Archives

Thoughts on Charlie Trotter

tour10Just some random thoughts on Charlie Trotter.

Best move he made was on Day One in 1987, when he opened.  He named his first restaurant after himself.  Very brave.  At least you knew when you were dining there, you are getting a singular vision, not something cooked by committee.  I also loved walking by his space in Lincoln Park.  I moved a little slower when passing his restaurant on my way to the North Community Bank ATM carefully storing my $962.00 in checking.  Sometimes I would stop and daydream for a moment “Maybe one day . . . “. Mostly I just liked how the restaurant blended right into the neighborhood.  No big signs, (not much parking either), just another dude with a local business trying to make good.

I really wonder if he registered at all with the ninety-nine percent who teach our kids, build our structures, nurse us back to health.  The ninety-nine percent who are the pulse of this or any major city.  Did he personally connect with the masses like Jordan, Daley I, Ebert or Studs?

Tonight on Chicago Tonight, several reporters and past employees, now running establishments of their own, described working for Trotter, and the overall concept of his restaurant.  Just listening to them, it confirmed what I usually free-associated about the place.  It was just not me. When I dine out, I want a specialist.  I desire an intimate look at one, two cultures maximum, through their wine and cuisine.  I am not looking for all-night theatre.  I look at dining out as an appetizer on my way to the theatre.

I can applaud the drive, the work ethic, the never satisfied reach for perfection.  We could all use a little more of that.  Now I’m no psychiatrist, but you have to mix that in with joy, with humor, with grace or really, what is the point?  (And, honestly, if you work all the time with such a fearful look in your eyes, your customers will eventually notice).

I read the Tribune 90% Application for Sainthood/10% Hit Job that came out a year ago. Now look, when I die, I expect whoever writes about me to reverse those numbers.  But I just don’t get the screaming, the Don Corleone management style, the undercutting of employee overtime pay.  I’ve formerly (maybe futurely) worked in the human resources discipline.  Sorry, those tactics give you two strikes in my book almost immediately.

I wish he had the courage to expand a little bit.  No, I didn’t want to see two dozen Trotter’s across the country.  I know a move like that would dilute his brand, and because he was such a hands-on guy, he could never succeed as an absentee owner.  But I would have been first in line for a Trotter’s II; Same dedication to Fine Service, a little more predictability in the menus, maybe pitched to the Middle High rollers as opposed to the Ultra High Rollers who could afford the original.  Sort of like this place.

I’ll close with a video from one of my favorite performers.  We all contribute to or detract from our legacy every day.  For a long time this cooking school dropout nurtured his, and inspired and influenced dozens of cooks, hosts and hostesses, and sommeliers.  We are fortunate that many of them maintain their Chicago roots and haven’t pulled an Oprah. Let’s all inspire each other to reach for his level of greatness, and if possible, leave some of the Drama Stuff at the coat check.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KEe-dA3a4M

Movie Review – “Somm” – Good Attack, Not Much Midpalate or Finish

SOMM pic

Now playing in Chicago, Somm opens in wide release June 21 Now playing in Chicago, Somm opens in wide release and on iTunes June 21.

If you have friends who fancy themselves wine experts, certain names roll off their tongue with admiration or are subject to vigerous debate, just like with people fascinated with movies, politics or sports.  Wine geeks (many actually like the phrase!) can extoll the virtues of superstar winemakers Cathy Corison or Randall Grahm, or argue whether Jancis Robinson or Robert Parker has the superior palate.

And they follow the career paths of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers; those who have reached the pinacle of academic knowledge about wine, and have demonstrated that knowledge over a series of increasingly stressful exams.

The movie Somm introduces us to four men, all I am guessing, in their late twenties or early thirties, as they approach the fourth and final exam in their pursuit to become a Master Sommelier.  Only 201 people have passed this exam, and multiple attempts at it are almost looked upon as a badge of honor within the wine community.

The exam involves an oral quiz about miscellaneous wine minutiae, a Wine Service demonstration, and a blind tasting of six wines; three red, three white.

We watch them at their study sessions, where they pour unknown wines and analyze them according to the official “grid” which offers various categories of descriptors, such as fruit, acid, tannin, and complexity.  The idea is to describe the wines with as much detail as possible, eliminate all but three possible grapes and then offer a final conclusion on the grape’s identity, along with the country of origin and vintage date.

