Category Archives: Vino con Vista Chicago

Loire Valley Wine Tasting in Chicago at the W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive

French red wine from the Loire Valley region o...

Image via Wikipedia

What a great day for the Loire Valley French Wine Tasting on the 33rd floor of W Hotel on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It was definitely a Vino con Vista opportunity with plenty of French wine and wine-makers. The central part of the  Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire in France was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List  in  2000.

 

The Loire is the longest river in France and it is characterized by elegant historic chateaux and 300 miles of distinctive terroir that supports numerous vineyards along the river banks. This region is the leading producer of white French wines. The region is cloaked  with lovely vineyards and microclimates that produce distinctive varietals and wine styles. It is one of the most diverse wine regions in France with 69 appelations that include red, white, elegant sparkling wines and refreshing rose wines. There are distinct climates and a variety of soil types that divide the Loire Valley into 5 distinct regions.

The first vines were probably planted during Roman occupation 2000 years ago. Afterwards, the Augustinian and Benedictine Brothers enhanced the wine-making practices in this region.

I tasted some interesting Rose wines and plenty of earthy 100% Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is one of the world’s major red grape varieties and was introduced to the region in the 11th century. It  is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to produce a Bordeaux style wine. In the Loire region, it is  not blended with other grapes so it is lighter in color than Bordeaux blends. It is used in the development of Chinon and certain roses in the Touraine appelation.

Today I spoke to Philippe Porche, a charming wine-maker from the Saumur-Champigny region in Parnay located on the south bank of the Loire River decreed an AOC in 1957.  Cabernet Franc is the predominant grape in the area.  He and his viticulturist wife founded the estate in 2005 and produce some interesting Cabernet Franc wines. I favored the garnet-colored full-bodied and velvety  “Le Fou du Roi” that was aged in oak.  This lovely couple is looking for an importer @ www.domainederocheville.fr. Feel free to contact them if you are interested in importing  luscious wines from this region. Tell them that Vino con Vista sent you.

There is a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and Chicago’s Landmark high rises from the former “Pinnacle Room” of the hotel where I spent my Senior Prom.Chicago Illinois It’s always exciting to re-live your youth.

Chicago Architecture

Domaine de Roche Ville Winery

Lake Michigan

It was such a beautiful spring day that I decided to stroll down Ontario Street heading westbound after the wine-tasting. I longingly gazed at the wide array of restaurants on Ontario Street that I patronize. They run the gamut from divine to sublime. Here’s a sampling of my “Chicago Foodie Nation” favorites:

Les Nomades is an outstanding French Restaurant that offers a Prix Fixe menu of four courses for $115 in a swanky turn-of-the-century brownstones mansion on Ontario Street. It is the perfect place to enjoy French cuisine after a Loire Valley wine-tasting event at the W Hotel down the street.

Chicago Restaurants

Chicago French Restaurants

Another one of my favorites is the Capital Grille Steakhouse where I can’t stop eating the crunchy potato chips at the bar. I love the grilled salmon served over a bed of  veggies with a side of creamed spinach. They have an extensive wine list and have won numerous awards for their outstanding burgers!

Chicago RestaurantsOntario and St. Clair in Chicago

Capital Grille ChicagoChicago Restaurants

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Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago Italian Restaurants

Across the street from the Capital Grille, I enjoy dining on the outdoor patio of the Coco Pazzo Cafe when the weather is nice. They have an outstanding lunch menu and recently won an award from the Italian government for their “Authentic” Italian cuisine. Quartino was another “Authentic” Italian-award winning restaurant. I took cooking lessons with the chef and he taught me to add some water from the pasta to my sauce–what a novel idea!! The Red Head Piano Bar is another one of my favorites night spots. They have great wine-tasintg events.

Authentic Italian Restaurants in ChicagoRestaurants in Chicago

There are plenty of famous classic Chicago  “Steak-Houses” on Ontario. Lawry’s serves an incredible Prime Rib and I love the “Aged Filet Mignon” and mushrooms at David Burke’s Primehouse in the James Hotel. The Chicago Chop House has a wide array of delicious “sizzlin steaks.”

You will never be hungry or thirsty on Ontairo Street in Chicago. This city is a haven for Foodies!

Chicago is a Haven for Foodies

Chicago Steak HouseDavid Burke's Primehouse

Stop in at the the Hard Rock Cafe if you’re up for some live music. There are also some landmark fast food joints on Ontario including “Rock and Roll” McDonalds with a Rock and Roll Museum filled with memorabilia that my guitar-playing son adores.

Portillo’s has a great Italian Beef sandwich and classic Chicago hot dog and the drive-thru is always packed. Make sure you try the decadent chocolate cake . Chicago DestinationsM Burger is another fast food option that people are raving about.

Chicago Hot Dogs and Beef Sandwiches

Burgers in Chicago

Plan a trip to the Loire Valley and explore some of the majestic castles with spectacular medieval architecture: Chambord, Cheverny, Villandry and Chenonceau.

 

1. Villandry was built by the same man that designed much of Chambord (François I Finance Minister Jean Le Breton). Villandry is actually most renowned for what is outside of the castle. However, while Chambord remains Le Breton’s main achievement in construction, it is Villandry where he used all of the Renaissance gardening tricks he had picked up while working as an ambassador in Italy. The castle remained in the Le Breton family until the early 20th century, when it was purchased by Joachim Carvallo, who spent a whole of time, money and devotion to rebuilding, expanding and repairing the beautiful gardens. Today the gardens at Villandry are considered one of the best examples of Renaissance style gardens in the world and boasts a water garden, flower gardens and vegetable gardens laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges—making it a must-see on any castle tour of the Loire.

