Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

New Arrivals!

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

It’s been a busy few weeks for us LUSHes and we are loaded with new stuff for you to try! Here is a primer on some – by no means all – of them. Stay tuned for updates about upcoming wines and distillates. We will be posting here every week – promise!

2007, Nusserhof Sudtirol Lagrein Riserva, Alto Adige, Italy

The label, with its mix of German and Italian, already gives you an idea of this wine’s fascinating background. This wines hails from the Northern confines of Italy, a region nestled in the Alps, at the intersection of the Swiss and Austrian borders. It is known as Alto Adige in Italian, and Sudtirol in German – the language spoken in this region of what is technically still Italy is primarily German, rather than Italian, and most everything there, including this label, is bilingual.

Lagrein is one of the main red grapes grown in Alto Adige, along with Pinot Noir. Unlike Pinot however, Lagrein is almost exclusively grown in this region, and it is as multifaceted a grape as its environment. A good example will have the transparency, purity and silky tannins of pinot, along with the deeper fruit and slightly more brooding tones of a Northern Rhone Syrah. With age, it acquires a hint of gaminess which will also be familiar to Syrah lovers.

The producer here is Heinrich Mayr, from the Nusserhof winery, whose south-facing slopes offer ideal exposure for growing Lagrein. The wine is fermented using wild yeasts, and this Riserva sees no new oak, so what you get here is a very pure and traditional expression of Ladrein from Northern Italy. This will be a joy for those of you who like fuller bodied Pinot, or anyone curious about discovering a new wine region and its traditions!

$37

2009 Napolini Rosso dei Monti, Umbria, Italy

A newcomer to our beloved 10$ rack, we believe this will be your go to mid-spring grilling wine! From a winery that has been in the same family from generations, the farming is bo0th traditional and respectful of the environment. A cornucopia of local (Sangiovese, Sagrantino…) and european (merlot) varieties are blended and fermented together to make this wine, which sits for a year in stainless steel before bottling. This is deep and spicy from extended maceration with the skins, but not so much as to be heavy or too tannic. On the contrary, the texture is just peppery and a little rustic, and there is good acidity to keep things fresh and food friendly. This will do wonders with beefy and chewy cuts like hanger or NY strip. $10

NV Cattin Brut Cremant d’Alsace, Alsace, France

This is a Domaine that was founded in 1720 as a general purpose farm which also made wine, and became entirely dedicated to wine in the 1850s. The Maison Cattin became really famous, when one of the Cattin brothers, Joseph, opened in the early 20th century an Alsatian restaurant in Paris called la Cigogne, where his family’s wine took a prominent place on the list. The restaurant was a huge success, and as rich parisians and foreigners flocked to La Cigogne, the popularity of the Cattin wines started growing.

The winery has been growing since, reaching the size of 123 acres in the eighties with holdings in some of the best vineyards of the Alsace region. They make wine from all of the traditional varieties of the region, from riesling and sylvaner to pinot noir and pinot blanc. This Cremant is 100% hand harvested pinot blanc from a variety of parcels owned by domaine Cattin. It is fermented in stainless steal, then bottled and goes through a second fermentation in bottle. The wine is aged for at least a year in bottle before it’s sent to your table. This has the weight and fruitiness of pinot blanc, and low acidity. Ideal for aperitif or daytime drinking. $16.50

2010 Poderi Sette Terre, Pecorino, Terre di Chieti, Italy

First let make clear that the Pecorino involved here is not a cheese, but a grape variety. Sheep have always had a tendency to munch on the grape, and its name comes from the Italian word for sheep, pecora. Done.

This is a variety that went through a near-death experience. Pecorino had almost gone extinct thirty years ago, when global, critic-pleasing, money-making varieties slowly started to uprooting acres and acres of traditional grapes from the terroirs where they were supposed to grow. Thankfully it is now in the midst of a resurgence, and pecorino is actually growing.. This is probably because of the grapes delicious, as well as its tendency to naturally produce low yields and grapes which are naturally resistant to mildew. This is a lighter, fresh wine with a lively acidity and a minerally, almost salty finish. Amazing with fresher, softer goat cheeses. $10

2011 Tami Grillo, Sicily, Italy

Another wine, white this time, from Arianna Occhipinti’s negociant label, Tami. We all know the Nero d’Avola, and this is a white that is made along the same lines: a 100% native sicilian grape variety, left to ferment on its own, with very little sulfur added, only at bottling. This wine has the richness and the ripe aromatics of a warmer climate white, while retaining the acidity and minerality to make it feel incredibly fresh. There’s a peachy note to the nose, alongside some pretty stunning floral aromatics that are balanced by a really delicious savory and minerally streak – think ever-so-slightly-dirty martini, with a sprinkle of sea salt. $17.75

