Monday, November 5, 2018


"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tension and more tolerance."-Mainstreet Wines and Spirits staff

The banquet hall at Via Bella-Countryside

Colyn Truter-Marketing and Brand Manager Arendsig Wines of South Africa
Paris White Blend from Alvarinho, Portugal-Winebauer Distributors

VIP Tasting Participants
Dale Vargas-Rcording Artist, Songwriter, Vocalist, Guitarist-One-man band
The spread at Via Bella

Kul B. Vaid of Tantika Imports,Inc. with Koehler-Weidmann Riesling Spatlese

by Dwight Casimere

Countryside, IL.--Mainistreet's 2018 Wine and Food Gala was a virtual cornucopia of Holiday delights with over 200 wines poured and copious bites from nearly a dozen local restaurants and catering companies.

VIP Tasting participants had the opportunity to preview many new wine releases from the 2015 vintage considered to be one of the most exciting in many years. Perfect growing conditions produced  outstanding wines around the world, including some record-setting 100-point Bordeaux wines, 92-96 point wines from Washington State, and 90 plus wines from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Austria. California may have produced fewer grapes for harvesting, but the resulting wines were outstanding. 

Among my personal favorites were 2016 Shafer TD9 ($69.99), a blend of Merlot, Cab and Malbec from Napa Valley, which paired unbelievably well with steak sliders from Steak and Vine in LaGrange and the Pulled Pork tacos from Cafe Salsa. Leon's Pizza was the perfect pairing with 2012 Bergadano Barolo, Nebbiolo from Piemonte, Italy ($33.99) which literally exploded with rich fruit flavors and balanced tannins. The spicy sausage and tomato topping  pizza from  Ledo's Pizza brought out the hints of spice from large and small barrel aging and tart berry and plum flavors in the wine.

The terrific Bundt Cakes from Nothing bundt Cakes were the 'go to' treat for pairing with the abundance of sparkling wines on hand. These wines are perfect to stock up on for the Holidays and were available at special pricing during the tasting. Non Vintage Heartcraft by Ca'Momi of Napa Valley Sparkling Rose ($13.99) was high on my list for its flowery bouquet, abundant fruit and terrific price (all prices listed here are suggested retail, but there were special discounts on all wines at the Fall Gala). Spanish Cava was also one of the real values. Non Vintage Flama d'Or, Brut Cava($11.99) is an outstanding value and is perfect for the Thanksgiving table. The bright fruit flavor and medium-dry profile make perfect for Holiday dining  from the beginning of the meal right through to the final dessert table. 

My overall favorites included Hess Collection Panthera Chardonnay 2016 ($44.99), the NV Carafoli Lambrusco di Modena ($13.99), Charles Heidsieck, Brut Reserve ($59.99) and 2014 Collazzi Super Tuscan, an 'international blend'  of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot ($44.99), which was present for the VIP Tasting. The wine kept me running back to the Via Bella Restaurant table, whose banquet halls served as the host venue, for their magnificent housemate Italian sausage and spicy Rigatoni.

The VIP tasting featured more than 50 outstanding wines from across the globe. One of the real surprises was the 2010 Chateau Musar Rouge from Lebanon. Its a decidely French-inspired blend of Cabernet, Cinsault and Carignon ($59.99). I encountered the 2009 and 1998 vintages at a Wine Dinner at Tavern Balise at the 2018 New Orleans Food and Wine Experience with a marvelous dinner of Seared Scallops and Crispy Pork Belly and a main course of Braised Short Rib with Roasted Red Peppers accompanied by the above mentioned wines. In a word, exquisite.

The first wine to reach my palette at the VIP Tasting was Trefethen 2015 Napa Valley Cab, ($49.99), a true classic. Likewise the 2015 Amici Cab, Napa Valley Reserve ($79.99). 2017 Longridge Pinotage, an Organic wine from Stellenbach ($31.99) was another unexpected delight. It was rich in  flavor with intense fruit and a long finish. I probably wore out my welcom at Moet Hennessy USA table with their outstanding 2009 Moet Chandon Vintage Brut Rose and 2008 Veuve Clicquot Brut "Gold LabeL" Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend (both $79.99) but with their creamy finish, tight, tiny perlage (tiny bubbles rising like a string of pearls in the glass) delicate floral nose and abundant fruit flavors, can you blame me? Now I know what to order to bring in the New Year 2019!
Visit for more information on the wines.

Seltzer Sparkling Brut from Signature Division
Zach Morris (r) of Pernod Ricard USA with Campo Viejo Gran Reserva
Breaking in the next generation of wine lovers!

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