Tag Archives: Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottlenotes 80 Sips Challenge: The Challenge

As I’ve mentioned, I’m always ready to do some sipping (especially something new), but little did I know that the challenge would not be as much tasting 6 different wines in one evening as it would be finding an open bar on a Monday night.

The challenge has 4 participating bars (continuing through Jan. 31): HUB51, Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar, & Naha. As we started the challenge at HUB51, Jess, Martha, & I decided to try Maude’s Liquor Bar which we all had been dying to try.

Unfortunately, Maude’s wasn’t open – minus. Never fear, we decided to head to River North to Gilt Bar as I had never been there. Problem: also closed.

Now I should remind everyone that all of this occurred in January, on a MONDAY, in Chicago. (Read: It’s cold and we were thirsty.) So knowing that HUB51 was both open and nearby, we agreed to complete the challenge where started it.

To complete the challenge, we needed to try one wine from each of the following wineries, as well as 2 additional selections from Italy & France chosen by the bar:

  • Chateau Montelena (One of my favorites)
  • Domaine Carneros
  • Greg Norman Estates
  • Brancott

Having tasted the Domaine Carneros the week prior, Jess started with a Brancott Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (which we believed to be a 2009). (None of the vintages were listed on the menu.) Martha selected a 2008 Patch Block Cabernet Sauvignon from France, and I ordered the 2009 Chateau Montelena Riesling.

The Sauv Blanc & Riesling were initially delivered to us incorrectly, as I received the Sauv Blanc and Jess got my Riesling. We realized upon tasting and shared a laugh.

The Sauv Blanc was very crisp with notes of apple. It was extremely smooth and would be great for everyday drinking. The Cab had very nice and mellowed tannins that allowed the bramble, tobacco, and chocolate notes to shine.

I enjoyed the Riesling immensely, and I’m not always a big Riesling fan. I do LOVE a good Gewurztraminer, and the Chateau Montelena had lychee notes that are usually found in a Gewurzt. It had a nice crisp, lemony finish. A very pleasant wine.

For Round 2, Martha selected a  2009 Pinot Gris from La Rocca Winery in Italy, while Jess picked the 2008 Greg Norman Estates Shiraz from New Zealand. The Pinot Gris has a nice minerality to it that I love about Italian whites with a smooth stony finish. The Shiraz was smoky & leathery with hints of cherry, and while I am not the biggest fan of Shiraz, it did make for pleasant sipping.

We all had such a great evening that we decided to form a “Wino Wednesday” group (even though it was Monday) so that we can try wine bars and restaurants in the city. Any suggestions for where we should go next?

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