2006 Roger Belland, Santenay-Beauregard 1er Cru, Burgundy, France

Pinot noir from one of the most feminine and elegant – and not completely out of reach to non-millionaires – appellations in Burgundy. Santenay produces both red and white wines that are known for their versatility: in the cellar, they’re delicious and generous right off the starting blocks, with suave tannins and very pretty and delineated aromas, but they’re known to have enough structure to mature and develop classic mature Burgundy notes of wet earth while retaining the acidity and the fruit to keep them fresh. Versatility at the dinner table too of course: this will pair gorgeously with pretty much anything (make it fancy though, there are only a few thousands bottles produced from Belland’s tiny holdings in the appellation), but somehow squab or duck, or even a good old roast chicken seem ideal. The Belland domaine has been in the family for 6 generations and this particular bottling is made in very small quantities. 30% of the grapes are not destemmed before crushing, which will add a certain amount of structure and help the wine age better. It also sees a bit of new wood after fermentation, but by now the wood has integrated and doesn’t feel like a separate element. The Domaine says this should reach peak drinking at 8 years of age. It is 7 now, and drinking beautifully already! $40

2010 Pinot Noir, Starr Ridge Vineyard, Davis Family Vineyards, Russian River Valley, CA

There’s a lot that could be said about Guy Davis and his wines, single vineyard Pinots, Chardonnays and Syrahs from the Russian River Valley. They’re made with love in very small batches. I have recently come across this testimonial, from someone who goes by the name Mindy T in Chicago wine circles:

“a super cool wine from a super cool man, Guy Davis. This is called 2010 Starr Ridge and was given 93 points by Parker.  The Starr Ridge Vineyard is owned by Guy’s friend and is the warmest of his PN sites, being north of the transition where the Russian River turns west toward the Pacific Ocean….lush, juicy dark cherry, mint, flowers and the coolest spices that float from the glass.  This is a Pinot that can age but is delicious at the moment.” $48.50

Petal and Thorn, Imbue

Our trusted source Mindy T says “this might be the coolest thing on the face of earth.” What else is there to add? Well, quite a bit, actually.

The base wine of this beauty is an Oregon Pinot Gris, which was reinforced to 18% by adding a brandy distilled from the same wine. The wine is then macerated with a mix of ten dried botanicals, sourced from organic producers when possible. The idea behind this poetically named wine is to find a balance between the sweetness and acidity of a tokaji or a Sauternes, and the herbal, medicinal bitterness of an amaro. Pour over a few ice cubes for aperitif.  $34.50

2009 Ben Marco Expresivo, Mendoza, Argentina

There’s just a lot going on here. This is Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, peppered with a hint of Syrah and framed by a touch of Tannat and Petit Verdot, all grown on the high perched vineyards of Mendoza. This is a Bordeaux blend taken on an Argentine honeymoon. The average age of these vines is a whopping 42 years, which allows the perfectly farmed fruit to express an earthy sense of place on top of the warm cherry and cocoa note. To add some spice and structure to this already luscious experience, this wine has seen extended aging in all new French oak. This makes Ben Marco a great candidate for the cellar or the decanter – in any case, it calls for steak, the bloodier the better. $21

2011 Antxiola, Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country, Spain

Don’t let yourself be intimidated by all the Xs and the consonants, this is drinking wine in its purest form, tart, fizzy liquid stones to be guzzled in large quantities. A light effervescence and low alcohol levels (9-10%) make this the mineraly Basque cousin of Portuguese Vinho Verde. Getariako Txakolina is a rather new appellation for what is a very old Basque wine – officially recognized as a DO in 1989, when Txakoli was if not extinct mostly forgotten and home made. This is a perfect Spring sipper, and will work perfectly in most places where Riesling is called for duty. $18


Celebrating National Boss’ Day, Lush style

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

SUNDAYS WITH LUSH: 10.16.2011

Mitch’s picks
You know him. You can’t miss him. Big n’ burly, bearded, ponytailed, and larger-than-life, the captain of this crazy Lush ship is the magical Mitch Einhorn, and this Sunday is devoted to wines that he chose himself. His palate is as big as his personality; expect lots of crazy California Rhone blends, but also weird, super intense Austrian powerhouses, and maybe some northwest loving throw in there, too. Get inside the brain of our fearless leader by sipping on some of his favorites this Sunday. (more…)

