Among the best wine bars in the city of Chicago is ENO, which specializes in award-winning and international hand-selected wines, cheeses, and luscious chocolates. ENO is located on the ground floor of the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue, and when one enters the warm and inviting wine bar, a wonderful and rare experience of the senses is guaranteed. There is also a beautiful outdoor patio, where you can sit back and relax with a glass of wine in your hand, and sip as you people watch while taking in the Magnificent Mile scenery.
I am a huge fan of ENO, being a wine, cheese and chocolaholic myself, and never miss an opportunity to sample the latest wine tasting offered. Most recently, there was a special tasting hosted by ENO’s beverage director and sommelier, Mark Canak, who is extremely knowledgeable, and claims he is “in charge of everything involving wine.”
The tasting featured a collection of selected unusual wines (French, Italian and American) and personal favorites handpicked by Canak himself. The list included three whites: 2015 Tatomer “Kick on Ranch” Reisling (Santa Barabara County), 2007 Movia Lunar (Primorska) and 2015 Minimus Wines ‘SM2’ Stella Maris Vineyard While Blend (Applegate Valley), as well as three reds: 2016 Omero Cellars Gamay Noir (Willamtette Valley), 2014 Jean-Francois Merieau “Cent Visage” Cot (Loire), and 2016 Minimus Wines Experiment Rockwell (USA).
My tasting experience, which was wonderful, began and ended with my favorite selection, vinos (2015 Tatomer “Kick on Ranch” Resiling and 2016 Minimus Wines Experiment Rockwell). The Tatomer was a lovely semi-dry white that can be aged up to fifteen years. The taste and aroma were different than your typical average Riesling, and it left a nice lingering acidity and rounded out flavor on the tongue, courtesy of being aged in oak-barrels.
Additional whites tasted were the 2007 Movia Lunar, which I found to have an odd, sulfuric taste on my palate (though the orange peach hue was gorgeous to look at), and the 2016 Omero Cellars Gamay Noir. The Gamay Noir was also wonderful to experience: a burgundy from France that boasted an intoxicating and sensual aroma along with robust and bold flavors of blackberry, strawberry and cherry. I also greatly enjoyed the 2014 Jean-Francois Merieua “Cent Visage” Cot (wonderfully peppery) and the 2016 Minimus Experiment Rockwell (mouthwatering aroma of butterscotch and tastes of cherry and coca; blend of red and white grapes).
Alongside the featured wines, ENO outdid itself with samples of its fantastic charcuterie plate with various meats (prosciutto and salami), Marcona almonds from Spain, fruit preserves, blueberries, and an outstanding selection of cheeses including cheddars, goat cheeses and bries. My top pick was the Widmer Eight-Year Old Cheddar, which stood out on its own and also paired well with the wines.
During the wine tasting, the guests and I were also educated and given information about ENO’s monthly wine tasting club called “ENOversity,” which features a selection of wines each month for a private tasting at the wine bar. I hope to return soon to ENO to experience an ENOversity tasting, which I am sure is a wonderful experience of its own!
At the conclusion of the wine tasting, already full to the brim with amazing wines, ENO also sent me home packing with a box of their chocolate truffles, as well as some more of the Wisconsin Widmer eight-year old cheddar that I raved about. This just again proves ENO’s amazing attention to detail and hospitality: this is the main reason why I go back to ENO again and again.
Photos: Jennifer Lunz
For more information on ENO, or to make a reservation, visit their website, or call 312-321-87
505 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Monday to Thursday: 4PM – 12AM
Friday: 4PM – 1AM
Saturday: 2PM – 1AM
Sunday: 4PM – 9PM