2. Chambord is one of France’s most recognizable castles known for its distinct French Renaissance architecture, which blends late French Gothic and newer Italian Renaissance motifs. Chambord is also the largest castle in the Loire. Chambord was first built by King Francois I as a hunting lodge (I know you picture a hunting lodge as being more of a log cabin than a magnificent model of French Renaissance architecture, but it was a KING’S hunting lodge, after all).  Chambord has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces and 84 staircases. It is most known for its façade, which through more than 800 sculpted columns was designed to look like the skyline of Constantinople, with 11 kinds of different towers and different types of chimneys. Chambord also has a double-helix staircase that serves as the centerpiece to the castle and was rumored to have been designed (or inspired) by Leonardo da Vinci during his time at nearby Clos de Luce.

4. Chenonceau is one of my favorite castles in the Loire Valley. Chennonceau was built in 1513 by Catherine Briçonnet and later embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, the Chateau de Chenonceau contains exquisite interiors and has idyllic gardens that look over River Cher.

Originally a small castle along the banks of the River Cher, the castle got its current design in the 16th century when it was seized by the crown for unpaid debts. In 1547, King Henri II offered the castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. and she had Chenonceau’s  arched bridge built. It spans the river. She is also responsible for the gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens set in buttressed stone terraces.

Upon King Henri II’s death in 1559, his clearly bitter widow and regent Catherine de Medici had Poitiers expelled from the castle and she moved into the scenic spot herself, adding even more extensive gardens. Since then the castle was privately owned for years and even used as a make-shift hospital for soldiers during WWII; its gallery bridge’s southern door provided access to the unoccupied Free Zone while the castle’s main entrance was in the Nazi occupied zone. Chenonceau today is one of the most visited and popular of the Loire castles and its Renaissance architecture and well-lit gallery and beautiful gardens.

5. Amboise is perched up on a strategic point along the Loire River and was originally built as a fort. In 1434, the castle was seized by King Charles VII after its owner (from which the castle got its name), Louis Amboise, was convicted and killed for supposedly plotting against the King. In the 15th century that the castle was lavishly rebuilt and added onto, starting with its late French Gothic architecture, until Italian builders were brought in and the castle’s style changed to Renaissance.While the castle became a favorite retreat for many French Kings (King François I was raised primarily at the castle), Amboise’s most famous guest was Leonardo da Vinci, who came to the castle in 1515 as a guest of the King and stayed in nearby Clos de Luce. What is most notable about Amboise, however, is known for its unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and large formal garden.

6. Blois was always a favorite getaway town for French kings; the castle in this quaint little Loire town is best known as the birthplace of King Louis XII as well as the primary residence for Henri IV’s exiled wife Marie de Medici, and later for the Duke of Orléans (brother of Louis XIII and uncle of Louis XIV). However, the castle has a long and prominent history and its Renaissance architecture and picturesque spot along the banks of the Loire make it a definite worthwhile stop on your Loire castle tour. In fact, the castle was the main resort for the French court during the 16th century and was also the location for the famed States General meetings held by Henri III in 1576 and 1588, where several prominent nobles were sentenced to death. The castle also plays a role in the famous Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas as an important retreat for some of France’s most famous and powerful kings.

7. Cheverny was also given to Diane de Poitiers by her lover, King Henri II. Chenonceau was her favorite and primary residence. Poitiers sold Château de Cheverny to the former owner’s son who had originally built the castle between 1624 and 1630. The castle passed between owners until 1914, when the owner made it the first castle to be opened to the public; the family still owns and operates the castle to this day. The castle is renowned for its beautiful interiors and collection of furniture, tapestries and rare objects d’art. There is also a pack of about 70 dogs that are kept on the grounds and taken out for hunts twice weekly.

 

8. Clos Lucé is not really a  “Château de la Loire”; it is a large mansion located just 500 meters from  the Château d’Amboise by way of an underground passageway and is notable mostly for its most famous resident, Leonardo da Vinci. In 1515, King François I invited the Italian painter and inventor to Amboise and offered him the manor to use as a home and studio. When Da Vinci arrived in 1516 he came with three paintings, including the famed Mona Lisa, and lived in the mansion for the last three years of his life. Visitors to Amboise should not hesitate to hop on over to Clos Lucé, where you can peruse a museum that includes forty models of various machines designed by Leonardo.

9. Langeais is a perfect example of Medieval French architecture. It is located near the Brittany frontier and had a significant role in the battle between the French and English. The structure dates back to the 10th century and was built on a cliff which offered a strategic location overlooking the Loire River. The castle was actually fortified and expanded under the rule of Richard I of England (when English kings ruled this region of France) until King Philippe II of France recaptured the castle in 1206. The castle was also where Anne of Brittany and King Charles VIII wed, thus uniting France and Brittany. Today, the dark and ominous looking castle is replete with a great collection of Medieval tapestries.

Château de Langeais

 

 

Destinations in Chicago

@ www.vino-con-vista.com.

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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The Naperville Wine Festival 2014

From the Esterlina Tasting Room in Mendocino C...

