Winexpression to Close

I must fly away to another flowerAfter almost 8 years, I have decided that my Wine Blogging journey has come to an end. Thanks to all the readers, PR staff, and fellow wine bloggers that supported me through this journey. I have a few posts to finish up and will explain a bit more, but basically this forum has run it’s course in my life and I am ready to move on. I have valued the feedback I have received and thank you all for your support. Stay tuned for a few more posts with the most valuable wine lessons I’ve learned, tips for wine bloggers, and some final reviews and notes from recent tastings I have attended.



Review – Bin 36 Wine from Chicago Restaurant/Wine Bar

Bin 36 - First Wine Release

Bin 36, an acclaimed Chicago Restaurant, Wine Bar, and Market, has done what a lot of Restaurants do: offer a wine with their name on it that is produced by an established winery (in this case Hahn Estates from the Central Coast of California). It’s good marketing, and importantly, a good way to control the quality and pricing of some of the wines on the list.

But are these wines any good? I was sent the latest release line up so let’s find out.

2009 Bin 36 Sauvignon Blanc – Dry Creek Valley, CA
ABV: 13.9%
Price: $16
Notes: The nose isn’t quite all there for me but perhaps it will open up with a little air. The palate offers bright and crisp flavors of green apple and lemon peel. Good acid with a fresh citrus finish.
Score: 86pts (B)

2007 Bin 36 Pinot Noir – Monterey, CA
ABV: 14.5%
Price: $26
Notes: This Pinot is beautiful in color and offers earthy aromas like mushroom, mineral, and a touch of cherry. Well balanced on the tongue with a light to medium bodied weight. A nice clean finish.
Score: 88pts (B+)

2006 Bin 36 Zinfandel – California
ABV: 14.2%
Price: $16
Notes: This is a very nice all around wine with good blackberry and blueberry aromas with a touch of tar that lead into a medium bodied mouth feel with a very nice finish. Food friendly and well done.
Score: 90pts (A-)

2007 Bin 36 Cabernet Sauvignon – California
ABV: 14.5%
Price: $16
Notes: This is a nice well rounded cab with a nose that is full of fresh summer berries, plum, and a touch of mint. Leads into a nice taste on the palate that is full bodied with chewy tannins on the finish.
Score: 88pts (B+)

All these wines are well made and show the fine reputation that Hahn has made for itself over the years. I like the label design, it’s got some character. Try a bottle and let me know what you think.

Full disclosure: These wines were sent to me as press samples for review.

Dining at the CIA’s Winespectator Greystone Restaurant

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St.Helena, CA
The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St.Helena, CA

On a recent trip to Napa we ate at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America.  The restaurant features professional and student chefs in a setting that allows you to view the kitchen from your table.  Focus is placed on seasonal and local ingredients, which causes the menu to change from time to time.  An extensive wine list is offered that includes wines made exclusively for the restaurant.  Below is a description of the dishes we sampled, taken directly from the menu:

Housemade Pappardelle Pasta – Tuscan kale, wild mushrooms, cipollini onions, garlic cream and winter pesto

Peppercorn Basted Grilled Angus Hanger Steak – Roasted German butter ball potatoes, balsamic glazed onions, forest mushrooms, red wine jus
Citrus Olive Oil Cake – Citrus supremes and grapefruit sauce

Don’t let the descriptions of these dishes fool you.  While the ingredients may be simple, when put together they create a depth of flavor and complexity that will cause you to savor each and every bite.  I knew the food would be good, but I didn’t expect to be dreaming of the flavors days after we visited the restaurant!  But what else would one expect from an institute that trains some of the top chefs around the world?

Unfortunately, we didn’t have any wine with our meal.  What?? you ask.  Yes, it’s true, but we had our reasons and one of them is found in this article.  It was clear to us though, that while the food was extremely enjoyable on its own, wine certainly would have made a great accompaniment.

The next time you’re in the Napa Valley (or Hyde Park, NY – they have restaurants there) why not make a reservation?  You won’t be disappointed.

Posted by T.A.P.