Author Archives: Thomas Caestecker

About Thomas Caestecker

I have had the privilege to witness the wine industry through both the corporate and media lenses for several years. My conclusion: The value sector has the potential for real growth in the industry. Luxury wines are battered by the economy; inexpensive bulk wine is simply cheap. This blog's mission is to reveal competitively priced, under-the-radar wines.

Jason Finn’s eminent wine program is of “Epic” proportions

Chicago’s restaurant scene has been punctuated in recent years by creative restaurants that, often successfully, are the anti-steak house. The music isn’t crooned by Frank Sinatra, the vibe is sharp and edgy, and items like pork belly and charcuterie have … Continue reading

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Due Lire: Italian influences invigorate Lincoln Square

Chicago boasts a (Mediterranean) sea of Italian restaurants – featuring big portions and mammoth wine lists. Many are located in the Loop or near downtown, or are chains – some of which are known for promoting family to show the … Continue reading

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Michael Diversey’s: A Chicago pub’s wine program wins customers

Even though he grew up in Hammond, Ind., Jack Lewis always thought of himself as a Chicagoan. But Lewis – the affable owner of Michael Diversey’s Tavern in Lakeview – had to venture much further to the southeast than Hammond … Continue reading

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Grüner Veltliner: The bloom of Austrian wine

Vines and vineyards are some of the most enduring features of the European  landscape. Whether the climate is the bone-chilling plains of northern Europe,  or the sun-splashed Mediterranean, the pleasantly pastoral vineyard plots are perhaps among the greatest legacies of the continent. … Continue reading

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Cassoulet: Living large with the wines of Languedoc

One of the enduring American imbecilities is a dismissive attitude toward the French – usually, that the latter tend to be dismissive. But wine snobs – they are everywhere, France included – tend to reject the notion that anything not … Continue reading

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Gene’s Sausage Shop ‘meats’ need for value wine

Abe Froman, Matthew Broderick’s brief alter ego in Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, was the dubbed “The Sausage King of Chicago.” Ferris and his friends, of course, commandeered Mr. Froman’s table in a fancy restaurant, and thwarted any wine purchases by the sausage maven. (The cavalier teenagers drank soda pop, … Continue reading

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Barbecued ribs ‘meat’ their match in value wine

A generation ago, legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko said, “I make the best ribs anywhere.” He then started the Mike Royko Ribfest to prove it. More than 400 entrants challenged the Chicago-based satirist – who, despite the initial barbecue bluster, … Continue reading

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