Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant

Woman can’t live by cooking alone. Every once in a while it’s nice to go somewhere and have the work done for you. My husband Jeff and I  lived in the San Fransisco area for almost 20 years and spent a good deal of time in the Northern California  wine regions. We aren’t “wine snobs” but, when we do go out, we like to have wine with what we are eating.

About 4 years ago we happened on Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant in South Barrington. We had never heard of  it, but were intrigued  so we went in. We tasted the wine which was quite good and even joined the Wine Club.

Since then, we’ve visited all of the Illinois locations and also the one in Milwaukee,  tasting the wines and enjoying many items from the menu.

Besides offering an extensive catalog of wines (the varietal grapes come from California, Washington, and Oregon and occasionally internationally) that are blended to create consistently drinkable wines that do not require much cellering, they feature a casual contemporary food that is consistently good.

Our 4 year membership has given us lots of perks,free birthday dinners, bonus coupons for points earned, and a reason to go out to lunch one Sunday a month.

Our routine has become to visit one of the locations and enjoy a monthly wine tasting (free with our 2 bottle membership) and then enjoy lunch in the restaurant. Lunch is always the same, well sort of.  It is the Wine and Cheese Pairing.

Each month the executive chef creates a five  item cheese board that is paired with 4 wines.  While not an inexpensive proposition ($18.99 each) it is very satisfying. We always manage to get good bang for the buck because this spread is designed to be lingered over and savoured. We  leave comfortably full as we carry out our 2 bottles of wine and 40 points toward our next dining coupon(remember we’re club members).

This is the pairing for August which included fresh goat cheese with honey as well as  a Gruyère, a Havarti, and a ( 4  year) aged cheddar. The wines included Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and the wine of the month, a Syrah/Cabernet Franc blend. My favorite was the goat cheese paired with the Gewürztraminer.

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