This Holiday Season - Buy Local...Wine!
It's not too late to pick up the perfect gift for this holiday season! Whether it be a final party with your office before the New Year, or getting that special gift for that special someone, nothing says "great gift" like wine. But did you know that you can also support your local Chicago wine community as you are gift-giving? There are some amazing wine gifts that you can still get for your friends and family that are based right here in Chicago!
Mavens & Aficionados - The Maple & Ash Wine Club
Back on the floor for the last few months, Advanced Sommelier and Second City Somm All-Star Dan Pilkey has launched this new and exciting wine club geared specifically to the Chicago wine consumer. Not only does this wine club come with specifically curated wines from one of Chicago's best sommeliers, but the perks are pretty fantastic as well!
There are 3 membership levels depending on your budget and your connoisseur status, which include:
- 'Semi-Pro' - $250/quarter - 6 bottles; 10% off wines purchased when dining at Maple & Ash
- 'Baller' - $500/quarter - 12 bottles; 20% off wines purchased at Maple & Ash
- 'IDGAF' - $1000/quarter - bottle quantities vary, also enjoy a 'Day with the Sommelier', a custom champagne sabre and in-home consultation. If you don't know what IDGAF stands for, you should get to Maple & Ash immediately.
- All memberships also include personal tasting notes from Dan, invitations to their weekly wine trainings, access to special retail pricing on their award-winning cellar and reservation priorities at the restaurant!
For a wine club that is geared towards education, expanding your palate and some fantastic wines from around the world, there may be no better club available in the Second City!
Check out Mavens & Aficionados for more information on this great holiday gift!
The Wines of Matt Bonnano
Chicago local Matt Bonanno grew up around wine. This 3rd generation wine guy cut his teeth in his family's Ohio-based wine distribution and importing company before working the streets of Chicago as a wine rep and finding his way to the vineyards and cellar of Napa Valley's Clos du Val Winery. Starting with the 2004 vintage, Matt has focused on bringing wine to the Chicago wine market with his BonAnno wines from Napa Valley. Meaning "A good year", BonAnno has brought incredibly delicious wines from Napa Valley that are also fantastic values.
2014 Carneros Chardonnay - Retail $18-$23
- classic Carneros style that is a balance of Burgundian granny smith apple, white plums with just a kiss of butterscotch and graham cracker from 10 months in French Oak
2014 Carneros Pinot Noir - Retail $23-$25
- an earthy Pinot Noir that focuses on lighter forest floor, great baking spice characteristics that rounds out a very long finish of pomegranate and cherry cola
2014 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Retail $25
- the grape that got Matt into the winemaking game! A very smooth, drinkable Cabernet that leads with supple blackberry and cassis notes with a subtle hint of cigar, licorice - silky finish
The wines of Chicago's own Matt Bonanno are available around the Second City at retailers such as Binny's, Treasure Island, Whole Foods and Fountainhead Market in addition to great restaurants around town such as Santa Monica Summer House and Coda di Volpe! For industry folks - Bonnano wines are distributed by Tenzing Wine & Spirits.
Lingua Franca from Master Sommelier Larry Stone
There are few sommeliers that have had the lasting impact that Larry Stone has had our the wine community. As America's 9th Master Sommelier, Larry has been making the wine industry better for decades including here in the Chicago market. After working for the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels on Michigan Avenue, Larry became the General Manager and Wine Director for Chicago culinary mecca Charlie Trotter. Since then, Larry has created Grand Award-winning programs and has recently started his own label in the Willamette Valley of Oregon - Lingua Franca.
Meaning a 'bridge language' or way for people to communicate without speaking the same language, Lingua Franca has already had an immediate impact on wine lists around the country. With consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon and former Evening Land assistant Thomas Savre, Larry Stone's project is showcasing the wonders of the Eola-Amity Hills.
2015 'AVNI' Chardonnay - Retail $40
- from the Jory soils of the valley, this is a Chardonnay that can unite an entire table. Driven with flavors of orange blossom, asian pear, the nose is incredibly floral with bright, laser minerality and a finish of wet stone and flint.
2015 'Tongue'n Cheek' Pinot Noir - Retail $60
- sourced from one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon, already this wine has become a textbook examples of the soils of the Eola-Amity Hills. Brooding, dark cherry, black raspberry fruit on the palate, layers of complexity keep going from button mushroom to freshly cut Christmas trees.
These wines are very limited and are typically for restaurants only. However, Plum Market, Artale's in Rockford, Bin 51 in Edwardsville and Cuvee Cellars in Elmhurst carry the wines. Not close to any of those shops? Just tell your local retail that the wines are distributed by Tenzing Wine & Spirits.
Second City Soil Wines
And of course who could forget about our own Second City Soil wines! Available now on release at The Noble Grape in West Town, both the Chardonnay and Malbec are great values that represent not only the Second City, but delicious wines for your holiday table!
- 2016 California Chardonnay - Retail $15
- 2016 Yolo Malbec - Retail $15
Ask your local retailer to special order these for you as well - distributed by Heritage Wine Cellars!