Image via Wikipedia

Plan to attend the Naperville Wine Festival 2014. Wine festivals offer outstanding and affordable Vino con Vista opportunities. Wine connoisseurs can discover new wines, attend wine seminars and meet wine-makers in an outdoor festival setting.

Here’s a short video with some of my favorite Vino con Vista Buddies that I met at the Naperville Wine Festival in 2011:

http://youtu.be/gPrJhCRmXSQ

For the full schedule visit:

www.napervillewinefestival.com

The Naperville Wine Festival will return for the 12th Consecutive Year August 22-23, 2014.

The Event will take Place at CityGate Centre, The Home of Calamos Investments, and will Showcase More than 300 Wines From Around The World.

 A Portion of the Proceeds From The Event will Help Support the Naperville Area Humane Society.

 

Naperville Wine Festival hours are Friday from 4 to 10PM and Saturday from 2 to 8PM Friday Night Ticket Sales End at 8:30 p.m. and Alcohol Sampling and Sales End at 9:30 p.m. Saturday Ticket Sales End at 6:30PM and Alcohol Sampling and Sales End at 7:30PM

  • Adult Wine Tasting Tickets are $28 in Advance and $35 at the Door. This Ticket Price Includes a Souvenir Wine Glass, Ten Tastings, a Festival Program, Access to Food and Wine Demonstrations and Musical Entertainment. Additional Tasting Coupons May be Purchased at the Festival. Designated Driver Tickets are $10 in Advance or at the Door. Tickets can be Purchased Online at www.napervillewinefestival.com or by phone at 877-772-5425 as well as at all Peterson Wine Cellars locations.
  • CityGate Centre is a True mixed-use development that encompasses 31 acres in the quickly growing East-West Corridor submarket of Chicago. In addition to Calamos Investments and Continental Audi of Naperville, the Naperville Wine Festival is sponsored by: Wells Fargo Advisors; Whole Foods; Petersons Wine & Spirits; BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois; Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe; Hotel Arista; Pepsi and Aquafina.

    Naperville Wine Festival Map

    Naperville Wine Festival Map

    Naperville Wine Festival Map

 

Location: Calamos Investments, Naperville, IL 60563
Start Date/Time: August 23, 2013 – 4 pm
End Date/Time: August 24, 2013 – 11 pm

A celebration of wine, food, music and friends with a wide array of wines to choose from and food from some of Naperville’s most popular restaurants.  Friday 4 pm – 10 pm, and Saturday 3 pm  – 9 pm.

 

 

Hess Winery

Hook and Ladder Winery

From author: "From left to right: Iron Ho...

From author: “From left to right: Iron Horse 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Testarossa 2006 Garys’ Vineyard Syrah Calera 2006 Ryan Pinot Noir Chateau Montelena 2007 Chardonnay Ridge 2007 Zinfandel” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tickets: Adult Wine Tasting Ticket – One day admission
$28 in advance or $35 at the door.
Admission ticket good for either day. This ticket includes a souvenir wine glass, ten tastings, Festival Program, Food & Wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, musical entertainment, and the opportunity to purchase wine at a discount.Designated Driver Ticket – One day admission
$10 in advance or at the door.
Admission ticket good for either day. This ticket includes two non-alcoholic drinks, Festival Program, Food & Wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, musical entertainment, souvenir wine glass upon departure. Under 21 admitted free when accompanied by paid adult.

Assortment of wine from Domaine Chandon in Yar...

Assortment of wine from Domaine Chandon in Yarra Australia showing their sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot noir wine as well as a still pinot noir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Local chefs will offer foodies an opportunity to taste some of their cuisine. Here’s a list of the restaurants that will be serving food at the 2012 event:

Caoba Mexican Grill and Bar 1619 N. Damen Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 773-342-2622 www.caobachicago.comCityGate Grille 2020 Calamos Court Naperville, IL 60563 630-718-1010 www.citygategrille.com
Heaven on Seven 224 S. Main Street Naperville, IL 60540 630-717-0777 www.heavenonseven.com/napervilleLe Chocolat Bouchard 129 S. Washington   Street Naperville, IL 60540 630-355-5720 www.lechocolatbar.com
SugarToad Restaurant2139 Citygate Lane Naperville, IL 60563630-778-8623 www.sugartoad.comSullivan’s Steakhouse 244 S. Main Street Naperville, IL 60540 630-305-0230 www.sullivansteakhouse.com

The outdoor festival will feature more than 200 wines from around the country and the world with wine seminars and cooking demonstrations. For a nominal charge you can sample pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and chardonnay wine from various regions.

Here’s a complete list of the wineries and distributors that will be attending the 2012 event:

Peterson    Spirits and Fine Wines
Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc
Lake Sonoma Chardonnay
Kenwood Table Red
Peterson Zero Manipulation
Peterson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Cantina Aurora Dolce Stilnovo

Peterson    Spirits and Fine Wines
Villa Puccini Pinot Grigio
Villa Puccini Tuscan Red
Entwine Pinot Grigio
Entwine Chardonnay
Entwine Merlot
Entwine Cabernet Sauvingon
Haus    Wines
Schug Sauvignon Blanc
Cline Albarino
Cline Field Blend
Scott Harvey Red Label Barbera
Scott Harvey Red Label Zinfandel
Schug Pinot Noir

