If you're a moderately good multitasker, like your wine (and gin, sake, port, beer and more), enjoy trying great food from many of Chicago's finest restaurants in the same evening and are thinking about remodeling your bathroom or kitchen (even just the tiniest bit), this is the event for you to spend some time at after work...
LUXEHOME • The Merchandise Mart • Chicago
You are cordially invited to attend the Fifth Annual CHILL Event, featuring superb wines from winemakers worldwide paired with cuisine from distinguished chefs amidst the ambiance of the world’s largest collection of premier boutiques for homebuilding and renovation.
Their 5th event and I'm pretty sure I'm sad this was only my first time in attendance. We really enjoyed the event. It was well run, it was well set up, it was well stocked, it was friendly, it was fun, it was good!
There's a lot to visit, and you'd be hard pressed to do a bit of everything on offer. But considering how many people were in attendance it's very easy to get from stop to stop and with just a little bit of pre-planning you could easily get to all your 'must do' stops - but you'd pretty much have to spring from stop to stop to do them all.
The event is basically throughout all the showrooms, so each showroom is set up with a restaurant or two, and a winery (or distributor) or two depending on the size of the show room. There's also more than enough other wines and treats throughout the hallways. You're encouraged to sample the wine, food and product displays - the working sample showers always seemed to have some attention. My only small (very small!) gripe with this set up - and I admit to not having an alternative solution - is that you're sort of forced into wine & food pairings which may or may not do each other a service. I don't think anything we tried suffered greatly from this arrangement, but I think we found a couple of wines that would have benefited from a different offering close by. Again, a very very small gripe, no solution provided.
Premium Wines (and other adult beverages) provided by a significant number of Wineries and Distributors numbering somewhere around 150 in total. We certainly didn't come close to visiting all these, but have no hesitation pointing out the two wines that we were most pleased with. Interestingly, both come out of the same Vineyard - Kim Crawford Wines. On display was the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, a well balanced crisp wine with a fruity nose (we were told to look for passion fruit) and a citrusy acidic feel evenly across the palette. And, the 2009 Pinot Noir was easily the best Pinot we've had in a long time. A smoky, toasty note to the nose, some tannins tucked away in there, cherry flavors throughout and a long almost soothing finish.
If we're going to share our favorite sips, it's only fair to share our favorite bite too. Many of Chicago's favorite and better known Restaurants were represented. Again, too many to visit all of them and there were certainly no misses from all of what we got to try, but we can identify two highlights we'd gladly enjoy again and again. 2 Sparrows put up a light biscuit with a rich and creamy lamb sausage gravy--it was hard not to turn around and grab another right there and then. Really hard!
Next year's event is already scheduled so we're hoping our calendar allows a return visit on Nov. 15, 2012 as it really was a low stress way to enjoy a lot of great food, wine... and tile.