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After many months of construction, Juicy Wine Company, a new "retail-plus" wine venture from former Taste owner Rodney Alex, finally opened this week in the Milwaukee Avenue spot that housed the old Iggy's. There's a takeout market, selling wine plus "smokin' cheeses" and meats, on the first floor, along with a lounge area for sippin' and nibblin'. Upstairs is more seating and a DJ booth.
Right now Juicy stocks about a dozen wines by the glass, and bottles are marked up a flat $15 over retail if you want to drink them on the premises. The guy who answered the phone used the example of a 2004 Davis Family Russian River pinot noir to explain the price structure: it retails for $39, the "chill-out" price is $54, and it's $14 by the glass. The point, he explains, is to make the higher-end wines--usually marked up to three or four times their retail cost--accessible to the average wine drinker: in a restaurant you'd probably pay $75 for the Davis pinot. But, he says, they're hoping to add more moderately priced bottles--ones that cost less than $20 retail--in the future.
Former Fox and Obel cheese and dairy buyer Suzanne Wolcott came up with the 12 cheese and charcuterie "experiences," which include a bunch of cheese flights, a "mega meat" plate, and in what may be a Chicago first, a butter and salt flight pairing three artisanal butters--Dutch goat, Vermont hand-churned, and a crazy-sounding Italian one made from whey--with Hawaiian pink salt, smoked fleur de sel, and a truffled sea salt. Fan-cy.