It's Labor Day weekend, and if you're staying in town, I suggest a "day trip" to one my favorite wine shops, HouseRed in Forest Park. I love this store for its unique variety of wines, most approachably priced around $15-20. I usually recommend this store not only to stock your own wines but for picking up wine as a host gift, as you’d be guaranteed your host would receive something surprising and unduplicated if it’s from House Red.
Started by a teacher, her husband, and a musician, HouseRed is like a coffeehouse in vibe but with wine. While they don’t serve wine like a coffeehouse sells coffee, the comparison is drawn for its entertainment offerings. that pair with its wine tastings. One I attended was ta screening of the film “Sideways” while sampling Hitching Post, the hallowed Pinot Noir and Santa Barbara restaurant featured in the movie. (Of course, i bought some, and it was an incredible Pinot Noir.) They have also hosted pianists and harpists, in their casual woody surroundings that make what could be considered stuffy a warm and welcome event.
The proprietor-owners of HouseRed, Neb and Tara, know you by name (and I’ll admit, perhaps that isn’t always a good thing), and it adds a personal touch you don’t see in most places today. Besides the movie event I attended, most Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons they host a tasting of some sort. I’ve stopped in on a Friday night, and the tasting host grabbed a rare Amarone off the shelf and opened it to taste along with the wines on the tasting list, just because it looked interesting and might offer a contrast to the other Italian wines at the tasting. HouseRed is the perfect neighborhood wine shop, and worth the trek West to Forest Park.
It was at HouseRed last Wednesday where as part of their SchoolHouseRed classes, I tasted some undiscovered wines matched with equally undiscovered cheeses from Oak Park's Marion Street Cheese Market. So the next articles will focus on the pairings. Meantime, check out HouseRed. It’s a long weekend and a time to explore.
Have a great Labor Day.
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