by Ms. Jessica Tessendorf
LUSH lingo leaving you a little bamboozled? Let’s get straight to the facts. An honest to
goodness list of everything your neighborhood LUSH can provide just for you.
1. FREE booze! If the lights are blinking, you’re drinking. 12-10, 7 days a week. Anything
we have opened is fair game.
2. FREE Scheduled tastings. 2-5 each and every Sunday afternoon. Check out the website
or call your local shop to see what the weekly theme is. Not a wine fan? 25% of our
scheduled tastings are either beer or spirits. We provide the topic, the booze, and some
tasting notes, you provide your face.
3. Personalized tastings. Pick a topic, or don’t. Have it blind, or not. Have some snacks
to pair, or drink your food. Set a date with Ms. Carrie (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Roscoe Village, or Ms. Alica (email@example.com) at West Town & University Village, get
some friends together, and have a more tailored tasting event. Read the rest of this entry »
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
LUSH West Town
1412 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
The original gypsy brewer, Brian Strumke, popped in to LUSH West Town for an impromptu tasting of his Stillwater Artisanal Ales. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, this rockin’ beer dude makes beer all over the world. He has paired up with 12% Imports, headed by Brian Ewing, to form a most dynamic duo. Alas, no brewery. But, no problem. Following suit to Mikkeller ‘in’ Denmark, Stillwater beer is crafted on borrowed time with borrowed space in breweries far flung. It is about good beer. And good relationships. And beer.
We tasted American. English. And Belgian style brewing. Beautiful (and creepy) labels catch the eye. The rest happens in the bottle, in the glass, and with friends. It is all about collaboration. So, join LUSH and Mister Strumke for an epic evening of beer…swing by to check it out. More special, rare, and delicious gypsy ales jumping onto the shelves soon.
‘A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.’ -Sir William Dobell
‘The goal of Stillwater Artisanal is just that, living art. Although packaged within a medium often overlooked for its artistic merits, our desire is to offer something new and intriguing. We present more than just a fine crafted beverage, rather an occasion that evokes an emotion and inspires contemplation. For art is not a sum of actions but rather an approach to life. We draw our inspiration from the world around us, whether that be a season, location, or even humanity itself. Our intent is to encapsulate this muse exhibiting an artistic rendition to the best of our abilities.’ – http://stillwaterales.blogspot.com/p/stillwater-portfolio.html.
by Ms. Christina Fuhrman
Everyone has heard of Cognac. Now it’s time to meet Armagnac the lesser know French brandy. Armagnac is located in South West France. There are three delimited regions, Haut- Armagnac, Bas-Armagnac, and Tenareze. Bas-Armagnac is the lowest elevation area, has sand soil, and some of the best producers. Tenareze is where most of the negociants are from. Haut-Armagnac has the least production, but is said to be the most striking area.
Grapey goodness. Eleven different grapes are approved for Armagnac production. For the most part only three grapes are used, the same basic grapes of Cognac. St. Emilion (Ugni Blanc), Folle Blanche (Picpoul), and Colombard are the fabulous three. The grapes are generally harvested mechanically and then made into very acidic wine. With the use of a continuous still the wine is transformed into brandy. The double distillation does not create a product as pure as gin or vodka, but that is a good thing. This is what you want. You want the flavor and character left behind.
Aging happens in black oak casks. This type of oak is sappy so it matures the Armagnac quicker than Cognac would. The casks are purposely no topped off to allow some oxidation. This creates the signature taste of Armagnac. No caramel or sugar is added. The age is indicated on the bottle. *** is aged for a minimum of two years. VO and VSOP spends a minimum of four and a half years in cask. XO, Vieille Relique, Tres Vieille Reserve, and Napolean spend a minimum of five and a half years in cask. Hors d’age spends a minimum of ten years in cask. Something to consider, Armagnac will not continue to age and improve in the bottle. Once it is bottled it is ready to drink. So there is no reason to wait. Open that puppy up and drink.
No special glassware needed. If you have glasses that taper towards the opening, perfect. If not a champagne flute works well. You can put it in a normal rocks glass, but you won’t be able to enjoy the aromas quite as much. Speaking of aromas…WORDS of WARNING…do not directly inhale. You will burn your nose off. First put the glass up to your chest and inhale. Then bring the glass up to your chin and inhale. This way you can smell all the wonderful aromas without assaulting your nose. Armagnac has wonderful aromas of toast, caramel, vanilla, white flowers, spices and more. There is always something delicious and exciting in every bottle.
