Vino, Las Vegas!

A Unique Wine-Tasting Experience in Sin City

As wine bars go, few in the world could compare with Bin 702 in downtown Las Vegas, which gets the numerical part of its name from Sin City’s area code.

1Mantis

Bin 702 is located at a unique shopping destination known as Container Park, where a praying mantis greets guests at the entrance.

2ContainerParkSign

Shops, restaurants and the wine bar at the park are housed in large metal shipping containers that have been repurposed.

3Bin702Patio

Two containers were used to “build out” Bin 702, and then a wooden deck was added outside to provide more seating.

4DrinkingAllDay

The handwritten sign at the entryway summarizes the “non-attitude” vibe of the bar; this is not a place for wine snobs.

6WinoReservations

Rather, as the table reservation cards suggest, it’s a place for people who simply want to enjoy a glass (or two or three) of wine.

5BehindTheBar

We grabbed a table at the side of the bar and adjacent to the kitchen — perfect for watching the food prep and people watching.

7Montaditos

We ordered glasses of wine and a plate of montaditos, mini sandwiches filled with all kinds of tasty ingredients (meats, cheeses and various accompaniments).

All in all, it was a fun way to spend some time… and drink some wine… in Las Vegas. Bin 702 may not exude the glitz of The Strip, but it also doesn’t charge Strip prices. Our tab for two good glasses of wine and six mondaditos: about $33.

— Bob Johnson (photos by Michelle Johnson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Table 34: Fine Dining at a Fair Price

By Mary Frederiksen

The theme song to the old TV show, CHEERS, has a line in it: “where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”.

Table 34 restaurant epitomizes this sentiment perfectly.

I discovered this fine American take on a French bistro when my husband and I first moved to Las Vegas in 2009. This was in the middle of the Great Recession, when many Las Vegas restaurants met their demise. Only a few non-Strip fine dining establishments were able to weather that economic storm, and Table 34 was one of the few. Today, Table 34 continues its tradition of excellence in all aspects of providing a fine dining experience …outstanding service, pleasant bistro ambiance and, most importantly, exceptional food at reasonable prices.

Chef Wes Kendrick is the co-owner along with his sister, Laurie. Chef Kendrick learned his craft from an elite catering chef. He became executive chef for Joe Greensleeves Restaurant in Redlands, California at the age of 24. From there, he moved to Las Vegas in 1999 to help open the Wild Sage Cafe at the Warm Springs location that is now home to Table 34. At around this time, his sister Laurie was working with Wolfgang Puck, who was opening a branch of Spago in Las Vegas. When the corporation holding the Wild Sage Cafe dissolved, Wes and Laurie jumped at the chance to start their own restaurant and do it their way.

Table 34 is named for a table at the back end of the 200 seat restaurant. Kendrick considers the restaurant to be an American cafe with French and Italian influences. Specialties include a variety of meat choices – high-end meats, seafood and wild game. There are vegan choices as well, plus daily specials, and the menu is constantly evolving. Many of the items on the menu are made from scratch.

What has charmed me over the years is the care everyone at Table 34 takes to make you, the diner, feel welcome. It is an elegant pampering that makes you want to return frequently. This feeling also makes you want to tell all your family and friends about this unique restaurant. There are many fine dining choices in Las Vegas, most of them on the Strip. What makes me love Table 34 is that it is away from the Strip and the crowds. The prices are very reasonable, the servings ample, and the ambiance is quiet elegance.

The Restaurant and Chef Kendrick have been honored over their 7 years in business with numerous prestigious awards. Most recently, they received a 2016 Diners Choice Award of 4.5 stars out of 5. Their Zagat 2016 rating ranks their food “extraordinary to perfection”…a rating far above many Strip restaurants. Chef Kendrick is most proud of being honored two years in a row with The Best Chefs of America award. Best Chefs is a 3-year-old peer-nominated honor, so the selection holds a special place for him.

Those that like wine with their dinner will find a serviceable wine list at reasonable prices. Those oenophiles who look for hidden gems will find a few here. Owner Laurie, who has an excellent palate and makes the purchases for the list, will be happy to make recommendations. There is also a full bar able to whip up your favorite potable potion.

Speaking of drinking, they also have a special Happy Hour from 4:30pm to 6pm Tuesday through Friday.

Table 34
600 Warm Springs Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 263-0034

Lunch 11am-2:30pm Monday-Friday
Dinner Tues.- Sat. 5pm to 9:30pm
Happy Hour Tues.-Fri. 4:30 to 6pm.
They are closed on Sundays.

To view their current menus, make reservations, and see photos of the restaurant, visit their website at: http://table34lasvegas.com

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2016 Marche Bacchus Lunch Series has Auspicious Debut

By Glen Frederiksen

For several years, we at Wine Lines Online have touted the quality and value of the Marche Bacchus wine events – Saturday tastings at the bar, winery dinners, and wine sampling luncheons.

