This week found me visiting with family in Chicago and boy was it crazy cold. I did come prepared, but it was still a bit too frigid for my taste. However, I stayed indoors most of the time, and so life was quite nice, especially the time spent with my close relatives. This evening we stayed in from the cold, and I was treated to restaurant quality food, in a warm and hospitable, family ambiance. They were truly kind to share their wonderful food and wine with me. The dinner started with a bowl of warm Minestrone soup. The soup was quite nice with just the correct amount of pasta and vegetables that gave way to your bite, but stood up to the spoon, quite nice. I helped whip up a quick batch of faux Spanish rice, by sautéing some onions until they were soft and sweet. Then I sautéed the rice until the rice glistened, then I added the prescribed amount of water, brought the pot up to a boil, and then let the rice cook under low heat. In the mean time, my in-laws put the final touches on some beautiful pineapple glazed salmon. First of all, the fish was just beautiful, a lovely orange that looked real instead of dyed. Then they took this lovely fish, and created a glaze made of pineapples, vinegar, and sugar. Finally, the fish was coated with the glaze, and then roasted in the oven along with pineapple chunks that become caramelized in the oven. My hosts said that they normally barbeque the fish on the grill, but with six inches of snow covering the deck and grill, that was out of the question, and downright unhealthy. While this was going on a bottle of Herzog Chardonnay Special Reserve was chilling in the fridge. The dinner was spectacular and greatly appreciated.
The wine was quite nice. The wine stayed the same pretty much throughout the diner and then the next day as well. It is a classic California Chardonnay, with so much oak and acidity, that even if all fruit has left the building, the wine is still kicking. The wine notes follow below:
Herzog Special Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2000 – Score: B+
I must say that when my hosts were kind enough to suggest opening the bottle, I thought we better have a backup, as this bottle has to long gone. But to my surprise, this wine is still kicking, though most of the fruit has gone stage left. The nose on this dark straw colored wine, opens with a rich almost creamy aroma of sweet oak, peach, and ripe apples. The mouth on this heady and full bodied wine starts with ripe peach and summer fruits. The mid palate is dominated by rich and almost aggressive sweet oak, but balanced with bracing acidity and citrus flavors. The finish is long with sweet oak, citrus acidity, and spice. If it were not for the acidity, this wine would be unbalanced. However, the fruit and acidity still have enough presence to counter balance the sweet oak. I would say drink up and enjoy with friends and family.