One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is the tiny, bistro styled restaurant Avec, which is located on the western edge of the city, either a decent walk, or a cab ride, from the main shopping areas. Seating is family style, with long shared tables, but the choice seats are those along the bar which lie in front of the kitchen. On this evening, my wife and I were with two good friends, and had a cozy table near the back of the restaurant. The food is impeccable and comes out slightly tapas styled, and is geared to share. We order a mix of small and large plates, and had no complaints, with my favorites being the Roasted Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Schwarma Sausage and Duck Leg Tagine.

As to the wines, we started we started with a tight, surprisingly elegant bottle of 2009 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Decanted at the table, it offered classic lead pencil, graphite and sweet cassis like fruit, as well as a medium to full-bodied, seamless style on the palate. It dropped off on the finish, but was still beautiful. After finishing that bottle in record time, we grabbed a bottle of 2010 Mas Doix Les Crestes off the list. A bigger, riper wine, with rocking blueberry, cassis, sweet oak and floral notes, it blossomed with air and offered a full-bodied, hedonistic, yet pure and elegant palate feel. It's a superb value to drink over the coming 5-7 years. That capped the evening, and I can't recommend this superb restaurant enough. It fills up fast, so come early, and hungry.

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