Somm begins very strong, by quickly introducing the four contestants (and their innocent bystanders, aka wives/girlfriends in their respective lives).  Once we understand the gauntlet that’s been thrown in front of them, the film gives us close-up detail as they try to memorize and internalize all the information that may get asked at the exam.  Somm gives us lots of “how” (the score, by Brian Carmody, helps build the tension scene by scene).  If you’re interested in process, and watching seemingly ordinary people pursue a special goal and the pressure that hard work takes on them and their families, Somm will entertain and perhaps inspire you.

But if you work in the wine or restaurant industry, or dream of joining Ian Cauble, Brian McClintic, DLynn Proctor and Dustin Wilson at a Masters exam at some point in your career, you are bound to walk out of Somm wishing you could have been wielding the camera, asking the questions that director Jason Wise avoided or at least didn’t make this cut (we can always hope for more footage on the DVD).

We never see the four guys at work (you know, at their jobs that enable them to afford the $995 exam fee, not to mention airfare to Dallas and five days in a hotel).  There’s only brief footage of their respective managers, who I am guessing, must be comparing the upside of having their protegees passing this exam versus having them on the clock doing Sommelier stuff.  The words “customer” and “guest” are rarely spoken by anyone in this movie.

And there is no context provided, very little explanation of why the world needs Master Sommeliers to begin with, or how anyone on Planet Earth produced, tasted and enjoyed wine prior to 1969, when the program was created.

Somm’s most intriguing figure is not one of the main characters, or their female companions, but the fatherly Fred Dame, who earned his MS title in 1984, only the third American to pass the exam.  Mr. Dame is seen coaching these candidates in the arcane skill known as blind tasting, and there is one rather creepy scene where he role plays the part of an obnoxious restaurant customer with an oh-so-smooth student in order to demonstrate what might get demanded of him during the Service part of the three-part exam.

There’s a touching scene (which I wish could have played out longer) where Mr. Dame expresses a certain sadness at all the talented sommeliers he has been forced to fail over the years when he is called upon to serve as a judge at one of these exams.  

But in his role as a mentor and role model to the four men in Somm, you wonder if Mr. Dame enjoys the power he has to watch his charges suffer, all in the name of . . . what?

It’s the “what” and “why” questions that are missing in Somm.  In most fiction movies, you need heroes and villains (or at least adversaries).  Somm has the heroes, but the adversary is this exam, which, let’s remember, is written and administered twice a year by actual people.

And that’s a major missing piece (call it the mid-palate) in this movie.  We hear from several Master Sommeliers, in quick sound bites, but no one sits down with director Jason Wise, to give us the official lowdown from the Court itself.  How exactly is this test written and what separates the four people who passed most recently (May 2013), from the fifty-nine who attempted it but failed.  What exactly does the Court want?

Like many “New World” wines which start strong but don’t endure over the course of a long meal (or movie), Somm doesn’t follow through and develop its protagonists or explore the consequences of their hard work on behalf of the overall industry they represent.

Virginia Wine 101

After reading my recent post summarizing the Wine Bloggers Conference, held in Charlottesville, Virginia, you might be a little curious about the wines made in the state that gave us those wine celebrities Thomas Jefferson and Dave Matthews.  Since October is also the start of Virginia Wine Month let’s start with some facts and figures the natives graciously provided me before I left for my trip.

Thomas Morgan who writes Drink What You Like, started me with some basics:

  • Virginia is the fifth largest wine producing state.
  • Virginia is home to over 180 wineries, and growing quickly.
  • Six American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
  • Over 2,500 acres under vine.
  • Chardonnay is the most planted white varietal inVirginia; Cabernet Franc the most planted red.
  • Though the subject of much debate and opinion, the varietals that seem to thrive here inVirginia are Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Petit Manseng.

I sent emails with questions about Virginia wine to several local experts, and they all responded with very thoughtful, thorough responses:

VIRGINIA WINE HISTORY

“Virginians have made wine for more than four centuries. The Jamestown settlers had such hopes thatVirginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire that in 1619 they signed into law a requirement for each male settler to plant and tend at least ten grape vines.  Little came of it.  Every effort to grow vinifera, or vines of European origin, met with failure from an unknown pest, Phylloxera, as well as diseases in a new environment.  The booming tobacco trade diluted British interest in the possibilities of American wine.  Americans themselves lost interest.  While fine wine could be had only from Europe, whiskey, beer and brandy were plentiful.”

