Mondiale - Blind Tasting & Pairing - Saddle & Cycle Club

Chicago Mondiale Induction

Saturday, March 10, 2007

with Grand Echanson Dan Gulbronsen and Joseph Spellman MS, President of the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommelier and Director of Education, Joseph Phelps Vineyards.


Create a Garden for the Nose and the Eyes and Palate will Follow

By Jane Tracy, Bailli de Chicago

The Mondiale group of the Chicago Chaine experienced a rather unique evening on Saturday March 10th at the Saddle and Cycle Club.  Grand Echanson Dan Gulbronsen conducted the ceremony in full regalia, inducting thirteen new members into Mondiale. The Chapter welcomed three Master Sommeliers from the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, all from the Chicago area!  Mr. Joseph Spellman, its President as well as Director of Education with Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Ms. Alpana Singh, Director of Wine and Spirits of Lettuce Entertain You, and host of Check, Please! and Mr. Serafin Alvarado, Director of Wine Education with Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois previously lead Sommelier for five years at Charlie Trotter’s.  Professional du Vin Fernando Beteta Advanced Sommelier was also a valuable part of the team and represented the Chicago Chapter and the Midwest Region in the 2006 Young Sommelier Competition finals in Sonoma. 

For the blind tasting seminar, a PowerPoint presentation given by the Masters, illustrated how to evaluate and observe via the eyes, nose and palate the possible wine in the glass as we worked our way through four unknown wines each with a difference appearance and character. Typical varietals for chosen.  We were shown how to follow the deductive method as taught by the Court.  An initial conclusion had to be drawn, followed by a final conclusion – eliminating the wines that could not be in the glass, leaving the probable wines that could.  Members were seated at tables of 6 where there was collaboration, discussion and voting.  Descriptors of each wine were sought and some members took risks stating their path to conclusion. It was fun, light and efficient, the Masters moving from table to table, aiding, suggesting, guiding all with grace and accessibility. It provided a stark awareness of the dedication, intellect and skill required to become a Master Sommelier.

The wine pairing dinner followed. Chef Rôtisseur Rick Gresh – earlier inducted into the Chicago Chapter – allowed the wines to be showed off to their advantage. Three wines were poured to accompany each course, two of which were identified, the third remaining a mystery.  Opinions were exchanged as the personality and characteristics of the wines changed in the glass and on the palate when food was introduced. .Some determined the need for more than one wine to always be poured with any dish for the diner to be able to appreciate the scope and combination of ingredients. Of course!

Accolades were given to our honored guests with thanks, respect and recognition.  The Saddle and Cycle Club of Chicago and their professional staffs facilitated this intricate evening. It was truly a successful affair and could not have been accomplished without everyone’s support and loyalty to our organization. 

Camaraderie flourished, opinions were touted and we all left knowing more than when we arrived.