LUSH Weekly Email: Blind Tasting

May 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm (BYOB, class, Current Events, Special Events, What we are eating, What we are thinking, What we're drinking) (, , , , )

Oops, it happened again.  Posted here for your perusing pleasure…

I apologize profusely for the horrifying event of last week…you did not receive your weekly LUSH email.  GASP.  Apparently our email utility people were napping.  But, no worries, this is a fair representation of the information you missed last week, minus my suggestions for a glorious Memorial Day weekend, but I am sure y’all did quite well with partying and enjoying the beautiful weather!

P.S.  My coolest cousin, Ms. Alice, will be buzzing into town for a sweet visit with an old family friend, Ms. Lucy.  We all grew up together in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas…running, climbing, playing in the mud and the garden, swimming, and delving into general mischief and mayhem.  They may be hanging out, causing trouble at LUSH next week!

Hoooweee, put it in my glass!

I am not so sure about y’all, but I am very tempted to slip off my sneakers, run around barefoot for a while, and go play outside.  Granted, any playtime deserves a nice, chilly bottle of pink or white wine.  Or a sixer of local pilsner.  Venture out to see us…we have bottles open to sample for (shhh!) free.  And, we are local, friendly, and like to share.

WHITE – ABACELA ALBARINO, Oregon 2008; $21.50
Mr. Mike Hinds, former LUSH and longtime Chicago friend, gifted me a bottle of Abacela Albarino after a trip to the Northwest.  And, hold crappers, this is a tasty little bitch.  AND, it just meandered all the way to Chicago.  I am SO excited to be able to share this wine with you.

The Abacela Albarino is an undisputed gem of Oregon wines. Albarino, a Spanish grape rarely grown in North America, is turned into a delightful melange of creamy lemon, green apple, white peach and grapefruit. Lemon grass peeps through occasionally, and zippy green herbs with citrus blossom.  Definitely a perfect complement for Northwest fish and seafood dishes…try it with oysters!

RED – R Wines ‘MOD’ Gamay, Victoria, Australia 2008; $25
R Wines is unlike any other producer. Ringland is at the helm, well known for high-octane, blockbuster styles. His chief winemaker since 2008 is Bill Downie, formerly the pinot maker at de Bortoli. Downie’s wines are from the ethereal, elegant end of the spectrum. In theory, it is impossible to see this duo working, but in practice, it is proving very successful.

Ringland is making about 70 wines a year, tiny quantities of some, yet every one gets its own label. World-famous designers have been involved in the project, and this label is definitely eye-catching.

I am absolutely, totally, digging on the MOD wines.  The Gamay is shockingly good and a refreshing delight.  Despite the bracing clash of bright oranges, reds, and blue of the mod label, this wine kicks some ass.  Bright red cherry is couched in pretty mineral tones with an accent of fresh green herbs, and the wine is exceedingly food friendly.  The fruit is from Geelong…fun to say, better to drink.  Enjoy!

Ms. Kelly Cosgrove, Event Coordinator, is your brand spanking new direct connection to event planning at LUSH.  You may contact her to discuss private tastings, private events, including bridal showers, neighborhood shindigs, or full out close down the shop dinner extravaganzas, as well as on-site soirees at the location of your choosing.  Party with LUSH!  We specialize in providing a dynamic, interactive wine tasting and education, as well as inspired wine and food pairing, and exceptional, customized events.  We are flexible and love a challenge, so holler at Kelly to get the party started.