Still, you never know whether the new year will bring changes to restaurant interests. Many Las Vegas restaurants that had been famous for their wine lists and wine events are now gone, or have discontinued their wine-themed events.

Happily, I can report that the wine luncheon program at Marche Bacchus is even better than in the past. A packed house was on hand Saturday, February 27 for the inaugural wine lunch of 2016. A tasty three-course lunch was served, the price remained at a very reasonable $37.99 – but the wine portion has, in our opinion, been made stronger.

In the past, the wine luncheons often served 10 or even 12 wines. The pours were a miniscule sipful, and staff were running ragged to serve the wines. This time, the wines were kept to a reasonable six. All were wines of class and breeding, and the pour was closer to 1.5 to 2 ounces.

As my notes below reflect, these are world-class wines well suited to a fine dining experience, or just for sipping enjoyment at a party or moment of contemplation.

Below are my on-the-fly impressions of the wines served, with Marche Bacchus prices noted.

N/V Piper Heidsieck Brut Rose, Champagne
We are seeing more rose Champagne in the marketplace recently, and this is a prime example of why. Attractive in the glass, it is a brilliant pink salmon color with a fine, persistent bead. In the nose, citrus perfume mixes with sweet, lightly candied strawberries and cherries. On first sip, it explodes across the palate, showing zesty citrus, light notes of toast and yeast, followed quickly by apple, cherry, and strawberry. This is a party in a glass!
Marche Bacchus Price: $63.50 (February 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 93

2012 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, Italy
Clear in the glass – a pale straw color. The perfumed nose delivers sharp notes of citrus, green apple, and honeydew. There’s a clean palate presence, with a sense of roundness. Eminently gulpable, it shows why Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is the #1 seller around the world.
Marche Bacchus Price: $26.95 (February 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 88

2012 Ferrari-Carano ‘Tre Terre’ Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Viscous, with a deep straw color. Lavish butter and oak aromas lead to light vanilla and baking spices and, finally, to ripe flavors of peach, apple, and melon. Expansive and mouth-coating, the wine shines brightest at the finish, full of lush, buttery fruit. It is hard to find this richness at a pricepoint under $30.
Marche Bacchus Price: $26.99 (February 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2014 Belle Glos ‘Meiomi’ Pinot Noir, California
A muscular Pinot Noir, dense and opaque, with a black violet hue. Dark flowers, orange zest, clove, and boysenberry fruit aromas burst from the glass. For those who prefer big, meaty reds, this wine will win you over. This 2014 bottling may be the finest vintage ever.
Marche Bacchus Price: $31.90 (February 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2013 Elouan Pinot Noir, Oregon
Translucent light garnet in color. Lightly perfumed notes of orange blossoms and fresh cherry pick up some tea and earthy impressions in the mouth. Medium in body, with a mild grip. A consummate food wine, this red is ideally suited for picnics, brunch, and bistro fare. A value vino.
Marche Bacchus Price: $19.99 (February 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

2012 Justin Isosceles Cabernet blend, Paso Robles
This bottling, now in its fourth decade of production, utilizes three of the Bordeaux red varietals, with just enough Cabernet Sauvignon to qualify as a varietal wine. Isosceles was the first wine to bring world attention to the Paso Robles wine appellation, and over the years has won a bushel full of gold medals and several Best of Shows in international wine competitions. Nearly opaque deep garnet color in the glass. Enticing scents of oak spice and vanilla mingle with herb-laced black currant and blackberry fruit. It’s medium-full in the mouth, showing loads of upfront fruit that continued through to the medium finish. A pretty wine, drinkable now, but capable of aging gracefully for another 15 years.
Marche Bacchus Price: $81.99 (February 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 92

Marche Bacchus restaurant and wine store
2620 Regatta Drive, Suite #106
Las Vegas, Nevada 89128
(702) 804-8008

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2006 Godwin Merlot, Sonoma Valley

One of the best things about the beginning of a new year is searching the local wine retailers for quality wines bought on closeout deals. I have had good luck here in my home town of Las Vegas. Often, these wines have a bit of age on them –perfect for those who like a mature wine.
Wine writer Gil Lempert-Schwarz featured this wine in his column on 1/13/16. Since this red originally sold in the $40 range, a blowout price of $6.99 would be a steal. If… well, if the wine was still sound.
There is only one way to find out…
From first pop of the pristine, long cork, aromas of crushed berries waft from the glass and fill the room. The color is that of a mature claret – a nearly opaque, crimson hue, lightening towards the rim. The opulent fruit scents are joined by secondary bottle aromas of freshly turned earth, cellar/mushroom, light oak and cedar impressions, and a hint of minerality.
Now for the real test – the first sip. Wow! Ultra smooth with no tannic bite, the wine shows great refinement. The fruit is still going strong, but all other aromas and flavors are blended together to create a pleasurable mouthful of red. The fruit and earthy wood finish lingers for 15 to 20 seconds.
The bottle states that the winery was trying to produce a Merlot that would “rival the very best Pomerol chateaus.” While not Petrus, this is a very enjoyable Merlot that is in full maturity. The original retail price of $40 was reasonable – at this special price of $6.99 it is an absolute steal.
Sale price: $6.99 (Lee’s Discount Liquors in Las Vegas)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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A Special Dinner at Remedy’s Tavern

By Mary Frederiksen

On September 16, 2015 we attended the second annual R.E.D. Loyalty “Destination Dinner” at Remedy’s Tavern in Henderson, Nevada. R.E.D. stands for Remedy’s, Elixir, and Distill, a chain of sports pubs that also have a dedicated smoke-free dining room.