Jarvis-Tomei
Coloma Chardonnay
Lady Slipper Pinot Noir
Nomad Red Blend
Tomei Barbera
Jarvis Tomei Syrah
Lonati Moscato d’Asti
Essential    Wines
Arabella Chenin Blanc
Enon Chardonnay
Arabella Viognier
Arabella Merlot
Arabella Cabernet Sauvignon
Grinder Pinotage

Laird    and Company
Moletto Prosecco
Stival Pinot Grigio
Lunae Vermentino
La Pisara Primativo
Pietrafitta Chianti
Moletto Refosco

Wine    Cru
Secret Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Bennett Lane Maximus White
Prezzolini Chianti
Zolo Malbec
Zolo Cabernet Sauvignon
Bennett Lane Maximus Red
Eola    Hills
Eola Hills Pinot Gris
Eola Hills Chardonnay
Eola Hills “La Ceole” Reserve    Chardonnay
Eola Hills Pinot Noir
Eola Hills “La Creole” Reserve Pinot Noir
Eola Hills Vin d’Or LH Sauvignon Blanc
Martin    Ray Winery
Angeline Sauvignon Blanc
Martin Ray Chardonnay
Angeline California Pinot Noir
Martin Ray Pinot Noir
Angeline Cabernet Sauvignon
Martin Ray Merlot

Cabernet    Corp
La Playa Sauvignon Blanc
Don Rodolfo Torrentes
La Playa Cabernet Rose
La Playa Cabernet Sauvignon
La Playa Block Selection Carmenere
Don Rodolfo Malbec
Ventana    Winery
Ventana Riesling
Ventana Sauvignon Blanc
Ventana Gewurztraminer
Ventana Pinot Noir
Ventana Rubystone Syrah/Grenache
Ventana Syrah

Broadbent    Selections
Broadbent Vino Verde
Broadbent Gruner Veltliner
Dr. Hermann H Riesling
Chateau Musar Rouge
Quintas do Crasto Flor
Warwick Three Cape Ladies
Small    Vineyards
Trevisiol Extra Dry Prosecco
Tre Donne La Perlina Moscato d’Asti
Giocato Pinot Grigio
Perazzeta Sangiovese
Palama Negroamaro
Antonio Sanguineti Nessun Dorma Red

Fess    Parker Family of Wines
Fess Parker SBC Riesling
Fess Parker SBC Chardonnay
Parker Station Pinot Noir
Fess Parker SBC Pinot Noir
Hodge du Podge Red
Big Easy Syrah
Vinilandia
Good Pinot Grigio
Belpoggio Verdicchio DOC
Nicolis Valpolicella Classico
Poggio Amorelli Chianti Classico
Villa Donna Moscato d’Asti
Scagliola Petali Di Rose Brachetto
Hahn/Other    Guys
Huntington Sauvignon Blanc
Cycles Gladiator Pinot Grigio
White Knight Viognier
Cycles Gladiator Syrah
Leese Fitch Pinot Noir
Plungerhead Lodi Zinfandel
Duck Pond Winery
Duck Pond Pinot Gris
Duck Pond White Blend
Duck Pond Pinot Noir
Duck Pond Red Blend
Desert Wind Ruah
Desert Wind Barbera
Hook and    Ladder Winery
Hook and Ladder Chardonnay
Hook and Ladder Pinot Noir
Station Ten Zinfandel Blend
Hook and Ladder Zinfandel
The Tillerman Cab Blend
Hook and Ladder Cabernet Sauvignon

E&J    Gallo
La Marca Prosecco
Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc
Martin Codax Albarino
Las Rocas Garnacha
Bridlewood Cabernet Sauvignon
Louis Martini  Cabernet Sauvignon
E&J    Gallo
Laguna Chardonnay
William Hill Chardonnay
Bridlewood Blend 175
MacMurray Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
William Hill Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
Gascon Reserve Malbec

Kobrand
Domaine Carneros Sparkling Brut
Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc
Benziger Sangicamo Chardonnay
Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir
Benziger Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon
Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon
Pinnacle    Fine Wines
Long Boat Sauvignon Blanc
La Crema Monterey Chardonnay
Gaga Rose
Gaga Rouge
Calina Carmenere
Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon
Bronco    Wine
Silver Ridge Sauvingon Blanc
Silver Ridge Chardonnay
Silver Ridge Pinot Noir
Hacienda Riesling
Hacienda Merlot
Hacienda Cabernet Sauvignon

Maritime
Graham Beck Brut Sparkling
Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc
Skyleaf Riesling
Graham Beck Game Res. Chenin Blanc
Jules Taylor Pinot Noir
Graham Beck Game Res. Cabernet

Wente
Hayes Chardonnay
Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay
2009 Tamas Double Decker Red
Wente Reliz Creek Pinot Noir
Spur Meritage
Wente Charles Wetmore Cabernet
Quintesential    Wines
New Age Rose
New AgeWhite
Elsa Bianchi Torrentes
Simonsig Chenin Blanc
Grand Rojo Garnacha
Morse Code Shiraz

Prestige    Wine Group
Starling Castle Riesling
Michel Picard Vouvray
Michel Picard Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Broke Ass Red
Le Grand Noir GSM
Luccio Moscato d’Asti
Jomad    Imports
San Hubberto Torrentes
San Hubberto Reserve Chardonnay
San Huberto Bonarda
San Huberto Malbec
San Huberto Reserve Syrah
San Huberto Cabernet Sauvignon

