Chicago’s Momotaro restaurant is large and in charge. The warehouse-like space is vast, as is beverage director DeAnn Wong’s drinks list, which features everything from non-alcoholic cocktails, to Japanese beer, to an extensive international wine list. Wong seamlessly mixes the traditional with the modern — leaning into her philosophy that the best wines are both versatile and unpretentious.
1. What’s the bottle that made you fall in love with wine?
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The bottle that made me fall in love with wine was Sanguis “Misfit” Syrah. I drank it during my first autumn in Chicago. It was idyllic, really — the leaves were changing color and there was the most perfect crisp in the air. The deep, inky, lush wine paired beautifully with the season.
2. FMK three varieties: Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay.
F: Pinot Noir. There is so much variety with Pinot Noir. Each region, sub-AVA, vintage, all offer a different expression of Pinor Noir. Basically, I’d never get bored.
M: Chardonnay. It is one of the most misunderstood grapes; a lot of assumptions are made about Chardonnay, and I love exposing my guests to what Chardonnay can be. Similarly to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay can wear many hats and be represented very differently from region to region. But it is always consistent, and therefore I generally can know what to expect, which is a great trait in someone that is marriage material from what I’ve heard.
K: Cabernet. I’d probably be okay if I never had a glass of Cab (as a monovarietal) to drink again. Whenever I imagine the personification of, say, a big Napa Cabernet, I always see it as someone who would be incredibly pompous, and nobody likes that.
3. You’re on death row. What’s your last-supper wine?
Vintage Champagne. Preferably something from my birth year just to round it all out.
4. You can only drink one wine for the rest of your life. What is it?
Kosta Browne Pinot Noir (see “F” from question 2).
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
BrassTracks in Hayes Valley in San Francisco. Great bartenders, cocktails, and environment. I’ve had a lot of “FMK” moments there.
6. What’s the best and worst wine on your rack (or in your fridge) right now?
I mean… is Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s the worst?! Maybe compared to my best (which is a 2012 Masi Costasera Amarone). But in all honesty, there is no wrong time for Two Buck Chuck; it takes the stage a lot of the time! So maybe that’s actually the best.
7. If you could no longer drink wine, what would be your beverage of choice?
Boulevardier. Classic yet dynamically palate-able.