Eno Wine Room Chicago has launched three private label wines which are good enough to ward off the chill for the next few months!
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: November 6, 2015
It’s good to have private label wines. It signifies quite a few things. It shows that the country is increasingly consuming wine, and appreciating it. It also demonstrates that the hotel in question knows its wines.
The last time I heard of a brand coming up with its private label wines was by Taj Palaces Hotels & Resorts – the biggest luxury hospitality group in India – in January 2015. Almost a year later, it is Eno Wine Room at InterContinental Hotel Chicago.
It is no secret that America has the largest consumption of wines in the world, surpassing France and keeping the crown on its head. According to all market reports, while imports fell, domestic production of wine has increased. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated with sale of premium wines increasing, and those priced at $10 and below decreasing.
Three new wines, all reds, were proudly displayed on the table when we went to take a sip of them at Eno Wine Room. And Mr Alexander Smith, General Manager at Eno was ready to feed us with all that was to know about the wines – and food too of course!
A charcuterie of aged cheddar, goat cheese, fruits served with jam, and an amazingly well-made thin crust pizza with roasted grapes and arugula leaves left nothing else to be desired for a perfect wine evening.
The 2012 Chateau de Rougerie AC Bordeaux Superiore from France, a 100 per cent Merlot, was a full-bodied beauty, which hits you on the palate, but smoothly. A quick search shows that Rougerie Winery has always managed to please the critics with some excellent work. For my part, it was certainly the best from the other two private labels with its velvety texture, and worth its price of $15 per glass (or $60 per bottle).
Another similar delight was the Maipo Valley Red Blend from Chile. A blend of 60 per cent Carmenere, 30 per cent Syrah and 10 per cent Malbec, it is produced by Lafken Wines Winery, owned by a young entrepreneur and enologist Miguel Besoain. This medium-bodied, mild red, I think, can defy the classic rule of pairing white wines with lighter dishes and fish. This one would do as well with my vegetarian dishes for $52 a bottle or $13 a glass.
With each Eno across the country having a different third private label, Eno Chicago’s is a 2013 City Winery Cab Franc Blend from USA. Integrating 75 per cent 2013 Cabernet Franc of Alder Springs Vineyard; 20 per cent 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon of Obsidian Ridge Vineyard; and 5 per cent 2013 Merlot of Stagecoach Vineyard, this one was a little disappointing. Maybe a case of trying to do too much? The wine is only available by the glass for $16. A flight of these three private labels costs $19.
It took Mr Joel Kampfe, Eno’s Wine Director, about 14 months to put the whole project together. He went to Chile in May 2014 to visit Mr Besoain from Lafken and Bordeaux in May 2015 to coordinate with Patrick Valette from Rougerie Winery. The label took about three months and bottling happened about three months ago. “The wines were chosen to represent Eno's concept as a wine bar - using small production, sustainably produced, story-worthy wines from all over the world. Chateau Rougerie makes fewer than 1000 cases and Lafken is a true garagiste, also producing less than 1000 cases,” said Mr Smith.
Pairing these private labels is not going to be a challenge at Eno Wine Room. It is a haven for cheese lovers who can sample cheddars to goudas through pre-defined or customizable flights. “Bold cheese is needed to go with bold wine,” says Mr Smith. He also thinks it would be “fun” to experiment their single origin chocolates from Peru, Colombia and Venezuela with these private labels. Their Veal & Pork Sausage will also pair nicely with this flight in addition to their gin and juice salami or duck prosciutto.
Always being partial to whites, I was a little dejected to not see them as a part of the collection of private labels. Mr Smith, however, promises they will be launching a white wine in February 2016 from a small biodynamic producer in Nelson, New Zealand. Till then, I am happy to gulp down the new reds at Eno!
Coordinates: 505 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Soumya Jain is the Chief Editor & CEO of LuxuryFacts. She is also the Co-Editor of ‘The Luxury Market in India: Maharajas to Masses’, along with Glyn Atwal, published by Palgrave Macmillan and launched in September 2012. The book is a window into the highly complex Indian luxury market. Soumya is also a visiting lecturer for luxury marketing and online journalism at leading educational institutes in India. She has been invited to speak at conferences and address industry colleagues about the Indian luxury market. Recognising her knowledge of the market, she has been quoted in the media several times, while also contributing articles on luxury in various publications.