Did you hear that Chicago was voted the restaurant city of the year for 2017? Yeah, so did everyone else. I intended to try some of the restaurants on the list, but now, I’m sure it will be a struggle to get a reservation. That’s something that really stinks: good finds are often inundated with press, then people, and then long wait lists. Luckily for us, Bon Appetit did not mention the best wine tour in Chicago in their article.
I remember when Alpana Singh’s The Boarding House opened and I was so excited to finally get to have a decent wine flight south of North Avenue. As a South Looper, it is a lengthy trip to get up to Clark Street and Lincoln Park just to get to a wine bar. When I went to book a table for drinks, however, I found that the wait for a table at a decent time was about a month out from when I wanted to go. If it hasn’t been apparent enough by the theme of my blog and tone of my articles, I will take a place of quiet obscurity over notable prominence any day.
This brings me back to my secret treasure along the Magnificent Mile.
Enoversity at Eno Wine Bar provides the BEST wine tour in Chicago
There. The word is out! I stumbled upon Enoversity when I was googling wine bars in the city. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am the sole wine aficionado in my family. It is difficult for me to try new and better wines as my taste has matured. And the other thing: I like wine, but I am not a fan of hangovers. A glass or two is right up my alley. I needed to find a place that pushed the complexity of the wines I sought while also being accessible and not too pricey. Enoversity fit the bill with all the makings of the best wine tour in Chciago. I’m not sure how I managed to discover the classes just a week before the Old World vs. New World Showdown but it was the perfect introductory class for a neophyte like me.
Class Size and Syllabus of the The Best Wine Tour in Chicago
Politicians and teachers in Chicago are always griping about class size. The public school class sizes are too large for students.. That’s not a problem with the Enoversity. With a maximum class size of ten students, Enoversity classes are great for both novice and proficient oenophiles. Once a year, there is even a “Wine 101” class specifically for individuals who want to learn more about wine in a non-judgemental environment. For the classic wine lover, there is a “Bucket List” class complete with advanced aged Barolos and Burgundies. Yum.
Enoversity is on the third Sunday of each month at two different time slots: 3pm-5pm and 6pm-8pm. Typically you’ll taste five different wines with an average retail price of $50-$75 a bottle. With a ticket price of $55 per class, you’re able to taste wines more expensive than the cost of a ticket. Along with wine, you’re provided charcuterie, toast, cheese, and chocolate on which to nibble. They wouldn’t get my nod for best wine tour in Chicago if the food didn’t match the delightfulness of the wines.
Class Structure of the Best Wine Tour in Chicago
The diversity of class topics ensure that you will find something to suit you. Coming up for the rest of this year are classes on dessert wine, Provençal wine, and even “domestic bliss” of wines from across America. That’s why I’ve deemed this the best wine tour in Chicago. Without even having to leave your seat, you can taste carefully selected wines from different houses and different regions. When viewed together, these wines tell a single story, be it about the grape, the region, or the year. This thoughtfulness in structure is a consequence of all the instructors being professionally certified sommeliers. With four somms on staff at Eno Wine Bar, there is no shortage of things to learn at these tastings. If this expert tutelage does not qualify the class for best wine tour in Chicago, I don’t know what would.
My Experience of the Best Wine Tour in Chicago
The “Old World vs. New World” class that I took at Enoversity taught me so much about wine, I can’t wait to add the skills to my arsenal. Led by level two sommelier Nicole Alonso, the intimate class of three included a couple who comes regularly and can’t rave more about the classes or our teacher —hi Andy and Josh! Nicole took the time to go over the basics of wine tasting as it was my first time. She taught us the three different descriptors to study the wine: through sight, smell, and taste. I learned about why certain wines are poured in certain glasses, what terroir means, and that “Old World” wines tend to be a bit more delicate and nuanced than their “New World” counterparts. With Nicole’s guidance, we narrowed descriptors down from “vegetal and green” to “wet oyster rock and moss.” It was such a relaxing, educational, and enjoyable evening. I never felt dumb for not knowing a basic term, and tasted some fabulous wines. I can unabashedly say I am an Old World kinda girl!
An Enoversity Update
In the days since i first wrote about the best wine tour in Chicago, I’ve tried a few other places. I frequent Eno and the wine tour in Chicago that you get with Enoversity is unmatched. The quality of the wines, the delicacy and diversity of food, and the different instructors are all top notch. And the price cannot be beat. I’m not trying to sound like a used car salesman, just telling you the truth about my experience. There are two couples that are faithful regulars to these classes. One couple has participated for over a year and another for over three years. If that isn’t an indicator of the best wine tour in Chicago, I don’t know what is!
It’s All About the Instructors at the Best Wine Tour in Chicago
I’ve had two instructors at Enoversity. Each is different than his/her counterpart. Nicole teaches her class very much like a professor to a student. She drills the tasting technique over and over on each wine, to ingrain it in you for the future. I think she has the most discerning nose and palate at Eno! Michael is a higher ranking sommelier. He starts each class with a glass of champagne and a toast. At the end of class he offers a full pour of your favorite drink. Michael improvises a bit more with the tasting of the class, but not with the information he provides. Both Nicole and Michael are fabulous instructors and I can’t wait to take my next class. Enoversity truly is the best wine tour in Chicago.
Take a Class and Save 10% When You Do!
I can’t recommend the Enoversity classes enough. If you are visiting Chicago and find yourself in town on the third Sunday of the month, take this class. If you are from Chicago, it is a fabulous diversion from the standard Sunday night of television. The classes provide a tour of a region or wine without having to leave your seat. It is a well thought out affair bringing specialty wine in just for these classes.
There are four more classes available this year:
- September 24th: Tuscany
- October 22nd: France (Dirty South)
- November 19th: Pour Some Sugar on Me (Dessert Wines)
- December 17th: Domestic Bliss
I took a 6pm-8pm class so that I wouldn’t spoil my dinner, but I imagine as the days get shorter I’ll tend toward the 3pm-5pm spots. While it was a bit loud in the restaurant, I’m told by the regular attendees and the instructor that it is usually a quieter affair. I will be out of town on a press trip for the next tasting, but I intend to be a regular attendee for the remaining classes this year.
A Special Just for JaimeSays.com Readers
Just for my readers: Enoversity generously provided a 10% discount code for anyone deciding to try this wine tour in Chicago. When purchasing tickets through Brown Paper Tickets, when prompted for a password or discount code, enter the word “JaimeSays” to receive 10% off any of the remaining classes in 2017. Make sure to capitalize the “J” and the “S”!
Many thanks to Eno Wine Bar and its staff for hosting me for this event and for providing a discount code for my readers. As always, all opinions are my own.