All day, every day, the Lushes have been searching and exploring…challenging our palates to expand as we try new grapes, regions, producers, and styles. We have discovered what we adore, what we LOVE and what do not care for. And, we discovered that our tastes have evolved, twisted, turned, and ended up in new places, the same places, and places we never imagined we would go. As a staff, we have a very eclectic, bizarre, and sometimes frightening taste in all things fermented.
Set to task, dedicated to choosing our very most favoritest wines, we set a very strict set of criteria…we want outrageous quality for the cash, of course, but we also require craft winemaking, juice that speaks of where it comes from and that inexplicable, intangible, expression of something extraordinary.Our staff picks of the year are titillating, intellectual stimulating, and definitely remarkable…unforgettable, even. So, we are memorializing our favorites of the year in this year end rewind.
So, without further ado, the LUSH Wines of the Year, 2011. Ha. No, silly, you have to come to the tasting to get a sneak peek and a secret sip…
Rock the vote…
LUSH has been nominated as one of the best wine shops in the city. Please excuse us while we fan ourselves and try to remain calm…eeeeee! So exciting. Please share your love and support of all things LUSH by voting. The TimeOut Chicago 2010 EatOut Awards are about indulging in the good stuff...food and booze, with a close pulse on the city and what is brand spanking new or established and still performing wonders peddling deliciousness. Vote your most bestest favorite restaurant, chefs, bartender, blogger…and wine shop! We heart you! http://chicago.timeout.com/
Next course offering, Classic Cocktails will be held TONIGHT, Thursday, February 25th from 7-8:30pm at LUSH in West Town. Ms. Jane will be slingin’ cocktails and preaching the gospel of good booze, classic flavor combinations and technique. Y’all don’t wanna miss this one. Y’all can STILL sign up…just CALL 312.666.6900 immediately. Right now.
Read the rest of this entry »
LUSH West Town has been in the works for quite some time. From the ground construction takes a bit of time, apparently, and contractors and carpenters, painters, plumbers, and such are a rowdy bunch and take some cajoling to meet deadlines. Throwing booze at them only helps so much, and my super sad face just didn’t do it. So, it’s been an intense, battling struggle to restrain our anxiety and overflowing joy to be opening a new shop. We are nearly spilling over…just waiting for the dear city to bestow the ultimate gift, the golden ticket of a liquor license. I will absolutely holler at the top of my virtual internet lungs the moment that our status progresses. Oh please, oh please, oh please.
However, in the meantime, alas, I must unfortunately call a halt to our raucous plans for Friday the 13th and kabosh the launch party until another date. Do not fear, free wine, beer and snackies will be available when said party commences. It will be a knee-slapping roof shaking good time. We’ve got to break the new store in, of course. So, NO go on the grand opening of Lush West Town this week. If we do indeed procure said license, I will throw open the doors and welcome the thirsty, the seekers of knowledge and fun.
Please partake in the good times and show your support of our local little wine shop. We are extremely thrilled to join the West Town neighborhood and the amazing local joints along the way…food, art, and a lively, smart drinking culture. Pop in and say hi; get to know your Lushes. And, we LOVE you.
For future reference, all pertinent details below…LUSH West Town, 1412 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642. 312-666-6900. Holler at email@example.com with questions.
And, for an alternative party plan, join LUSH Roscoe 4-6pm for a vertical Goose Island Bourbon County Stout tasting (06, 07, 08, 09) with a little dash of Matilda and Sophie…good historical lesson, ya know…AND, 6-8pm for a wine tasting with Lagniappe founder Andrew Grossman. We’ll be tasting the great Dexter Lake mustache clad wine, Forlorn Hope, and some Argentinian juice.
Savvy? LUSH it up.
As much as ‘wine people’ talk about the right glassware to drink out of, with our cognac glass different than our American whiskey glass, our Cabernet glass different than our Burgundy glass, there comes a time when we all drink wine out of a plastic cup (or maybe even paper!). Perhaps it’s a street fair; it’s a concert in the park; it’s a Sunday picnic. In these situations, it is ridiculous to even think about the ‘proper’ glassware. But the question arises: if you know that you’re going to be drinking out of a plastic cup, what do you drink? If you know that the ‘glassware’ d’jour is actually plastic and horribly unsuited for fully expressing a wine (yes, I am a wine geek at heart), what do you choose?
I was presented with this exact conundrum the other day when heading to an outdoor concert at Grant Park with my family. A casual picnic dinner that needed a couple bottles of wine (and, of course, my parents volunteered me to provide said bottles). So what tastes best out of a plastic cup?
And there lies the answer: what tastes best. The aroma is going to be lost to some extent. The slanted little sides of a plastic cup provide no room for swirling; all the luscious smells fall flat and recede against them. So you need a wine that is both wildly aromatic (to get even a faint hint of what the smell should be), but more importantly, super flavorful. Subtlety is lost in plastic cups. And younger wines tend to work better. Nothing that needs any ‘opening up’ is going to work. You don’t bring a decanter to a picnic.
And, I suppose, the most obvious answer to the question at hand is also: something cheap. Because, let’s face it, you’re really not getting all that the wine has to offer.
So, armed with these general notions, I chose the following for a Friday night listening to music in the rain at Grant Park:
1. 2008 Scarpetta Pinot Grigio, Friuli, Italy
Probably the weakest choice of the three. A little too subtle on both the palate and the nose to beat the plastic cup. A truly lovely wine, though! I am a huge fan of all the Scarpetta stuff. Very tropical on the nose, with notes of papaya and pineapple. Delicate and fat on the palate, with fruitiness up front balanced by a bitter floral finish and great stony acidity. Lavender, pear, and even a leesy note. Just awesome.
2. 2008 Tcherga Cab/Merlot Rosé, Bulgaria
Totally worked in a plastic cup! You still got faint hints of watermelon and strawberry on the nose. A less acidic rosé than most, with a nice roundness and a hint of sweetness. Very playful and fresh. Great with a shrimp salad and some fresh fruit.
3. 2008 Forlorn Hope Suspiro del Moro, Lodi, California
My favorite of the three. This is a light, young, fresh, low alcohol red that is outrageously flavorful and aromatic. Smokey, with loads of grilled strawberries and raspberries, and a chalky minerality. Pristine, plush texture. Goes down easy and invites sip after sip. The plastic cup had nothing on this wine.
The night was a smashing success, and everyone really liked all three wines. And no one had any idea how much thought went into choosing what wine they would be drinking out of a plastic cup.