Nature is the Spirit: A lesson in Biodynamic Viticulture from Ted Lemon of Littorai.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

(Hi everyone. I’m Cara Patricia, a full time student of wine & beverage. I originally published this article on my personal blog, DECANTchicago.com, which revolves around the strange world of Biodynamic viticulture.  Biodynamic is a step up from typical Organic and is quite confusing to most at first. I hope that the following article gives you a little more insight into what Biodynamic means and why we tend to be drawn to sustainable, earth-friendly, terroir driven wines in our search for deliciousness in winemaking at our LUSH stores. Some of wines I will talk about are available at LUSH. Cheers!)

What a great seminar we had at the Avenues in Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel!  Hosted by Maverick Wine Company, Ted Lemon, founder of Littorai in Sonoma,  held a very informative and excellent discussion about Biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. During which we also were able to sample eight of his wines using organic, sustainable, and full-on biodynamic procedures. (more…)

2011 LUSH Patio Series Schedule

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

PATIO SERIES: LUSH UNIVERSITY VILLAGE
1257 South Halsted
Chicago, IL 60607
312.738.1900

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 evening and EAT outside! The Lushies have been whipping up a full schedule of food and wine events, so please join us for a lovely evening, or jump in on them all! RSVP required and all reservations are NON-REFUNDABLE. Serious. Each event is open to 25 people. Groups are welcome and encouraged.  We expect to serve 4 courses, family style, and pour you the approximation of 4 glasses of wine. Yes, that translates to MORE than you could feasibly eat or drink. Please consider arranging transportation. The cost will fluctuate depending upon the event. More details to come. Call 312.738.1900 to reserve a seat. You may also email erin@lushwineandspirits.com. EAT, DRINK, and be MERRY with us!

Saturday, June 4th, 6-8:30pm: PATIO SERIES – PAELLA.
The anticipation has been building, and, once again, our first dinner event of the season has arrived! Kickin’ off the summer patio series of pre-fix dinner parties at LUSH. e are taking reservations RIGHT NOW for the Paella dinner. You don’t want to miss the Mario Batali in Spain inspired 30 quart paella pan, buckets full of wine and pitchers full of sangria! We will have traditional tapas and extreme, iced buckets of refreshing boozy beverages, as well. Really. Dig in. A full meal, many full glasses, and a knee slapping good time.  Bring friends. Lush style with the lushie family. Cost based on market price of seafood. Taxes & tip included. RSVP required and the seat is non-refundable, period. $45

Saturday, June 25th, 6-8:30pm: RIBS and Rose and Zinfandel.
Smoked. Grilled. Rubbed with love.  And delicious spices. The wines are pairing perfection. Taxes & tip included. RSVP required and the seat is non-refundable, period. $65.

Friday, July 8th, 6:30pm: Chix & Bubbles
Fried Chicken and bubbles. One of the finer pairings in life. Finger lickin’ good. The bestest picnic around. Taxes & tip included. RSVP required and the seat is non-refundable, period. $65.

Saturday, August 20th, 6:30pm:  Maryland Blue Crab Boil
Running of the crabs! This is the season of fresh crab. Boys only will be boiled. Tiny hammers and little forks. A napkin bib. And crispy wines. Taxes & tip included. RSVP required and the seat is non-refundable, period. $65.

Sunday, September 18th, 1-6pm: Oysters
A lovely little brunch of fresh oysters. East coast, West coast, and bi-coastal. Ranging from salty to creamy, fruity and funky. Taste the delicious morsels in a rocky little package.
$3 per oyster OR $32 per dozen [reserve your dozen. free wine samples with purchase. wines also available to purchase separately BTG]

Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
4-6pm

LUSH West Town
1412 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
312.666.6900

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, whimsical, gypsy ales jumping onto the shelves soon.

jip-sē brü-ər
modus operandi:
‘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.

LUSH: Back to the Basics

Friday, February 11th, 2011

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 (carrie@lushwineandspirits.com) at Roscoe Village, or Ms. Alicia (alicia@lushwineandspirits.com) at West Town & University Village, get
some friends together, and have a more tailored tasting event. (more…)

LUSH Staff Dinner 2011: Inovasi

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Chef John des Rosiers, INOVASI

LUSH Staff Dinner

Wednedsay, January 12th, 2011

Chef was gracious enough to personally cook a 20 course tasting menu, served family style, as well as allow us the very amazing opportunity to share our cellar.  With 20 wine nerds and a few Twisted friends, we were absolutely a force to be reckoned with. Although, I think our chaos was mainly contained and all in good fun.  The menu is listed below. Any mistakes are on me, and Chef, my apologies should I misrepresent any courses. I was writing furiously as you so diligently and eloquently punctuated each dish presentation.  Chef also accommodated a gluten free request. What a  marathon. (more…)

LUSH 5th Anniversary Party, by invite

Friday, January 14th, 2011

RSVP required. Registration now closed. Each guest will need to check-in and provide valid state ID to attend.

