Sommeliers and wine buyers from top restaurants in Chicago are hard to assemble. The restaurant business, an unforgiving mother, likes to keep its children occupied. Yet certain trade events are a guaranteed draw to the dedicated wine professionals that toil because of an undying work ethic, limitless passion, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. To that extent, October has been a very good month.
It started for me on October 1st, when I had the good fortune to attend a dinner with Roman Bratasuik, owner/winemaker for Clarendon Hills at NoMi. The private dining room at NoMi, by the way, is the premier venue for intimate wine dinners/lunches and I have attended at least four spectacular events there.
October 8th was the highly anticipated walk-around tasting of the year as Chicago Wine Merchants presented Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne.
On October 10th Master Sommelier Richard Betts was in Chicago and hosted a trade lunch at Le Lan to feature his Betts and Scholl wines.
And tomorrow, October 23rd, will be an event organized by esteemed Master of Wine Serena Sutcliffe that is called Young Lions of Winemaking-Legends of the Future. This event will feature 11 of the top young winemakers to discuss the direction of the industry and the challenges to come. I am already fortunate enough to have met two of these Young Lions, Marco Caprai of Arnaldo Caprai, a top Sagrantino producer, and Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon of Champagne Louis Roederer. Young Lions should be a great opportunity to participate in the discussion that revolves around wine with the core of the wine community, the producers.
I like October for a lot of reasons, from World Series baseball to Halloween candy and pumpkin pie. But this October has been special because of the great wine events that I have attended and shared with my colleagues, wine pros from top restaurants and hotels like Gabriel’s, NoMi/Park Hyatt, Avenues/Peninsula, and Charlie Trotter’s. I believe that the people who do what we do, serving the Chicago dining community, can justify all the hard work and long hours because it affords certain rewards. One of those great rewards is access to the winemakers, their wines and the stories behind the wines. There are always tastings and events going on in town for a wine buyer to attend, but rarely are so many great events held in succession as they have been this month. More detail to come regarding the wines and specific events that I mentioned above…