restaurants · wine

What wine to drink when?

I know it’s not the most pressing question in today’s world but do you ever wonder what wine to have with your dinner choice? I’ll tell you a little secret about myself; I always order the weirdest thing on the menu I can. I mean, what’s the point of having something at a restaurant you can make at home? I cook a lot of things but I don’t get to cook fish as often as I would like.  So when Margie and I went to dine at Tavern at the Park near Millennium Park in Chicago I, of course, ordered the wasabi blackened grouper fillet. Wouldn’t you? It’s not that weird an entree but it is definitely something I have not cooked myself. Margie ordered prime rib. She goes just the opposite from me. She likes very normal food. That’s fine for her but I need some spice. Also, since Margie doesn’t drink wine, I order wine by the glass. When the fish came, I asked the server for a suggestion as I couldn’t find anything on the wine list that screamed wasabi blackened grouper. I was stumped.  The server, Ryan, thought for a second and slowly let out the word: “Malbec”. He almost had a question in his voice to see how receptive I was to the idea of a full bodied red with my fish. I said, “Let’s try it!”  It kind of helps that when you order weird food, you are ready to try anything else with it.

He brought the wine and I took a sip with a bite of fish. It  was spectacular! And it just kept getting better as the wine’s temperature changed over time. He said it was the Paul Hobbs Felino Malbec from Argentina. I could not believe how well it was matched to the food. I enjoyed my dinner with Margie very much.

Ryan suggested that he could sell me a bottle of the Malbec right from the bar. I had to tell him that we were on our way to the ballet at the Harris Theater right across the street. I don’t think the folks at the theater would have appreciated me carting a bottle of wine into the theater. But I did look for the wine at my local wine store this weekend. They did not carry it. I have begun my quest.

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