When people think of wineries in the Midwest, rural wine regions in Michigan and Missouri probably come to mind, and with good reason. These states boast a number of wineries that take home awards from major wine competitions. However, Chicago is also home to a number of outstanding wineries that source their grapes from top wineries around the country. One of the best wineries to visit in the Windy City is City Winery.
Located in the West Loop at 1200 W. Randolph Street, City Winery strives to provide guests with an excellent vinicultural experience. The winery sources its grapes from a number of outstanding vineyards, including those in California, Oregon, and New York, as well as vineyards in Mendoza Provence, Argentina’s top wine-producing region.
City Winery boasts an impressive cellar with 250 French oak barrels. As an eco-friendly winery, City Winery has installed 14 tap lines to cool its wines, eliminating the need for bottling.
The winery’s selection of red wines includes the Oregon Pinot Noir Reserve, which is made with grapes from Hyland Vineyards in the widely acclaimed Willamette Valley in Oregon. A Wine of the Month, this 2012 Pinot Noir features medium tannins and a bouquet of blueberries and red berries.
Another City Winery’s wine from Hyland Vineyards is the 2015 Oregon Pinot Noir Reserve–Magnum, which boasts strawberry and guava aromas as well as sage and tart cherry flavors. Red wine lovers should also try the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, which is made from grapes grown at Haystack Peak Vineyards in California. As this vineyard was badly damaged in 2017 by wildfires in the area, this is City Winery’s last vintage of this excellent wine for some years. This wine features unique aromas of sweet plum and cookie dough as well as baked cherry flavors.
City Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignons also include the Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, which is made with grapes from the Obsidian Ridge Vineyard in the Red Hills American Viticulture Area (AVA) in California. This outstanding wine features a variety of aromas, from crushed blackberry and fresh fig to black olives and pine sap.
City Winery also names a number of its wines after famous Chicago neighborhoods, in what it calls its Neighborhood Series. For instance, the West Loop Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Made with grapes from California and Washington, this red wine features flavors of yellow plum and black fruit and pairs well with meat, pasta, tuna, and salmon.
Meanwhile, the Wrigleyville Syrah is named after the world-famous Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Produced with grapes from Alder Springs Vineyards in Mendocino, California, this red wine offers a bouquet of nutmeg, cloves, and blueberry, as well as and diverse flavors of olive, plum, blackberry, pepper, and plum. Another wine in the Neighborhood Series is the Lincoln Park Cabernet Sauvignon, which features grapes sourced from Carmel Valley in the Central Coast AVA in California. Featuring flavors ranging from currant and blackberry to tomato leaf and cedarwood, this red wine has a long finish and pairs well with almost anything grilled.
City Winery’s Chicago Neighborhood Wine Series also includes several white wines, such as the Andersonville Chardonnay, which is named after the old Swedish neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. Made from grapes grown at Scopus Vineyards in Sonoma, California, this wine opens with aromas of white flowers and apple and offers flavors of lemon zest and poached pear. The Andersonville Chardonnay goes well with poultry, salmon, shellfish, and mature, soft cheeses.
White wine lovers should also try the Old Town Sauvignon Blanc, which boasts fruit flavors of apricot, peach, and yellow plum and goes well with seafood and a variety of cheeses. Finally, City Winery makes a white wine called the Pilsen Roussanne. Named after the Pilsen neighborhood on the Southwest Side, this wine offers a variety of flavors, from apricot and baked apple to honey and spearmint.
City Winery offers tastings of these and other wines from Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at its wine shop, The Stave. Visitors can also sign up for a full tour, which is offered from Wednesday through Sunday. The tour begins with a complimentary glass of wine and takes visitors behind the scenes to see how the winery crafts its excellent selection of wines. Guests can also enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by crostini appetizers.
Additionally, City Winery offers a carefully crafted menu of Mediterranean-inspired foods at its Barrel Room Wine Bar & Restaurant. The restaurant’s dinner menu features fare such as Sicilian chicken, seasonal farro risotto, and grilled rare Ahi tuna. Visitors can enjoy these and other dishes accompanied by fresh wine served on tap with no preservatives or added sulfites. Wines can be ordered by the glass, half-liter, or liter.
To learn more about City Winery and its diverse wine and food menus, visit citywinery.com/chicago.