“In hopes of one day realizing the promise of fineVirginia wines, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years.  His Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine from his years of vineyard trials. He wasn’t alone in trying.  After 11 years of efforts at Mount Vernon, George Washington too, had nothing to show for it.”

“In the 1820s, wines made from Native American grapes met with great success.  Then a Virginia Norton wine was named “best red wine of all nations” at the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873.  Plus a gold medal for Norton at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 when the Eiffel tower was constructed.  The discovery in the late 1800s that native and European vines could be grafted gave Virginia’s nascent wine industry a lift – but in the early 20th century, Prohibition promptly brought it to a standstill.  The industry was slow to bounce back. Some 17 years after Prohibition’s repeal,Virginia had all of 15 acres of commercial wine grapes.”

“In the late-1950s, experimental plantings of vinifera showed promise.  With the establishment of six new wineries in the 1970s, the recovery was officially underway.  A renewed effort to grow a European Chardonnay succeeded at the Waverly Estate in Middleburg in 1973.  Then in 1976, Italian pioneer vintner Gianni Zonin hired Gabriele Rausse to grow and harvest vinifera grapes near Charlottesville.  He established Barboursville Vineyards and then helped other vineyards do the same.  By 1995,Virginia had 46 wineries.  By 2005, 107.  At 192 wineries and counting today, onlyCalifornia, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries thanVirginia.  The persistence of generations of winemakers is paying off.  And the vision of one ofVirginia’s most renowned native sons, Thomas Jefferson, is now coming true.”

Matthew Finot of King Family Vineyards

CLIMATE PATTERNS IN VIRGINIA

“Climate is a major issue in Virginiaand makes growing grapes very challenging.  And yes, these conditions vary across the state. Grapes are grown in all regions of the state, and there is one tasting room (Holly Grove) that has ocean views.  On the left side, grapes are grown in the Shenandoah Mountains where temperatures have dropped to allow one winery to produce a true ice wine.  These two areas benefit from large Diurnal temperature fluctuations – the cool sea air and wind cools the costal grapes whereas the Mountains produce the same affect for western growers.”

“However the majority of wineries and vineyards are located in the central part of the state surrounding Charlottesville and in LoudounCountyand the Route 66 corridor west ofWashingtonD.C.  These areas experience a much smaller Diurnal temperature fluctuation yet produce the most celebratedVirginia wines.”

“Yet all regions experience temperamental weather.  In the spring, a late frost after initial bud break is a possibility.  Two of our favorite wineries, Corcorcan Vineyards and Fabbioli Cellars, lost virtually their entire crop from a late spring frost.  Then, summer commences with hot and humid conditions.  The grapes must be pruned in order to allow for air flow between clusters to avoid moisture from turning into mold or rot.  One reason Cabernet Franc is so prevalent is that it has loose clusters and thick skins – alleviating some of the problems caused by humidity.  And finally, late summer and fall can also be associated with heavy rain and perhaps a hurricane.  If the grape ripens late, the increased rain may increase juice levels and dilute the overall concentration.”

Todd Godbout of Virginia Wine TV.Com

HIGHLIGHTS OF VIRGINIA WINERIES

“I believe that the largest producers in Virginia are Williamsburg Winery (about 65K cases) and Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery (about 40K cases).  The winery of the most renown – and one of the originals, now several decades old – is Barboursville Vineyards, while Linden Vineyards earns tremendous respect and acclaim because of the winemaking practices of owner/winemaker Jim Law.  Horton Vineyards is known as a maverick for growing new varietals; they were among the first doing Viognier and Cabernet Franc, and of course those are now some of Virginia’s strongest growers.  Chrysalis Vineyards has the world’s largest Norton vineyard.  Boxwood Winery is gaining a following for its Bordeaux-style bottlings and its modern, chrome-and-glass (appointment only) winery and tasting room.”

Nancy Bauer of Virginia Wine in My Pocket

WHAT GRAPES GROW BEST?

