July 15, 2007

Dinners and Reviews and Wines! Oh My!

Thanks to everyone for the fun comments and responses I received on my Two Buck Chuck issue. Yes, we’re all still spinning from that one!

The first thing I’d like to address is that we’re undergoing a big change. Due to work stresses, the regular updates will no longer be on Thursdays, but will happen on the weekends. It is during that time that I really have the time and bandwidth to be able to sit and write. For at least the next two months, my weekday schedule (i.e., "the day job") is going to be too busy to allow me to be able to update the Blog in a timely fashion at any other time other than weekends.

Another thing I’d like to share with you is that I’m still busily (as time allows!) working on the website for Vegas Wineaux and the Experience. Curious? More to follow later!

It is so important to me that I receive lots of feedback from the local folks, and after much begging, I received an informal review of a local restaurant! Because of the positive comments made by someone whose taste in food and the finer things I trust, there will be a link on the blog page for people to access and use as a resource.

Thanks to Michael Breyer!

First, Michael’s review:

Oh my God!!!! What an ethereal experience! We started with spectacular Dirty Vodka Martinis. The next indulgence was a 2000 Bordeaux. The salad was a special seasonal Caprese. Instead of beefsteak tomatoes, it had very tender heirloom tomatoes and was served in a "cocktail" shaped glass. The Chateaubriand that I shared with my daughter was cooked perfectly, and the accompanying potatoes and vegetables were a wonderful complement to the meat. The ambiance was perfect and although the table was not isolated, the room was not congested or noisy and I had a sense of privacy. The three-member wait staff for our table of six was incredibly attentive. The change from the previous restaurant in the same space was remarkable. The tariff is not inexpensive, but of very good value. I cannot wait to return to insure that this was not an isolated experience. I really doubt that this is different than every dining adventure in Hanks.

Hank’s replaced Bullshrimp, which was one of the original restaurants in place when Green Valley Ranch Station opened a few years ago. Although the prices have been compared to those on the Strip, I understand that the food and ambiance is perfect for locals who long for the Strip experience from time to time but who don’t want to fight their way through tourist crowds.

Hank’s is located in the Green Valley Ranch Station, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway in Henderson. The restaurant’s reservation number is (702) 617-7515. Enjoy! And be sure to share any experiences you may have with this or other spots. As you can see, excruciating detail is not necessary, just an overall review of the quality of the food, the service, and the experience.

I had two dinners this week that were extraordinary, and both took place at restaurants I love.

The first one was last Tuesday, July 10, at Marché Bacchus when the Fritz & Tex’s Wine Club Thing (I think that designation is semi-official!) met for its biannual (?) dinner. We had six bottles to blind taste along with the usual wonderful fare. Tex always takes wonderful notes at each tasting, and this was no exception. Here are his notes, only slightly edited:


Notes from our July 10 meeting at Marché Bacchus: There were 13 members & 2 guests who attended the blind wine tasting & dinner. Special thanks to our host, Gregoire Verge, who is the owner & proprietor of Marché Bacchus, & Robb Horesovsky, Wine Director, who selected 3 whites & 3 reds for us to taste "blind". They also chose 2 additonal red wines to enjoy with dinner. Cal Oliver also brought a red wine from his collection for the group to taste "blind."

Wine #1 was almost clear in color with aromas of flowers, flint, wet slate, peaches, pears & limes; flavors of lemons, limes & pears & wet slate with a long finish of lemon-lime & minerals. The group thought this was either a Riesling Kabinett from Germany or an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. This was the 2004 Abbaye de Marmoutie Vouvray Clos de Rougemont, Loire Valley, France -- 12% alcohol -- $22. (Irene's note: It's the only bone-dry Vouvray I've ever had. Very interesting wine.)

Wine #2 was clear in color with aromas of petroleum, minerals & ripe white fruits; flavors of oak, lemon, grapefruit, green apples, kumquats & ripe white fruits with a citrus finish. We thought this was a 2005 Pinot Gris from Oregon. This was the 2005 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc (81%)/Viognier (19%), Clarksburg, CA -- 12.6% -- $12.