The five-course meal was hand crafted by Executive Chef, Roy Angeles.

The price to the public was $55 but, as loyalty members, we received a
special discount of $25 for having previously spent at least $500 in any of the R.E.D. locations. That made our price for this event $30/person, including tax!

What a wonderful deal! The menu was New American Fusion and included two drinks per person (wine, beer, or cocktail) off of the restaurant’s drink list. Two glasses of a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand was nearly the cost of the dinner!

But make no mistake, the five courses were not your typical pub grub.

The first course was seared ahi carpaccio with mixed greens, dressed with a vinaigrette. It was topped with jalapeño tempura matchsticks and a drizzle of mango sauce. We refrained from licking the plates (barely) and gave the appetizer an A+.

The next offering was called “Mediterranean Salad Goes American”. It consisted of fresh mixed salad greens tossed with a variety of gourmet olives, small cubed feta cheese, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and fresh garlic. The dressing was a lovely vinaigrette . The salad items were cut to a perfect bite size and we greatly appreciated the lack of pits in the deli-style olives. Another solid A.

Course three was four sweet and spicy chicken wing “lollipops” served over a bed of mashed red potatoes. I enjoyed the less crispy skin and the milder use of spice, while my hubby would have liked a more crispy skin and more spice. You say “to-may-to,” I say “to-mah-to.” The potatoes were seasoned well and complemented the wings. This was more traditional pub food, but a solid B.

The fourth course consisted of a 6-oz filet of beef done “Oscar” style with bearnaise sauce, topped with shredded crab meat, served with grilled asparagus spears and roasted sliced fingerling potatoes delightfully seasoned with rosemary/Italian spices. A hearty dish to be sure, but the meat wasn’t up to the quality found in the other dishes. B-

The dessert course was perhaps one of the finest desserts I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. It was a Tiramisu Cheesecake that the Chef created. The crust was nicely made, the cheesecake filling divine, and the rich cream topping was perfect. It had all the flavors of traditional tiramisu and we DID lick our plates clean. A+!

Our server was Alexis and she did a wonderful job making sure we had all that we needed.

My sincere thanks to Chef Roy for an excellent dinner! Several of the dishes were worthy of the finest restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip.

I invite you try this dining spot the next time you are in the area. And be sure to join their RED loyalty program!

They are located at: 3265 St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, Nevada 89052. Phone: 702-982-3026

They are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!

Check out their website for more information: http://remedystavern.com/locations/st-rose-location/

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Pahrump Valley Winery Comes of Age

By Glen Frederiksen

I have been following the progress of Pahrump Valley Winery since its inception a quarter century ago in 1990. At that time, a few acres were planted to an obscure grape called Symphony, a white grape with floral aromatics that reminded me of Riesling and Gewurztraminer rolled up into one. It could produce delicious wines, from bone dry to dessert style.

Unfortunately for the winery, the wild horses and other animals that roamed the surrounding sparse landscape also found the grapes and vines delicious, and quickly ate them down to the roots, trampling the vineyard.

The name of the grape lives on today in the wonderful bistro connected to the winery, called Symphony’s.

In the first decade, most wine made at Pahrump Valley Winery was produced from grape juice purchased in other states (like California) and then fermented and finished at the winery. To be charitable, many of these wines were of the lowest commercial grade, some barely palatable.

Hard times came, and the winery went on the block for sale in 2003. Enter Bill and Gretchen Loken.

Residents of Scottsdale, Arizona, they were looking for a change. A winery sounded like the perfect challenge. Far from being wine connoisseurs or insiders in the wine industry, they had to start from scratch. They learned all they could about wine, with Gretchen eventually attending the school of Enology at UC Davis and earning a certificate in winemaking.

With each successive vintage, the quality of the wines has improved. Many of the twenty or so bottlings done at the winery are made with premium grapes grown in California, Oregon, and Washington. But, more and more, the Lokens are seeking out grape sources locally, from vineyards in Nevada. In fact, over 25% of the wines they now produce are made with Nevada-grown grapes, and that percent is increasing with each new vintage.

