Valentines Day

SEX is for Sale in River Forest

It’s not often you get to use such a headline in a family publication but I can because it’s true and you will enjoy it especially around 2/14/13, read on.

My wine and food thoughts for this edition fall in the dark and cold months of January and the slightly more pleasant time of February. My intent is to offer you not only some bottles to drink, some food to cook but some places to good and yes…where to buy SEX in River Forest (a small upscale community next door to Oak Park, a near west suburb of Chicago)

First let me say Happy New Year and hope your celebration was a good one. I also hope you found some guidance for your holiday cheer in my food and wine suggestions posted in our last edition.

Here are some thoughts on the wine industry that you may want to contemplate during the dark days of January. In general the wine harvest in California was terrific with great weather right up and through most of October. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah had high yields, while Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc were “average-plus,” and Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and were just average in size. With the size of the harvest up prices should remain a buyers’ market.

We toured the Willamette Valley in Oregon the first week of October and the weather was terrific, sunny and 70’s not the norm but led to a record crop and what should be outstanding wines. I met with several owners and wine makers and followed up with them recently regards the harvest.

Steve Girard of Benton Lane said, It will be a vintage made of the winemaker and not the vineyard as higher sugar levels will make it important to maximize the flavor and richness components. Like everything in life, those who endeavor to invest the effort will get the rewards.”

Sam Tannahill of AtoZ/Rex Hill vineyards, “The 2012 vintage in Oregon has been tremendous. The quality of the fruit has been high, with great brix levels (sugar that makes alcohol) and nice acid content yielding beautifully dark and rich wines with more freshness shows another vintage for the record books!”

( I hope to have the podcast interviews posted soon)

Not quite the same story for France and Australia where the weather was so bad in one area of Boudreaux one winery announced it will not harvest or produce a wine this year because the quality of the crop was so poor. In Australia they are still suffering the effects of an ongoing three year drought effecting the size and quality of the harvest.

OK you say after all your harvest reports and such what about wine and food in the Forest Park neighborhood? Well, glad you asked.

If you are a fan of Chinese, Japanese or Sushi and haven’t tried Yilin at Madison and Des Plaines you’re missing something. Their chief trained under Tony Hu, the noted Chinatown chef and restaurateur and you can taste it in the very authentic flavored menu items. While parking has always been a challenge for any restaurant in that location don’t let it stop you from a visit to this family run operation.

Another place you’ve never been to yet its right just outside the neighborhood is the Caputo Cheese Market at 15th and North Ave. in Melrose Park (just north of the Walgreen’s). No vegetables or chicken thighs just hundreds of cheeses, deli meats and specialty items that you won’t find anywhere else, it is truly an amazing place and they make a lot of the cheese on site, fresh Mozzarella anyone.

It’s a warehouse environment with a small café and very nice deli that sells at near wholesale prices, some wine but kind of random. This is actually the home office for the Caputo Cheese Company that has national distribution and while related to the vegetable Caputo’s as I call them, I understand they are apparently are not very close, yet do business together. Just go in there.

What about the SEX in River Forest you say?

Our buddy Larry Mawby up in the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan got one by the ATF folks a few years ago and received approval to name one of his delicious his sparkling wines SEX, “Don’t quite know how that happened he told me, but we’re happy about it.”

SEX is a Brut rose’ sparkling wine with a pinkish salmon hue, red fruit aromas with a nice yeasty accent and soft style. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, twice fermented then filtered, dosaged and bottled.

SEX is for sale in River Forest for $15 at the Whole Foods store.

Let’s finish with a little Valentines dinner talk, how about chilled shrimp with your SEX. Remember shrimp are cooked about the time you put them in boiling water so once they turn pink they are done and should immediately go into an ice water bath. If you need cocktail sauce use equal parts of Heinz ketchup and Chili sauce, a drop or two of Worcester sauce, touch of lemon juice and maybe a drop of Tabasco or Sriracha sauce.

That’s my whine and I could be wrong…