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Wine for schwa

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After making reservations back in July, I'm very excited to be finally going to schwa for the first time tomorrow evening. Obviously, I don't know much about wine, but want to bring a couple bottles, I was thinking a red and a white. Big date for me so I want to appear somewhat knowledgeable and try to impress her :) The schwa website suggests, "spirits that are light, bright and food friendly". I would like to try to keep the wine to under $40 a bottle, and suggestions would be appreciated.


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  1. Most of the offerings I had on the tasting menu paired well with a drier riesling...that was back in late july though. don't know if the menu has changed but you can go to any of the local places to buy wine (sam's, etc.) and you will certainly be able to find a nice dry riesling for under 30 bucks. Schwa is absolutely fabulous by the way. i would recommend the nine course tasting. feel free to ask chef michael how he prepares some of the dishes as he is more than willing to explain. i found some of the preparations extremely interesting.

    1. I have been to Schwa a few times -- most recently a couple of weeks ago. Be prepared for the best food that Chicago has to offer IMO. For white, I suggest a dry riesling (Prager produces some nice ones), or white burgundy. For red, Chef Carlson sent out a glass of nice red burgundy to my table the last time I was there so that we could try it with a couple of dishes -- we only brought a white wine that night. I did not pay attention to the details of that wine, but it worked really well. I will search for a red burgundy the next time I eat there. Overall, I think the current extended tasting menu is more red friendly. For red or white, you will want something on the lighter side, stay away from anything overly-oaky. You just want to make sure that the wine does not overwhelm the food. I hope my general comments are of some help. If you do not get any more detailed suggestions from others, I bet if you take my general comments and a description of the food to your local knowledgeable wine mercant, you should end up with a good pairing.

      1. It's hard to go wrong with a pinot noir. Goes well with rich fish, meats......so....this would be a French red burgundy (as stated above) or pinot noir goes by pinot noir in the rest of the world.

        1. Thanks! I don't think I have been this excited to go to a BYOB, umm. . . ever! I really like pinot noir, so that sounds good for the red. My date didn't like the last dry riesling we had (which I liked a lot), so I was thinking of perhaps Ameztoi 2005 Txakolina, which we had before and I think would be a good substitute.

          Thanks again for your comments and suggestions!

          1. Also, if you care about glassware, bring your own.

            1. That is a constant problem with BYOB. If you are not sure what you will be eating, it is difficult to choose a proper wine. Under those circumstances, for a red wine, I will often select a Zinfandel. It is light-bodied enough that it won't insulate the palate from subtle flavors and textures. At the same time, it is flavorful enough that it can stand up to beef or lamb (although it would not be my first choice for red meat), and complex enough not to be boring.

              I know it is the white wine of the moment, but for your white, I might go with a Gruner Veltliner. Personally, I like something a little more tart, but GV is a good middle-of-the-road choice which goes equally well with fish, fowl or cheese.

              Like you, I don't know much about wine, but these choices have worked well for me, and are certainly in line with Shwa's suggestion.

              1. swtbobby,

                I am curious what wine you ended up choosing for your dinner at Schwa -- and how was your dinner experience there? Please share with the group if you have the time. Thanks.

                1. I ended up doing a Txakolina and a Pinot Noir, both based on recommendations from Bret (who was super helpful) from Sam's on North Ave. I really liked the Txakolina he recommended and I thought it really complimented the food nicely. I don't remember exactly which one it was, but I believe there are only three Txakolina at Sam's and it was the least expensive one. The pinot noir he recommended was really earthy and mushroomy and I didn't care for it too much, but it was exactly what Bret described it to be.

                  Schwa was really fun! It has a very intimate feel to it. I imagine it would be like going to a friend's place who is a chef and trying out new dishes. From my understanding (and I could be wrong), there is no waitstaff, but it is Chef Carlson and his kitchen staff who do the serving along with the cooking, which really adds to the intimate feeling. My date and I both did the nine course tasting and everything was basically excellent! My only complaint was the deserts were just so-so, but maybe that was just in comparsion to the rest of the menu. :) If you haven't been there I highly recommend you make a reservation now (since it will take a long time to get in)