HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


How "bad" is the Alinea wine list?

OK, as I said in the other thread, my boyfriend and I are going to Alinea next Friday. We're reserved the 24 course tour menu. I've read that the wine pairing is probably not always on point, so we'll probably do bottles/half bottles of red and white, and glasses for desserts.
So my question is, how "damaging" is the list? Our experience at Jean Georges and the like is that you can't get a decent bottle for under $200. How much would you budget for wine? Are there bottles on the list you'd recommend (for the tour menu)?

Thank you very much in advance/.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When I ate at Alinea I got the wine pairing. I didn't think the pairings were bad. It's a lot of wine and you will probably be drunk at the end. The pairing is nice because you get to try a bunch of different wines. I don't know what the prices are for wine, but I'm sure they ar expensive. If you are going to have a 24 course menu and buy a bottle of wine to go with it. I think the onlt thing I would consider is something sparkling.

    1. I thought the wine pairings were excellent at my July '08 visit. Certainly better/more economical than ordering half bottles of a red and a white.

      1 Reply
      1. The wine pairings on my two trips (one this summer and one approximately two years ago) were wonderful.

        1. Thank you all for the info. Pairing it is, unless the boyfriend says otherwise. :)))

          1. My son and I were just there last week. I had the wine pairing with the 22 course and it was very good. No complaints from me.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Pastry 643 Dad

              May I ask how much the pairing costs? Thanks.

              1. re: nohofoods

                I believe the pairing was $170 extra.

            2. The list isn't cheap from what I can remember but its not Spiaggia stupid, either. I don't know where you got that the pairings aren't always on point but in the three times I've been they've always been good.

              I recommend the pairings because I think it would be hard to pair so many courses to one or two wines.

              1 Reply
              1. re: HoosierFoodie

                2 friends ate there last year. I also just put a search into google.
                It's hard to pair, but not impossible. I did tastings at Jean George with a white, a red and a sauterne before and it worked out well. But then I guess with 24 courses it's much harder.

                Thank you for the info. Oh, and yes, I agree the Spiaggia wine list looks absurd. The 1998 and 1999 Mascarellos for $280 on that list, I get them in restaurants in NY for $110.

              2. I just got back from Chicago. Just want to say thank you all for your info. We did the tour menu and wine pairing. 2 things I would like to comment on. First, the wine pairing was excellent. All choices really complimented their respective courses. Second, I thought the wine list was pretty reasonable with quite a few bottles under $100, and a lot of excellent wines around $150 - 200. Still, I was very glad I did the pairing. Basically didn't eat breakfast and lunch the next day, but hey, you don't do this very often. :)))

                1. Did the grand tour with wine pairings on Friday and thought the pairings were excellent, really the only way to go.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nuggieg

                    :))) when was your reservation? Upstairs/downstairs? Maybe we sat next to each other.