Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stephanie's Evanston Wine Trail... Free Tastings!

You don't have to worry if you're a prince or a pauper, because when you walk in the door at Vinic Wine Co. right away you'll feel its fresh, sophisticated, yet unpretentious vibe and be greeted by the friendly, talented and perceptive sommeliers behind the counter. Owner Sandeep and member of staff, Tom have an incredible selection of fine wine for affordable prices that will make you want to buy 3 or 4 more extra bottles to take home! Come for the free wine tastings at their groovy chic counter every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and come back for the insightful pairing recommendations, prices and selection.
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The complimentary wine tastings feature a certain growing regions, variety of grape or just simply their favorite picks of the week. There's no need to be self-conscious if you're a greenhorn to the vino world; Sandeep makes wine tasting approachable and fascinating! He'll pour you a glass to sample while he and Tom will educate you on the wine's history, region of origin, vintage and playfully banter over their selections and flavors of the wine, debating the hints of 'cocoa' or 'forest floor' that appear on your palate as the wine decants. You can hang around the counter and chat with fellow sociable customers or wander around the store, sipping and strolling, gazing at the latest local artwork displayed around the shop that gives Vinic a 'comfortable yet hip gallery feel'. Sandeep and his staff are lightheartedly conversational and happen to make insanely on-target recommendations to go with any meal. Go ahead and quiz Sandeep; ask him, 'what goes well with Goat Cheese?', 'Peking Duck?' or 'Pineapple Pizza?' His palate and experience are certainly up for any challenge and will help you pick out something that will impress even the snobbiest of wine snobs!

For a fancy frugal date, I recommend popping in during a wine tasting to pick up a couple bottles for a nice night out to a local BYOB restaurant! Ask for a personal recommendation or pick up something light such as their 'beyond organic' Hofer Grüner Veltliner. It's 1 Liter of deliciously crisp Austrian white wine for just $13.99 that also comes in recycled glass bottles with a crown cap, which makes the bottle reusable and valuable to the home-brewing niche market.

For a relaxed and beautifully boozy Saturday afternoon, take the train to the Davis Metra or EL station and hit up my original 'Evanston's frugal Wine Tasting Trail'. Start at Cost Plus World Market near the Century Movie Theater and then wind you way around Evanston's scenic downtown shops and eventually buy up your bottles o'vino at Vinic Wine Co.

1) Cost Plus World Market Saturday Wine Tasting (Seasonal) 4-7 PM
1725 Maple Avenue, Evanston
2) Whole Foods Food and Wine Tasting on Saturday, 2-4 PM
1640 Chicago Avenue, Evanston
3) Wine Styles Saturday Wine Tasting 2-4 PM
1741 Sherman Avenue, Evanston
4) Vinic Wines Saturday Wine Tasting (BEST) 3-7 PM
1509 Chicago Avenue, Evanston

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