surf globally, pour locally, drink responsibly
March 2013

Eno Wine Bar Gets it Right
By Marcia Frost

Whether it’s date night out or a gathering with friends, Eno Wine Bar on Michigan Avenue is the ideal place for sipping and snacking.

The wine and cheese establishments of the 1980s have returned in the new millennium with a makeover. It used to be, red, white or rosé? Then you would have a choice of a few basic cheeses (or a cheese fondue). Now, you can no find a selection of wines from all over the world at a wine bar. The selection of vino has been good at almost everyone I’ve been to. What’s been lacking is something to go with the wine. This is where Eno excels.

I felt comfortable the minute I walked into this site on the street level of Chicago’s Intercontinental Hotel. It’s warm and wood-filled atmosphere introduces a relaxing atmosphere, even when it’s busy. The tone is quieter than happy hour would be at your average city bar, as the patrons are sipping from their glasses and looking over the menu to decide what they want to try ne.

My friend and I started with a little aperitif of the bubbly kind. I chose the Jean-Louis Denois Brut Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs for us. It was quite light, but not very fruity.

I felt this was the one place Eno was lacking, in their selection of sparkling wines. They offered a scarce few. We quickly moved on to perusing the main wine menu.

The selection of still wines is much more varied, with choices from Spain to Oregon. You can get wine by the glass, bottle or flight. You will find detailed information about the location and the grape so you know exactly what you are drinking. The waiters are also very knowledgeable and ready to answer any questions that you had.

They had some very interesting flight options when I was there (they do change when new wines come in), such as Bad to the Rhone, which includes a Minervois and a Mourvededre from France and a blend from Australia.

I tasted a few, but couldn’t get my mind off of the Washington sauvignon blanc/riesling cuvee made for Eno. It was a perfect sipping wine, though there were endless combinations to go with the food choices.

Cheese is the co-star here and they provide you with options and suggestions of pairing. While I was there cheese maker Katie Hedrich from La Clare Farms in Wisconsin came in to show off her cheese. She was passionate about the goat cheese options, from the Raw Goat Cheddar to the Ziege Zacke Blue.

I really enjoyed them as she told us about the six month process to make the cheddar and how she had fallen in love with making cheese on a trip to Holland.

Cheese is not the only option to go with your wine at Eno. The flatbreads were quite tasty, but it’s the chocolate that appeared to win everyone over. The Chicago wine bar has Legends make up the hand-crafted chocolate bars and truffles just for them and then pairs the unique flavors with wine.

Like the cheese and wine, it changes seasonally. I was lucky enough to get there for the Pumpkin Spice, which paired perfectly with a Port wine. The S’Mores was also quite good and needed nothing more than my white blend to mix with.

Next time you’re looking for a before or after shopping on Michigan Avenue, skip the crowded bars and find something to sip at Eno Wine Bar. Or, check out one of their seminars to learn more about the worlds of wine, cheese and chocolate.

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