Cartlidge    and Browne Winery
Cartlidge and Browne Sauvignon Blanc
Cartlidge and Browne Chardonnay
Cartlidge and Browne Pinot Noir
Cartlidge and Browne Zinfandel
Cartlidge and Browne Cabernet
C&B Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Vibrant    Rioja
Cortijo White
Cortijo Rose
Ramon Bilboa
Ramon Bilboa Limited Edition
Gloriso Reserva
Campo Viejo Gran Reserva

CIV
Vina Arnaiz Roble Tinto
Salneval Albarino
Antano Virura
Conde de Valdemar Reserve
Opera Prima Moscato
Don Simon Sangria
V2 Wine    Group
Toad Hollow Risque Sparkling
Dry Creek Chenin Blanc
Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Steel Head Chardonnay
Steel Head Pinot Noir
Dry Creek Meritage

Indigo    Wine Group
Bon Cap The Ruins Organic Sparkling
Bon Cap The Ruins Organic Sauvignon Blanc
Bon Cap The Ruins Organic Syrah/Cab
Robertson Shiraz/Mouvedre/Viognier
Casa de Campo Moscato
Robertson Sweet Red
Classical Wines
Mont Marcal Cava Rosada Brut
Legado del Conde Morgadio Albarino
Bodegas Garci Grande Verdejo
Guelbenzu Red
Lorinon Crianza
Carchelo “C”

Lagnaippe    Beverage
Boomtown Pinot Gris
Schild Estate Chardonnay
Schild Estate GMS
Dexter Lake Red
Boomtown Syrah
Revah Pomegranite
Maverick
Alias Chardonnay
Cannonball Chardonnay
Alias Merlot
Cannonball Merlot
Alias Cabernet Sauvignon
Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon

Cape    Classics
Buitenverwachting Beyond Sauv Blanc
Indaba Chardonnay
Mulderbosch Rose
Buitenverwachting Beyond Cabernet
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound Red
Jam Jar Shiraz
Robert    Kacher/Winebow
Tariquet Classique
Tariquet Rose de Pressee
Clean Slate Riesling
Gournier Grenache Noir
Cazes le Canon du Marechal Rouge
Root 1 Carmenere

Winebow
Kris Pinot Grigio
Argiolas Costamolino
Catena Chardonnay
Valle Reale Vigne Nuove    Montepulciano
Allegrini Palacco Della Torre
Catena Malbec
Palm Bay
Twin Vines Vinho Verde
Arrogant Frog White
Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir
Arrogant Frog Lily Pad Red
Periquita Duoro Red
Santa Rita Reserve Malbec

Hess
Peter Lehmen Layers White
Glen Carlou Chardonnay
Peter Lehmen Layers Red
Sequana “Sarmento” Pinot Noir
Artezin Zinfandel
Amalaya Malbec Blend

Sequana Pinot Noir

Sequana Pinot Noir

Boisset
L. Buillot Rose
DeLoach Heritage Chardonnay
Lyeth ‘Fleur de Lyeth’ Red Blend
Raymond ‘R’ Merlot
Raymond ‘R’ Field Blend
Batoisiolo Moscato d’Asti

Winesellers
Francois Lurton Blanco
Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir
Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet
Tortoise Creek Zinfandel
Araucano Carmenere
Familia Zuccardi  Q Malbec
Heritage
Hirschbach & Sohne Liebfraumilch
Lucky Star Pinot Noir
Milbrandt Traditions Merlot
Oxford Landing GSM
Oxford Landing Shiraz
Bricco Riella Moscato d’Asti

Diamond    Imports
Domaine Sigalas Athiri/Assyrtiko Blend
Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko
Domaine Skouras White
Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
Domaine Skouras St. George
Alpha Estate Xinomavro Hedgehog Vnyd
CLD
Sidewood Sauvignon Blanc
Deviation Road Chardonnay
The Garden Path Shiraz/Cab
Smidge Houdini Shiraz/Zin
Deaf Galah Red
Alliance Shiraz

Opolo    Winery
Opolo Chardonnay
Opolo Viognier
Opolo Sangiovese
Opolo Maestro
Opolo Summit Creek Zinfandel
Opolo Serenade Cab/Malbec
Underdog    Wine Merchants
A Mano Pinot Grigio
Concannon Conservancy Chardonnay
Concannon Conservancy Crimson &    Clover
Cupcake Red Velvet
Flip Flop Moscato
Helfrich Gewurztraminer

Barefoot    Wine and Bubbly
Barefoot Pinot Grigio
Barefoot Bubbly Brut
Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato
Barefoot Bubbly Moscato Spumante
Barefoot Moscato
Barefoot Sweet Red
Easley    Winery
Reggae White
Reggae Rose
Reggae Red

Evaton, Inc
Anakena Sauvignon Blanc
Gazela Vino Verde
Gazela Rose
Finca Flichman Cabernet Sauvignon
Finca Flichman Reserve Malbec
Finca Flichman Tupungato
Lynfred    Winery
Vin de City White
Vin de City Red
Illinois Seyval Blanc
Oktoberfest Wine
Rose
Plum Wine

St.    James Winery
Velvet White
Velvet Red
Cherry
Blackberry
Blueberry
Strawberry
Raspberry
Cooper’s Hawk    Restaurant & Winery
Almond Sparkling
Semi-Dry Riesling
Cooper’s Hawk White
Barbera
Cabernets
Rhubarb Fruit Wine
Cass Winery

Cass Winery

Cass Winery

2010 Oasis Rose
2010 Roussanne
2009 Grenache
2009 Mourvedre
2008 Syrah
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Cass Reserve

Constellation Wines
Blufield Riesling
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc
Estancia Pinot Grigio
Toasted Head Untamed White
Diseno Malbec
Primal Roots Red Blend

Wine Festival

The ticket includes a souvenir wine glass, ten tastings, Festival Program, Food & Wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, musical entertainment and the opportunity to purchase wine at a discount.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides and Apps @ www.vino-con-vista.com and attend many food and wine events.

