10 Questions with…
LUSH Wine and Spirits
Owner, Head LUSH
Mitch Einhorn, a local boy with a penchant for incredibly irreverent humor, yummy food, wine, beer, and bourbon, is the catalyst to making LUSH happen. He loves good wine and wants to share. He cooks…gourmet chef style, with big knives, and loads of local, or at least gourmet, ingredients. He has a couple awesome kids that inherited the precocious tendency to entertain. The Einhorns have been involved in several local Chicago projects, including Bone Daddy, Pie Hole, and the Twisted Spoke…um, Smut and Eggs anyone? Mitch is a serious wine drinker…and likes to spread the love for all things fermented. Hence, each and every day wine, beer, and spirits are OPEN and available to sample. LUSH strives to offer hand-crafted, eclectic, boutique bottles. Any budget is welcome, just make sure you are ready for an adventure. Open your palate and step into Lush.
Thanks for agreeing to be a part of the Lush Wine & Spirits blog. Please answer the following questions in whatever way you see fit. We want your voice, personality, and opinions to come through!
1) What is the best thing you’ve drank in the last week? What about in the last year?
Last week, my favorite wine was the Hospice du Rhone (HdR) blend of Grenache and Syrah from DOMAIN MARCOUX, a CDP producer in the Rhone Valley, JUSTIN, Paso Robles winemaker, and CAYUSE, a Washington producer. Total production for this exclusive auction lot was 10 cases! A third of the wine comes from each producer and is then assembled at JUSTIN and bottled after an additional 6 months in oak. Great fruit, silky soft tannins, very perfumey nose…ah, yummy.
This year, it definitely has to be the vertical retrospective of SINE QUA NON that we hosted this summer in the LUSH wine garden.
2) What do you think is the most underrated grape varietal or region? Overrated?
Underrated grape: Petite Verdot and Nero d’Avola
Underrated region: Portugal
Overrated region AND grape: Napa Cabernet
3) Who are your favorite food and wine writers?
Wine writer: Lettie Teague’s monthly column ‘Wine Maters’ in Food & Wine is always entertaining.
Food writer: Edward Behr’s ‘The Art of Eating’ or Christopher Kimball and writing staff at ‘Cook’s Illustrated.’ And, I can’t forget the staff at Saveur…every month is damn tasty.
4) What are your three favorite food cities?
Chicago: of course.
London: the epicenter of great Indian cooking…
Most of Europe: from gas stations, small coffee shops, super fancy places, good food is SO important to culture, to everyone; it is difficult to find bad food, except for the American exports (KFC, Mickey Dee’s, Pizza Hut). We only export the ‘best’ of American culture, eh.
4th place: a bunch…New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Yountville, and Los Angeles.
5) Top three restaurants you revisit all the time in Chicago?
Just three? Twisted Spoke, Hot Doug’s, the Publican, Avec, Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton (before Sarah Stegner left), Nacional 27…Urban Belly, Lem’s BBQ; I gotta eat more places…
6) What is your most memorable dining or drinking experience?
Drinking experience: John ALBAN ‘Seymour’ Syrah. I think it was 1998…it was what I consider a wine epiphany. Holy crap?! I didn’t know wine could taste like that. I had always enjoyed wine, but this was different. I asked my friend Jason to pick some new wines for me to sample…he assembled an assorted case and I took them home. After drinking through them over the course of a couple days. One stood out, head and shoulders above the rest; it was like your first taste of crack, your second thought is ‘where can I get more?’ I was enveloped by silky, velvety, richly fine tannins, with a heady perfume of ripe fruit, oak, and a hint of earthiness. It was like Jessica Rabbit in crushed black velvet or maybe more like Juliette Binoche as ‘Vianne Rocher’ as she opened the eyes of an entire village to the joy of all things chocolate and sensual.
One small bottle of wine started me down the path that eventually led to the creation of LUSH…I had to have more!
7) Between wine, beer, and spirits – when do you reach for each? If you HAD to do without one, which would it be?
There is a place for all three. For me, it depends upon my mood, what I am eating, and such that drives my final decision. Living without one, it just can’t be done. Why don’t you just cut off half of your tongue, or sever that unwanted extra limb? They are all so very intertwined; you can’t have spirits without beer or wine; the first step in making whiskey is to make a beer wash, brandies begin with wine. One of the main ingredients in t he production of wine is beer…most winemakers are full of it and could not make it through crush without a steady supple of the malty hoppy goodness. Conversely, brewers love wine, although I don’t know if it is as critical to the creation of beer, as beer is to wine.
So, you see, I just don’t think it is possible to live without one or another of the holy trinity.
8) What is the best thing about your job?
I love tasting new wines, meeting winemakers, visiting vineyards, eating great food, and then talking about the great wines and amazing food that I discovered. I especially love sharing stories, recipes, and wine with the enthusiastic patrons of LUSH.
9) If you had to describe yourself as a certain wine, what would it be? (i.e. Australian Shiraz – spicy, bold, and seductive. German Riesling – sometimes sweet (but hard to predict if it will be), elegant, and requiring of patience.)
Are any wines crotchety?
10) You’re on death row (sorry). What’s your final meal?
How much time do we have?
*Beluga Caviar and Kettle unsalted potato chips, paired with Clos de Goisses 1998
*Lobstertail poached in butter, paired with DRC Montrache, any vintage, I won’t be picky.
*Seared Foie Gras, paired with Chateau d’Yquem 1980s vintage
*Escargot in garlic butter, paired with 2005 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod ‘Les Cras’ Chambolle Musigny
*Veal Sweet Breads, paired with Chateau de Beaucastel ‘Hommage a Jacques Perrin’
*Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Salad, paired with Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec ‘Le Mont’
*Steak Tartar, paired with 2003 Tenuta d’ Ornellaia
*Rack of Lamb, paired with Alban Seymour Syrah, any vintage
*Cheese course, paired with Konsgaard Syrah, any vintage
*Crème Brulee, paired with 100 year old Madeira
And, I will open an additional bottle of Domain Romanee Conti ‘La Tache’, I am just not sure where to put it on the menu as a pairing…so I will open the bottle and try it with everything.