We spent Saturday night at Bin 36, a trendy little
restaurant/wine store on the House of Blues campus in downtown Chicago. I’ve
yet to make it into the actual restaurant part of Bin 36 and tend to stay
happily in the tavern. In the tavern, we ordered many flights of wine and
cheese. By the time you remember you’re there for dinner, you’re really only
interested in the small, tavern fare (we went with Margherita Pizza) so that
you can return to the wine, cheese, and dessert.
Between the four of us, we tried countless wines and cheese.
I don’t have the notes on the cheese, but I was impressed. There were several
cheeses that, as standalone items, I was unimpressed by, but when paired with
wines … well, our cheeses improved based on the wines we tried. It was amazing
the different flavors brought out in both the wine and cheeses. No matter how
many times I experience this, I’m always impressed.
My two favorite wines of the night were a 2003 Chateau
DeLord Bordeaux and a 1971 Don “PX Grand Reserva” sherry. I brought home a
bottle of each.
We tried several flights – including Flashy Whites with a
Splash of Pink, Sparklers, a French flight, and a dessert wine flight. We had
the waiter put together the French flight and the Dessert flight as opposed to
ordering from the menu. We also had the waiter pair the cheeses with the
various wines across the table. He was a talented server, very knowledgeable
and accessible. We were impressed with all of his choices.
After the jump you can read about the wine flights. I took
notes on most, but not all.
I do not have our notes from the Sparkling flight.
Flashy Whites & a Splash of Pink
I went with this one because I keep reading about rosés.
Vinho Verde, Melgaco, “Terra Antigua,” Alvarinho, Portugal
Their write-up: Squeaky clean and
juicy with sour apple, key lime, and chalky minerals
Michelle: Lots of lime, citrusy and
summery but not very complex
Kevin: Chardonnay-ish, too oaky
Ca’ Rugate, “San Michele,” Veneto, Italy
Their write-up: This wine has
squeaky clean flavors of citrus and floral notes with a lively core of vivid
minerals but behind all that is real backbone and structure.
Michelle: Floral, almost bubbly. Very light, and with a
long and sweet finish. Enjoyable.
Kevin: Liked the minerals.
Torrontes, Crios de Susana Balboa, Valle de Cafayate, Argentina
Their write-up: This little superstar
from Argentina delivers fresh generous floral aromas and flavors of white
peach, pear, and juicy minerals.
Michelle: Peachy nose, sweet
(honey-tinged), pleasant and summery. Would buy! (Also, a nice lead in for the rosé next.)
Kevin: Too floral.
(Grenache/Syrah) Capcanes Rosat, Monstant, Spain
Their write-up: PRETTY IN PINK!
Get on board and catch up with a real insider’s treat. Rosé s
are built for everyday sippin’. While perfect for warm days and nights, this
red berry and licorice scented wine has a dose of white pepper to hold your
Michelle: This did not live up to my
expectations. I wanted it to be SOMETHING and instead it didn’t give me much to
start. It did grow on me a bit, but it still was not everything I was hoping it
could be and everything I sensed it wanted to be.
Kevin: Not a rosé
drinker. If I want a red, I’ll drink red. If I want a white, I’ll drink white.
I don’t get the rosé thing.
We had the waiter create this one because I am interested in learning more
about French wines.
Domain Alan Gras Saint-Romain White Burgundy
Their write-up: None provided. Note: $58/bottle in menu
Michelle: Fruity but not
overwhelming, nicely balanced, floral
Kevin: Tart with green apple, would
work well with chicken & peaches/pears/lemon
Both: Overall we really enjoyed this
one. If they sold it in their shop, we’d probably purchase it.
Chateau Delord Cotes de Bordeaux
Their write-up: Elegant and
restrained with earthy currants and hints of cedar.
Michelle: currant + earth, dry with a
long finish. I really enjoy that earthy (as opposed to dirt) taste in a lot of Bordeaux
Kevin: Dry, long finish, enjoyable.
Purchased 1 bottle in wine shop.
Chateau Haut Nadeau Rouge
Their write-up: Medium weight and
fleshy with ripe currants styled with earthy leather, pipe tobacco, and spcie..
Michelle: Despite the fact that I
usually do not enjoy the tobacco-y taste in reds, I rather enjoyed this wine.
Kevin: Could definitely taste the “earthy
leather.” I really enjoyed this one.
Chateau de Montpezat “Les Palombieres,” Grenache/Mouvedre, Languedoc
Their write-up: This sexy little
beast delivers ripe mouth watering fruit in a sleek medium bodied frame. It
comes complete with seamless texture and spice.
Michelle: Tannic – sort of like
cotton-mouth, too dry for my personal taste.
Kevin: Tannic but with a long,
velvety finish. Cherries abound.
Dessert Wine Flight
I didn’t number these tags so I’m not sure of the correct order. We tried an Austrian Botrytis that we enjoyed a lot
but for which I do not have notes or a tag. The Don PX was not part of the flight and was ordered separately.
We seem to be lacking in notes for the dessert wines, so I’ll
just share the restaurant write-ups with you. Since they do not stick in my
memory, I won’t assign a place on the sliding scale for these, with the
exception of the Don PX.
2004 Moscato d’Asti,
Nivole, Michele Chiarlo, Italy
Their write-up: Clean and fresh
with round flavors of green apples, citrus, and a delicately sweet spritz.
2004 Orange Muscat “Essencia”
Quady Winery, Madera, California
Their write-up: Intensely
flavored with honeyed and candied oranges, balanced with a nice acidity.
Yalumba "Clocktower" Tawny, Australia, N.V.
Their write-up: This young tawny
style port made mainly with shiraz grapes offers smokier aromas than many
traditional tawny ports. Rich and smooth, with flavors of orange peel, caramel
& coffee, this wine is a great value.
Don “PX Grand Reserva,” Jerez, Spain
Their write-up: Unbelievable! Sit
with this wine & marvel at the layers of flavors that unfold with every
sip! I’ll name a few: cola, vanilla, cocoa, milk chocolate, pipe tobacco and
toasted hazelnut that will not stop. You think you don’t like sweet wines, but you
drink your caramel mocha frappa nonsense … give this a shot … it will show you
how it’s done.
Michelle: This wine has legs like
Jessica Rabbit! The color is incredibly dark for sherry, but very enjoyable –
We purchased 1 half-bottle in the wine shop.
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