Wine Bar at The Walnut Room in Macy's on State

iphoto_dining1During a bit of Christmas shopping, the Windy City Wine Guy and wife made a bit of time to enjoy some wine.  We chose to head to the Marshall Field Co. Building to check out The Wine Bar at the Walnut Room, now run by Macy's.  Being the Saturday before Christmas, the entire street and every building was packed with happy shoppers on both Michigan Avenue and State Street.  We moved up to the 7th floor and the Walnut Room was crowded with eating families and running children.  The Wine Bar is set off to the side- a 36 foot long oak table with communal seating.  We were able to snag a couple of chairs and started reading the menu.

The wine list contains 18 selections by the glass and 87  by the bottle.  They also have 6 different tasting flights.  A tasting flight is a small sampling of multiple items, usually in sets of three.  These flights are usually samples grouped into interesting categories- my wife had their sparkling tour, which included 3 samples of sparkling wine, and I tried the spice tour, 3 samples of bold and spicy red wines.  The flights are poured tableside into small pony glasses- not very optimal for sniffing your wine.  We also decided to munch on their Spanish cheese Sampler, a plate which included Cabrales, Arico, and Manchego cheeses along with bread, nuts, and olives.  They have four different cheese options along with a Valrhona chocolate sampling.

The atmosphere was nice, but did seem a bit like an airport bar in the fact that it was set off to the side and you are surrounded by all of the bustle of the Walnut Room.  There are nice and simple selections for food options and wines by the glass, which includes some favs: Gruet, Catena, and Bon Anno.  The bottle list has lots of variety and value- the prices are not marked up nearly as high as they would be in a restaurant or bar.  I did notice an absence of dessert wines on the list- no Port, Sherry, or late harvest selections.  I would also like to see a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a bit of Alsace, and less typos on the list.

If you are doing some State Street shopping, give it a try.  Share a bottle and some cheese with family or friends and enjoy!