Last year, I fell in love with Cass Winery’s Reserve and had a case shipped to my home from the winery. Try the Cooper’s Hawk Barbera; it’s from a local winery near Naperville.

Naperville Wine Festival

Naperville Wine Festival

For more information visit http://www.napervillewinefestival.com

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Ospitalita Italiana: Top Chicago Italian Restaurants certified “Authentic”

Equestrian statue representing Garibaldi, La S...

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English: Italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini

English: Italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866, four years after s...

Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866, four years after surviving a bullet wound misdiagnosed by Partridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leonardo da Vinci replica at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in NYC

Leonardo da Vinci replica at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in NYC

Rome: Spanish Steps

Rome: Spanish Steps

 

phil stefani's 437March 17th was the official date of the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification (1861-2011).

Happy Birthday Italy

Chicago celebrates Italy's 150th birthday

The Risorgimento was a movement led by heroic Italian patriots like Camillo Cavour, Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of the Italian nation. Although Napoleon attempted to unify Italy, his defeat led to oppression and dismal economic and political turmoil. Today Italian national brands like Armani, Versaci and Ferrari are a reflection of Italian ingenuity and quality craftsmanship.

Thank God they didn’t unify the culinary traditions that celebrate the diversity of the historical influences and regions of Italy. The cuisine is the cornerstone of signature dishes around the world.

Coca Pazzo's Tarimi Su

On March 17th,  Fulvio Calcinardi, the executive director of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Milan Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International awarded 18 Chicago-area restaurants with the “Ospitalilita Italiana Quality Seal.” Here’s a video from the Chamber of Commerce that describes the Award Criteria http://youtu.be/NFzOZmZ-a0I

Chicago Osptalita ItalianaThe Italian Quality Seal Award recognizes authentic Italian Restaurants and is granted by the Italian Government. This honor is bestowed for their authenticity and culinary contributions to Italian Culture. I love that this event took place on St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know that St. Patrick was the son of a Roman?

The Quality specifications are determined by Italy’s National Institute of Tourist Research and was launched in Italy in 1997.  The project was extended beyond Italy’s borders and each establishment must meet 10 stringent criteria and submit proof of their authenticity.

The award ceremony took place at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Little Italy on Taylor Street in Chicago. Participants were able to taste the cuisine of many of Chicago’s premier Italian restaurants where the chef’s lovingly prepared some of their signature dishes.

Taylor Steet in Chicago

Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

The seal was created in 1997 and generated a list of criteria that includes proof of authenticity. It is like a “Baldrige Award” for authentic Italian restaurants and esteemed Italian chefs. Each restaurant must employ at least one Italian speaking employee and the menus must be written in proper Italian. At least 20% of the wines must be DOP-certified and the head chef must be proficient in authentic Italian cooking . They must submit at least five recipes with the region and ingredients that inspired the menu.

The 18 Chicago-Area Restaurants that earned the coveted award are:

Ospitalita Italiana Chicago

I love these Italian Restaurants!

  • Spiaggia Restaurant, 980 N. Michigan (Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano)
  • Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted (Chef/Owner Tony Priolo)

Piccolo Sogno in Chicago

piccolo sogno quality award

  • Coco Pazzo, 300 W. Hubbard (Executive Chef/Partner Chris Macchia)

Coco Pazza Quallity AwardCoco Pazzo in Chicago

  • Merlo on Maple, 16 W. Maple (Chef Luisa Silvia Marani)

    YUM!

Merlo on Maple in Chicago

  • Tocco, 1266 N. Milwaukee (Chef/Owner Bruno Abate)

Tocco in Chicago

Tocco Restaurant in Chicgo

Porchetta cooked to Perfection at Tocco

Vivere at The Italian Village, 71 W. Monroe

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival

Italian Expo 2011 121

Volare, 201 E. Grand (Chef Massimo Campagnini)

Volare Restaurant in Chicago

Volare Restaurant on Grand in Chicago

  • Pelago Ristorante, 201 E. Delaware (Chef/Owner Mauro Mafrici)
Pelago Ristorante in Chicago

Mauro’s Pelago Restaurant is one of my favorites in Streeterville on Delaware

Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

Mrs. Mafrici from Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

  • Quartino, 626 N. State (Chef/Partner John Coletta)
Quartino Restaurant in Chicago

John wrote a great CookBook

Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush, 437 N. Rush (Executive Chef Federico Comacchio)

  • Riccardo Trattoria, 2119 N. Clark (Chef/Owner Riccardo Michi)
  • 312 Chicago (Chef Luca Corazzina)

312 Chicago's Chef Luca Corazzina

  • Via Carducci La Sorella, 1928 W. Division (Chef Luis Hernandez)
  • Vivere (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Chef Robert Reynaud)
  • La Cantina (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Chef Robert Duerscheidt)
  • Ristorante Agostino, 2817 N. Harlem (Chef Anna Fiasche)
  • Sergio’s Cucina Italiana, 280 N. Rohlwing Rd., Itasca (Chef Sergio Abate)
  • Gaetano’s, 7636 W. Madison, Forest Park (Chef Gaetano Di Benedetto)
Ravioli at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Ravioli at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

Linguini at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Linguini at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

 

The wine and Prosecco were provided by Casa Vinicolo Zonin

Italian Wine and Prosecco

Italian Wine  A great time was had by all!!!

