Ask Alpana: 3/27

Master Sommelier and Check Please! host Alpana Singh joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm to answer your questions about wine, beer and spirits. Check out some of her recommendations below.

Alpana’s Favorite Springtime Wines:

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Xarmont Txakoli, Spain $16 – “I prefer lighter, crisp and clean white wines. A hip and trendy one to drink right now is Txakoli from the Basque region of Spain. It is made from indigenous Basque varietals and tastes like a cross between Pinot Grigio & Sauvignon Blanc, but it has a bit of spritziness to it. It has high acidity and low alcohol. It pairs well with asparagus, ramps, spring peas and other springtime veggies." 

Heron Pinot Noir: “If you're looking for a fun, springtime red, something light and juicy like the Heron Pinot Noir is wonderful. It pairs well with spring produce, and if you're itching to fire up the grill, it pairs well with everything from lamb to grilled salmon. It's a pretty good price at around $14 and features ripe red fruit flavors with a dash of spice.

Information on Stemware:  

White wines: “For white wines, I like a standard glass. It is what I refer to as an all-purpose wine glass: good for everyday enjoyment for all types of wines.”

Red wines: “For red wines where you want to highlight the aromatic component, consider a glass with a wider bowl to collect more of the aromas. For heavier reds to be aerated, I like a glass with taller sides, commonly referred to as a Bordeaux glass.

Beer-specific places in Chicago:

  • Bangers and Lace: “There are 35 different craft beers available on draft and all selections are made by a certified Cicerone.
  • Map Room: Their website states that they offer “over 200 unique brands representing 36 different brewing styles from the U.S. and all over the globe.” And you can actually sign up for their beer school.

How to Become a Sommelier:

"Most sommeliers have learned the craft working under another sommelier in an apprentice-like situation. There is no school you can go to, per se, as much of what we do is learned on the job and in actual practice."

Recommended websites to get started:

A documentary will soon be released about the process of what it takes to become a Master Sommelier. Learn more here.

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