CLUB LUSH:  Love our wine?  Enjoy it DELIVERED to you home or prepackaged and waiting for you at the shop…no worry, no decision making, yummy wine just for you!
LUSH has 3 wine club options that you may opt in to…with delivery once each quarter, you will be loving it and wish and waiting for more.   Our lovely lushie staff will choose from a hand-crafted selection of wines, whip up some snazzy tasting notes and perhaps a few notes on pairing with food, recipes, or tips from the winemakers to go with those bottles.  Options range from super duper affordable to fancy shmancy I like me some good wine.  Quarterly delivery…March, June, September, and December.  Each delivery will include at least 2 bottles of wine.  Wine club members will be invited to ‘members only’ events, receive a 5% discount at the shop, knab a soft and sweet Lush tee, and be included in additional perks!  Call 773-281-8888 or respond to this email to join or make further inquires.  You may [gasp!] cancel at anytime prior to each quarterly shipment.  Delivery available for $15 each quarter.   Next selection available JUNE 21st.  Register at your nearest LUSH.  For all you old-timers…please CONFIRM your continued participation.  I have some pretties for you.

$50 Rose Renegades: All pink, all the time.  Fight wine racism and explore the mystery of what happens in the ‘between, as the hue fades from red to white.  Versatile and glorious with food, explore what pink can do.  Drink rose today.  Expect examples of rose in all shades and flavors from light and minerally to almost red and big and burly.

$100 Juice Junkies: Join the Lush internationally exploration of all things fermented.  Taste the terroir of wine regions you’ve never heard of, sip on juice crafted from grapes you’ve never tried.  Small production, hand-crafted bottles will be selected by the Lush staff to fit the seasonal swing of your menu and be exciting and of the moment.  Often, these will be exclusives just for the wine club, as we are most likely delving into allocated bottle.  Super special, indeed.

$200 Cork Dorks: Super small production, cult status wines that will necessarily have the ‘wow’ factor.  We will scour the world of wine to get our hands on the most glorious, delicious, and mindblowing wines ever made…sparkling, still…obscure…and perhaps a liquor, liqueur, or rockin’ beer will find a special place in your collection.  These items do not see the shelves of the shop, as they are ‘club’ only.  This club is extremely prestigious, and thus participation will be limited.  Upon acceptance, you will be given a super secret password, learn the Lush handshake, and gain access to the most forbidden of all fruits.  Special perks apply.

DINNERS WITH LUSH: A series of gourmet parties on our patio…
Holla. Shout from the rooftops and tell all your friends; Lush in University Village has a rocking patio that is just itching to be used every single day of sunshine and warm(er) temps.  And, what better way to utilize the short Chicago summer than to sip away the afternoon and EAT outside!  The Lushies have been whipping up a full schedule, soon to be posted in full, of food and wine events, so please join us for a lovely evening, or jump in on them all!  Resos are required and all reservations are non-refundable.  Serious.

PATIO SERIES @ LUSH, 1257 South Halsted, Chicago, IL 60607
Each event is open to 25 people.  Groups are welcome and encouraged. We will be taking resos soon.  Reservations are required and the cost is non-refundable. We expect to serve 4 courses, family style, and pour you 2-4 glasses of wine.  Yes, that translates to MORE than you could possibly want to eat or drink.  The cost will fluctuate depending upon the event.  More details to come.  Call 312.738.1900 to reserve a seat.  You may also email  EAT, DRINK, be MERRY and CELEBRATE with us!

[SOLD OUT] Saturday, May 30th:  PAELLA [$40]

The anticipation has been building, and we just practiced our first dinner event of the season, so the Lushes are very very excited to announce the debut patio series event of the season!  We are taking reservations RIGHT NOW for the Paella and Sangria event.  You don’t want to miss the Mario Batali in Spain inspired 30 quart paella pan and pitchers full of sangria!  We will have traditional tapas and extreme,  iced buckets of  refreshing boozy beverages, as well.  Really.  Dig in.  Cost is $40 bones, NOT including tax or tip, and reflects estimated market value of ingredients and wine…shrimps, sangria, and wine, yeehaw.  Reservations accepted NOW.

Paella: a rice based seafood dish originating from Valencia, Spain.  Chefs have free reign with ingredients, but expect the LUSH paella to include saffron, olive oil, lobster, shrimp, and other tasty morsels.

Sangria: translates to ‘bloody’, but the LUSH version of the wine and fruit based punch, will be full up with rose wine, rum, brandy, and some delicious secret ingredients.  Drink up!

