Windy City Wine Guy and Gal’s Guide: A Perfect Pair-ing

Windy City Wine Guy is Mike Bottigliero. Gal’s Guide is Blagica Bottigliero. This pair at home coupled their work world for a wine 101 tasting – including pairings, of course – at Binny’s in the South Loop. Mike led the tasting that Blagica had promoted to her “Gals”.

There was a pretty evenly mixed group of men and women, and we sampled 2 whites, 2 reds, 3 cheeses, and one chocolate. We fired questions at Mike like the media at a celebrity rehab press conference and he caught them like a seasoned handler. Even though it was his first event as the WCWG, he’s the Wine Manager/Sommelier at the Intercontinental and a 12 year veteran of the serving industry so he knows what he’s doing.

He covered everything from varietals to the sparkling wine-making process to the types of producers. We learned that American winemakers finally got a little respect after the Judgment of Paris in 1976 when they won over French wines in a blind tasting. He taught us that synthetic corks are actually worse than a screw top, or a “Stelvin” enclosure.

It wasn’t just the knowledge we gained. As an experienced server myself I know that kind of information told drily can bring on a nap faster than the wine. However, the way Mike answered the questions was entertaining. Chardonnay was clay that could be “smacked around.” Pinot Noir was like a kid who’s always getting sick and falling on his face, so if he makes it to his 21st birthday you know he’s going to be great. When describing why they trim the vines, he said “a vine is like Rocky Balboa – the harder you beat it down, the harder it strives.”

Now that’s a wine tasting.

Besides being entertaining, the wine was good and the pairings were spot-on. You can read about the wines and cheeses/chocolate that we tried on the Windy City Wine Guy. Better yet, keep an eye on both him and the Gal’s Guide and go to the next one!







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