Jen's Birthday

Lake Bluff, IL

Tasted November 12, 2009 by MatthewF with 574 views


A small group of us met at Inovasi restaurant in Lake Bluff, IL to celebrate a friend's birthday. A great mix of wines from all over.

Flight 1 - A couple of pre-dinner whites to get the palate primed. (2 notes)

1998 Marcassin Chardonnay Lorenzo Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Lemon custard and lime peel on the nose with some toasty wood notes and wet stone. Great on the palate; very fruit forward with the same lemon custard. Some nice spice on the backend with great acidity.
2003 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Raw macadamia nut, lemon, marzipan and a touch of kumquat on the nose with wet stone. Very mineral driven palate with orange peel being the dominate fruit. Huge mineral backbone with a very nice finish.

Flight 2 - The Dinner Wines (12 notes)

White - Sparkling
N.V. Ruinart Champagne l'Exclusive de Ruinart France, Champagne
There was a difference in opinion as to whether or not this was corked. I believe it was slightly, but as psmith stated below, the taint became less noticable with time. Crisp yellow fruits and wet rock with a nice toastiness on the palate.
2005 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
Another sulphur dominated bottle of this wine. The palate was not too overwhelmed this time and some creamy lemon notes crept through. Sure to be a great wine someday, just needs time to come around.
1999 Geantet-Pansiot Charmes-Chambertin France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
2006 Domaine Taupenot-Merme Mazoyères-Chambertin France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Mazoyères-Chambertin Grand Cru
Briary dark red berry fruit on the nose with sweet baking spice. Lush palate with the same sweet spice throughout. Very nice finish with good grip.
1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
Crushed blackberry, smoke, roasted game, and lots of pepper on the nose. A fruit forward palate with outstanding minerality in the background and fantastic acidity. Gorgeous spice throughout. Absolutely beautiful.
1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
As good as the regular Chave served alongside was, this definitely took it up a few levels. Darker, more brooding fruit and spice nose; a more powerful palate and huge tannins on the backend. Refreshing acidity. Everything the regular cuvee has times 10. Tons of life ahead of it.
1986 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero
Dried red cherry and berry with cedar, spice, leather, and iron on the nose. A leaner palate, but still with enjoyable fruit and damp earth notes. Good acidity on the finish. A very elegant wine.
1990 Château Margaux France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
Red fruit nose, mostly cassis, cherry, and plum, with leather, and damp earth. Fantastic, ripe palate with wet tobacco and subtle spice. Great structure and balance. A very "young" bottle of this great wine. Delicious.
1995 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
Ripe red currant and cassis with graphite, leather, and damp earth. Fruit forward palate; very drinkable now. Not overly tannic. Good acidity on the backend.
Red - Fortified
1970 Graham Porto Vintage Portugal, Douro, Porto
Very dark cherry and plum on the nose with a healthy dose of cocoa and spice. Blueberry pie flavors on the palate. Alcohol is a bit overpowering on the nose and is obvious on the palate.
White - Sweet/Dessert
1986 Château d'Yquem France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
Light amber color. Aromatics of apricot, ripe yellow peach, vanilla, thyme, and white pepper. Great body to it with riper fruit than the last bottle I had. Everything is completely balanced. Fantastic acidity. Beautiful.
White - Sweet/Dessert
2005 Alban Vineyards Viognier "Rotten Luck" TBA USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley
Very dark amber color. Overpowering nose of honey and orange marmalade with tea aromas. As psmith stated below, like trying to drink honey with some tea flavors. No acid whatsoever. I could not get more than two teaspoons down. Not enjoyable at all.

Flight 3 - One more sweet wine at the bar (1 note)

One of the attendees who had to step out 3/4 of the way through dinner returned as most of us were getting ready to leave and brought this treat in.

White - Sweet/Dessert
2002 Sine Qua Non Sémillon Mr. K The Straw Man USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley
Orange marmalade and burnt orange peel aromas with a slight (good) herb note. Very viscous on the palate, but with good acidity, so that it was not overpowering. A lengthy finish with some nice spice notes throughout.


A fantastic night of great friends, food, and wine. Thanks to all and Happy Birthday Jen.

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