Oceanique's Legendary Wine Program Is About Greatness At Any Price Point
Throughout its 25-year history, Oceanique (505 Main St., Evanston IL; 847-864-3435) has built such a great wine program that the restaurant has become a magnet for people who are knowledgeable about wine and want to try some of the best in the world. "Our wine cellar is so extensive that we have a wine for anyone, no matter what dishes they are enjoying, what style of wine they prefer, or what their desired price point," says Oceanique's Wine Director, Philippe Andre.
Andre has been leading the wine program at Oceanique for several years and his passion for wines and his commitment to the wine and spirits enjoyment of his guests, continues to grow. "We have invested heavily in our wine collection so it is a true joy to share our bounty with our guests," he says. "I love educating our guests and helping them to choose the most enjoyable and appropriate wines to suit their food and their mood."
Oceanique's collection, which includes more than 700 labels and between 8,000 and 9,000 bottles, has earned national recognition from Wine Spectator, the most prestigious wine publication. As the winner of Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence" every year since 1994, Oceanique's wine list is considered among the 750 best in the world.
"We believe that great wine and great food together create a perfect marriage, and so we devote as much time and attention to our wine program as we do to our culinary program," says owner and chef Mark Grosz. "Our approach is to offer our guests many options, all of which lead to a memorable wine experience. We have many great wines by the glass and half bottles, several levels of wine pairings and a comprehensive selection of wines by the bottle, all from all around the globe."
The success of the wine program can be measured in several ways, but one measuring stick they are particulary proud is the long list of wine aficionados who have been coming to Oceanique for many years. "Our clientele is discerning and knowledgeable about wines," says Andre. "Our mission is to present them with wines that, in addition to being great at any price point, are a perfect fit for their stylistic preferences and their food. If we accomplish that, we have succeeded. We also enjoy raising the bar even higher by introducing them to lesser known wines that are of surprisingly great quality and are a great value. We are thrilled to share our great finds with our customers."
On any given evening, one will find Andre in the dining room or at the bar area, talking passionately and uncondescendingly to his guests about his suggestions for wine pairings. "I love being a wine educator, talking wine with both experts and novices alike," he explains. "It gives me great satisfaction to see the look of joy on our guests' faces when they sample a new wine that is the perfect match for their meal."
The multi-faceted nature of Oceanique's wine program makes it easy for guests to enjoy a personalized wine experience. Oceanique offers three levels of wine pairings (wine flights) which begin with a glass of champagne and then a glass of wine with each course. Guests who wish to enjoy more than one wine can order wine by the half glass, full glass or half bottle (375 ml). The list of wines by the bottle is extraordinarily varied and well organized. Wines can be enjoyed for modest prices or, for those who want to splurge, there are numerous great and rare wines that are high-priced but worth every penny. "Our objective is to offer great wines at any price point, and we think we've been very successful in doing this," says Andre. "Every guest deserves a great wine experience and we won't offer anything less."
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Cindy Kurman or Lee Barrie