Wine #3 was very pale straw yellow with aromas of petroleum, oak, butterscotch, pears, smoke & spices; flavors of pears, oak & butterscotch. We thought this was a New World Chardonnay, probably from South America. This was the 2005 Gruet Chardonnay, New Mexico -- $16.

Wine #4 was light cherry red in color with clean aromas of cherries, strawberries & magnesium; flavors of dried cherries & leather with light tannins. We thought this was a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Chateauneuf du Pape or Pinot Noir. This was the non-vintage Rouge par Badie, Bordeaux, France, a blend of 80% Merlot & 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, created for a lightdrinking summer wine -- 13% -- $13. At least we were in the correct country!!

Wine #5 was dark purple-red in color with aromas of plums, dark fruits, roses, violets, smoke, oak, spices & cocoa; flavors of plums & spice with higher alcohol & well balanced acid & tannins. We guessed this was a Syrah from CA or Australia. This was the 2003 Hurricane Ridge Syrah, WA -- 13% -- $16.

Wine #6 was red-purple in color with aromas of light red fruits, blackberries, oak, spice, nuts, cola & yeast; flavors of light red fruits, blackberries, cola, cinnamon, licorice & dark chocolate with good acid, big tannins & a long finish. We thought this was a CA Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. This was the wine that Cal brought in from his collection: the 2004 Casa Nuestra Tinto Classico Old Vines, Oakville, Napa Valley, CA -- 14.3%. The wines are a field blend of several unknown varieties, one of which is probably Old Vines Zinfandel. Many thanks, Cal, for treating us to this wine.

Wine #7 was dark purple-red in color with vegetal aromas of dried red fruits, blueberries, oak, musty dried leather & dried flowers; flavors of cherries, dried red fruits, anise & dried leather with well-balanced acid & tannins. This tasted better than it smelled. We thought it was a 2003-04 Italian Chianti or a French red Burgundy. This was the 2003 Morambo Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Padthaway, Australia -- 14.0% -- $23.

The two wines that we enjoyed with dinner were the 2003 Les Baux de Provence Mas de Gourgonnier, Provence, France -- 12.5% -- $21. The other wine was a 2003 Cep Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA -- 14.8% -- $25. There were no notes taken on these last two wines.

Although we did not take an official vote on our favorites wines of the night, we heard several favorable comments about the Hurricane Ridge Syrah and the Cep Pinot Noir. (Irene’s note: The Syrah was rich, toothstaining, fruity, and, apparently, unfiltered. The Pinot was more Burgundian in style and needed to open before revealing its very nice Pinot characteristics.)

The second dinner I attended was the evening of Friday the 13th at Café Bleu, the restaurant that is managed by the students of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Summerlin. Hosted by the Las Vegas chapter of the American Wine Society, it was an enjoyable and entertaining evening. Kudos to Andy Ashbaugh for making sure that everything ran so smoothly. Because I don’t want to make this week’s issue too long, I will give the review of that dinner in next week’s entry. Meanwhile, contact the school for their prices and enjoy the experience of having students (who work very, very hard) hone their skills and make your dining an experience to remember.

From the Why Reinvent the Wheel Dept. – a wine blog that I like to read is called Vinography and is well written by an extremely talented man named Alder Yarrow. About a month ago he published a review on the Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles. Rather than give a review of his review, Click Here to read his review entitled Syrah Around The World: Tasting at Hospice du Rhone 2007. I want to attend it next year, but the word “Zoo” keeps rearing its head in my mind!

I Get Letters! – Thanks to Fritz for turning me on to John Curtas, the food reporter for the local public radio station, KNPR. I have to admit that I’ve spent quite a bit of time listening to his very entertaining reviews of local Vegas eateries. He’s funny, blunt, entertaining, and has an amazing talent with adjectives. His link is on the right side, newly added, and not to be missed by anyone wanting to dine in Vegas.

Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming website, the Vegas Wineaux Experience, and more!

And, as they used to say “back in the day,” Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming!

1 comment:

  1. Good talking to you today. My name is Chuck Moncrieff and if you get the chance please take a look at my website...vegaswinenews.com