Andersonville Wine Walk

Who wants to walk around outside on a 45 degree day and drink wine?  Apparently 700 people!  I recently attended the Andersonville Wine Walk on a Sunday that was tied for the record cold temperature in May (35 degrees on May 15, 1895).  Chicagoans are hearty people and as long as it’s not snowing and the temperature edges toward 40, everyone heads outside to kick off “summer”.

The Wine Walk featured two courses, North and South Routes.  I did both just to see the differences however there is no need to as I found out that 4 of the 12 wine stops were repeats on each course.



Check-in was relatively quick and easy at an empty storefront at 5226 N. Clark.  Participants could start checking in at 12:45 P.M. for the wine walk which went from 3-6 P.M.  Everyone got a glass, wristband, and a nicely detailed book about the wines (type, price, and year) at each store along the route. Cost was $35 for one route.

Although I have tasted a lot of wine through wine classes, this was my first wine walk and I found it to be great fun.  It’s a terrific way to see a neighborhood, meet some fun people, and taste a really interesting variety of wines.  I was impressed with the quality and diversity of wines at this event.  They were from all over the world and were accessibly priced between $6-$28.

I found the South Route a bit more interesting as, like many long-time residents of Edgewater, I haven’t ventured south of Foster as much as I should have.  There are some fantastic shops (clothes, eclectic gifts, cooking stores, and restaurants) along Clark in this area that deserve more attention.

Milk and Notice are great boutique clothes stores without crazy price-tags and Cantina 1910 is a beautiful restaurant that I need to check out.  The Wooden Spoon has an idyllic backyard party space with adjoining building that is perfect for small parties which you’d never know if you didn’t visit the store.  Pastoral is a relatively new addition to Andersonville which has a great wine bar vibe, terrific wine shop, and wonderful cheeses, charcuterie, and pastries in the market by the wine shop.

The wines included the usual suspects like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernets but also many lovely rosés and other interesting varieties.  Athletico South had a grape I’d never heard of before in the Aramon Rosé ($13) which tasted of spice and forest floor.  Aramon is the red grape and the wine is from Languedoc, France.

Milk featured San Salvatore Falanghina ($24.5), which is a lively white Campania, Italy grape, and a fantastic Mon Marcal 2010 Cava ($17).  Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that is made in the same traditional way (second fermentation in the bottle) as Champagne but much less expensive.

Foursided (frame shop) had an unusual selection of Valkenberg German Gewurztraminer ($15.5) which is more commonly found in Alsace, France and Oregon Left Coast White Pinot Noir ($23.5) made from no skin contact in the fermentation process.

Women and Children First had a great line-up of Sicilian Graci Rosé ($25) made from Nerello Mascalese grapes, an off-dry Red Tail Ridge Good Karma Riesling ($16) from Finger Lakes, NY, and a knock-out Agriverde Montepulciano ($13) from Abruzzo, Italy.

Notice had a very distinct Leyda, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (think asparagus) and a first-class Graham Beck Brut Rosé ($15.5).  Runners Edge had Enotria Arneis ($17) from California which is a grape more commonly found in Piedmont, Italy and tastes of pears and apricots. 

Andersonville Galleria made you work for your wine by climbing three flights of stairs but it was worth the trip with the Offida Verdicchio ($6), The Ned Pinot Gris ($13) from New Zealand, and Lone Birch ($12), a Bordeaux blend from Washington estate fruit.  Bordeaux blends usually consist of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec grapes however this one also included Sangiovese (a Tuscany, Italy grape).  

One of my favorite line-ups was at Pastoral with Jean-Francois Mérieau Hexagonales Sauvignon Blanc ($14), Domaine Mosse Anjou Blanc Chenin Blanc ($28), and Elisabetta Foradori Teroldego ($25).  The Sauvignon Blanc was from the Touraine area of Loire, France and much more subtle than its New Zealand or California counterpart.  Chenin Blanc, a versatile white grape also from the Loire, can be used in sparkling, dry, or sweet wines but this wine was dry with apples, minerals, and lush mouth-filling body.

Teroldego, a unique grape from northeastern Italy, is a robust red with brambly red and mulberry fruit with fine structure but not as “bold” as Cabernet Sauvignon.  Incidentally Pastoral’s wine bar was packed on a Sunday afternoon.  Many of the wines mentioned here can be found at Pastoral, In Fine Spirits, or Andersonville Wine and Spirits (the latter two are local Andersonville wine shops).

As you can see there was a lot to be had at the Andersonville Wine Walk.  It was a great event and a lot of fun so keep your eye out for other wine tasting events and hopefully you won’t need your parka next time.

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