Grab a bottle of Bogle Phantom at Lakeview's Galleria Liqueurs.
Fall is in full swing and Chicago's glorious days of sipping cold brews and crisp whites, al fresco-style, are coming to a close. As the leaves turn different shades of red, the stuff in your glass should follow suit. Here are four local spots where you can find fall-friendly wines - all red, all blended, all cheap.
Galleria Liqueurs (Lakeview): Bogle Phantom
What could be more fitting for Halloween season than a wine called Phantom? At $21.99, it is the priciest of our picks, but Bogle's unique mix of fruit and spice in this one make it quite a steal. The blend of Petite Syrah (55 percent), Zinfandel (42 percent) and Mourvedre (3 percent) touches on notes of plum and cherry, with just a tinge of black pepper. Phantom's robust character stands up well to hearty foods, and tastes just as good when paired with a brisk autumn evening. If you're on the hunt for something la little less costly, but just as spicy, check out Galleria's sale table, topped with bottles for $15 and under.
Que Syrah Fine Wines: Le Paradou Viognier, Cotes du luberon
Not far from Galleria is a smaller wine shop known as Que Syrah. Locals love this place for its frequent free weekend tastings (check Que Syrah's website for dates and times) and affordable pickings. Not to mention the owner's vast vino knowledge and food-pairing recommendations. We went with the Que Syrah staff recommendation and left with a bottle of Le Paradou Viognier: Cotes du luberon, a basic blend of Grenache (60 percent) and Syrah (40 percent). There's a good balance between these two grapes, which are often used together. The first few sips are a tad overpowering; tone it down a notch and avoid the tongue-gripping dryness by giving the bottle some time to breathe.
In Fine Spirits:
In Fine Spirits carries all the fall wines you crave.
In Fine Spirits has a split personality. It's one part retail boutique and one part low-key lounge
. Belly up to the bar first and you can try a glass of The Wolftrap before heading next door, where you can purchase a bottle of your own. The $10.99 bottle tag puts this wine on par with the cost of a single glass in most restaurants. And its lowbrow price is quickly masked by the wine's dense blend of Syrah (60 percent) and Mourvedre (39 percent). Owner Shane Kissack is a fan of this South African wine and says that not enough people drink wines from the region. It's those unique southern soils that give these grapes their smoky flavor and enough character to stand up to the heaviest of fall comfort foods
like braised short ribs and pork tenderloin.
Armanetti Wine Shoppe and Beverage Mart: Clayhouse Adobe Red
Beer connoisseurs and wine aficionados can go head-to-head here, thanks to Armanetti's extensive selection of worldly vino and imported brews. The shop is small, sure, but don't expect this one to be a quick trip; there's just too much to look at. In fact, you may want to bring some extra cash, as it's a near-guarantee that you'll be leaving with more than just a bottle of the Clayhouse Adobe Red. The Clayhouse is another blended wine, and that almost feels like an understatement. Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet dance in harmony, rather than compete with one another's character. Zinfandel holds the highest quotient here, but the flavors that come through are far from dry or peppery. Instead, the wine's lush fruit structure plays nice with spice by bringing it down a few bars, $12.99.