They have several acres of vines on the property, mostly Zinfandel and Syrah, with smaller plantings of other varietals. They also purchase grapes from around the state, where microclimates have proven favorable to a number of grape varietals. Among the grape varietals they now purchase are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barbera, Ruby Cabernet, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc, with Chardonnay and Malbec soon to be available.

On this occasion, I noticed something new in the current crop of releases. The wines of Pahrump Valley Winery are more refined, more balanced, with better fruit definition. These are delicious wines, ready to hold their own with the offerings from wineries in California, Oregon, Washington, and other recognized areas.

The best news is that the wines made from 100% Nevada-grown grapes are as good as those made from imported grapes. Nevada wine-making has come of age. This is reflected in the spate of awards that Pahrump Valley Winery has been garnering in commercial wine competititons. The Nevada Ridge line-up of wines, made from Nevada-grown grapes, has already earned 60 medals, including 12 Gold Medals and two Double Gold Medals.

While at the winery, I tasted a few of the wines currently available for purchase in the tasting room. Below are my palate impressions and on-the-fly ratings.

2013 Charleston Peak Pinot Grigio, California
Pale straw color in the glass. The delicate nose includes floral impressions, apple, citrus, and peach fruit, and a hint of sweetness. In the mouth, the off-dry sweet impression continues. The white is medium-bodied, rounded, and has a creamy afterflavor. A Value Vino.
MSRP: $15.95 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 88

2010 Charleston Peak Syrah ‘Reserve,’ Sierra Foothills, California
This red sports a bright ruby color. Initial notes of smoke and cocoa mix with ample aromas of black berry fruits. It is medium-full in body, picking up some black licorice towards the finish. Enjoy with lamb or smoked red meats.
MSRP: $23.95 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 88

2012 Nevada Ridge Silver State Red, Nevada
This is a blended red featuring several varietals, all grown in the state of Nevada. It has already been awarded two Gold Medals in wine competition.
In the glass, it is a nearly transparent, light ruby color. The nose delivers lush aromas of raspberry and sweet cherry fruit, along with a touch of oak. Light and bright, with a sense of refinement, this is a perfect red for your next BBQ, lunch, or buffet-style event.
MSRP: $25.95 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 88

Pahrump Winery is open daily for wine tasting from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. And be sure to dine at the Symphony’s restaurant, open for lunch and dinner daily. Dinner reservations are recommended, especially on the weekend.

Pahrump Valley Winery
3810 Winery Road
Pahrump, NV 89048
(800)368-9463
http://www.pahrumpwinery.com
email: pvwine@hotmail.com

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Dinner With A Friend

By Glen Frederiksen

One of my favorite parts of the world wine community is the camaraderie that we all share with one another. I know of no other special interest group that reaches out to make new friends as easily as those who profess a passion for wine.

Over the years, this has taken me around the world. I have met up with fellow wine travelers and enjoyed countless get-togethers of food and wine throughout Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Closer to home, I have traveled to cities across the United States and Canada, often staying a few nights with people whom I have met through the many online forums for the wine-obsessed. Likewise, I have hosted quite a few visiting wine lovers in my home. Good times, all.

This week, a wine friend from Toronto, Canada found his way to Las Vegas, so of course we had to get together for a glass bottle or three while he was in town. Actually, we (over)did it three nights in a row. Such is the way of those who follow the Wine Muse.

Our first night was dinner at the appropriately named restaurant Marche Bacchus. I have written about my many besotted nights there in the past (follow this link). Owners Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt are first ballot inductees into the Wine Friendliest Restaurants Hall of Fame. The wine shop, at the front of their sprawling French bistro establishment, is the best in Las Vegas, carrying all kinds of cult wines that are usually only obtainable from the winery direct for those on a mailing list.

I won’t bore you with the bite-by-bite of the dinners we enjoyed – the food was, as always, exceptional. I know why you are reading this – to hear about the wine we had. So let’s get to it. Two of the wines were purchased at the restaurant, the other two were brought by us.

2007 Ammonite Brut Champagne, Grand Cru Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
Selection Greg Linn. Winemaker Pierre Gonet has fashioned a winner. The mousse is fine and persistent. In the nose, toasted bread leads to full, oily lemon scents. This follows through in the mouth, where a rich, creamy impression carries through to a long, mouth-watering afterflavor. With only 300 cases made, this is a rare bottling to make it to our neck of the woods and I, for one, am glad it did.
Marche Bacchus Price: $115 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 92

2012 Peter Michael Chardonnay ‘Ma Belle-Fille,’ Knight’s Valley
Here is another wine you rarely see at a retail wine store. Deep straw in color. This white is already well-knit together, showing aromas and flavors of clove, clarified butter, toast, cashew, ripe stone fruit, citrus oil, and a sense of liquid minerality. On the label, the alcohol is listed as 15.6%, but there is no trace of heat – just a warm, happy feeling after every sip.
Marche Bacchus Price: $115 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 94