FULL SCHEDULE – Tentative, but fairly firm dates.  Prices TBD.  Accepting reservations NOW.

*Saturday, MAY 20th, 6-8pm: PAELLA

*Friday, JUNE 26th, 6-8pm:  LOBSTER

*Thursday, JULY 2nd, 6-9pm:  BEAM and PIG [free event]
Holla.  Celebrate the patio event of 2009 with a big, raucous, knee slappin’ good time.  You especially do not want to miss the FREE pig roast hosted by Mr. Fred Noe of Jim BEAM Bourbon.  Yeah, I said free.  Pig.  Bourbon. Famous Distiller.  What?!

LUSH will be pouring special ‘signature’ Beam cocktails all night…courtesy of our phenomenal in-house mixologist, Ms. Jane.   Seasonal, delicious, and icy goodness.
Mitch will be dusting off the ol’ pig roasting box, finding the perfect pig, and cooking up a storm.  Join us to schmooze with a legend of Kentucky bourbon!

*Friday, JULY 3rd, 6-8pm: FRIED CHICKEN and CHAMPAGNE
*Saturday, JULY 25th, 6-8pm: RIBS

*Saturday, AUGUST 15th, 6-8pm: PIG ROAST
*Saturday, AUGUST 29th, 6-8pm: CRAB BOIL

*Saturday, SEPTEMBER 12th, 6-8pm: OYSTERS
*Saturday, SEPTEMBER 26th, 6-8pm: OCTOBERFEST

*Saturday, OCTOBER 3rd, 6-8pm: INDIAN
*Saturday, OCTOBER 17th, 6-8pm:  PIG ROAST revisited
*Saturday, OCTOBER 24th, 6-8pm: PORT and CIGARS
*Sunday, OCTOBER 25th, 6-8pm: PUMPKIN and BEER
*Friday, OCTOBER 30th, 5-10pm: RIVER of SKULLS release party

LUSH Reads: A Book Club
LUSH Reads will essentially be a book club (but doesn’t that just sound SO boring), with selections chosen to elucidate and educate about wines that we carry. Book club in-store discussion, at the moment, convenes at 2232 West Roscoe.

Next book and gathering:

Get literary!  But, remember the number one rule of learning about wine: You have to drink wine. So we’ll pop open a few bottles relevant to the reading, eat a few nibbles, and have a marvelous time, learning and drinking as we go.  $10 for wine and snacks, the company and lively discussion is complimentary! Please respond to this email, if you want to participate!  RSVP strongly appreciated.

LUSH Twitter Account
Tweet tweet, drinkers! Lush has jumped into the Twitterverse with a wine glass in hand, sending you up-to-the-minute reports on open sample bottles, new store arrivals and breaking food and wine news, all in 140 characters or less. Watch us as we play with twitpic and like it’s nobody’s business. See what we have to say when no one in particular is listening!

LUSH Blog. BLOG blog blog…
As you may have surmised, clever as you are, the Lushes like to DRINK.  But, we also like to talk about what we drink, what we eat, and what we think.   Now you can share in our geeked out discussions and ramblings on current wine news, events, food, and drinking.  Visit our blog to check out photos, wild event accounts, and crazy postings, as well as an online event calendar.  Drop a comment or just peruse our literary inclinations. AND, be sure to check out our weekly edition of the LUSH interview: 10 Questions with…, during which local foodies and winos, rockstar winemakers, friends of lush, and the LUSH staff reveal their innermost thirsty little secrets!

LUSH Website. More news on Monday…we may just be getting somewhere!

