Today, Chicago feels brisk and fall-like—that season of new academic books and oversized sweaters. There are a lot of mental images that I can conjure up when September rolls around but none so much as wine. Here me out, it’s not really a stretch. Grape harvesting for wine typically begins in August and winds down in October. So, with that and Oktoberfest (which is actually held at the end of this month), September is definitely time to get your drink on.
So, let’s take a trip up to Andersonville for a bit of wine and charcuterie. I recently had the pleasure of visiting In Fine Spirits—wine shop turned wine and spirits bar. It’s a decent room—dark wood, candles on the table, lively atmosphere. I vote this a good first or second date sort of place.
What We Ate
They have a make your own cheese and charcuterie plate (three for $15 or five for $25). We went with the five options and chose the following:
- Manchego Gran Valle, aged 3 months: Sheep cheese from Spain. This is my favorite cheese. It’s a creamy hard cheese that works with a lot of different flavors. It’s very mellow.
- Midnight moon: A goat cheese from California which was tasty, but unremarkable.
- Recla speck: It’s prosciutto so it’s good. And, really there doesn’t need to be much more.
- Applewood smoked duck breast: It was duck, and while I always enjoy a good smoked water fowl, it can be difficult to get it just right. This was just right.
- Spanish chorizo: The menu redundantly points out that it’s from Spain. Um, right, or else it would be Spanish-style chorizo. It was still pretty tasty.
They have a bunch of other appetizer-type options, but we ordered two desserts. We had the goat cheese mousse and the chocolate torte. I will say that the mousse, served with a Humboldt fog cheese and a drizzle of honey was fantastic. Sweet with a bit of orange tang to it. The whole thing was very impressive. The torte was horrible. The crust was overly hard and pulled away from the mousse. Despite the fact that it was pretty much coated in brandy, we each had a bite and sent it back. (I know! We sent a dessert back… it was just not good.)
What We Drank
It is a wine and spirit bar, so in addition to a long wine list, they have a decent beer and liquor selection. They offer flights of gin, rum, tequila, and vodka, as well as red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert wine flights. So, with all of those options, we went with cocktails. I can’t remember which ones we ordered so that’s probably not helpful. But, their seasonal offerings change so regularly it’s probably not on the menu anyway (isn’t that a convenient cop out for my really bad memory).
Overall, a bit far out for after work drinks, but a comfortable neighborhood happy place for getting started on your autumn wine drinking. (I will warn you that their cocktail menu is a bit heavy on the gin side.)
Location: 5418-5420 N. Clark. It’s Andersonville, so street parking is typically just difficult enough to make you think you’re someplace trendy, but not difficult enough that you’re cursing while walking three miles to the restaurant.