1996 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley
This was my friend’s contribution to the evening’s festivities. After replanting in the early 1990s, the 1996 Heitz Martha’s was the first release in five years. If you expected this to be youngish, light, and less complex due to the replanting, think again. This is classic Heitz Martha’s, in full maturity. A deep opaque ruby color in the glass. A mélange of aromas waft from the glass, including cedar, mushrooms, eucalyptus/mint, and ample lush black currant and berry fruit. I remember tasting this on release and wondering if it would blossom with time. Wonder no more.
Current Market Price: $135 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 93

1998 d’Arenberg Shiraz ‘The Dead Arm,’ McLaren Vale
This was my contribution for the evening. From one of the most venerable estates in Australia, this is their top-of-the-line Shiraz bottling. In the glass, it was an opaque black/ruby color. Tremendous scents of mushrooms, cedar, currant, and dark chocolate seduce the nose. On first sip, it expands on the palate, showing both power and finesse. Want to fool your French snob wino friends? Throw this ringer into the mix and see which First Growth they think it is!
Wine Auction Price: $63 (February 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 95

The side-by-side of the two older reds was educational, as they could have been twins. A reminder that, in fine older reds, the secondary and tertiary aromas and flavors all funnel down to a similar profile.

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Holiday Wine, Part 2 – More Sparkling Wines

By Glen Frederiksen

What with the Holiday season upon us and all, it is a little hard to stay focused on the job at hand. Work commitments, shopping, family, friends, and celebratory parties all conspire to keep the diligent wine blogger from making his appointed rounds.

But nothing could keep me away from the December 20 wine luncheon at Marché Bacchus. Beside the insanely good food provided in the three course lunch, ten high-end sparkling wines and Champagnes were slated to be served. With great gastro-intestinal fortitude, the Happy Cooker and I forced ourselves to partake in the luncheon offerings.

From left, John Smith and Beth Williams of Wirtz Beverage join Your Humble Scribe

From left, John Smith and Beth Williams of Wirtz Beverage join Your Humble Scribe

Let’s dispense with a description of the dishes served. All were excellent, with plates piled high with tasty fare. One would be hard-pressed to consume all of the food at any of these wine lunches at Marché Bacchus, wine or no. The lunch itself is already a bargain; the wine is a delightful bonus. So on to the tasting notes!

Below are my on-the-fly scribblings as each one ounce pour was presented. It is a great cross-section of the world of sparkling wine – both Old World and New World, different countries, different styles, various grape varietals. In other words, something for everyone’s palate preferences. Since the tastes were poured in regular wine glasses, I was unable to evaluate the mousse and beads.

Angelo Reyes, Marche Bacchus Sommelier

Angelo Reyes, Marche Bacchus Sommelier

All are available for purchase at Marché Bacchus, either to dine in with or to take home for your own festivities.

2006 Duval-Leroy “Design Parts” by Leroy Neiman Brut, Champagne
Artist Leroy Neiman was a good friend of Carol Duval-Leroy and designed this bottle for the Cuvée Paris series. The initial impression is of toast and lees in the nose. There is crisp acidity on first sip, then it turns creamy with a caramel kiss. Some baked apple, and a strange herbal note.
Marché Bacchus price: $32.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

NV Poema Cava Brut Rosé, Cataluña, Spain
In today’s marketplace, the wines of Spain represent good value. This is a delightful sparkling wine made from the rare red grape Trepat. Aromas and flavors of plump red berries and rose hips are held in check by a crisp acidity, followed by a noticeable crystal minerality from the limestone soils the grapes are grown in. A Wine Lines Value Vino.
Marché Bacchus price: $15.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

NV Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige, Italy
A pretty sparkler from Chardonnay grapes that delivers ample baked apple, nuts, and caramel notes, with a final whiff of honey. Lively on the palate, with a lingering finish.
Marché Bacchus price: $35.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

NV Domaine Carneros Brut, California
A lovely estate property in the Carneros region of California’s North Coast, it is owned by the prestigious Champagne house Taittinger. A refined style, with moderate aromas and flavors of white flowers, apple, citrus, toast and vanilla. It has a crisp entry to the palate, then rounds out to a creamy finish. New World fruit with Old World refinement.
Marché Bacchus price: $31.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2011 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut, California
Ample bright citrus, crisp pear, and white flowers. Initial juicy entry turns creamy. A clean and refreshing style of bubbly.
Marché Bacchus price: $35.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

NV Ayala “Brut Majeur” Rosé, Champagne
A beautiful salmon color. The aromas and flavors are delicate and feminine for a rosé, with wisps of almond, cherry, and white raspberry. Well knit and oh-so-drinkable.
Marché Bacchus price: $55.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

NV Pierre Péters “Cuvée de Réserve” Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne
A classic Champagne nose – in all of the good ways. Toast, lees, bread, nuts and red apple aromas and flavors show good complexity. Perfectly knit together, with a persistent finish. This was a new producer for me, but I will be on the lookout for it in the future.
Marché Bacchus price: $73.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 93

