Culinary Spotlight

Eno: Michael Bottigliero

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.

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