The Saturday wine tastings at Bacchanal (600 Poland Ave., 948-9111) are official. Drop in anytime on Saturday, Sept. 21, to sample Italian wines with Bacchanal owner Chris Rudge and KC Cornell of Artisan Fine Wine. George Brown of Brown Purveyors of Fine Wine will be there on Saturday, Sept. 28, pouring Bordeaux, and Gina Warren of Glazer will bring the Burgundy on Saturday, Oct. 1. At the moment, Rudge is particularly excited about his latest acquisition (brace yourself): French wine in a box. Domaine de Fontavin packages the equivalent of 13.3 bottles of red and white Cotes du Rhone in $65 boxes. That computes to less than $5/bottle. I can vouch for the red, which is the kind of light, easy wine that would be perfect for parties of budget oenophiles who appreciate easy access. The wine allegedly maintains a just-uncorked freshness for six weeks after the box is tapped. Bacchanal is now open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Through the Grapevine
Mr. John's Steakhouse (2111 St. Charles Ave., 679-7697) is holding an open house-style wine tasting from 4:30 to 7 p.m. this Thursday. The $15 cost includes finger food and samples of eight Zinfandel wines. Beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, Mr. John's is throwing a full-fledged Ravenswood County Series wine dinner for $60. Call for details.
In brew news, Crescent City Brewhouse's (527 Decatur St., 522-0571) 10th annual Louisiana Beer Festival is this weekend (Sept. 20-22) and next (Sept. 27-29). You'll find beers produced around Louisiana, Bavarian-inspired foods and live jazz daily.
Hold the Turf
Consider Chateaubriand Steakhouse (310 N. Carrollton Ave., 207-0016) for this month's Festival du Homard (lobster). Three-course dinners for $39.75 include entree options of grilled lobster, steamed lobster and lobster a l'Americaine (cooked with white wine, shallots and tomato).