NV Vilmart & Cie “Cuvée Rubis” Brut Rosé, Champagne
More than most Champagnes, this Rosé communicates a sense of terroir. A blend of 90% Pinot noir and 10% Chardonnay grapes that receive wood aging prior to transforming into bubbly. Lots of ripe apple, cherry, raspberry, and a ghostly whiff of honey waft in and out of the glass. Juicy on the palate, with a long afterflavor. Power and refinement in a glass.
Marché Bacchus price: $95.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 93

NV Varnier-Fanniére “Cuvée Saint Denis” Blanc de Blancs, Champagne
It has a seductive nose of rich baked brioche, almonds, citrus, and candied apple. The initial mouthfeel is steely, then the ample acidity gets the juices flowing. It has an amazingly clean finish. Purity of expression makes this stand out from the crowd.
Marché Bacchus price: $85.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 92

NV Marenco “Pineto” Brachetto d’Acqui, Italy
What a pleasant surprise! Imagine Asti Spumante, but made with red grapes and without the cloying, candied viscosity. Ta da! That is Brachetto d’Acqui. Neon coral color. Can roses be honeyed? One whiff will have you convinced. Add in some red berries and notes of geranium. Throw in a creamy mouthfeel. What do you have? The perfect celebratory sparkler for your next Big Event. I will definitely be opening one this New Year’s Eve.
March´´Bacchus price: $26.99 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 94

Marché Bacchus is located at:


2620 Regatta Drive, Suite #106

Las Vegas, NV 89128

(702) 804-8008

To make reservations for coming events, get on their email list, peruse their menu, or otherwise contact Marché Bacchus, click on the link below:


http://www.marchebacchus.com/

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Marché Bacchus Wine Lunches, Year 2

By Glen Frederiksen

Last winter, there were a series of wine lunches presented at Marché Bacchus restaurant in Las Vegas. They were great fun, and a stone bargain besides. With the coming of spring, they disappeared. I wondered if they would come back as the weather cooled, and if they would be as good as before.

Guess what? They are back, and better in every way!

Let’s start with the food. Marché Bacchus is renowned for being the best French Bistro food in Las Vegas not on the Strip. Add to that the wine shop in the front that stocks some of the best, hard-to-find labels on the planet, and you have a combo that is hard to beat. And yet, over the past year, Marche Bacchus has done just that – gotten better.

Jose Aleman, Executive Chef

Jose Aleman, Executive Chef

A big part of the reason is Executive Chef Jose Aleman. He crafted the menu for the luncheon event, and the meal was outstanding. There were two choices for each of the three courses. I will list the ones I had for lunch – others at the table had the remaining dishes, to similar rave reviews.

Cream of Celery Soup

Cream of Celery Soup

My first course was a Cream of Celery Soup. Light and almost mousse-like in texture, it was an outstanding match with the first three wines we tasted. I showed no couth, lapping up the last of the soup with a hunk of the bread provided.

Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin

My main entrée was Coq Au Vin. This classic French bistro dish takes chicken and braises it in red wine, bacon, pearl onions, mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes. The two California Pinot Noirs tasted were a perfect match. More bread was ordered so I could sop up the reduced wine sauce left in the bowl.

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

For dessert, I ordered the Apple Strudel with Vanilla Gelato. This was an Americanized version, much sweeter than the Strudel I used to have when I lived in Germany. Think of it more like Mom’s homemade apple pie. That said, it was delicious.

A baker’s dozen wines were presented by John Smith, veteran wine educator and representative of Wirtz Beverage Company. The quality of these wines across the board was outstanding. The notes that follow are my on-the-fly impressions. The prices given are what they retail for at Marché Bacchus.

2012 Domaine Laroche Chablis “St. Martin,” Burgundy, France
Lightly perfumed, with honeyed lemon-lime aromas and flavors. In the mouth, there is minerality and a juicy acidity. Very clean.
Marché Bacchus price: $23.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

2011 Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France
Lush and opulent, with rosewater, white flowers, lychee, green apricot, and a hint of geranium. Impressive quality for this pricepoint.
Marché Bacchus price: $19.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2013 Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy, France
In contrast to the Chablis above, this Chardonnay has riper, honeyed stone fruits. It shows a medium weight on the palate, good acid balance, and a clean finish.
Marché Bacchus price: $29.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 88

2010 Schloss Schonborn Estate Riesling, Germany
Pretty honey-kissed apple with pine needle notes. There is a nice round, sweet impression in the mouth, kept balanced by ample acidity.
Marché Bacchus price: $19.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

