The World of Rhône Varietals

Sunday, June 05, 2016 –

3:00 p.m.

Solero, 621 West Randolph Street


The World of Rhone Varietals

Photos and Story by Beth Bernardino-Roldan, Dame de la Chaîne

On the afternoon of Sunday, June 5, 2016, Dr. Manfred Raiser, Vice Echanson, closed the 2015-2016 season of Mondiale Chicago by sharing his expertise and leading sixteen members in exploring the major Rhone varietals at Salero Restaurant.  It was a fun and exciting session fully enjoyed by everyone in attendance.

The event started with a flight of four single varietal whites of Rhone grape classics Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier.  It was followed by a flight of four single varietal Rhone red classics Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mouvedre and Counoise.  Both flights were tasted blind. The aim of each flight was to learn the characteristic and flavor profile of the wine in each glass, compare and distinguish each from the other in color, aroma and taste and identify the single grape varietal wine in each glass.  Thereafter, participants ranked the four wines in each flight according to one’s preference.  All wines were unique single varietal bottlings of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA, the whites were all from the 2013 vintage and the reds were all from the 2010 vintage.   

After the blind tasting session, Salero’s Executive Chef/Partner Ashlee Aubin treated the group to an array of five pintxos: Fanny Bay oysters with chorizo; crab croquettes with orange-saffron aioli; breaded shrimp with green garlic and piquillo, tuna sashimi with black olive aioli and cucumber and quail egg with uni and anchovy.  The selection of Basque-inspired small bites was accompanied by a 2014 d’Arenberg’s The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne blend, perking everyone’s taste buds ready for the next segment of the afternoon’s tasting program.

Up next was a tasting and appreciation of Rhone varietal blends of two whites and two reds, each pair served side by side to accompany our dinner courses.  The whites were the 2013 Cote de Tablas Blanc and Esprit de Tablas Blanc.  They were brilliant pairs to Chef Aubin’s two courses of roasted sable fish with English peas, white asparagus, leek and potato and cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) with morels, asparagus, Cipollini onion and pork jus.  The red blends were the 2010 Cotes de Tablas and Esprit de Beaucastel 2010.  They merrily marched in harmony with the duo of roasted duck served with preserved lemon, green olives, Calabrian chilies and turnips and grilled lamb with Vadouvan spices, zucchini, morcilla and garlic scapes.  A trio of desserts came at dinner’s end: flan de queso fresco, chocolate ganache cake and peach elderflower sorbet.

As the session came to a close, Bailli Mon Roldan acknowledged Vice Echanson Manfred for his leadership of Mondiale, presented Chef Aubin with a Chaîne decanter and bag and expressed our utmost appreciation to Salero Wine Director Chris Fisher and server Eric for a memorable afternoon, a fitting close to our Mondiale season.


05 May 2016

Cher Confrères and Consœurs:

2016 Mondiale Chicago Event No. 4


(Private Dining Room, 2nd Floor)
621 W. Randolph Street, Chicago 60661

SUNDAY, 05 JUNE 2016 AT 3:00PM

It is no secret that the finest wines in the world have become rather expensive. Are there still fine wines that are interesting, exciting - and affordable?
We have enjoyed aristocratic wines from Bordeaux and elegant wines from Burgundy.  But did you know that in past centuries both were infused with Rhône wine to enhance stature, depth of color and intensity of flavor?  This has changed in recent decades and Rhône wines evolved in the 1980’s from robust and rustic to dramatic, generous and intense.  The best rank today among the world’s greatest wines.

When a friend was challenged with the task of bringing one of the “finest white wines in the world” to dinner (not a desert wine), he decided to let experts make the preselection.  Then he looked for availability.  He found a most highly regarded wine, rated “100 points,” which was both available and affordable: it was a Rhône wine!  He then began to study the grapes used to make this great wine….

This is where we will start.  The Tablas Creek winery produces small quantities of single Rhône varietal wines every year, in addition to their blends.  We were able to acquire these rare bottles directly from the winery, we even received a discount for our MONDIALE project.  We will taste four whites and four reds.  Do you think you will recognize the grapes?  You don’t have to study or prepare for this tasting.  Just avoid strong fragrances (go light on after shave and cologne).  Come to educate your palate and enjoy.  The components will come together in the blends which will be served with a four course dinner specially crafted for us by the talented Executive Chef/Partner Ashlee Aubin of Salero.  His cuisine at Salero is Basque-inspired.

Please, sign up ASAP for this exciting event, our wine allocation is limited and we will have to restrict the number of attendees.
In vino veritas!

Manfred W. Raiser               Mon Y. Roldan
Vice Echanson                   Bailli