Interview With a Vintner

The Chicago Wine Company

A connoisseur's favorite, The Chicago Wine Company is perhaps best known for its monthly auctions of fine and rare wines, but it also sells through phone orders or via its Web site (847-647-8789; Senior consultant and auctioneer Simon Lambert offered Jackie Cooperman a few selections.

The Perfect House Wine

WHITE 2001 Martin Codax, Rias Baixas, Spain ($12.50). From Galicia, a crisp, dry, aromatic Albarinho perfect as an aperitif or with shellfish.

RED 2000 Merlot dell'Umbria, Falesco, Umbria ($17.50). From the private estate of one of Italy's most esteemed winemakers, Riccardo Cotarella. A soft, well-rounded everyday Merlot.

For a Grand Occasion

1989 Château Palmer, Margaux, Bordeaux ($180). Very deep and rich with a classic cedarwood nose. Medium- to full-bodied. Almost silky on the palate. From one of Bordeaux's greatest châteaux, made from roughly 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 percent Merlot, with some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

One Worth Waiting For

1997 Brunello di Montalcino, Castelgiocondo, Tuscany ($49.50). Full-bodied and velvety, based on Sangiovese grapes, from Brunello's best vintage since 1990. It would be a shame to open it now; let it mature for at least eight to 12 years.

A Great Discovery

1998 Château Quinault L'Enclos, St.-Emilion, Bordeaux ($58.50). Only the second vintage to be released from this property. Predominantly Merlot, with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this wine is both elegant and powerfully rich and ripe.