2011 A. J. Adam Riesling Spatlese, Dhron Hofberg, Germany
While classified as a Spatlese, the sweetness level of this wine is more in line with an Auslese. Quite decadent, initial pine needle scents lead to honeyed tropical fruit and apricot. In the mouth, the overtly sweet fruit is nicely counterbalanced by young, prickly acidity. This wine will drink well for a decade and more.
Marché Bacchus price: $54.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2013 Rueling Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
No expense spared here… A high quality Pinot Noir vineyard planted to cuttings from DRC La Tache and DRC La Romanée-Conti was used to fashion this delicate rosé. Moderate aromas and flavors of strawberry, passion fruit, and rose petals are found in this sleek, clean rosé. It is light on its feet, more Old World in style than New World. Enjoy this as a welcome wine.
Marché Bacchus price: $19.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 89

2012 WHOA Farm Pinot Noir, Crane Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Perfumed aromatics of red cherry, beet root, and anise, with subtle notes of oak. Sleek in the mouth, with flavors of red berries and orange peel.
Marché Bacchus price: $55 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 92

2012 Melville Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
Layered, complex, and exquisitely balanced, this smooth red delivers orange, black raspberry, dark flowers, black tea, sandalwood, and fennel seed. The best estate Pinot Noir from Melville I have tasted.
Marché Bacchus price: $42.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 92

2011 Chateau des Jacques Moulin-A-Vent, Burgundy, France
Full of berries and fleshy cherry. Many shy away from young Cru Beaujolais as they can be tannic and earthy, if not downright gritty. Such is not the case here. These wines can age gracefully for 10 to 20+ years. Good value.
Marché Bacchus price: $27.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2010 Buglioni “Il Bugliardo,” Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Ripasso, Italy
Deeply perfumed with a concentration of fleshy black fruits (plum, currant, and cherry). A rich style of red well-suited for meat roasts or mature cheeses.
Marché Bacchus price: $39.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2011 Clau de Nell Cabernet Franc de Anjou, France
Opaque purple/black color. This dense red has an iron-tinged minerality that leads to leather notes and black fruit. Full and chewy in the mouth, with drying tannins at the back. This one could use a decade of cellaring.
Marché Bacchus price: $47.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

N/V Caposaldo Sweet Sparkling Moscato, Italy
There is a chalky edge to this sweet bubbly, showing aromas and flavors of rose geranium, honeyed stone fruits, and sweet lime.
Marché Bacchus price: $15.99 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2003 Clarendelle Amberwine, Bordeaux, France
From Chateau Haut-Brion comes this new mid-priced line of wines, Clarendelle. This one, Amberwine, looks like and drinks like a Sauterne – but without the stiff pricetag. Typical aromas and flavors of marmalade, honey, and dried apricots make this a pleasant and affordable substitute for its more expensive big brothers.
Marché Bacchus price: $25.99/500 ml. (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

At a nickel under $38, the wine luncheons at Marché Bacchus are a steal. The wine pours are just tastes, but the three courses are full servings. You will not go away hungry.

Marché Bacchus is located at:

2620 Regatta Drive, Suite #106
Las Vegas, NV 89128
(702) 804-8008
To make reservations for coming events, get on their email list, peruse their menu, or otherwise contact Marché Bacchus, click on the link below:
http://www.marchebacchus.com/

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Old Friends: Sonoma-Cutrer and Winemaker Mick Schroeter

By Glen Frederiksen

For thirty years, I have followed my wine muse. She has taken me to wine education classes, to wineries all over the world, to numerous wine clubs and tasting groups, to dozens of wine dinners, and many wine tasting events.

I began my own wine education group and held monthly tasting seminars. I organized wine dinners, led tours to the wine country, published a monthly wine newsletter, became a wine judge, and was director of an international wine competition.

Those thirty years have left me with many memories, nearly all of them good. Unlike most industries, the wine community is one rife with sharing and camaraderie. I have belonged to many special interest groups over the years, and the world of wine is uniquely friendly and positive. Maybe it is because all wineries share the same struggle with Mother Nature to bring in the harvest each year. Perhaps it is the free flow of information that occurs because winery personnel move around so often.

Or maybe drinking wine on a regular basis just makes everyone happy and mellow.

An email from my favorite Las Vegas wine shop/restaurant, Marche Bacchus, indicated that they would have a free tasting event on Tuesday, November 11. The featured winery was Sonoma-Cutrer and would be attended by winemaker Mick Schroeter.

Sonoma-Cutrer and Mick Schroeter. Two old friends.

The Sonoma-Cutrer Winery should be familiar to any casual wine drinker, diner, or bon vivant. For the past 25 years, the Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Chardonnay has been declared the most ordered Chardonnay in fine restaurants across the USA. I first tasted their wines in the late 1980s, and loved their clean, fruity, spicy take on the Chardonnay grape.

Sonoma-Cutrer Winery was established in 1973 in the heart of the Russian River Valley, bringing its initial vintage of Chardonnay to the marketplace in 1981. True to the terroir of the Russian River Valley where the estate resides, Sonoma-Cutrer specializes in only two varietals – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Helping to maintain its trademark expression of these two Burgundian varietals, the winery has employed only three winemakers over the more than three decades of vintages. The first was William Bonetti. Second was Terry Adams. And, beginning in 2010, Michael ‘Mick’ Schroeter took over the reins.

