Second City Food Wine + Social Club

November 27, 2013

Last week I attended the inaugural event for the Second City Food Wine + Social Club! What's that you ask? It's an underground club of sorts featuring monthly events focused on "educational and interactive tastings in unique and ever-changing Chicago spaces." What makes it underground? Each event's location is undisclosed until the evening before and events are led by a sommelier (Mark) and chef (Charlie) who both stem from Michelin star restaurants (we will never find out which ones). I was lucky enough to become one of the inaugural members, along with some other amazing Chicago bloggers.

List of inaugural & founding members
The first event featured a wine tasting seminar, as well as a selection of four appetizers centered around fall flavors. Each guest was given a place card with their name, a tagline, and their social media deets. The inaugural group is extremely social media savvy so we were all tweeting and posting away while we were learning about wine and enjoying the food.

My place card
One of the founding members of the club, Katharine, posted a how-to on her blog Living's as Easy as 312 for creating the rustic tablescapes that adorned the tables at the first event. It was a cute touch to the event and complemented the wine-centric theme.

Table setting
After schmoozing with other members over sparkling wine, we were all seated to begin our wine tasting. We had the chance to learn everything from how to swirl and taste wine, the importance of aeration and decanting, the differences between hot and cool climates and how to break down the aromas of each wine type. During our tasting we tried three wines:

  • White: 2010 Domaine de Reuilly "Les Pierres Plates," Reuilly (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Red: 2010 LeTerraze Rosso Conero, Marche (Montepulciano) *my favorite
  • Red: 2010 Massaya "Silver Selection," Bekka Valley, Lebanon (Cinsault/Grenache/Mouvedre)
During the tasting we guessed the origin of the aromas of the wine including the primary fruit aromas such as apple, pear, and apricot, as well as the secondary aromas, such as minerals and oak. I always thought those tasting notes were BS when I read them in restaurants, but this hands-on approach allowed me to really identify those smells and flavors. Either that or I had wayyy too much Montepulciano. The crowd favorite was probably the Lebanese wine, however, I much preferred the Montepulciano. As you can see below, I jotted down quite a few notes while we were sipping and smelling.

My wine tasting notes
After we were finished with the seminar, we lined up for the buffet-style spread prepared by Michelin-star chef Charlie. The prepared bites included:
  • Charcuterie: seared pork rillon, braised cabbage, apple mostarda
  • Cheese: Bent River Camembert, roasted garlic & shallot marmalade, rye
  • Appetizer: ricotta gnocchi, fried chicken liver, parsnip puree, hazelnut, herbs
  • Salad: endive, pickled cranberry, raw celery root, black pepper, ciabatta
Unfortunately, I was toward the end of the food line so I wasn't able to get a healthy serving of everything, especially that gnocchi (tear). This was the first event afterall, so next time there should be plenty of food to go around! My favorite items were the pork rillon and garlic and shallot marmalade. I could have put both on anything or eaten them by the spoonful.

My plate with the lone gnocchi
Overall, I had a great time getting dressed up and meeting some of Chicago's fabulous blogging community. I learned a ton about wine, noshed on some tasty bites and enjoyed a unique event!

The next event is Monday, December 9 and features a modern winter theme including a cocktail reception and a five-course meal paired with sparkling wines.

For more information or to find out how you can become a member, check out Second City Social Club on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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