Takashi Restaurant - Mondiale

Fine Wine Tasting-Focus on Terroir

Sunday, November 02, 2008

V. Echanson Mon Roldan*



By Jane Tracy, Bailli

Are you a ‘Terroirist’ or a ‘Counter-Terroirist’?  Terroir was the subject of the Chicago Chapter’s November Mondiale event.  Terroir – that combination of the distinctive features of earth, minerality (or not), climate, topography and culture that has the wine world divided into two schools of thought.  Does terroir really exist or is it more the quality of the vineyard and winemaking techniques through irrigation, manures, local styles and technology?  Add Old World versus New World to the mix, and the argument changes.

Vice Echanson Mon Roldan provided an environment for ripe discussion and tasting at Takashi Yagihashi’s highly successful TAKASHI restaurant.  Chef Yagihashi is an inherent artist and is well-known in Chicago.  A 2003 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef:Midwest was awarded to him and in 2005 he opened Okada for Steve Wynn in Wynn Las Vegas.  Four exquisite hors d’oeuvre were served with sparkling Kurashizuku Sake.  A four-course dinner followed and accompanied our terroir wine tasting. 

We were guided with handouts, a presentation and ultimately challenged to blind taste and evaluate - through terroir identification - three Chardonnays that included a Grand Cru and a 1ere Cru.  Four pinot noirs – old and new world – again including a Grand Cru and a 1ere Cru.  This second flight included two wines from the same producer of the same year and two wines from the same vineyard of different years. 

The third flight was cabernet-based and we were given the years ranging from 1955 through to 1986. Two of the wines poured were Margaux, one was a St. Julien and one was from California.  Sniffing, swirling, tasting and debating the aesthetics of the precious treasures that were poured, boosted the communion of Chicago’s Mondiale members