Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Chicago Wine Journal

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Want to make those glasses shine? Try soap

Mar 29, 2015 – 9:39 pm
A vertical drying rank allows a rinsed decanter to drain thoroughly.

Mulling Wine: There’s something about wine and its enjoyment that elicits a good deal of nonsense, silly notions and wacky practices. The idea that dish soap should never touch a wine glass ranks high on that list. The only way I know to make a glass glisten is to wash it, by hand and with the same liquid detergent I use on my prized kitchen cutlery and fragile table ware.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: From a Burgundian sweet spot, bargain white

Mar 29, 2015 – 9:38 pm

Tasting Report: The Chardonnay produced in the principal appellations of Burgundy has long laid legitimate claim to being, collectively, the finest white wine in the world. But as those celebrated whites have become expensive, now would be a perfect time to consider the white wines from Burgundy’s deep south – from the appellation of Pouilly-Fuissé. The 2013 vintage from Louis Jadot typifies one of the world’s best wine values.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Beau-Séjour Bécot, royalty of the Right Bank

Mar 24, 2015 – 9:24 pm

Tasting Report: At any tasting of the great wines of Bordeaux, the stars don’t merely come out – they shower. So it was at a recent sipping of a small but widely representative sampler that produced one heady delight after another. The megastar of this assortment was the seductively opulent Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 2009 from St.-Emilion on Bordeaux’s Right (or east) Bank.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Decanting can put blush back in an old bottle

Mar 23, 2015 – 3:39 pm
Wine-filled decanters add to a dinner party's festive mood.

Mulling Wine: To decant or not to decant? To my mind, that isn’t even a question. Any wine, new or very old, gains from time in a decanter. Long experience has taught me that wines that have rested years or even decades in my cellar invariably blossom after the aeration that comes with decanting.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Raising a grand glass to the Rhône’s Rasteau

Mar 22, 2015 – 9:23 pm
Domaine Brusset's vineyards in Gigondas.

Tasting Report: The Southern Rhône Valley village of Rasteau, which was officially promoted to its own appellation in 2010, doubtless lags in name recognition behind regional fixtures like Gigondas and Vacqueyras. Its merit, however, could hardly be spelled out more clearly than in Domaine Les Aphillanthes’ 2012 Rasteau “1921.”

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Argentina Malbec, native and Bordeaux-style

Mar 19, 2015 – 11:15 pm
The Clos de los Siete 2011 offers a plush variation on Bordeaux-style blending.

Tasting Report: It wasn’t so long ago that Malbec was known – to the extent that it was in the consciousness of wine enthusiasts at all – for its modest supporting role in Bordeaux blends. Then Argentina roared into vinous ascendancy, and Malbec became an overnight star. Witness the two wines at hand: Susana Balbo’s unblended Signature Malbec 2012 and what might be called an upside-down Bordeaux blend: Clos de los Siete 2011.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: The too-fine point of the 100-point rating game

Mar 15, 2015 – 6:14 pm
The 100-point scoring system makes implausibly fine distinctions among high-quality wines. (2)

Mulling Wine: Reviews in Chicago Wine Journal do not come with numbers. I see only two purposes in reducing a review to a double-digit Post-It note, and neither of them has anything to do with enlightening the reader, the consumer. Numerical inscriptions lend the inscriber a certain pontifical authority: “I declare this a 90-point wine. Go forth, and purchase it with confidence.” The other talking point for scoring wine is exactly that: a point-of-sale flag that essentially does the salesman’s job for him. “This one got 90 points!” It’s no longer even necessary to name the scorer.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Ruinart brut puts fresh zest in classic bottles

Mar 14, 2015 – 11:20 am
A.R. Lenoble's Rose 'Terroirs' Brut  has springtime in its froth.

Tasting Report: There’s a charming paradox in the exuberant freshness of Ruinart’s Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne. It comes from the oldest house of Champagne, a continuous producer since 1729. This lovely sparkler, alluringly presented in an 18th-century-style clear, bulbous bottle, offers an exhilarating flavor blend of steely citrus and brioche, with a mousse so generous and constant that it seems to be fed by some unseen source.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Guigal meets Ruffino where value beats price

Mar 12, 2015 – 10:49 pm

Tasting Report: A wine bargain is a relative concept. While it’s hard to apply the word “bargain” to an expensive bottle, no matter how exalted the juice, in the real world I have a few longstanding faves – notable among them Ruffino’s Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale and E. Guigal’s red Côtes du Rhone. Vintage after vintage, both perform way beyond their modest price.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Setting the temperature for cellar and sipping

Mar 10, 2015 – 10:17 pm
Cellar temperature affects the evolution, or aging, of wine.

Mulling Wine: Wine should be, first of all, refreshing. And refreshment begins with temperature. The ancient notion that red wines should be served at room temperature is exactly that – ancient, and therein lies the problem. Time was, before central heating, when homes (and dining establishments) were not the toasty places we know and require today.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Sonoma expo serves up surprises amid stars

Mar 6, 2015 – 5:57 pm
Sonoma in the City presented more than 250  wines to attendees at the Drake Hotel.

Tasting Report: It wasn’t the many alluring examples of Pinot Noir that made the biggest impression when some 70 wineries set out their wares at the recent Sonoma in the City showcase at the Drake Hotel. What caught my eye, and palate, was the range of Sonoma wines – the varietals, the blends and the bargains.

CHICAGO WINE JOURNAL: Darioush pens its Signature in Bordeaux red

Mar 6, 2015 – 10:03 am
Darioush Signature cabernet sauvignon

Tasting Report: If the name Darioush isn’t on your wine radar, it’s probably because the bottled splendors from this Napa producer are available mainly at selected restaurants around the U.S. and at the winery located on the famous Silverado Trail. Darioush Khaledi, a native of Iran who first learned wine-making from his father, founded his Napa venture in 1997 with the goal of creating great reds on the Bordeaux model. As the latest blended Cabernet Sauvignon from Darioush attests, he has succeeded impressively.