We struck Gold!

While on a recent mini vacation to the very swanky White Pines Resort, in Mt. Morris, IL, Janet and Lenny brought a 2014 Bordeaux with to enjoy at our campfire.

What a fabulous wine! I had to show you the bottle. If you ever run into this online or at a wine shop…. buy it!

Emergency Meeting of FEWC

Since we were not able to meet last Friday, the FEWC Executive Committee decided to convene an emergency session on Wednesday night. It turned out to be a big night for old vintages.

We started off with a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from the O’Shaughnessy Winery in the Mt Veeder region of Napa Valley.

Scott summed this wine up in 1 word: SMOOTH.

This Cab was excellent. The color was very dark purple while the body was medium to full. It had a wonderful nose that nobody could put a likeness to. It just smelled good! The taste had a nice balance of fruit, acid and tannins, with a wonderful soft mouthfeel. It was a hit!

Next we opened one of Scott’s oldest bottles from his wine futures stock. A 2010 Bordeaux from Chateau Villars.

It was worth the wait!

The color was dark but not quite as dark as the first bottle. This one had very little to offer on the nose, at least from what we could tell, but it tasted wonderful! Lenny thought it was a bit more acidic than the Cab, which gave it a bit more balance. The mouthfeel was not quite as lush as the Cab but this was one of those wines that got better and better with time to breathe. This was Janet’s favorite of the night. At this point we were 2 for 2!

The third bottle was a 2014 Montepulciano from Canneto Vineyards in Italy.

In Amy’s words, “The perfect third bottle”.

This wine was much lighter in color than the first two. Although nobody could actually put their finger on the nose, 3 of us agreed that it was kind of “funky smelling”. Lighter in body than the first 2, it had a nice fruitiness with medium tannins. This was a nice bottle with which to finish the evening.

As for treats, Janet put together a splendid charcuterie board that was part savory and part sweet. With a couple of very nice cheeses (Compte was the star) toasted French bread, 2 different Italian hard salamis and scrumptious marinated green olives holding up the savory side. Warmed caramel went terrific with fresh apple and pear slices. If caramel was not your thing you could drizzle honey on your fruit! There were soft chocolate cookies and peppermint/chocolate bark. No one left hungry. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture… I was too busy eating!

Without question, a wonderful session of the Friday Evening Wine Club.

No FEWC this past Friday

Janet and Lenny had a rare High School date night, which included a “fancy” dinner at Culver’s followed by the Buffalo Grove HS vs. Wheeling HS football game.  BG won 35 – 7.

No wonder we couldn’t do FEWC!

As for this weekend…. Happy birthday to both Scott and Amy!

We are scheduled to have an emergency meeting this Wednesday.  Details to follow.

A New FEWC Chapter

Friday Evening Wine Club is expanding!

On Friday evening, Nov. 9, two of the original founders of Friday Evening Wine Club were very happy to share in the inaugural meeting of the Tinley Park, Illinois chapter of FEWC. The hosts, Gary and Sue, were presented with an official FEWC certificate duly naming the Tinley Park chapter. And what a well-attended meeting it was!

There was quite a variety of wines to be shared—as the photo attests— and the ten attendees came well-prepared to discuss their chosen wine.

As several of those in attendance were St. Xavier University alums, it was only fitting that the evening began with a 2010 Xavier Cotes du Rhone from the Southern Rhône Valley in France. The group also enjoyed a California Pinot Noir, a 2015 red blend from Blue Sky vineyards out of Illinois, an Alexander Valley Cabernet and a Fusion of dry, blended red wine from Prairie State Winery. In addition, Cooper’s Hawk winery was well-represented with a white, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and their sparking almond wine.

The hosts did an outstanding job of providing plenty of nibbles to sustain their guests together with great music selections as a welcome backdrop to the lively wine discussions.

Familiar wine terminology travelled around the room—tannins, aeration, color, nose and legs. It was a welcome learning experience for some and a chance for review for others.

As the evening wound down, it was clear that an expanded appreciation of different wine varietals spread among the guests, some fresh friendships were formed (and what better way to make a new friend than over a glass of wine?), and—most gratifying of all—new wine fans were created.

Happy drinking to the Tinley Park chapter of FEWC as they continue to learn about and discover the world of wine!

FEWC has a “Wines of the Midwest” Night. (6/8/18)

Seven years ago, the founding FEWC members decided to take a trip to the Southern Illinois Wine Trail.  (What we do for the sake of research!)  Besides having a wonderful time in Macanda, IL, we visited several of the local wineries and were introduced to the mighty Chambourcin grape.   Now Illinois is not known for it’s great wine for a reason… they don’t make great wine.  It was not even very good… but we bought a few bottles and brought them home anyway, vowing to have a “Chambourcin night” some day.

Now back in the middle of May, Janet and Lenny went on a road trip to Minnesota, driving up through Wisconsin along the Mississippi River.  We discovered the “Great River Wine Trail”.  We stopped at 3 wineries along the way in Wisconsin.  The wines were surprisingly good!  So… as any good FEWC members would do, we brought a few bottles home.

