When you think wine production in the United States, I am fairly confident that Chicagoland doesn’t come to mind. Because Chicago = pretty darn cold a good portion of the year. Even growing up outside of Chicago and returning there multiple times a year since that time, I have to admit that wine wasn’t the forefront in my thoughts of the area. And I certainly hadn’t heard of Lynfred Winery until recently. But I am glad I recently discovered this Chicagoland gem and that we got to experience a complimentary tasting, courtesy of the winery.
Lynfred Winery is located in the suburbs of Chicago near Schaumburg, outside of Chicago and not far from O’Hare airport. As we drove up to Lynfred, I have to admit we were a little perplexed as we approached the address, as much of the area surrounding the winery is residential. The winery could definitely blend in to the residential surroundings (but for the sign in front), as from the street it looks like a large, manor-esque, historic home. It definitely had a rustic charm about it.
And that is because Lynfred is also a bed and breakfast featuring four suites. This is part of the rustic appeal of the property, although as soon as you step inside you are met with a winery that looks like any other, with tasting rooms and a barrel room.
What I didn’t know before I got there was the history of Lynfred. It is actually the longest, continuously running winery in the state of Illinois since Prohibition. They are celebrating their 38th anniversary this October.
Lynfred Winery is known for its fruit wines, and in fact has the largest portfolio of wines in the country, making about 120-124 varieties of wine. Because, well…Chicago, they get their grapes from Washington, California, Michigan, and southern Illinois.
There are certain wines you can only get in the Founder’s Room, which is the higher-end, exclusive tasting room located upstairs in the property. And even then, certain wines like the Barrel Reserve, you cannot even buy a bottle of and is only available via Founder’s Room tasting.
The wines were absolutely divine, and they offered a broad spectrum of choices for every time of wine lover. You would be hard pressed to visit Lynfred and not find something you can enjoy.
For our complimentary Founder’s Room tasting, my dad and I each chose to do a flight of three wines (and share them) so that we could experience as many of the diverse wines that Lynfred has to offer. Our sommelier Gregory, was absolutely top notch and was very knowledgeable about wines in general, pairings, and Lynfred’s offering.
We actually started with a bonus round, where we both tried the Sparkling Rose. Even though this is wine is on the drier side of the sparkling category, the taste was crisp and clean, and was actually quite delightful. I should let you know that both my dad and I air more on the sweet or fruity white wine category, but this was a wine that both red and white lovers would enjoy.
Next, we tried my dad’s Sparkling Muscat, and I have to say this was one of the big winners of the afternoon. It was sweet and light and the perfect combo of sparkling and sweetness. We each got a bottle of the Muscat to go. I then tried my red wine that was only available in the Founder’s Room, the Sangiovese. Though it was a red wine, it was actually pretty smooth and didn’t have the bite or punch that many heavier reds have. Even being white wine drinkers, we enjoyed this choice.
I then tried the sparkling peach (lovely), and that is when my dad got his glass of Barrel Reserve red wine. It. Was. Excellent. Instant win. They explained that the limited edition wine is actually a combination of ports from several years combined to give it the richness and complexity that it offered. Hence why it was a limited edition. And it was absolutely magnificent.
Our last round in our flight was my Mangovino fruit wine and my dad’s Ice Wine. The Mangovino is actually made with mangos fortified with grape spirits. All of the Lynfred fruit wines are actually made with the fruit that is featured, which gives them a uniquely authentic flavor. The Mangovino definitely tasted like mangoes and was quite sweet. We also tried my dad’s ice wine, which was also a winner for us. Not as sweet as the Canadian ice wines I have sampled in Vancouver, this ice wine was still sweet but not at all syrupy or thick. It was cool and refreshing and was a perfect way to end the tasting.
To pair the wines, Lynfred offers a number of accompaniments, including cheese, crackers, pear, chocolate truffles, and even warm breadsticks fresh out of the oven. We were seated outside on the balcony. And while there was no real view, it was great to enjoy the delicious wine while taking in the fresh air on a perfect, summertime in Chicago afternoon.
Lynfred Winery Review
Though untraditional in it’s location (you aren’t going to find rows and rows of grape fields in suburban Chicagoland), Lynfred Winery was an unexpected treat outside of the city. I would definitely return to the Winery for tastings in the future. It is perfect for couples, small parties, or even an individual visit to break up the monotony of the week. I recommend Lynfred Winery and I recommend it, and will be returning myself.
Lynfred Winery gave us complimentary tastings. All opinions expressed are my own.