West Side Muscat has Chicago Terroir
When you think of the West Side of Chicago what comes to mind? Perhaps Taylor Street and the neighborhood’s great Italian restaurants? Or maybe the West Side reminds you of the Chicago Stadium and the Bulls and Blackhawks teams of yesteryear.
One thing that Chicago’s West Side does not have a reputation for is growing wine grapes. But this past Saturday, about 20 people gathered to drink Muscato wine made from grapes grown at Sinha restaurant at 2018 West Adams, just west of the United Center.
“You have to be impressed with the ingenuity of creating something special from right here in our community; a wine that was made from grapes from right here in Chicago,” said Sinha chef and owner Jorgina Pereira.
The Chicago Muscat wine was made by Fox Valley Winery winemaker Jim Zipper at the winery’s production facility in Oswego, Illinois. According to Fox Valley Winery owner Dick Faltz, 48 pounds of grapes were harvested from a four-year old vine that has spread across the top of a fence in the restaurant’s courtyard. The grapes yielded six gallons of wine.
Golden Muscat will grow in USDA zones 5-8 although very little, if any, Muscat is grown in Illinois. Chicago is in USDA zone 6, but there has a not been a below zero temperature in almost two years. The 2011 USDA Illinois Grape and Wine Survey did not list Muscat as being grown commercially in Illinois.
The Chicago Muscat grown at Sinha was harvested on October 16th with a brix of 18. The wine is not for sale commercially.
A new Fox Valley wine that will be available commercially, Brusecco, was also poured at the Sinha event. Fox Valley Brusecco is sparkling wine made from 60% Seyval Blanc and 40% Vidal Blanc.