Michael Bottigliero is a wine sommalier at Eno in Chicago, a 42-seat urban oasis that features a 5,000-bottle cellar and a world-class selection of cheese and chocolate to compliment your beverage of choice. He is also the voice behind the Windy City Wine Guy blog.
Bottigliero, a lifelong foodie and wine connoisseur, took a moment to share his thoughts with Urban Epicurean.
UE: How did you develop an interest in wine, was there a moment in your life where it just “clicked,” or was it something you grew up with?
Bottigliero: I have always had an interest in wine. Ever since a fiasco of chianti was placed on the table when I was young the beverage has astounded me. My interests really began to peak when I helped open the Blue Water Grill in Chicago. A couple of very skilled sommeliers worked there and just by being introduced to an entire world of wine shocked me. All the varietals, styles, geography, and history amazed me – I really wanted to know more!
UE: What are some current trends in the wine industry now? Any hot varietals?
Bottigliero: I would have to say there is a lot going on right now. It seems like a wine region gets some pub and really takes off. I would use Spain and South America for this example. You could really buy some great bargains from any of these countries years ago, but the publicity and prices have risen – the secret is out! I believe some hot varietals now include Spanish Albarino taking the torch from Gruner Veltliner for whites; while Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache and Tempranillo are all hot right now. It is hard to steal the thunder from Cabernet Sauvignon and “Sideways” favorite Pinot Noir.
UE: Are there any common misconceptions about wine?
Bottigliero: I believe the most common misconception about wine is that they all taste the same. Most people who say this are swiggers in my opinion – they are used to choking down a beer without taking the time out to enjoy it. Much is required to truly enjoy a wine. If you take the proper steps you will be rewarded greatly!
UE: Can you name a few of your favorite pairings?
Bottigliero: Some of my favorite pairings include Falanghina with seafood or anipasti, and California Zinfandel with grilled meats, just to name a couple.
UE: Could you list a couple of your favorite wines under $20?
Bottigliero: For a few of my favorite wines under $20 I will include Fiano di Avellino by Terredora, Ojai Viognier, Seghesio Zinfandel, and a big secret is Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red- you have to try this blend!
For more information about Eno, be sure to visit their website.