On a suggestion from Scott and Amy, the theme for our June 8th FEWC meeting was, “Wines of the Midwest.”   We opened two coveted 7 year old Chambourcins and two of the newer wines from Wisconsin.

First was a white from Seven Hawks Vineyards called Prairie Star.  A light and refreshing white, served nice and cold.  A real “Patio Pounder”.  With lemon and stone fruit on the nose, we finished it in no time at all.

Second was Scott’s prized bottle from the Blue Sky Vineyard in Macanda, IL.  This was a beautiful light red color with a light to medium body.  We had no idea what to expect on the palate but we were all pleasantly surprised.  We discovered that Chambourcin aged well!  We could not decide what we smelled on the nose but it was pleasant and tasty with a fast finish.

We stuck with Chambourcin for the 3rd bottle, which was from our favorite vineyard that we visited during our stay in Macanda, Orlandini Vineyard. The owner and Vintner at this charming little place served us during our tasting.  He was a real character and we liked the wine then, so after 7 years, we were hopeful.   We were shocked and delighted by how well this bottle tasted.  We will never make fun of Chambourcin again!

Lastly, we had a bottle of 2013 Marquette Reserve from Villa Bellezza in Wisconsin.  This wine was stunningly good for a wine from Wisconsin.  Very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon.  Delicious!

With some tasty cheese and crackers, good music and good company, the “Wines of the Midwest” night turned out to be a great idea.



It’s Been Awhile! FEWC 5/11/18

FEWC has been  meeting pretty regularly since Christmas… it’s just that I have been lazy with updating the website.  Sorry about that.

We met this Friday with the hope that the weather would be warm enough to sit out on the patio… but that didn’t happen.

We still had a great time, sampling 4 different delicious wines from all over the world.  We started with a 2011 Malbec from the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina called Luca.  Everyone liked it, thought the nose was wonderful, had that bold Malbec taste with a nice long finish.  Next we had a 2014 Cote du Rhone from Paul Jaboulet Aine called Parallele 45.  A beautiful blend of Grenache and Syrah.  This was a well balanced wine that was a pleasure to drink.  Lenny thought it was one of the best Cote du Rhone’s that he had ever tasted.  For the 3rd bottle, we traveled to the Barossa Valley in Australia via a 2015 bottle of Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz.  This wine went very well with the nice charcuterie board that Janet brought out.  Before we knew it, the bottle was empty, so we opened a fourth bottle, this time staying in the USA, with an old favorite of FEWC, a 2014 Merlot from Rutherford Ranch in the Napa Valley.  Scott has a saying, “You can’t go wrong with Rutherford.”  How true!

FEWC (1/19/18)

What a nice way to start off the weekend.   We had a surprise for FEWC this week… Scott and Amy’s son Seth and his wife Stephanie came by.  They were in town to celebrate a late Christmas with Seth’s family.  They were married this past year and live in Iowa  ( the proud Iowa Chapter of FEWC).

Here is a picture of all the wines we opened:

We started with the Qupe, a 2008 Syrah from California.  I thought that after 9 years this would be excellent.  However, it was far from terrific.  I thought it had an unpleasant turpentine flavor.  Even though we decanted it and let it breath for 90 minutes, we found that it still needed more time.

Next was Cooper’s Hawk Collaboration, a red blend that I had kept for a few years.  It was much more fruit forward and ready to drink than the Qupe.  We all liked it.

Then we opened the 2013 Sebastiani Cab.  Everyone loved this well balanced wine!  Sebastiani has become one of our favorite Vineyards from California.

Then we headed to France with a 2014 Chateau Gloria, from St Julien.  We all had some fun when both Janet and Amy said they were getting dogsh*t on the nose.  Merde!  Neither Scott nor Lenny could detect that scent and happily consumed most of the bottle.

Lastly, in an effort to start drinking older wines from the cellar, we opened a 2010 Napa Cab from Sean Minor.  It was delightful.  A great representation of a top notch Napa Valley Cabernet.

Of course, Janet made sure that nobody went hungry with a tasty array of crackers, cheese and some “foo foo” breadsticks.  Once again, FEWC made everything right with the world.


FEWC Meeting last Friday (1/5/18)

Happy New Year!   Friday Evening Wine Club braved the freezing Chicago-area temperatures and gathered together for some pizza, salad and some very tasty reds.

First on the list was Torbreck Cuvée Juveniles 2013, a red blend from Australia’s Barossa Valley, which was described by some as fruit-forward and reminded other members of Pinot Noir, especially on the nose.  It provided a slightly sweet beginning, and then filled the mouth with a smooth, satisfying flavor, just dry enough, but not too pucker-provoking.

As we dug into pizza, we opened the second bottle,  San Felice Chianti Classico Reserva il Grigio 2012.  It provided everything you would expect from a good bottle of Chianti, with some cherry tones and a bit of earthiness.       It certainly paired well with the pizza!

Several months ago, we had an opportunity to try some Aglianico, a red blend from Italy, as the  featured wine in a New York Times Wine School dinner.  We liked it a lot.  Fortunately, Scott remembered how much we liked it and voila… our third tasting was a 2014 Terradora Aglianico. This one is a keeper!  Great call, Scott.

All in all, it was a nice way to stay warm on a cold Chicago Friday.