Monday, March 05, 2018 –
24 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Did you know that England has become a great region for sparkling wine? South of London, cutting-edge vintners are making sparkling wines that rival those from the great houses of Champagne. Jon McDaniel, one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2017 and the Beverage Director/Sommelier of The Gage Hospitality Group, will lead an informative British bubbly discussion and tasting for Mondiale members. The reception, educational tasting, and family-style dinner will be held in the private dining rooms at The Gage, the iconic restaurant on Michigan Avenue featuring British-inspired food.
Smart casual attire
British Bubbly Bonanza!
Vice Echanson Todd Arkebauer met with some skepticism when he unveiled the British Bubbly theme of the Chicago Mondiale’s March event. “The only bubbles coming out of the U.K. are in pints of ale,” one member joked. Yet, as we would soon learn, England is fast becoming a source of world-class bubbles, winning awards and beating major Champagne brands in blind-tasting competitions. The Brits are so serious about their sparkling wines, in fact, they have given them a name: British Fizz, a protected term for specific sparkling wines from England.
Setting aside our doubts, 32 members and guests gathered to explore British Fizz, under the guidance of sommelier Jon McDaniel, Beverage Director for the Gage Hospitality Group. Together we learned that, since the first vineyard was planted in 1951, over 3,500 acres across southern and western England are now devoted to wine production, and that 60 percent of all wine produced in Great Britain is sparkling. Much to our delight, we sampled all five of the British producers available in Illinois, tasting 13 different bottles in all.
To complement the sparkling wines, Executive Chef Christopher Gawronski created a quintessentially British, five-course menu, with an Ashdown Pigeon Pudding as its centerpiece. McDaniel paired each course with two sparkling wines and invited guests to say which selection drank better on its own and which paired better with the food, fulfilling his promise to make us “open our mouths…and not just to taste.”
We definitely learned what all the “Fizz” was about!