Here are a few Italian restaurants that I like with alfresco dining that were not recognized with a formal award:

1. Anteprima is located at 5316 Clark Street in Andersonville

http://www.anteprimachicago.net/

2. Zia’s in Edison Park and Zia’s Lago Vista on Ashland in Lakeview are both outstanding! The latter has plenty of outdoor seating

http://www.ziaslakeview.com/

3. Club Lago’s northern Italian cuisine has been around for over 60 years at 331 W. Superior in River North.

http://www.clublago.com/

4. Viaggio At The Park on Fullerton in Lincoln Park also has an outdoor seating area

http://www.viaggiochicago.com/

5. Topo Gigio in the heart of Old Town on Wells Street has plenty of outdoor space. It has been around for over 25 years.

http://topogigiochicago.com/

6. Autre Monde in Berwyn, was founded by four Spiaggio alums has a patio and greenhouse. http://www.autremondecafe.net/

7. Due Lire on 4520 N. Lincoln in Lincoln Square http://www.due-lire.com/

 

Buon Appetito!!

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves her Ducati Motorcycle

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves her Ducati Motorcycle

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Vino con Vista Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com.
 

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Chef Week Chicago 2014

Loop skyline from the lakefront, Chicago, IL, USA

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Map of Chicago's community areas, grouped by c...

Map of Chicago’s community areas, grouped by color by “side” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Chicago Theater

English: Chicago Theater (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just when you are recovering from the weight that you gained during Restaurant Week, you should start thinking about making reservations for the

English: From top left: Downtown Chicago, the ...
English: From top left: Downtown Chicago, the Willis Tower, the Chicago Theater, the Chicago “L”, Navy Pier, the Field Museum, and Millenium Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6th annual Chicago Chef’s Week 2014 extravaganza.

WHEN: March 16th – March 21st

Top-notch Chicago restaurants will offer special menus and signature dishes.

For more information visit:  www.chicagochefweek.com

Here is a list of the 2014

Chicago River @ night

Chicago River @ night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

participants:

Celebrate Chicago chefs during Chicago Chef Week 2014

Lunch: 3 courses for $22**  |  Dinner: 4 courses for $44**

<!– BOKA – Dinner only –><!– Vermilion (L) (D) –>

2014 Participants:
720 Bar & GrillAda St. – Dinner only — Antique Taco*** – Lunch only — Atwood Café – Dinner only — Autre Monde – Dinner only — Avec – Dinner only — Azzurra – Dinner only — Balena – Dinner only — BarbakoaBistro Bordeaux – Dinner only — BistronomicBlackbird – Lunch only — The Boarding House – Dinner only — Bread & Wine – Dinner only — The Bristol – Dinner only — Browntrout – Dinner only — Carriage HouseCarlucciChez Moi – Dinner only — Chicago QCicchettiCyrano’s*** – Dinner only — Coppervine – Dinner only — The Dawson – Dinner only — De CeroEmbeyaEpic
Frontier – Dinner only — Gather*** – Dinner only — The GageGemini Bistro – Dinner only — Graham Elliot BistroGrange Hall Burger BarGreen Zebra – Dinner only — GT Fish & Oyster***Homestead on the Roof – Dinner only — Hot ChocolateHowells & Hood – Dinner only — iNG – Dinner only — JamJellyfishLas Palmas – Dinner only — Le ColonialLibertad – Dinner only — Little Market BrasserieThe LobbyLocal RootLockwoodMacku Signature – Dinner only — MercaditoMexiqueMK*** – Dinner only — Mott Street – Dinner only — Nana
Nico Osteria – Lunch only — Nightwood – Dinner only — North Pond – Dinner only — Oceanique – Dinner only — Perennial Virant – Dinner only — The Publican*** – Lunch only — Riccardo Trattoria – Dinner only — Roka AkorRoka Akor Old OrchardRustic House – Dinner only — SepiaSiena TavernSlurping Turtle***Sol de MexicoSophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue – Lunch only — Table Fifty-Two – Dinner only — Table, Donkey and Stick – Dinner only — TakitoTanta – Dinner only — TavernitaTelegraph – Dinner only — TesoriTortoise ClubTroquet River NorthVermilionVie – Dinner only
* 2 lucky guests will be chosen at random to win 52 $50 gift cards from participating restaurants. ** Beverages, tax and gratuity not included in pricing. Participation depends on each restaurant’s hours of operation. *** Offer different than regular Chicago Chef Week promo pricing. Please inquire with individual restaurant.
Image representing OpenTable as depicted in Cr...

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Make your reservations ASAP at www.opentable.com or directly at the restaurant’s website.

Set table at the James Beard House, January 2007

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Many noteworthy Executive Chefs will prepare outstanding meals at bargain prices. A three-course prix fixe lunch will set you back $22 and dinner will be $44.

Buon Appetito from your “Foodie Friends” @ www.vino-con-vista.com.

