pontet-Canet!”
- 2010 Château Pontet-Canet Grand Cru – Pauillac. The wine received two 100 out of 100-point ratings from James Suckling and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Much like its 2009 counterpart, this was a stunning wine. The aromas were incredible and it was a full-bodied, very rich and incredible wine. Here are the winemakers tasting notes: “Purple color, almost black. The very complex aromas have a vibrant character, dominated by notes of violet, blackberry, red currant and cherry, among others. There’s complete harmony in the mouth, with a straightforward structure and impressive length. It is both dense and ethereal. This is surely the greatest Pontet-Canet in modern times.”
- 2005 Hundred Acre Ark Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was rated at 100 out of 100 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This was an outstanding Cabernet at 14 years old. It tastes like it still has many years to go. The wine had the wonderful nose of black fruit, cherries, sage and a hint of pepper. This was another great full-bodied wine that was multi-layered in your mouth. It changed several times on the palate. The finish was outstanding with well-balanced tannins and fruit. The finish seemed to go on and on.
- 2013 Kapcsandy Family Winery, State Lane Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Vin. The wine was a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine was scored at 100 out of 100 points by Robert Parker on October 28, 2016. The wine was simply stunning. Here are Robert Parker’s tasting notes and comments: “Little can be added to the greatness of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin, a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine (600 cases) is truly stunning in its dense, crème de cassis and blackberry scented nose with a hint of barbecue smoke and forest floor. Tasting like a ripe vintage of Château Latour from Pauillac, the wine has amazing richness and a savory, expansive mouthfeel, but tiptoes across the palate like a ballerina. A wine of magnificent richness and intensity, but vibrancy, purity and overall equilibrium, this is a staggeringly great wine and another tribute to the Kapcsandy family’s extraordinary professionalism and meticulous attention to detail in their vineyard.”
The evening was, simply put, fabulous. It was filled with good friends who could appreciate great wine and wanted to support our grandson Adler. It is very difficulty for Emilie and I to put into words and express our gratitude to each and every one in attendance for their continued friendship and financial support of Adler.
Certainly, in the world of wines there must be, every now and again, a wine dinner serving 100-point wines of this magnitude, although I have never heard of one, certainly not in our area. In fact, I have never heard of one being sponsored in Chicago either.
I did another wine dinner several years ago, again for Adler, featuring four 100-point wines and Sean Kelley and Roman Yoder of Temper Grille assisted me in putting it on. It too was wonderful but didn’t quite measure up to this event. Of course, any time you can spend an evening with friends for a good cause and drink great wines with exceptional food, it is a good day.
Finally, I want to thank all of our LEX 530 team, Chef Chad, Event Director Rachel, as well as Tammy, Adonna and the evening’s Sous-Chef Joe Makowski. Without all of them and a few others this wonderful dinner would not have been possible.
As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you are reading this blog for the first time please consider subscribing while you are on the website. This way you’ll get our reviews and articles in your email. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- September 20 – International Grenache Day
- November 7 – International Merlot Day
- November 14 – International Tempranillo Day
- November 20 – International Zinfandel Day
- December 4 – Cabernet Franc Day
- December 20 – National Sangria Day
- December 31 – National Champagne Day