The Cincinnati Bailliage invited Mondiale members and guests to brave an outing on a blustery January evening in anticipation of an exceptional tasting of wines from Alexander Valley’s Stonestreet Estate Vineyards.
The Transept Event Center, located in the vibrant “Over the Rhine” neighborhood adjacent to downtown Cincinnati, is a Chaîne/Mondiale favorite. The 150-year-old German Gothic Church was renovated as an event center with preservation in mind. Grand staircases, a 50-foot vaulted ceiling, original wood beams, giant chandeliers, exposed brick, ornate windows with intricate stained glass, and decorative touches such as wall sconces are warm and welcoming. Dinner was prepared by DelightMore Catering, the result of a merger between two local companies: Funky’s (Michael “Funky” Forgus) and Vonderhaar (Don Vonderhaar).
The event was conceptualized and organized by Echanson Provincial Mary Horn, who introduced Craig Ellick, Stonestreet’s Certified Sommelier, Wine Ambassador, and Sales Educator. Mr. Ellick gave the history of Stonestreet Estate Wines as well as an excellent education about the difference between grapes and wines which are produced at higher elevations versus those grown and produced on the valley floor. Larry O’Brien, MS, of Jackson Family Wines also gave his take on the wines.
Jess Stonestreet Jackson and Barbara Banke (Jackson Family Wines) established the Sonoma estate in 1995. Then and now, the winery specializes in a distinctive collection of estate cuvées and single vineyard wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Their son Christopher Jackson, with his wife Ariel, runs Stonestreet Estate today.
The 5,500-acre Stonestreet estate towers above Alexander Valley in the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Vineyard sites range from 400 to 2,400 feet above sea level. According to the winery’s website: “The geological diversity of the mountain, which contains more soil types than all of France, confers a strong mineral characteristic in the fruit, while the challenges of farming at elevation produce smaller, more concentrated berry clusters.”
This aptly describes our experience tasting the outstanding line-up of Cabernets: both 2010 and 2017 Rockfall Vineyard Cabernets, the 2017 Monolith Cabernet, and the 2012 Legacy Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon 68%, Merlot 30%, Cabernet Franc 1%, Petit Verdot 1%). Defying what many of us believed was a real “no no” in the wine world, the red wines were followed by a 2018 Upper Barn Vineyard Chardonnay. It worked!! This is a big, bold chardonnay, absolutely delightful and rated 97 by Robert Parker.
Our reception started with the 2017 Aurora Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc served with passed appetizers including mouth-watering Spring Rolls and intricate Brio Sliders, followed by an outstanding buffet (with more wine) including Sautéed Rainbow Chard, Pan Roasted Cauliflower with Parsnip Purée, Citrus Seared Red Snapper, Sautéed Spaghetti Squash with Spinach and Mushrooms, Cornish Hen Quarters with Pinot Noir Sauce, Prosciutto and Parmesan Risotto with Poached Prawns, and Lamb Bourguignon followed by a delicately Poached Pear dessert.
Bailli George Elliott introduced DelightMore COO Jerin Dunham who brought out his staff to receive rounds of applause for a job well done. Another heart felt round of applause went to Ms. Horn who once again organized an “over the top” event. Whether it involves wine, beer, sake, spirits, or anything else related to the field of alcoholic beverages, we are all so very lucky to have such a talented and personable teacher as Mary Horn in our bailliage.
Graig Smith, Vice Chargé de Presse