Friday, July 27, 2012

Stocking the Bar

As you’ve all gathered from my musings, The Husband and I enjoy eating and drinking well. We’ve been extremely fortunate in our short lives to have found things that we are passionate about, that don’t necessarily have to be bank breaking (although if you ask The Husband, he’ll tell you that I enjoy breaking the bank more than I should….he wouldn’t be incorrect about that).

Anyway, when you go to great places to eat, you generally learn about great beverages.  We’ve been exposed do so many different types of wine, beer and spirits simply because we dined somewhere. However, the problem comes when trying to find those wine, beer and spirits outside of the realm of the restaurant.

For many years The Husband and I were customers at Drinks Over Dearborn. A wonderful boutique wine and spirits shop on Dearborn and LaSalle that was owned by a friend and former colleague of mine. We would wander in and he would give us tastes of deliciously hard to find gems.  At DoD we had our first taste of Dark Lord, our first taste of Chartreuse (both yellow AND green). We would wander in and 90 minutes later walk out with two boxes of beverages that we had never had before but were positive they were going to be amazing.  When Drinks Over Dearborn closed two years ago due to the economy, The Husband and I didn’t really fill the void. 

Rather than go to a Big Box store in search of exotic beverages, we spent much more time dining and drinking out and didn’t really pay attention to stocking our own bar.  Now mind you, we weren’t totally failing on that, we’re members of wine clubs and begged family members going on trips to bring us back certain bottles (I will always be thankful to The Sister who wandered through all of the shops in Edinburgh trying to find me a limited edition bottle of Ardbeg Corryvreckan to give to The Husband for a belated birthday present a few years ago).

So you can imagine my delight when a few months ago I called Perman Wine in order to secure the last bottle of Bisson Abissi and was informed they would hold it for me.  We have heard of Perman and have a very good friend who raves about it; but we just never made it over. So few weeks later The Husband and I wandered into his little store front in the West Loop.  Perman is a smaller shop, with a great tasting room and bottle upon bottles of wine, beer and spirits filling tall wooden shelves.  

We looked around and eyed several bottles of hard to find Mikkeller beers, various interesting spirits and a large wall covered in blackboard paint that had “Six for Sixty-something” written on it.  Craig Perman, the owner of the shop, does a lot of really wonderful things with wines.  One of which is making them more accessible to everyone.  Every month he puts together a list of six wines for roughly sixty dollars and gives beautiful explanations of them  as well as their per bottle cost. He sends them out in an email and patrons can just respond back “Hold one for me” and then come in, whenever and pay.  The Husband and I walked in to get a bottle of sparkling wine and walked out with the Six for Sixty, two additional bottles of wine and 12 bottles of beer that we hadn’t ever tried before.

Every single bottle that we picked up from Perman’s was spot on; really delicious, really interesting.  We joined his email list and  the following month when he sent out his six for sixty something, he mentioned that he was going to Italy for a few weeks. We shot back a reply that we would love the bottles and if he could, go to Avignonese if he had a chance and have a Vin Santo and we half joked he could bring a bottle back for us. He replied back that he could get us any bottles of Avignonese that we wanted, just let him know. So of course The Husband and I listed off some bottles of Red and one of the Vin Santos.

Three weeks later, The Husband walked in and there were the bottles as promised. Of course, he is just as bad as I am, and walked out with the Six for Sixty, the four additional bottles from Avignonese and another 10 beers (4 of which were bombers…750mL for your drinking novices).

Perman also does tastings with various wine and spirit companies. He recently has St. George come do a tasting, and always has access to bottles that wouldn’t normally come to Chicago.

For the last four months we’ve been getting his Six for Sixty and have been thrilled at the diversity of flavor profiles as well as his wonderful customer service. Craig has amazing connections with vineyards and buyers all over the world, if you are a lover of any form of alcohol, I would highly recommend going to Perman’s Wine Selection. The Husband and I are thrilled that we’ve found such a wonderful gem.

You can join his mailing list Here, go to his website at or pop into his store at 802 W Washington Blvd (Washington and Halsted).