Is Chicago/Is Not Chicago? Is Chicago! -or- 5 Chefs, Five Pigs, Five Winemakers!

I used to live in Chicago. Amazing place. Not climatically habitable by humans necessarily, but an amazing place.

The home of Nelson Algren. That’s enough for me.

But that’s not all.

Heaven on earth for a foodie, where rivers of wine run down the streets, and doghouse bassists hand out ladles for a smile.

Amazing place, Chicago.

Sweet Home Chicago.

Oh … baby don’t you want to go

Oh … baby don’t you want to go

Back to the land of California

To my sweet home Chicago

Robert Johnson may have had a singularly esoteric sense of geography, but in truth it was a prophetic one, as there is most certainly a connection between Cali and Chi.

The connection?

The Donley.

The intrepid Christina Donley. International Woman of Winestry.



Look real close at that wrist-band, and you’ll note the words Cochon 555.

Qu’est que c’est?

5 Chefs, Five Pigs, Five Winemakers.

And Ridge Vineyards will be there.


The Donley will be there.

And she’ll be pouring the new 2010 Ridge Vineyards Estate Merlot.

I queried The Donley on The Gig, and here is what I dug:

—Have you done this event before?

Yes, twice before.  Once in Chicago and then in SF.  It’s been about two years since I last participated.  See the photo.  The bracelet was the event pass.

—Which part of a pig goes best with Merlot? With Zinfandel?

With the Merlot: simple double cut pork chop, grilled to perfection, seasoned with some salt, pepper, and if you want to fancy, fennel pollen.  For Zinfandel, crispy pork jowl in steamed buns.  Like this.  Nomtastic!

—Least likely Merlot pairing that actually works?

The cheese and potato tamales from the Tamale Lady in San Francisco.  Delish!

—Best Merlot and junk food pairing?

BBQ flavored Kettle Chips.  Duh.

—If Merlot were a band, who would they be? Or conversely, if Merlot was a genre, what would it be? Indie pop? Emo? Pop Punk? BeBop? And, why?

At first I was thinking David Bowie because he walks the line between being soft yet strong, male yet supremely feminine…  But then my mind wandered to Big Mama Thornton.  I think she is so underappreciated.  She embodies power and fearlessness.  Her singing was borderline audacious…  I see a lot of similarities to her and our Merlot. 

Big Mama Thornton Merlot in Chicago. Brought to you by Ridge Vineyards. Endorsed the The Donley. Reprezented by The Erin.

I’m on a plane. I can’t complain.


And if, when you paint your world, it’s Sepia, then you must know, that our Merlot, will be part of the show, at Sepia, in Chi, on Fri:

Though no, not The Donley. Not this time.

Rather, The Erin.

Erin Craig of Louis Glunz Wines.

The Erin.

Per The Donley, The Erin will be kickin’ the new k-nowledge.

Erin represents us in Chi, and that’s no lie.

And she’ll be gettin’ down to the Brown in ChiTown; Sepia Style on the Tile with her Dial on Smile and her Ah So on Merlot.

***Inside Scoop Alert***

Extry, Extry, dig all about it, straight from the Wine Director’s mouth:

“Your 2010 Ridge Vineyards Estate Merlot will be paired up with Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s Duck Breast Wrapped In Duck Sausage dish. It will be the accompaniment to the anchoring dish of the night.”

Is you is, or is you ain’t, Chicago?

Categories: Events, Food & Wine Pairing, Merlot, Offerings, RIDGE Questionnaire, RIDGE Staff, Tasting Events/Opportunities, Varietals & Blends, Wine & Food Pairing, Wine & Music, Wine Tales

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2 replies

  1. I is! And I will be at Cochon555 on Sunday.

  2. Love Chi Ill. I was born there. Lived there till we moved to Cali when I was 13. Most of my family still lives there! Great visit..between May and Sept;-)

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