So Very nice to meet you Armagnac.
by Rachael Thompson
I have to admit to being a little perplexed when we got our first batch
of Ineeka beer in at Lush–I knew Ineeka as the locally based company whose tea we
sell in the shop– now they were making beer? My confusion grew when I saw
“Product of Holland” stamped on the beer bottles–so Ineeka
was making Dutch beer? Was Ineeka Dutch? Had they always been Dutch? Eeek! Confusions! Read the rest of this entry »
For people sound of body, brain, and spirit, moving from one domicile to another is an activity that inspires the worst feelings imaginable: dread, preemptive exhaustion, crabbiness, irritability, and leg cramping. Okay, maybe the leg cramping happens after moving. Go eat a banana, girl! Read the rest of this entry »
LUSH Wine and Spirits for the wine! No, wait, the win!
Seriously, though, we are so very thrilled and extremely gracious to all the lushes out there that voted for us. Thank you! We heart wine, we heart you. And TimeOut Chicago, too. Oh, and Rick Bayless, cause he’s dreamy.
We were in good company with the other nominees, and very much think they do a rockin job with the wine, as well.
LUSH has busted ass and loves our wine drinking, slinging friends. Please come on by and check out our interactive, put it in your mouth approach to sipping, getting educated, and having fun. Classes, tastings, and private events are all integral components of the shop, so give us a ring anytime to get in on the action.
Check out lushwineandspirits.com for more details, or give the GM a call at 312.666.6900. Ask for Rachel or chat up a LUSH lady or lad.
Right on. Thank you! Bubbles! And Champagne to celebrate!
Relevations about Canadian wine regions…
On March 24th, LUSH West Town played host to a showcase tasting of Canadian wineries, put on by the Canadian consulate. Primarily focused on Ontario and British Columbia, wines ranged from zippy, spritely Riesling to peppery Cab Franc, and right back around to intensely little bottles of icewine. A nice little related article, and video!, may be found here; http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/todays-chicago-woman/2010/03/chicago-canadian-wine-tasting-cave-spring-cellars.html.
MINI-GEEK: Verticals? For serious geeks, there are a few bottles out there in the world that serve as holy grails for collectors: the Lafites and Latours and Cheval-Blancs of the world; Sassicaia, Opus One, Screaming Eagle; Sea Smoke Pinot, anything coming in magnum form, certainly, and hell, even weird whites from Baumard, Dagueneau, and their ilk. People who have access to these wines are very lucky, indeed, and their friends are luckier still if the bottle owner wants to share. Scenes from The Billionaire’s Vinegar come to mind, where some of the world’s wealthiest and richest wine collectors come together for several days and work through verticals of the wine, meaning they drink multiple vintages, in order, of the same wine. Truly a great learning experience, drinking through multiple vintages of one wine from one producer teaches the drinker about the subtle–and not subtle!– differences that one year’s varying meteorological activity can make on what is, essentially, the same agricultural product. Events like the California wildfires of 2008 lend a certain smokiness to some wines that was not present in 2007, and so on. Also, trying older vintages of a wine will let the drinker understand more about the aging process of specific varietals, not just the individual bottling.
We Lushies love partaking in vertical tastings where possible, and we don’t limit it to just wine. We’ve been known to throw big parties celebrating the many vintages of great beers, like Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout [we still have some of the 2006 vintage!–ed.] and, among our staff and friends, the absolutely insane Three Floyd’s Dark Lord. Lushie Erin has a bottle of the 2005 Dark Lord stashed away in her cellar, to be unveiled soon with Lushie Brent during a completely ridiculous vertical tasting. So if you can keep those thirsty paws patient, stash away a bottle or two of your favorite wine or beer for a few years in a row, and get your learnin’ on. Slurp.
If you are into it, following the biodynamic calendar may help your booze taste better. The calendar was actually created to help guide planting, sowing, and such…but, it applies to wine flavors, too! [Mr. Steiner developed and shared the principles of biodynamic farming, you can Google him and get the full run down…kinda like extra organic with a side of the mystical…but basically all about ‘living’ soils and a truly sustainable approach to farming].
Apparently, drinking on a ‘root’ or ‘leaf’ day is not ideal to show off the assests of the wine. Brings out the dirty, earthy funk. But, to highlight the juice, do drink on a ‘fruit’ or ‘flower’ day, as the deliciousness of the wine is at the forefront and ready to shine. You can find a fairly concise explanation here and a link to get a calendar…http://stellanatura.com/use.html. LUSH suggests putting it to the test. Practice, study, and conduct research. SIP on each type of day. Same wine. Same situation. Different bottle, duh. Let us know what you think! Of course, practical matters take precendence…like food pairing and the company and such. And, if you want to drink, just do. Drink what you like when you want.
The first weekend in February, I flew down to Atlanta to celebrate the marriage of a very kind, beautiful couple. I’ll detail my favorite food & drink from the weekend and you’ll probably think I stayed a week. Read the rest of this entry »