I could not think of a better mid-week soiree than attending a Blind Wine Tasting at the very elegant Eno Wine Bar located in the InterContinental Hotel. While I certainly wouldn’t turn down any invitation that involves wine, I was surely surprised when I arrived at the restaurant to find such a friendly and comforting ambiance. I always assume these type of places to be very fancy and somewhat daunting. Instead, the décor at Eno presented warmth that will instantly help you unwind.
The way they do the blind tasting at Eno is, you get a flight of three red and three white wines and a card to write your answers on. The card comes printed with a template where you can fill in your answers. You then earn points for guessing the variety, country, region and year of each wine you try. The more specific your answers, the higher the points. And the more points you get, the cheaper the flight becomes. So you can see there’s huge incentive for guessing well.
The competitive, Indian student in me was more than happy to accept this challenge. Not because I felt overly confident about my knowledge of wine, but because I simply love the interactiveness of it all.
So we had our sleeves rolled up ready to start with our first flight of whites. We sipped a really mysterious trio of wines, each very unique from the other. We sniffed and swirled our glasses, and in between took bites from the gorgeous cheese tray they brought out for us. We tried to at least act the part of wine connoisseurs. Then we submitted our answers and found out about our dismal performance. For me it was a win anyway, because I had now discovered three delicious new wines. My favorite in this category was the 2014 Albarino Rias Baixas. The wine had this rich, mineral taste that was so different and refreshing.
Considering this as a warm up, we proceeded with the flight of reds. Eno recently expanded their menu from cheese and chocolate to small plate items. We ordered a side of their Salmon Deviled Eggs, which I will now emulate for all impending holiday parties I host or attend. They were delicious!
I’ll say that we performed better in Round 2 or maybe we just know our ‘vin rouge’ better. I nailed the 2014Boxhead Shiraz from Australia, which was the feather in my cap for me. And the 2014 Spanish Tempranillo from Spain’s Ribera Del Duero region, was yet another exciting discovery in the red wine category!
What I loved about the tasting is how carefully the restaurant has crafted their wine tasting menu to showcase such a varietal selection. We had so much fun doing this, many laughs and several efforts to sabotage the opponent. In the end however, this was just a great way to bring in some holiday cheer.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, there is a Cheat Book, which they graciously let you use during the tasting. Trust me, it comes in handy!
Eno is a true jewel on the Mag Mile. Whether you’re a tourist taking a break from shopping or a Chicagoan finishing up your workday downtown, stop by Eno for a glass of wine, or a tasting if you’re looking for something more elaborate. A great first date idea too in my opinion! I wish we had more wine bars like Eno in the city!
Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile
Address: 505 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 321-8738
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 4:00pm – Midnight, Fri-Sat: 1:00pm – 1:00am, Sun: 1:00pm – 10:00pm
Price: $10.00 - $39.00