Image that shows the areas used by UNESCO in o...

Image that shows the areas used by UNESCO in order to localize World Heritage Sites. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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I Love Pelago Ristorante for Italian Cuisine in Chicago

The Lindbergh Beacon atop the Palmolive Buildi...

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There are many outstanding restaurants in Chicago‘s Gold Coast where we normally spent special celebratory dinners. But for my son’s birthday we decided to try a new place in Streeterville. We made reservations at Pelago www.pelagorestaurant.com at 201 East Delaware in the boutique-style Hotel Raffaello.

I lover Streeterville! The elegant neighborhood is bounded by the river on the south, the Magnificent Mile portion of Michigan Avenue on the west and Lake Michigan on the north and east. It’s probably one of the best walking neighborhoods in the city because it is so close to so many of the City’s finest destinations. This charming restaurant is tucked away in one of the attractive, historic buildings on Delaware.

Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

You can dine in the intimate contemporary room designed by the Chef’s architect wife Kim, with a gorgeous  mother-of-pearl tiled fireplace. If the weather permits, make a reservation for the seasonal outdoor terrace.

Chicago Hotels

Chicago Hotels

Best Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Pelago Ristorante in Chicago

You don’t have to travel to Italy to get what Italians consider legendary authentic Italian food. Michelin-starred Italian Chef/Owner Mauro Mafrici recently won an award from the Italian Government for his “Authentic” Italian Menu called the “Ospitalita Italiana” Quality Seal.

Pelago Italian Ristorante in Chicago

The up-scale Italian restaurant has a quaint outdoor terrace nestled on historic East Delaware Place.  Pelago is in the heart of Streeterville‘s sophisticated neighborhood just east of the prestigious Water Tower Shopping District on Michigan Avenue‘s magnificent mile. It is within walking distance to one of my favorite Chicago summer distinations; Oak Street  Beach.

English: The Magnificent Mile is generally con...

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Mauro  hit a Grand Slam with his incredible six-course “Vertical Tasting Menu.”  We had an opportunity to try some ravioli di funghi, lasagna alla Bolognese, gnocchi di patate al gorgonzola e noci, and risotto alle verdure. We also sampled four meat offerings, a plethora of seafood options and some remarkable desserts. Pelago has an impressive wine list. It was definitely a meal fit for a king! I think we’ll be celebrating many birthdays at Pelago.

Buon Appetito from your Foodie Friends at www.vino-con-vista.com

Best Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Italian Restaurants in ChicagoChicago Restaurants

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Chicago’s Lincoln Square Wine Stroll


There’a an outstanding “Vino con Vista” Event in Chicago’s chic Lincoln Square neighborhood. On Thursday, November 3rd you can stroll through Lincoln Square’s “Wine Road” from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and sip wine paired with hors d’ oeuvres from Lincoln Square’s shops and restaurants.

Pick up your wine glass and map @ 4727 N Lincoln Ave. There are 2 routes to choose from: Grape and Vine.

This image shows a red wine glass.

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The Grape Route includes  Bistro Campagne, Bad Dog Tavern, Pizza D.O.C., Gene’s Sausage Shop, Provenance Food & Wine and Trattoria Trullo. 

The Vine Route includes Barba Yianni, LM Restaurant and other local establishments. Pay 
$40.00 per route or visit all the stops, “The Whole Vineyard” for $60.00.

Wine tastings will be offered at each location.One or Two samplings of a White and a Red Wine will be provided at each location. Her’s a Lincoln Square Video http://youtu.be/E4h6X-BHrLM.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Chicago Chef Week Pick: Michael Jordan’s One Sixty Blue on Randolf

Picture of Michael Jordan at a basketball game.

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Passionate foodies and wine aficionados should make a Chef’s Week reservation at Michael Jordan‘s One Sixty Blue Restaurant located at 1400 W. Randolf www.onesixtyblue.com.

Executive Chef Michael McDonald’s exceptional “Contemporary American Cuisine” was nutured by Charlie Trotter‘s passion for food when Michael served as Charlie’s Executive Chef at his restaurant in Los Cabos, Mexico. Chef Michael excels at creatively combining quality ingredients and executing a flawless presentation in this sleek and elegant dining establishment in Chicago’s trendy West Loop neighborhood.

For the first course one of my favorites is the Pacific Shrimp and Grits with sweet corn and chanterelle mushrooms or enjoy the delightful Charcuterie with smoked meats and whole grain mustard.

Chicago Chef Week

Smoked Meat Appetizer @ One Sixty Blue in CHicago

I highly recommend the perfectly-prepared Porcini Ravioli served over white and green asparagus with mushrooms as well as the outstanding wood-grilled flat iron steak served over blue cheese mashed potatoes drizzled with a savory cracked pepper sauce.

Porcini Ravioli served over asparagusFlat iron steak over blue cheese mashed potatoes

I enjoyed the complex flavor of the incredible 2008 Sineann Wilamette Valley Pinot Noir which paired nicely with both entrees.

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

The talented Pastry Chef Hillary Blanchard-Rikower attended Le Cordon Blue‘s Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She wowed us with her decadent chocolate peanut butter terrine with buttery popcorn-flavored ice cream as well as a superb sticky toffee cake with citrus pear mascarpone.

Chef Week Chicago 2011

Salute and Buon Appetito from your foodie friends at www.vino-con-vista.com.

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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