SCHOOL of LUSH ~ CLASS is in session.
Get schooled by Lush.  Our spring classes are firing up, so check out our course offerings below for a good schoolin’.  Plaid skirts are NOT required, but an open mind and palate is.   Stay after class for extra tutoring and chat with the geeky squad of Lush lecturers.  Come on in to see how Lush does school, a no-nonsense, down to earth wine course that is perfect for those who enjoy drinking wine, eating delicious food, and talking about it.  We will taste through a carefully chosen selection of hand-crafted wines designed to demonstrate the simplicity of understanding vino while breaking it down Lush style.  Come to our class and find out what wine is all about!   Please call Erin at 312-738-1900 or Rachel 773.281.8888 to ask questions or reserve your seat in class by credit card. The class in non-refundable, so go all in or not at all.

*CUSTOMIZE your own class.  Bring some friends…pick a date and a course topic.


1257 South Halsted/Chicago, IL 60607

Coming soon!

Learn the basics, LUSH style.  Please call Erin at 312-738-1900 to ask questions or reserve your seat in class by credit card.   $30 per person. *Read the fine type or suffer the consequences! The cost is non-refundable, so go all in or not at all.


2232 West Roscoe/Chicago, IL 60618

Thursday, June 25th, 6:30-8pm

Learn the basics, LUSH style.  Please call Rachel at 773-281-888 to ask questions or reserve your seat in class by credit card.   $30 per person. *Read the fine type or suffer the consequences! The cost is non-refundable, so go all in or not at all.


1257 South Halsted

*Metered parking on the street, or Maxwell Street Parking Garage $2 for 2 hours.

EVERYDAY, ANYTIME noon-10pm: Get your cool kid on and kick it on our patio.  Buy a brew, bring some food, and stay a while…

Wednesday, May 27th, 6-8pm: Break out the rubber…chicken, that is.  Twisted Oak and Newsome Harlow are taking over and rocking out.  Woo!

Thursday, May 28th, 7-8pm: BELGRAVIA Class, Southern Hemisphere

Union Row Townhomes
644 W. 16th Street
Chicago, IL


Thursday, May 28th, 6-8pm: Greg of CANDID wines will be kicking up his heels and getting the LUSH party started.  Join the shindig.

Saturday, May 30th, 6-8pm: Patio Series – PAELLA and Sangria

Sunday, May 31st, 2-5pm: SUNDAYS with LUSH  AND Handbag trunk show with Brigid Murphy!  Bring some cash and your stylish sensability.

Saturday, June 6th, 12-5pm: Blue Sky Inn ‘Picnics and Pies’ Fundraiser with David Tamarkin of Time Out Chicago.  You really want to be at this fundraiser…I’m just sayin.

Sunday, June 7th, 3pm until ?: Hit up the patio with Three Floyds as we break out the kegs and growlers and celebrate the Calumet Queen Kolsch release.  Oh, and we are hosting a BBQ to really make it a party.  Be there and be triangle!

Friday, June 12th, 6-9pm: Two Brothers keg party on the patio!  Sample the newest seasonal release of IMPERIAL Cane and Ebel and meet the brewers.  Sweetness.

Saturday, June 13th, 4-7pm:  FAT BLOSSOM CSA pickup, #1.

Monday, June 15th: Tentative book signing event…more details to come!

Saturday, June 20th, 6pm: Windy City Rollers Championship at UIC.  Join LUSH as we shower the winning roller derby broads with sparkling wine…or, for a tamer approach, pop by our table to chat us up!

Thursday June, 25th, 7-8pm: BELGRAVIA Class, Italian Wine 101
Union Row Townhomes
644 W. 16th Street
Chicago, IL

Friday, JUNE 26th, 6-8pm:  PATIO SERIES, LOBSTER.

Thursday, July 2nd, 6-9pm: BEAM and PIG on the patio.  FREE!  Join Mr. Freddie Noe, Mr. delicious pig, and the Lushes for a tasty treat…chilly bourbon cocktails and freshly roasted pork.  Please RSVP with Erin or Kelly.


