Get to Know Your Local Wine Gal

By Carrie Becker in Food on Feb 24, 2010 7:00PM

Who to know
Jessica Trent

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Image c/o The Field Museum

Certified Specialist of Wine in Special Events Department at The Field Museum

What's in your glass?
Lately I've really been drinking French wines; it's a fun way to expanding my French wine knowledge. I've been going to the wine store, choosing a wine that I don't know enough about, and trying it. It's my favorite way to find new wine loves. When the wine is bad - I just laugh, and go to one of my fall backs. When the wine is good, I've got another one for my stable.

Wine Rack Staple
Stocking my wine refrigerator is all about good wines that won't break the bank. I keep Bridlewood Syrah or DaVinici Chianti on hand for drinking with a group -- they are both smooth and fruity, and palatable for lots of people. I keep a big red, like Louis Martini Cabernet and a crisp white like Ponzi Pinot Gris for last minute wine with dinner.

Favorite museum exhibit and wine pairing to match
My favorite temporary Field Museum exhibition was Pompeii (October, 2005 - March, 2006), mainly because Chiantis are one of my favorites. I created a special Italian wine list to pair with that exhibition. Getting to sample so many great wines (Barolos!, Barberas!, Nero D'avolas!) was one of the best weeks of my job. My favorite permanent exhibit is, of course, SUE the T. rex. Since SUE is such a fan of meat (mostly raw) I think she'd enjoy either a spicy red like Fetish "The Watcher" Shiraz or a big fruit bomb like a Rosenblum Zinfandel. I can not vouch if these go well with Apatosaurus meat; I hear it tastes like chicken.

Most Memorable/Enjoyable Wine and Food Experience
One of my very favorites happened this past December. My sister-in-law and I were in London and took the train to Paris for the day. We only had 10 hours to cover everything (in retrospect, this seems incredibly naive of us). After running around all day long, we finally decided to grab some dinner before heading back to the train station. We found a little bistro, fell exhaustedly into the chairs, and asked the waiter to bring us two glasses of the house red. We paired the wine with what basically amounted to Brie on a baguette - the Euro dollar menu. It wasn't fancy, but it was one of the best dinners I've ever had! Sitting there looking at the lights of Paris, eating the simplest, but tastiest of meals, and enjoying a glass of wine with my sister-in-law. We topped it off with our second Nutella crepe of the day. We left Paris very, very happy.

Favorite Chicago BYOB and What are you bringing
Hands down: Tango Sur in Lakeview. I'd bring a great Malbec to pair with their delicious Argentinian beef. Truthfully though, if the restaurant has a wine list, I'd rather try one of theirs. Knowing how much thought I put into creating The Field Museum's Special Events wine list; I like to see what other people are choosing out there.