Wine Blog Wednesday: Howard’s Wine Cellar, Chicago

Lynne Kiesling

I missed Wednesday, but in response to Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog Wednesday here’s my local wine shop that feels the love:

Howard’s Wine Cellar on Belmont Avenue in Chicago. Tucked into a very small shop in a strip mall, Howard’s is the cellar of Howard Silverman.

Howard’s passion for wine shows up in every aspect of the shop. It’s stacked to the rafters with racks and boxes of wine from all over the world. He has a great, intelligently-selected variety, particularly when you consider the square footage into which he squeezes it all. He also does Saturday tastings, and he sends out a weekly email in advance so you know what he’s opening each Saturday.

You can come in with requests ranging from “do you have the Bosquet des Papes 1999 Chateauneuf du Pape?” to “I’m looking for a mixed case of cheap-and-cheerful, but good, wine for midweek dinners,” and Howard always delivers. His particular expertise is Burgundy (we actually bought a mixed case of red and white Burgundies from him in the spring to cellar), but he has broad and deep knowledge in other wines too. We have learned more about Spanish wines and German Riesling from Howard than I could ever have imagined!

Some of the great wines we’ve discovered with Howard include Cimicky Trumps Shiraz Barossa Valley (around $15, outstanding value), great German Rieslings whose names I can neither spell nor pronounce, the aforementioned Bousquet des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape, Drappier Brut Champagne (a little yeasty for my taste, but good), and some really yummy Sicilian red (nero d’avola) with a funky label whose name I can’t remember, but what a heck of a value for $12.

Go see Howard; he’ll set you up right. He’s always been great to us, and very warm and welcoming (even after we went through a six-month phase of not buying wine because we were spending so much money on the house). Great wine, great value, great service.