Société Mondiale du Vin: October 2014 Tasting Event at Acadia

With Robert B. Bansberg (Jean Banchet Award: Chicago’s Best Sommelier 2009)

Sunday, October 05, 2014 –

3:30 pm - 8:00 pm

1639 South Wabash
Chicago, IL 60616
Chef-Proprietor Ryan McCaskey


Acadia Académie du Vin


On October 5, 2014, twenty-four members and guests of the Chicago Mondiale enrolled in an introductory wine workshop held at Acadia, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the South Loop. Following class, students were further enlightened by Chef Ryan McCaskey’s seven-course dinner, which proved to be a lesson in the art of pairing fine wine with exquisite cuisine.

“Professor” Bob Bansberg, a James Beard Award nominee and Jean Banchet Award Winner for Chicago’s Best Sommelier, was guest lecturer at the Wine Workshop 101. For more than 90 minutes, pupils were schooled about the world of wine while watching an informative and amusing PowerPoint presentation. Participants gained knowledge and understanding of wine regions; different wine styles and core grape varietals; visual, aroma and taste characteristics and related physiology; wine tasting procedure; ideal food and wine pairings; and other information to enhance oenophilic enjoyment.

Eventually, attendees tasted eight pre-poured wines that had been identified and placed before them at the start of the class. Using the five “S’s”—seeing, swirling, sniffing, sipping and savoring—students compared modestly priced, readily available wines made from eight common grape varietals. We began with three 2013 whites. An old world Mosel Riesling by S.A. Prüm (Germany) with scents of apricot and peach, fine acidity and minerality was followed by a new world Sauvignon Blanc from Loveblock (New Zealand) with its typical grassy and explosive white peach flavors and linear acidity. About equidistant from the equator, both Germany and New Zealand produce stunning white wines that served as wonderful case studies for “terroir.” The trio was completed by Terlato Vinyards Chardonnay (Sonoma) with its characteristic buttery palate balanced with bright acidity and subtle scents of Dutch apple pie, spice and nutmeg.

Moving on to the reds, students first tasted Pinot Noir–Sanford (Santa Barbara) 2012. The nose was bursting with bright red fruits and hints of spicy orange rind, white pepper and sage, and silky berry flavors were balanced by bright acidity and ripe tannins. Four more reds followed: Merlot–Rust en Vrede (South Africa) 2012 presented dark fruit and ripe plum aromas infused with tobacco notes and a good balance of subtle and textured tannins; Cabernet Sauvignon–Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre (Chile) 2011 expressed a nose of fresh red and black fruit along with tobacco and cedar balanced by soft tannins; Zinfandel–Federalist (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma) 2011 showcased red fruit and cinnamon aromas with spicy blackberry and bacon notes, supple tannins and bright acidity; and Syrah/Shiraz–Terlato & Chapoutier L Block (Australia) 2009 had a black fruit nose and undertones of dark chocolate, white pepper and eucalyptus with blackberry and pomegranate-like flavors.

Following the presentation and resetting the dining room, dinner commenced with a succession of hors d’ oeuvres: Chef Ryan’s petite “lobster roll”; oyster topped with caviar and cream; pig heart tartare on a crispy cracker; a fried duck “crouton” topped with gribiche sauce and a razor-radish slice; and butternut squash with hoja santa, red endive and root beer. These bites were accompanied by Champagne Pierre Moncuit Brut Millésimé Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2004, a flavorful 100% Chardonnay with toasty apple notes and good minerality that harmonized well with the diverse bites.

Chef Ryan’s first course was New Bedford scallop with mastic, pine nut, parsley, celery root purée, orange and “petrified” salsify. The pairing with Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Puligny-Montrachet “Sous Le Puits” 1er Cru 2005 was stunning! The elegant, steely wine highlighted the inherent sweetness of the scallop perfectly, creating a synergy that enhanced both the food and wine.

