Hi Wineaux Friends! I attended the 10th Chicago Gourmet yesterday — this time JUST to cover the wines, and it was awesome. I concentrated on the wine seminars and squished in a little time to check out the main wine tents on the lawn. I had to be quick about being in line for the wine seminars, because with only 48 seats and an outdoor temp of 90+ degrees, competition was fierce to sit in air-conditioned comfort sipping wines.
I’m breaking up my Sunday sipping into a few posts, because otherwise one post would be, like, 100 miles long. And I’ve adopted a little rating system of stars because whenever I taste, I jot down stars to track which wines I just like ♥, like a lot ♥♥, love ♥♥♥and love so much I would marry it ♥♥♥♥. If you could marry a bottle of wine.
CHAMPAGNE & CAVIAR: This was by far the best, because Champagne! I adore Champagne – could drink it morning noon and night if I didn’t have to have my wits about me. The fabulous Alpana Singh (the first-ever female Master Sommelier and besides being a fierce wine guru, also has two of my fave restaurants in Chicago: Seven Lions and The Boardinghouse and a new wine-centric rest in Evanston called Terra & Vine) presented Moët-Hennessey’s entire Champagne portfolio, which was fun.
The other fun part was CAVIAR! Another one of my favorite things! Antonio Salto from Fine Taste Club, a Uruguayan company that sources luxury foods from around the globe, provided the Siberian Reserve Sturgeon Caviar (farmed in Uruguay) and Executive Chef Guy Meikle from Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar prepared beautiful canapés of rye bread with creamy scrambled eggs with bone marrow (what?) topped with a generous dollop of caviar. I could’ve eaten, like, 10 of these. But alas, we only got one.
Now to the Champagnes!
♥ Moët-Hennesey Imperial Brut Champagne is Moët’s most widely available “everyday” Champagne. At about $50, it’s really pretty – floral, nutty, citrusy.
♥♥♥ Next was Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. Any Blanc de Blanc is always made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, and I never met a B-de-B I didn’t like, because I like Chardonnay and this was my favorite. This one had tart green apple and lemon curd notes – really refreshing, with a nutty, yeasty, biscuity aroma. You can find it for about $80.
♥ Then we shifted to rosé, with Veuve Cliquot Brut Rosé. Full disclosure: I am not a Veuve Cliquot fan in general, but the Veuve rosé Champagne was nice. It’s about $65.
♥♥♥ Krug Grande Cuvée Brut was next. Now we’re up near $180 and things are getting interesting. This Champagne is radically different in style, very rich and almost buttery with a honey-like texture. I love it and would pair this with Trader Joe’s Honey Butter Potato Chips. Yep, I would – it would be delicious, and I kind of want it right now!
♥♥ And here comes the big daddy, Dom Perignon 2006. Dom Perignon is the “tête de cuvée” from Moët-Hennessey – otherwise known as the most special signature wine that really defines the house “style.” It is only made in years when the harvest is so outstanding, the grapes so magnificent, that the winemaker believes it will make a beautiful single-vintage Champagne. So, while non-vintage Champagnes (which are the majority of Champagnes on the market) are made from many wines from many vintages, vintage Champagne is just that — grapes from a single vintage. Dom 2006 (about $170) is quite austere, or lean, with notes of lemon curd and brioche. Besides caviar, I would pair it with fried chicken.
♥ Veuve Cliquot Demi-Sec While I adore Chateau d’Yquem (a very sweet, late-harvest Sauternes wine) with the right cheese or dessert, I don’t love sweet Champagne, so, sorry, I took one sip of this and left it at that. About $65.
So there it is — 45 minutes of decadence on a Sunday September afternoon sipping Champagne and eating caviar. Stay tuned for a recap of my other wine adventures at Chicago Gourmet 2017!