Jan 30 2009

Three Cheers to BYOBs – and Affordable Wines to Boot!

Published by at 7:59 PM under Chardonnay,Savvy Sip Tips,Spain

As a recent Chicago transplant and non-stop lover of wine and food, I was ecstatic to discover the large number of great BYOB restaurants scattered around this city. I lived in New York City for several years before relocating to the Midwest and, while the restaurant scene in Manhattan is undeniably a food lover’s dream, the Big Apple’s got nuthin’ on the City of Big Shoulders when it comes to the wide array of excellent BYOBs – all waiting to be discovered by yours truly.

For a wine lover who hovers around the $10-$12 price range these days, it’s music to my ears – and my wallet – to be able to bring my own wine to dinner. Given the state of the economy, I and my husband love discovering all our new Ukrainian Village neighborhood spots, where we can eat like kings and queens, but spend like modern day paupers. After all, we must continue to support local small businesses in any way we can, especially now. You with me?

To complement my budget-friendly BYOB outings as of late, there are, thankfully, myriad quality wines out there which can be purchased for less than $12; in this case, for less than $10. A couple of my favorites, available at Just Grapes, are a 2007 De Bortoli Chardonnay from Australia ($6.99) and a 2007 Viña Borgia Grenache from Spain ($9.49).

This fresh and flavorful Chardonnay from Down Under displays lively aromas of peach and melon, and the wee bit of French oak aging adds complexity, a hint of vanilla on the palate and a satisfying finish. The Grenache flaunts a bold bouquet of blackberry and cherry with distinct notes of licorice on the palate. The words “clean” and “bright” sprung to mind when tasting this approachable 100% Grenache.

At these prices, folks, let me tell you, you can’t go wrong. Trust me. I’m Chicago’s new value wine bandit in disguise. Let me know some of your favorite wines that pack a mean punch for around $10 – and your favorite local restaurants to sip ‘em.

5 responses so far