“Virginia has six AVAs and many microclimates, and different grapes do well in different vineyards, of course.  Even after decades of growing, winemakers are still expanding their knowledge in this area.  Cabernet Franc has been a star inVirginia for a long time, and Viognier has just been named the signature varietal for the state, so you’ll see even more of that being produced.  Petit Verdot is an up and comer that does well in many areas and winemakers are doing great things with it.  Lots of vineyards struggle with Cabernet Sauvignon here, though Chardonnay grows well.”

Nancy Bauer

GAINING ATTENTION

 “Washington, DC restaurants are slowly becoming aware of Virginia wines, as are restaurants throughout our state.  Lately the First Lady, Maureen McDonnell, has conducted marketing tours to restaurants and retailers to showcase Virginia wines.  She has had some success, but with slow progress.  Some DC restaurants carrying our wines include OYA, SAX, Smith Commons and Cajun Experience.”

Todd Godbout

Thanks to all who participated in my interviews.  If you have tasted a Virginia wine recently (particularly if you were able to find one here in Illinois!), please email me your tasting notes, or comment in the space below.  And check out this gallery that Mr. Godbout kindly forwarded:

Wine Compass gallery

In Search of What’s Real (and the Elusive 55 Percent)

If I am not tasting wine, I’m probably reading about it.  I’ve downloaded several memoirs of wine professionals to my Kindle and recently read a book with insight from sommeliers throughout the country.  Ahh, the sommelier.  I just like saying the word.  Can you detect a little jealousy from my keyboard?   I love watching the whole performance of wine service; the presenting of a bottle, the decanting, the pouring of the first glass (my girlfriend first, and no spilling!), and hopefully the ability to convey the highlights of that establishment’s wine list without over or underwhelming the guest.  (And they are always wearing the most badass of suits).  Of course, they have worked hard to achieve those positions; starting with working any grunt job in a restaurant, familiarizing oneself with wines from all over the world (with new countries showing potential almost every year), and acing an increasingly difficult series of exams from organizations such as the International Sommelier Guild and the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Two years ago, I began my wine educational journey by enrolling in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, (WSET) both out of a desire to learn more about my new favorite beverage and to have a credential to display if a restaurant or wine shop actually thought it would be a cute idea to offer me an interview.  It’s been a rewarding process, thanks mainly to my teacher Jessica Bell, who was one of my first interviews for this blog.  The classes have inspired me to try wines and foods I never thought of before, and I’ve also re-learned much of the science and geography that’s been lost to me since tenth grade.  My Level Two exam was passed with merit and on Level Three I squeaked past enough of the exam’s read-them-at-least-twice-so-you-understand-them multiple choice questions and passed my blind tasting (at least for the Gamay, I mean, New Zealand Pinot Noir) that Jessica chose for our final.

The higher level exams feature blind tasting as one of the components.  Imagine facing six or twelve glasses and trying to write or verbalize what grape you believe is in each glass, as well as the correct country, subregion and vintage.  And you have a time limit.  At least on my Level Three test, there was just one wine to analyze (now it’s two).

Actually, those with that ability don’t turn my blue eyes green so much.  Yes, it’s impressive to witness, but when I watch a pro take a few sniffs, a sip or two, and successfully place a wine’s vintage, region and primary grape, it’s hard not to think of Rain Man.  What I really crave is the confidence in their palates; they know what they like and what constitutes quality from a classical perspective.  And those two lists may not always be in agreement.

And they can recognize the soul of a wine, if it can be found.  The French call it terroir.  There really isn’t an English translation.  But you’re able to detect it, at least at the extremes.  You know that Rod Stewart (a musical hero of the wine importer Terry Thiese) embraced some deep musical roots for the first decade of his career and then . . . lost his way.

On my Level Three exam, the essays have been my stumbling block.  Twice now.  The mark I must hit is 55 percent, which is harder than it sounds.  It’s said that even great Bordeaux can go through a “dumb stage.”  This must be mine.

As I round up my note cards again, I hope as I study my terroirs that there are examples of terroir you’ve identified in your life.  Maybe it’s through art or music or architecture that always impresses you with its honesty, its naturalness, its un-need to conform to modern trends.  And that you can passionately praise its virtues to your friends, while (and this is the tricky part), tactfully, with love and grace, describe how its pretenders fall short.

Those in the wine industry who practice this have my respect and admiration.  55 percent or not.

