The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicago's Finest Wine Experts Will Introduce You To Hidden Gems

By John Lenart in Food on Sep 17, 2015 3:25PM


Here's your chance to join a dozen of Chicago's top sommeliers to taste over 75 hidden gems and values from one of the world's most prestigious wine regions.

La Paulée Off-Grid will be held Thursday Sept. 24, from 5:30 p.m. To 8:00 p.m. at City Winery (1200 W. Randolph St.). This event promises to be one of the coolest and most interesting consumer wine tastings in Chicago this year. If you love Burgundy (and let's be honest, what wine lover doesn't?), this is a must-attend event.

Check out this roster of all-star somms: Steve Morgan (Formento’s) and Patrick Cappiello (Pearl & Ash/Rebelle, NYC) will lead the sommelier team of Rachel Driver Spekan (City Winery), Carl Moberg (Webster’s Wine Bar), Arthur Hon (Sepia), Blake Leja (Signature Luxury Wine & Spirits), Jon Leopold (Alinea), Craig Perman (Perman Wine Selections), Rebekah Graham (The Publican), Charles Ford (The Bristol), Matty Colston (Parachute), Rachael Lowe (Spiaggia), Jen Schmitt (Everest), and Mark Wrobel (Pastoral). You'll have the rare opportunity to not only taste and learn about why these somms love these little-known wines, but also to discuss with them why they are so passionate about the lesser known areas of Burgundy.

The problem with Burgundy is that it's just so expensive. According to Daniel Johnnes, Organizer of La Paulée de New York and San Francisco and Corporate Wine Director for Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group: “In recent years, Burgundy has gained a reputation for rarity, exclusivity, and high prices. This is certainly the case with top producers and appellations, but there is a whole other world of wines that Burgundy has to offer, a world of honest, affordable, everyday wines whose great value can sometimes be overlooked. The goal of the Off-Grid tasting is to remind consumers that these wines exist and should be treasured and enjoyed!”

A few of the exciting wines being poured include:

Antoine Jobard, Bourgogne Aligoté 2012
Jean-Noël Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge 2011
Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Uchizy "Les Maranches" 2011
Olivier Merlin, Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse "Vieilles Vignes" 2009 en magnum
Domaine Bruno Clair, Marsannay Blanc 2012
Domaine Gille, Nuits-Saint-Georges "Les Brûlées" 2010
Domaine Vincent Dauvissat, Chablis 2013
Garnier & Fils, Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2013
Damien Coquelet, Chiroubles "Vieilles Vignes" 2013
Marcel Lapierre, Morgon 2014
A&P de Villaine, Bouzeron Aligoté 2013
Domaine Faiveley, Mercurey 1er Cru Clos de Myglands 2008

As opposed to many wine tastings, where wines poured are from a single distributor or importer, the wines at La Paulée Off-Grid are actually chosen by the somms pouring them.

And there will be food to go with the wine.

“A handful of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, including City Winery, The Kitchen, Trenchermen, Formento's, and the soon-to-be-opened Calaugusta Cafe will offer small plates to pair with the wines,” says Johnnes.

While this is the first La Paulée event in Chicago, it boasts a rich history. Originally a Burgundian end-of-harvest celebration put on by monks, the modern day La Paulée began in 1923 when one of Burgundy's must respected wine makers, Jules Lafon decided to revive the tradition as a banquet for growers and workers.

In March of 2000, Daniel Johnnes organized the first La Paulée de New York. Now La Paulée comes to Chicago.

According to Ryan Arnold, Divisional Wine Director LEYE, this event is "one of the most prestigious wine events," so it's significant that it is coming to Chicago.

Tickets for La Paulée Off-Grid are $95. Tickets are available exclusively to American Express Members here. If you don't have one this can be a bit of a drag. But find a friend with an AMEX card, like I did. This is an event you won't want to miss.