I love surprises. I have to tell you that is not an easy task with me as it relates to the wine business. Now I can be pleased with some circumstance or even happy that I've stumbled across something extraordinary. But surprised, that takes a little more.
So how did this surprise come about one might ask, or at least that's what you should be asking. Well, it all started one day as I was perusing my Facebook page and looking at all the posts from friends (yes, I do have some) and businesses that I have "Liked." One of those businesses was a new establishment in the Water Street District in downtown Naperville, called Sixty Four Wine Bar. Needless to say, it is a wine bar and will talk a little more about it later in this blog.
For now, as I was saying, I was hard at work reading the posts that appeared on my page. I could probably do a short novel on people and Facebook, but I think that has already been done and there's no need to prolong the obvious. So I come across this announcement from Sixty Four Wine Bar about a tasting they are having at the shop. Nothing out of the ordinary at first glance, or maybe even second or third. Only a small voluntary donation that will see its way to P.A.D.S.. I like that idea. So I decide to go.
Here is where the surprise comes in. When I get there, the Export Manager, Mauro Adriano, for the winery, Alessandro Rivetto, was there to talk about the wines. I love it when a winery rep or the owner or winemaker is at a tasting. There is so much more that you can derive from the event in my estimation. What a pleasure it was to meet Mauro Adriano. His extensive knowledge of wine and the winery just made the entire evening a real joy. Along with the rep from the distributor, Simple Farmer Wines, Sergio Valsecchi, things couldn't have gone better.
They had brought with them a selection of four wines from the winery. The Lange Rosso (a blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Merlot), their Barbaresco (100% Nebbiolo), their Barolo (100% Nebbiolo) and the single vineyard Barolo, the Barolo Serralunga d'Alba (also 100% Nebbiolo).
From their properties comes a myriad of wines, each with their own unique character. I only wish I could have tried a few others they produce, but maybe next time?
Since this column is called "Wine of the Week" not "Wines of the Week," I did have to nail it down to one wine. The Rosso was wonderful and for the price (give or take $20) a good value. The Barbaresco was rich and flavorful, but I knew there were more to come. The Barolo Serralunga d'Alba was a 2009 vintage wine. It showed its ability to age gracefully, showing a slightly softer side to the fruit and tannins. To me, the real winner was the
Alessandro Rivetto Barolo 2013
While a younger wine, it drank like expected from a great vintage and pedigree. Having been open for a number of hours before the tasting, the wine had opened into a big bold wine, destined to only get better with age. One thing I learned from Mauro is that Rivetto uses older oak casks to age their wine rather than new oak. With the wine aging in French and Slovenian oak for 18 months, the tannins are much softer and stylistic, making this a wine to enjoy now (with proper decanting) or many years into the future. At just under $60, it is worthy of any cellar. That is if you can get it!
Possibly the only place would be at Sixty Four Wine Bar. Sounds like this would be a good time to fill you in on this new establishment.
Located on Water Street in the new "Water Street District" in Naperville, Sixty Four opened a few months back. This is the second location for the owners, their first is in South Carolina. The emphasis on 64 is that they offer 64 different wines by the glass. I believe they also have 64 beers available as well. Ties it all together nicely I would say. They also have a nice selection of wine they sell for retail purchase.
The back of the wine bar falls right along the Riverwalk, their outside seating is just ideal for some wine and food while taking in the scenery. Good time to note that Patrick McLaughlin is their Executive Chef, and previously from Parkers Restaurant and Bar. A nice assortment of small bites, charcuterie and entres make up their menu. There is one interesting difference to this wine bar that is of note. The 64 wines they offer are done through a number of what they refer to as "Wine Stations." Housing wines in these temperature controlled units, upon entering you will need to obtain an access card to use with those Wine Stations. From there the wine selection is "self-serve." Don't worry, if it sounds a little intimidating, there is staff around to help you through it. That took me a little time to warm up to as a Baby Boomer, I'm more used to being served, but the idea should really appeal to the younger more technologically advanced generation or those who want a more "hands-on" approach. It does tend to lend itself to some interesting conversations. Give it a try sometime. Oh, and by the way, they also own the Southern Tide shop right across the street from the wine bar.
Stay tuned for next weeks "Wine of the Week" as Sixty Four had a second tasting the day after and had some serious wines at that as well that I'll report on.