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Fox Valley Winery Wine Tasting

By Caroline Clough in Food on Mar 7, 2007 5:34PM

march_2007_chicagoistapps.jpgLast week Chicagoist was invited to a wine tasting at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro. We were told that there would be appetizers, an opportunity to meet the one and only Alpana Singh and, of course, wine to taste. It sounded like a good time, so we bundled ourselves up and got on the bus.

Having never visited Mrs. Murphy's we weren't sure what to expect. In addition to being unfamiliar with the location, we also didn't know much about our actual hosts, Chicago City Sippers. Coming unprepared for anything other than the wine and food made for an interesting experience. Mrs. Murphy's seemed to be a classier version of the Irish Pub. It still had the dark wood and low lighting than one associates with a pub, but it had a much better version of low lighting as well as a hipper eye for decor and table linens ... heck, it even had a coat check person and an elevator to take us to the second floor. The appetizers they offered were mostly of the tartlette variety, our personal favorite was the tart filled with chopped (and somehow marinated?) mushrooms. That made us happy.

What also made us happy was the wine itself. The last tasting we attended offered a dazzling array of wines from different wineries, whereas this tasting focussed solely on the wines of Fox Valley Winery.

march_2007_chicagoistwinetasting.jpgAs wine amateurs, we won't attempt to interest you in any lengthy (and uninformed) analysis of each wine. We will, however, give you a quick run down of the wines we were particularly taken with. Of the whites we tried, our mouths were particularly entertained and tickled by the Traminette and the Vignoles. The Traminette reminded us of the Greek wine Retsina, with a refreshing pine accent and a touch of sweetness. Another white wine on the sweet (but not sickeningly sweet) side that we enjoyed was the Vignoles with its lingering hints of pineapple and honey. A wine we most definitely did not enjoy was Grandma's Blush. Our first sip resulted in a grimace that was confirmed and encouraged by an older lady behind us in line ... she was most certainly unimpressed. Our companion found that the Blush hearkened back to an era of Boone's Farm that she thought she escaped with adulthood. The reds didn't impress us as much as the whites. Of the three we tried, we'd have to say that we preferred the Chambourcin for its more full-bodied yet not overbearing/tongue-scraping effect. Prices per bottle for Fox Valley's offerings range from $10 to $30 and can be ordered online.

You may be wondering where Alpana Singh was in all this wine tasting and tartlette eating. It's a fair question. We can tell you where she was and what she was doing, but honestly, we can't tell you much else. Singh was at the event to sign copies of her book, Alpana Pours, and we found ourselves without a copy. We felt it would be a bit gauche to approach the woman if we weren't actually up on her philosophies on wine or, at the very least, holding a copy of her book. So we witnessed from afar as others lined up for brief tete-à-tetes with the whiz sommelier. She seemed friendly. Perhaps going on "Check, Please!" could be fun ... or maybe not.