Rachael Lowe, Beverage Director for Spiaggia & Café Spiaggia
Spiaggia & Café Spiaggia
Award-winning Modern Italian Cuisine on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile
980 N. Michigan Avenue
Budget ($15-ish a bottle):
Domaine du Petit Coteau, Vouvray Sec, Touraine, Loire Valley, France 2015
Come cold weather I often look to richer whites to stand up to the sturdier, richer foods we turn to in the holiday months and cold season. This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc, which is one of my favorite varietals for fall and winter flavors. Aromas of bruised apple, bosc pear, honey, beeswax and a hint of hazelnut, come together on the palate with beautiful concentration, yet brisk acidity. This wine would be great paired with squash, sweet potato, richer cream style pasta dishes, as well as with pork or chicken.
Li Veli ‘Orion,’ Primitivo, Salento, Puglia, Italy 2015
Primitivo is often likened to Zinfandel in its juicy flavors, and can be quite a crowd pleasing wine. This particular version is produced organically by a family that makes wine in the heel of the boot of Italy. A very warm region, this grape ripens well under the hot sun of Puglia. Notes of candied bing cherry, cranberry, violet and a touch of cinnamon finish with ripe flavors and integrated structure. It can be enjoyed by itself, but also compliments BBQ, braised meats, certain pastas and hard cheeses.
Bortolotti, Lagrein, Brut Rose, Veneto, Italy NV
This is a luscious and quaffable rose that is great alone or paired with numerous appetizers, meats and cheeses. Dark lush fruit of brambly red cherry, raspberry, plum skin and violet finish on the palate with nice concentration and bright acidity.
Splurge ($70-ish a bottle):
Vilmart ‘Cuvée Grand Cellier,’ Brut, Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France N.V.
What better to splurge on then Champagne! A celebratory mood and holiday season calls for delicious, special occasion bubbles and this wine is absolutely stunning. Produced from grapes grown in the Rilly la Montagne premier cru region of Champagne, it is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and aged in French barrel to add to its complexity. Notes of orange rind, golden apple, chalk, brioche and almond are complete with a zesty, bright finish. This can literally be paired with anything or simply drunk as a delicious aperitif.
Zenato, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, Italy
I love Amarone in the winter! This style of wine takes a lot of love and time to make as the grapes are mat dried before pressing, thus producing a much more extracted wine that goes great with braised meats and big savory dishes as well as firm cheeses. Aromas of dried fig, dates, espresso bean and milk chocolate, come together with great concentration on the palate and an extremely long finish.
Winter Wine Spritzer:
Cocktail - Winter Wine Spritz:
1 oz Apalogue Persimmon
¼ oz CH Rubin
¼ oz Rosemary Syrup
Serve in flute and top with prosecco, garnish with grapefruit swath.
Mocktail - La Lupita:
1.5 oz Pineapple
1.5 oz Lime cordial
1.5 oz Hibiscus
Mix together, serve over ice.