LUSH University Village, 1257 S. Halsted Street

Friday, January 14th, 2011

7-9pm

Please join us for a wild & indulgent celebration at LUSH University Village, 1257 S. Halsted.  5 years, damn straight. Slinging wine, educating, and cultivating a love of the beverage lifestyle.  My how the time flew by.  Look how far we’ve come…and how many bottles we drank.  Thank you for the support and good times! This party is for our amazing clients and friends.

We are itching for a party, and would love to kick it with you.  We are inviting our wino friends to provide a delicious collection of wine, as well as a couple beer geeks to get the beer tapped. Snack Master Kelly is crafting a tasty, snacky party menu. We’ll be breaking out the fire pits on the patio, to keep us warm while we saber a few bottles. RSVP required, rachel@lushwineandspirits.com.

[Please note that Ms. Rachel will bounce if necessary. This is NOT a party for all of Chicago. This was a party with an INVITATION to a list of clients. Do not just show up and expect free food and drink.  Do not bring 8 friends for a free party. We are not a bar.  If you break something, you best expect the wrath and a bill. I am watching you. Help keep it FUN!]

New Snacks

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

As promised, we’re always changing up the menu and adding new creations in the snack department at LUSH in West Town. Our newest additions include a delicious variation of scotch olives. The yummy Gordal olives are stuffed with Colonial Newsome’s Country Sausage then dipped in a light tempura batter and deep fried. They’re served with a yuzu aioli – what’s that you say, you’ve never had yuzu aoli? Well, here’s your chance to check it out. It’s so refreshing and zesty, perfect with the olives. We also just added a savory French Toast which I will be indulging in quite a bit. Inspired by hungry people on New Year’s Day, this is a version of savory French Toast topped with tomato mustardo. Yum Yum! Stop by to check these new snacks out.
-smk

Scotch Class 2010

Monday, December 6th, 2010

This past Friday, Ms. Jane Lopes and I taught a rousing Scotch class to a private group of eight, partly populated by a Real Live Scotsman. To note that I was nervous, particularly given the audience, is a a gross understatement. Would I pronounce all those difficult words correctly? Would I remember the names of all the small parcels of land known as “The Islands,” when discussing the regions of Scotch production? [They are Jura, Arran, Mull, Orkney, and Skye, for what it’s worth.]

My fears turned out to be largely unfounded, with the group genial, and the Scottish guest happy to help with the quirks of pronunciation, and sharing stories about his childhood in the Outer Hebrides–where there are few Scotch distilleries–and summers cutting peat to be used for the family home’s source of fuel come winter. And, despite my initial apprehension, the result was a cozy little class peppered with many anecdotes, Jane’s encyclopedic spirits knowledge, my wisecracks, and a whole lot of new information floating around that jumble that is it my winter brain.

Now, we Lushies love to share new and exciting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorite facts and figures learned while prepping for and teaching the class:

* Scotch is always aged in used barrels. Happily, those Scots who brought their distilling techniques to the US are now benefiting from a beautiful cycle: since American bourbon can only be aged in new oak barrels, the Yankee distillers can recoup some costs by sending their once-used barrels over to Scotland, where they will contain another generation of whisky.
* I already knew this, but: in Scotland, it’s whisky. Not whiskey. Don’t even try it.
* Scotch took over Europe as the premier spirit of choice when the phylloxera louse destroyed grape production in the Cognac-producing parts of France.
* Once known as the “upper Highlands,” the Speyside region is only about 10 miles by 50 miles, yet contains the majority of Scotch distilleries in the nation. It’s named for Scotland’s longest river, the Spey, which is 200 miles long.
* A Scotch can be smoky but not peaty: there are many ways of drying malted barley, and peat is only one of them. That said, peat expresses a definitive sense of terroir, from both the water flowing through it, and the composition of the plant life decaying into peat [or, as Jane calls it, “unsquashed charcoal”].
* The more you know, the more you want to know. Time to go do some more research. Sip!