NCWC CHICAGO NIGHT TASTING 3/2/12
TANGENT PINOT GRIS 2008
Chicago is also known as the Windy City, Second City, City of the Big Shoulders, the City that Works, and Hog Butcher to the World. This Pinot Gris doesn’t have any nicknames, but it sure is a great food wine. Made in a leaner, crisper, more Alsatian style, it shows vibrant minerality to go with tropical and white stone fruits that leap from the glass. It’s beautifully balanced, with lemony touches and a nice backbone of acidity. $13.97.
RITUAL PINOT NOIR 2010
The Chicago River is the only river in the world that actually flows backwards. Once you taste this terrific Chilean Pinot, you will not want it to flow backwards out of your mouth. It’s darker and denser than most Pinot, but carries the grape’s typical flavor profile, showcasing bright berry, cherry and spice flavors accented by a pleasing streak of earthiness. Another terrific food wine, this will stand up to many dishes, including Chicago Red Hots and beef sandwiches! 89 points Tobin Bros. $15.97.
TEMPUS ALBA MALBEC 2010
The famous “Route 66” starts in Chicago, at Grant Park on Adams Street in front of the Art Institute. And you can definitely get your kicks with this delicious Malbec. Aromas of rich, ripe blackberries, along with notes of vanilla and licorice, foreshadow a nicely textured mouthfeel, with well integrated tannins and nice oak nuances framing the ripe fruit. 89 points Tobin Bros. $12.97.
PRIMUS THE BLEND 2008
There’s always plenty going on in Chi-town, with its Lincoln Park Zoo, 40 museums, more than 150 theatres, and over 6000 restaurants. There’s lots going on with this wine, too, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere, and Merlot. “This ripe, full-bodied red mixes dark cherry, cassis and raspberry ganache notes with layers of spice, coffee bean and licorice that linger on the savory finish. “ Gotta love it! 90 points Wine Spectator. $15.97.
VALDISANTI TOSCANA 2007
Lots of cool stuff was invented in the Windy City, including the Twinkie, roller skates, and the remote control. It was also home to the nation’s first mail order business and the first blood bank. This gorgeous Italian red was not made there, but it’s wonderful to drink anywhere. It’s “a chewy and layered red, rich and impressive, with blackberry and toasty oak.” It drinks great right now, and the excellent balance of fruit intensity with fine tannins indicates a cellar worthy wine. 93 points Wine Advocate. $26.97.
CHRONIC CELLARS SOFA KING BUENO 2010
Time for a little trivia. From the skydeck on top of the Sears Tower, one can see four states. What are they? Within this yummy Paso Robles blend you can taste 4 grapes: Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Aromas of layered dark fruits are augmented by notes of vanilla, leather, cedar and hazelnut. The boys at Chronic Cellars say this lives up to its name, with big fruit, mild tannins, and flavors of blackberry, cranberry, strawberry, cocoa and oak notes. Sofa King Bueno indeed! $17.97
DERBY PETITE SIRAH 2006
If you’re already tired of the endless series of presidential debates, you can blame Chicago. The first televised presidential debate took place there, between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. But there’s no debating the quality of this delightful wine, which in no way lives up to the name “petite.” Very dark in color, it throws brambly black cherry and plum aromas. On the palate the same dark, rich assault continues, with dark, concentrated fruits and substantial tannins leading to long, very grippy finish. 90 points Bill Tobin. $17.97.