Your Valentine’s Day Wine Recos

Holidays are often a great time to treat your Special Someone with a bottle of wine.  Valentine’s Day is particularly notable for romantic dinners, and the right wine can highlight a memorable evening.  Several wine professionals in Chicagoland wrote to me with their recommendations along with some of their philosophies about how you and your Number Two can make the most of this special day.

Here is some advice from Aaron Sherman, Sommelier and Assistant Manager of Park Hyatt Chicago.  He starts out with an obvious point that, still, is easily forgotten:  “The best wine to serve on Valentine’s Day is the one that your significant other likes best.  Valentine’s is about making that special someone feel special themselves.”  He adds that “It is nice to choose something that is familiar, but not too familiar.  It is nice to venture just a touch off the beaten path, but you don’t want to stray too far for fear of ending up somewhere wildly unexpected (could be great, or not.”)

“While Pinot Noir is very popular these days, I am particularly fond of Cru Beaujolais.  A great Beaujolais will be similar in weight and texture to many Pinots but will lean towards berries and flowers.  In the cold of winter, there is something wonderful about the fresh aromas of these wines.”

“The husband-and-wife team behind the wines of Pierre-Marie Chermette make some of the most gorgeous Beaujolais out there.  The 2009 Fleurie (the village) “Les Garants” (a single parcel) is stunning: light in body but velvet in texture, with a glass filled with aromas of dark berries, violets, roses, and soft baking spices.  It has wonderful intensity for a wine that is not overwhelming in tannin and alcohol, but the structural elements are incredibly harmonious.”

My local “Wine Dude”, Gregory Fulham of Binny’s Hyde Park, gave me several great choices, ranging from the delicate, (Emeri Pink Moscato – a sweet, sparkling Moscato from Australia)  to the middle of the road, (Botani Moscatel Seco 2009), to bold and powerful (Ridge Three Valleys 2008 or 2009).  Excellent choices if you are negotiating more that one date (wait, strike that!)

Soter Sparkling Wines

Kristin Savino is the proprietor of Vino di Savino, a company which organizes private wine tastings for individuals and businesses.  She’s began her wine career at the former Sam’s Wine & Spirits  and is certified through the International Sommelier Guild.  She recommends the Soter Vineyards 2005 Vintage Brut Rose sparkling wine from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

“This sparkling wine is love in a glass. It not only is the color of love, a beautiful pink partridge-eye color, with fine bubbles, but it also tastes heavenly.  I love the fact that it is rather dry, as opposed to many sparkling wines that are just a bit too sweet to go back for a second glass. Because it is a Brut with less dosage than many other Bruts, or Extra Dry for that matter, I can drink several glasses of this with a meal or appetizers, or even on its own.  I would pair this with light, white meats or fish, salmon or lobster would be good pairings, as well as other shellfish.”

Lauren Levine is a charming server at Eno, a wine bar located near Millennium Park.  Her choices reflect the Snowmegeddon which recently hit Chicago.  “In honor of our recent snow storm, Travaglini’s Gattinara. It’s from the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, overlooking the Alps. A Nebbiolo to warm the hearts and souls of cold Chicagoans! It also is bottled in an out of the ordinary shape. A bottle AND wine to remember Valentine’s 2011!  Also, much lighter and for those looking for a rose, Coppola’s Sofia, named after his daughter is quite a sentimental wine. The bottle presentation is just as romantic and lovely as the idea behind it. An elegant, less expensive treat!”

Erica Witte, co-owner of The Poison Cup, pledges her love to the often-overlooked Syrah:  “If Syrah were a day on the calendar, indeed it would be Valentine’s Day. The vine itself is voracious and grows with wild vigor yet…it produces refined, small clusters of handsome sweetness and coquettish acid. The wine produced from such vines reliably doesn’t disappoint with flavors of spicy black raspberry and satin-like red currant.”

Jill Pienta of Pastoral Artisan recommends not overthinking the day:  “I am a believer that when you open a special wine, that is the special day- not waiting for a special day to open a special wine.  While it is great if you open a special wine on a special day and it is delicious, it is just that sometimes, the wine isn’t as great as you expected and it would then ruin two occasions that might have been wondrous if you just didn’t hype up the wine as much.”