I’ve known Mick for some 15 years now. We first met when he was working at Geyser Peak Winery with Daryl Groom. These two Aussie transplants had originally worked together in the Barossa Valley at Penfolds Winery. When Groom came to California to take over the winemaking operation at Geyser Peak, Schroeter followed shortly thereafter. They took a winery better known for everyday table wine and crafted a brand that produced dozens of different bottlings, from everyday “fighting varietals” to reserve level reds and whites that could hold their own with the best in the state. Their everyday Sauvignon Blanc, all stainless steel fermented and on the shelf just months after harvest, became an industry standard for the varietal, garnering gold medals and Best of Class awards in nearly every vintage.

Interestingly, neither Penfolds in Australia nor Geyser Peak in the Alexander Valley of California produced a Pinot Noir, and their Chardonnays were solid but not exceptional. I asked Schroeter why he took on the role of winemaker at Sonoma-Cutrer Winery, a Burgundian varietal specialist. The best sense I could make of his response was the desire for a new challenge at an established, world-renowned facility. It was this wanderlust, the desire to “do it all” in the wine world, that had brought Schroeter to California in the first place, after making wine in Australia and Chile.

From the wines I tasted at Marche Bacchus that evening, Schroeter is doing a magnificent job overseeing the winemaking at Sonoma-Cutrer. The current releases are among the best I have tasted from the winery. And the 2012 Founder’s Chardonnay, only the second such designated bottling from the winery, is the best Chardonnay I have had this year.

After years of not being open to the public, Sonoma-Cutrer now welcomes visitors to the estate property for tastings and tours. For more information, check out their website, drop them an email, or give them a call.

Sonoma-Cutrer Winery
4401 Slusser Road
Windsor, CA 95492
(707) 237-3489
http://www.sonomacutrer.com

Below, please find my on-the fly assessment notes of the Sonoma-Cutrer wines tasted at Marche Bacchus, with winery pricing:

2013 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
This is their flagship wine, found only in fine restaurants and at the winery. This vintage is bursting with honeyed, spiced, apple fruit that screams Russian River Valley. An opulent style of Chardonnay, but with impeccable balance. This is one of the best RRV bottlings ever produced by the winery.
MSRP: $28 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2011 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, Les Pierres Vineyard
True to its name, wet stone minerality interplays with perfumed white flowers, notes of honey, toasted nuts, baking spices, apple fruit, and citrus notes. Complex and well-knit. This should gain complexity and drink well over the next decade. The 2011 harvest in the North Coast was a difficult one, but you wouldn’t know it from this bottling. Superb!
MSRP: $42 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 92

2012 Sonoma-Cutrer Founder’s Chardonnay
Only the second rendition of this bottling, a selection blended from the best five barrels of the vintage. Enticing aromas of exotic flowers, hazelnut, lemon chiffon, light apple, stone fruit, and crème brulee. This is decidedly feminine and seductive – not your typical California oak-and-fruit monster. Exquisite.
MSRP: $65 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 94+

2012 Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Wood notes of cinnamon spice frame a potpourri of red and black fruits (strawberry, raspberry, and black cherry). Notes of orange rind. In the mouth, it is sleek and supple, with flavors mirroring the nose. There is a moderate, youthful, tannic grip at the back. This is a great wine to enjoy now, but it will continue to provide pleasure over the next six to eight years.
MSRP: $34 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

More fun! Following the tasting at Marche Bacchus, Mick and the winery reps put on a special tasting for the Sommeliers of Las Vegas at Ferraro’s restaurant just off the Strip. I was allowed to tag along. It was a vertical tasting of the iconic Les Pierres Vineyard Chardonnay, noted for its Burgundian style and longevity. The vineyard, which derives its name from its rocky soil reminiscent of Burgundy, is located just outside the town of Sonoma. Here are my impressions:

2012 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, Les Pierres Vineyard
Crisp minerality. Lightly perfumed, showing white flowers and apple fruit with a whiff of smoky oak. Notes of roasted nuts. Hint of herbs. Unevolved, but showing great promise for the future. Mouth filling, with a long finish.
Wine Lines rating: 92

2009 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, Les Pierres Vineyard
Ample fruit punctuated by nuts, wet stones, and clarified butter. It is medium-full in the mouth, with a long, lip-smacking finish.
Wine Lines rating: 91

2004 Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, Les Pierres Vineyard
At first whiff, a note of petroleum, which gave way to butter-kissed lemon curd fruit and distinct minerality. The nose is piquant, but it is silky smooth in the mouth.
Wine Lines rating: 89

1999 Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, Les Pierres Vineyard
Wow! Perfumed, with pretty clove woodspice and apple fruit. Still seems young and vibrant, with a perfectly smooth feel in the mouth. Beautiful and compelling, with a long life ahead.
Wine Lines rating: 93

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