[Coming soon…] WEST TOWN LUSH ~
1412 West Chicago
Chicago, IL  60642

Thursday, June 11th, 6-9pm: Architrouve,  a mixed-use, artistically inclined venue, blends the best of a lovely outdoor garden, local artists, and a cosy event space.  Founders and patrons Bob and Darci O’Connell have been actively collecting fine art for the past 35 years. Their collective vision has been to encourage and support the pursuit of the creative spirit in all mediums as reflected in their eclectic connoisseurship.  Architrouve passionately embraces local art, dance, film and theater culture.  LUSH is kicking off our debut in the ‘hood with a wine tasting and art show.  Please RSVP with Architrouve.

1433 West Chicago
Chicago, IL  60642

2232 West Roscoe

Thursday, May 28th, 6pm: Common Pantry Fundraiser at LUSH!

Sunday, May 31st, 6:30pm:  Home Bistro Farm Dinner.  LUSH wine is featured alongside local, seasonal farm produce from Harvest Moon Farms.  Chef Jean-Carl creates a custom, 4 course menu focused on the flavors of the season…served in a casual, farmhouse setting.  $49, excluding tax and tip. RSVP to HB required.

3404 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 661-0299


Sunday, May 31st, 2-5pm:  SUNDAYS with LUSH, BLIND tasting

Thursday, June 4th, 7-10pm: Wine and Worms!  As a follow up to our super cool event with ‘A Cooler Planet’ and the introduction to Stephanie, the Urban Worm Girl, LUSH is invading a private event to pour organic, bio-dynamic ‘dirty’ wine while Stephanie talks about her red worm friends.  Call to inquire about your own private showing.

Friday, June 12th, 6-8pm: ANN, the winemaker of  YORBA, will be pouring delightfully interesting and eclectic wines from California.  Tiny production and handcrafted bottlings make this some special stuff.  And, we love our women winemakers.

Thursday, June 18th, 7-8pm: Belgravia North Mini-School of Lush California Wine 101 Class.  FREE!  Please register with Rachel at LUSH, 773.281.8888, one week prior to the course.  NOW.


Saturday, June 27th, 7-10pm: Private SCOTCH Class and Tasting.  An intensive foray into all things Scotch…food pairing, history, culture, and delicious comparative tasting.

Sunday, June 28th, 6:30-8:30pm:  Home Bistro Farm Dinner.  LUSH wine is featured alongside local, seasonal farm produce from Harvest Moon Farms.  Chef Jean-Carl creates a custom, 4 course menu focused on the flavors of the season…served in a casual, farmhouse setting.  $49, excluding tax and tip. RSVP to HB required.

3404 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 661-0299

Break out the blindfolds.  No…now, don’t be naughty.  Fine, we’ll just disguise the bottles and let you use your eyes.  But, the bottles shall be disguised.  Try with all your might to outsmart the ladies of LUSH as we try to trick, I mean test, y’all on your wine savvy.  Hopefully we’ve trained you well.

You will be provided with a ballot and perhaps a few hints…we will trend toward single varietals, but do expect a blend or at least one curve ball.  You will be tested on COUNTRY (bonus point for region), GRAPE or grapes, and VINTAGE (bonus points on identifying producer!).

Sunday Afternoons with Lush is our way of sharing our love of wine and thoroughly enjoying the last moments of the weekend. We believe that tasting is the best way to learn about the endless flavor possibilities in the world of wine. Leave the text books at home; we are all about hands-on learning. Practice makes perfect, so the more tasting you do, the better you become at discerning the subtle nuances of aroma, flavor, and essential terroir of each wine. Each Sunday from 2 – 5 pm, Lush will have focused tastings guided by friendly wine geeks to help make you the practiced lush you esteem to be. These events are always complimentary. Feel free to bring your mother and anyone else who would appreciate exploring their Lush side.


Ms. Erin, Manager –
Ms. Jane, Assistant Manager –
Ms. Kelly, Event Coordinator –
Ms. Rachel, General Manager –

1257 South Halsted
Chicago, Illinois 60607

2232 West Roscoe
Chicago, Illinois 60618


If you would like to unsubscribe from our friendly, informational once weekly email, please reply to this email with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line.   Thank you kindly.


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