“So with that being said, I would open Rose Champagne on Valentine’s day.  Not only is it color appropriate, it is bubbly, romantic and goes with a large variety of foods that will certainly please your palate.  Enjoying wine has a lot to do with your company.  If you don’t like the company, the wine will not taste as good.  But if you are with someone you really enjoy, even basic table wine will be delicious.”

Aaron Sherman reminds us, that a memorable dessert is also the best nightcap to Valentine’s Day:  “You can’t plan a wonderful meal and then fizzle out at the very end.  Every good meal needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Dessert is just as important as the main course.  My sure-fire winner for Valentine’s Day is simple: I pick up some dark chocolate truffles, bring out two champagne flutes, and uncork a half-bottle of Brachetto d’Acqui.”

Thanks for all the suggestions!  Please write in with -your- go-to choices for February 14!

Three Types of Tastings

This Wine-a-Palooza event featured the wines of Portugal. I enjoy these tastings much more when they focus on a specific grape or region.

If you have drifted here from my original blog Chicago Pinot (and Other Favorites), welcome! My name is Chicago Pinot, and here is where I share what I am learning about wine and profiling people throughout Chicagoland whose career, whose passion, involves wine.

We’re lucky here in Chicago to have access to several dozen independent wine stores along with the big guns such as Binny’s and Armanetti’s. Many of these stores host wine events of different sizes and varieties.

It’s helpful to know what to expect, and how to best keep up on wine happenings here in Da City.

Most wine events fall into one of three categories. Most common are the quickie tastings, held mostly in wine stores and occasionally in supermarkets like Jewel and Whole Foods. You usually are presented with three to six samples, poured by a local distributor representative. Occasionally, the winemaker or a winery representative will do the pouring, so it’s a great opportunity to ask questions.

Since these events are usually free or very low cost, you shouldn’t expect more than a half-ounce taste of most of the wines featured. Understandably, you may not fully get a sense of a wine’s qualities with so little in your glass. Speaking of the glass, if your wine shop presents you with an actual glass to taste from, that is a major plus, most places will opt for those plastic picnic cups.

These tastings are best if you recognize a bottle you were considering purchasing anyway or if you are looking for an impulse buy in a hurry and want to get something at least agreeable with your palate.

At the other extreme are what I call the “Wine-a-Palooza” events. I define these as events where you have at least twenty wines to choose from. There’s almost always an entrance fee (starting around $15 for the ones that local wine stores sponsor, to upwards of $40 to $50 for tastings sponsored by outside wineries or distributors, or associated with a charity).

They are almost always a step up from the “quickie” tastings described above. You almost always get a real glass to taste from (but you usually can’t take it home), there’s usually some food to sample (from simple cheese and crackers to multiple samples of finger food that can really bring on the calories!), and if you’re discreet, you can usually come back for seconds on a wine you really like!

When I first migrated from beer to wine, about five or six years ago, I welcomed these events but now realize that sometimes they can be too much of a good thing. Some of the potential disadvantages include the food running out, or aren’t a great pairing with the wines, the lack of enough room to walk around or sit down if necessary, and the potential overcrowding.

Unless you are a disciplined taster (bring water to taste between samples, don’t swallow everything you taste, take frequent notes), you may find it hard to remember more than a dozen of the wines you taste. If you’re planning to invest in a case or two of you favorite bottles, this type of event might not be the best way to conduct research.

Liz Caskey leads her students in a study of South American wines at Just Grapes.

As you become more familiar with wines from different regions, the third type of wine event, what I call “Middle Ground”, will probably hold more interest. I would describe Middle Ground as featuring between four to eight wines, hosted by a local distributor, sales representative, or perhaps the winemaker him/her self.

Some of the stores who hold these informal evenings frequently are Binny’s, Fox & Obel, Que Syrah Fine Wines, and Just Grapes.

This host will talk about each glass poured individually, and you will taste each one as a group, and then discuss together. There’s usually a brochure or flyer you can take home that explains the wines in greater detail. It’s really an excellent way to compare your thoughts with those of other tasters. You may even make a few new friends by the end of the night! You will also leave with a thorough understanding of a specific understanding of a winemaker’s, or grape’s taste profile.

And as any wine nerd will tell you, specificity is almost everything, when it comes to wine!

To find out about future Chicago wine tastings, please subscribe to my blog, and definitely bookmark LocalWineEvents.com, the clearinghouse for wine activities throughout the world. Happy tasting!