Wine Tasting

As a fund raiser, St Ann’s Episcopal Church invited parishioners to the Randall and Vine wine shop in Algonquin to sample 16 wines and enjoy some food. Say what you want about Episcopalian politics etc.; these people know how to have a good time. For $35 we got to taste each wine (several times as it turns out) and join in some raffles for door prizes. Plus 10% of the wine we purchased was contributed to St Ann’s — “it’s for charity!”. Plus the chairpeople had to go and try all the wines – can’t let all their hard tasting go to waste!

We bought two Saurus (persistent bubbles with fruity aromas of toasted bread and toffey, good acidity and good finish) sparkling wines for Bette, one bottle of the Silver Palm Cabernet (Black currant, dried cherry, sage & smoke aromas with dark fruit flavors and notes of chocolate and espresso — they ran out before I could buy two), two Ransom Pinot Gris (peach blossom and stone fruit aromas, flavors of baked stone fruits , lemon cream, and pear cobbler) and two of the Hacienda Cabernet (Blackberry and sweet vanillian oak with integrated tannins.) The Hacienda is reputed to be the house Cab at Charlie Trotter’s — so why is it $10 a glass at Charlie’s and $8.99 a bottle here? In a taste test with 3 buck Chuck tonite, the Hacienda was much smoother with better aroma. For a measly 5 more bucks.

I liked the IV Sons Stag’s Leap Cab (aromas of black fruit, cherries and figs, supple and full bodied with velvety and lingering tannins) the best — but at $35 a bottle I took a pass. Was nice to taste, though, repeatedly. The Incognito Viognier (Flambeed pear and honey aromas open into flavors of passion fruit, peach and apricot, with a vibrant finish) was great (wish I bought some). The De Bortoli Shiraz was ok. Actually, after the first few, it’s really hard to focus – they all taste the same. The Cabs were the only ones I could discriminate. Maybe it’s the cold.

Nancy’s brother John the wine geek was there with intelligent comments about the wines. He discussed the Vietti Castigliano Barolo (Aromas of raspberry, black cherry and dried rose, rich and dense with bold fruit and a rather serious finish), a special wine of which this was an American-oriented variant that did not require 15 years of aging. John didn’t care for it — he preferred the aged European-market Barolos.

Food was Italian sausage and meatballs catered by …..can’t remember. A sandwich shop nearby. Good stuff. The hot peppers were good too – don’t know how they affected my wine tasting, but my nose is so stuffed it doesn’t matter anyway.

The shop is very nice. Almost more interesting than the wines was the selection of funky liqueurs in the back (by the food) — Glogg, cachaça (basis of the Brazilian Caipirinha, which I read about in Carioca Fletch as have yet to have), Ouzo (ick), Licor 43 (which in a previous life accompanied after-dinner coffee), Icewine, and several single malt Scotches. Sake in the fridge.

Good food and lots of interesting wines. A good night. Stop by and check out the tasting bar. Tell em St Ann sent you.

Randall and Vine Wine Shoppe, 1497 South Randall Road, Algonquin, Illinois
St Ann’s Episcopal Church, 503 W. Jackson St. Woodstock, Illinois

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