A surprise offering of crispy chicken skin “crackers” seasoned with togarashi was followed by squab that had been cured for three days (to enhance its flavor and texture) accompanied by Anson Mills grits, celery and green peppercorn truffle jus. Another off-menu surprise followed. Fresh tagliatelle pasta in a cream sauce provided a simple but delectable foundation for bottarga and generous fresh white truffle shavings.  Next, Alsatian-style veal sweetbreads were served with apple, chestnut, bacon, brown butter and crème fraîche. All of these courses paired with Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-Saint-Georges “Aux Perdrix” 1er Cru 1996, a rich pinot noir with dense, dark fruits with some smoke and oak on the finish, which was particularly tasty with the meat courses.

Inspired by a visit to Starbucks, Chef Ryan’s sixth course was Painted Hills ribeye encrusted in nutty oatmeal together with potato pavé, coffee, soymilk and cardamom. This course was accompanied by a duo of Cabernet-driven Bordeaux blends: Château Calon-Ségur Saint-Estèphe 1989 showed roasted meat, red fruits, plum, and cedar that struck a beautiful balance between maturity and liveliness making it a delight to drink with the beef; and Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac 1985, which offered a pronounced aroma and flavor of bell peppers with notes of black currants and tobacco that didn’t provide as much excitement as the first offering.

Following a pre-dessert of apple sorbet, pickled fennel and pain d’épices, dinner concluded with a sophisticated dessert—honey parfait, almond dacquoise, vin santo and concord grape sorbet. Château Rabaud-Promis Sauternes 1997, a rich Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend, complemented these courses with the perfect amount of sweetness and honey and citrus flavors.

Earlier in the afternoon, Bailli Mon Roldan introduced Manfred Raiser and announced that he has rejoined the Chicago Baillage and has been appointed the Chapter’s new Vice Echanson. Both men thanked Professor Bob for his informative lecture and wine commentary as the evening concluded, and then presented Chef Ryan with an award and our gratitude. Matriculating at the Acadia wine academy was a resounding success. Not only were students given an education that would make Bacchus proud, but also attendees experienced first-hand how the best cuisine can be elevated with impeccably paired wines.


Dear Confrères and Consœurs:
In response to your overwhelming demand, you are cordially invited to the Mondiale’s 2014-2014 season opener:

Bacchus Wine Academy
A participatory workshop aimed at understanding and demystifying wine, learning how to taste wines

1639 South Wabash
Chicago, IL 60616

Date: Sunday, October 5, 2014
Start: 3:30 pm
End: 8:00 pm
Class Size: Strictly limited to 24 participants, on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference to Mondiale members.
Course fee: $175.00 per person, inclusive of all course materials.
Registration: Please register no later than Sunday, September 28th. (E-mail: We will immediately advise you of a waitlist situation.
Dress Code: Smart casual, with decorations for members
Parking: Valet and metered street parking

Course Description: Wine Workshop 101 - An Introduction to Wine. The world of wine and wine tasting can seem overwhelming and intimidating. Which wine should you drink with your dinner tonight? Is there a right way or a wrong way to taste wine? Which wine should you pick from the multitude of selections you see in a wine shop or wine list? What about wine scores?

This course will provide the answers to these questions and more. Participants will gain knowledge and understanding of where wine comes from, different wine styles, core grape varietals, flavor, aroma and taste characteristics, how to taste wine, how to read wine labels and bottle shapes and sizes and other information to assist you in enjoying wine.

Curriculum, Test, Credits: This course is for two hours starting at 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm with one 15-minutes break. Active participation is mandatory. At the very minimum, you will be required to learn and be tested on your five S’s: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor different wines and compare and identify wines of different grape varietals.

No grades will be issued nor allowed for this course. At the end of your session, you will be treated to a four-course dinner with matching wines specially crafted by Chef Ryan McCaskey featuring his new fall menu.

In vino veritas,
Mon Roldan
Acting Dean of Admissions