ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 1 - Winter

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 75 of 123

TASTE FROM LEFT: The corazón anticuchos, inspired by Peruvian street food. 74 Winter Wine Wisdom AS CHICAGOANS SETTLE IN FOR WINTER AND RED WINE SEASON REACHES ITS PEAK, THREE TOP LOCAL SOMMELIERS SHARE THEIR COLD-WEATHER FAVORITES. BY MATT STEWART "C hicago is a unique wine market because of our winters," says David Flom of Chicago Cut Steakhouse (300 N. LaSalle St., 312-329-1800;, noting that sales of red wine at the River North restaurant "go up about 50 percent this time of year." Flom's personal preferences? "I'm getting into a lot of Cab and Cab-based blends. The one I'm craziest about is called Ovid. You sip it once and taste one thing, twice and you taste something else. The wine is constantly evolving, and when you include food it gets even more exciting." Surprisingly for a restaurant specializing in red meat, Chicago Cut also pours plenty of white in winter. "Our number-one wine by the glass is a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand called Saint Clair. A lot of people drink it when they go into beef, as crazy as that sounds. The fat in the beef complements the acids, and it has that grapefruit component that really works." At The Purple Pig (500 N. Michigan Ave., 312-464-1744;, sommelier Liz Martinez is skillful in pairing the Michelin Bib recipient's Mediterranean-inspired fare with wines that complement intricate flavors. "Wine is very important here due to the complex food philosophy in Chicago," she explains. "We serve Mediterranean food throughout the year, so I've got to keep bright, sunny, light, and aromatic in mind. I've been drinking a lot of Greek wine; one that I love from our list is 100 percent Xinomavro, a Domaine Karydas 2008 vintage. It's got some nice, plush fruit and soft tannins that are very aromatic and smell like rose petals. It really comes to life when you pair it with foods." Dan Pilkey, of fine-dining institution Sixteen at the Trump International Hotel & Tower (401 N. Wabash Ave., 16th Fl., 312-588-8030;, has laser vision when it comes to pairing wines with Executive Chef Thomas Lents's seasonal menu. "Light and spicy is what I'm doing this winter—I call it low grip and high pleasure," reports Pilkey, formerly of the local notables The Boarding House and Ria. "The area that resonates the most for me right now is western Spain. The producer Raul Perez is pushing the envelope with a new grape called Mencia. The wines have a beautiful form, and I love them with food that features rustic and richer ingredients: root vegetables, chestnuts, tree nuts, turkey, duck, squab, and game birds like quail. It can even be paired with venison." MA PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF CRAWFORD continued from page 72 food. The warm, inviting space brims with modern elements: brown ipe wood imported from South America, natural tile, poured concrete, and woven wire fixtures that divide the bustling bar from the almost-as-lively dining room. A colorful wall mural from Chicago artist Jeff Zimmermann depicts scenes of Peruvian culture, and the soundtrack is an invigorating amalgam of Euro and Brazilian electronic music. One of Tanta's goals, says partner Veronica Beckman (whose mother is Peruvian), is to bring the essence of the nation's cuisine to Chicago in a way that is natural and festive. Beckman and her brother, Vincent, a former Chicago Public School teacher, and two lifelong friends, real estate agents J.P. Bitting and Brian DeNicolo, courted Acurio after Veronica dined at his San Francisco restaurant, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (which once had a New York outpost as well), a few years ago. They wanted to bring a piece of their history to Chicago—and with Tanta they have. "What [Acurio] has made us a part of is raising the interest level worldwide on Peruvian food and culture," Beckman says. "I love that I brought something from my culture to an amazing city and that people have accepted it." It's easy to forget you're in Chicago while dining at Tanta—a sentiment that, according to Acurio, was partly intentional, but also reflects life in his country. "Our food history is 7,000 years old, and we live with food in a perfect relation with the past, present, and future," Acurio says. "Throughout time, we have been celebrating our origins... because in Peru, food is the party. It is the celebration." 118 W. Grand Ave., 312-222-9700; MA Saint Clair Family Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Domaine Karydas 2008 Xinomavro, and Raul Perez Mencia Vico complement winter's rich flavors. MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 070-074_MA_Taste_SMD_Opener/Cocktails_Winter_14.indd 74 1/10/14 10:02 AM

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