Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dal Fari Schioppettino at Bluebird

It's been oddly warm this weekend — the National Weather Service says it's been Chicago's warmest October since 1963 — and I rode to the grocery store and back this evening in shorts. And though I had a decent sized bag of groceries on my back, I decided to stop by Bluebird, a new wine bar / gastropub here in Wicker Park (I decided the tofu wouldn't go bad in the bike bag... We'll see).

The space is cool, with exposed brick walls behind the bar, rough wood planks reclaimed from a barn on the opposite wall, and Douglas fir from Wisconsin pickle tanks surfacing the bar and the tables. Small plates are the order of the day, many of them featuring bacon, and they have a good selection of fancy-pants beer. The wine list emphasizes biodynamic wines, befitting the theme, but the spell woven was broken when I saw the prices. Too many South American wines were going for $8-$12 a glass, and there were almost no French selections, which stupefies me.

I ended up going for the Dal Fari Schioppettino Colli Orientali del Friuli 2004. Even at $11 (!) for one glass, I have to say that this one was worth it this one time. It's an excellent, peppery, high-acid red that seems like it was dosed with bay leaf, tarragon, licorice, wild strawberry, and the aforementioned pepper. It reminded me of a Trousseau from the Jura, or maybe a light-bodied Counoise from the Languedoc, and it would go well with a huge array of foods — it certainly performed nicely with a Spanish sheep's milk cheese.

Now I face a quandary. Do I go back to Bluebird and pay $11 for just one glass, or do I head over to the local evil retail wine warehouse and grab a whole bottle for $19, as their web site advertises? The trick answer is neither. Instead, I will seek a third way, and trawl the small good-guy shops for a bottle at $25 or less. But I liked the Dal Fari Schioppettino way too much to settle for just one glass.

No comments: