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  • The Chopping Blog

Viva Espana at The Chopping Block

  Spain hit Chicago’s fine dining scene well after France, Italy, even Mexico! Now, the flavors of Spain are favorites in the city and suburbs, from casual tapas to elegant Paella, from sparkling ...

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What's So Great about Malbec?

I had never even heard of Malbec when I started working at The Chopping Block, but I could tell that whatever it was, people sure seemed to like it. In fact, as I've learned more, it strikes me as ...

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Everything You Need to Know About Rioja

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked while tasting wine to customers is which wine is my favorite. I don't know if I have a single favorite wine or style of wine, but I definitely have wines ...

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Are You Cool Enough for our New Happy Hour?

My birthday was last month, which means I got a lot of Facebook notifications from people I rarely speak to wishing me a “Happy Birthday.” Some of them went so far as to say, “Happy Birthday, ...

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Tried and True Wine and Food Pairings

Wouldn’t it be great to walk into your grocery and know - Bam! - instantly which wine to pair with your ingredients? You can, with a little help from your friends at The Chopping Block.

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Everything You Need to Know About Chianti Classico

  I was tasting out a bottle of Chianti before a pasta class when a guest asked me to explain the difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico. It was a deer in headlights moment for me, as I ...

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Wine Hacks: Turn Your Cocoa into Liquid Velvet

  We just wrapped up the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart, and I spent the weekend sampling wine or hot chocolate to nearly everyone who walked through our doors. A select few got a taste ...

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Toast to the Holidays

  Nothing establishes your credentials as a host/hostess with the most-est or A-List guest better than a well-spoken quote. 

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Vegan Wines

  The first time I saw a wine labeled as “vegan” I laughed out loud. I thought it was a marketing ploy. I mean, it's just fermented grape juice, right? Those of you who follow The Chopping Blog or ...

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Climate Change and Wine

  As baseball season is coming to a close, basketball, football, and hockey are getting started, but the only season I really care about is the growing season and it has been a rough one. Back in ...

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What's in a Red Blend?

  Wine pro’s were caught short by American’s Rose rage but regarding the recent popularity of red blends, sommeliers and merchants are saying, “What took you so long?”  Not long ago, as a retailer, I ...

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Viva il vino Italiano

  In food, in wine and in the enjoyment thereof, no country rivals Italy.  Prosecco, Italy’s fabulous fizz, is the rising star in the world’s sparkling wine scene. Pinot Grigio is America’s 2nd ...

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Terroir: What is Going into your Wine?

  Imagine a grape. Seriously. Do it. We all know what a grape looks like, just picture one hanging on the vine. Now, tell me about it. Is the skin dark or light? How ripe is it? Is the vine row on a ...

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How to Talk to a Sommelier

Congratulations Chicagolanders! In May, our town was named “Best Restaurant City” in America by Conde-Nast Traveler.  Now, hot off the presses, Chicago is ranked “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon ...

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Wine Appellation Spotlight: Bordeaux

A few nights ago, I was talking with a very knowledgeable couple about wine when they asked me, “What is Bordeaux?” Their question caught me off guard. I took it for granted that if they could have a ...

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Rosé on the Rise

  Throughout the U.S., sommeliers, journalists and wine merchants are patting each other on the back for the skyrocketing popularity of Rose winé. 

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Chill Out with a Glass of Red Wine

Since getting into wine, one of my favorite experiments is to list all the factors I can think of from grape to glass that can influence a wine's flavor. Generally, I can't make it past soil before ...

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Spice Up Your Summer with Wine

Thanks to The Chopping Block's guests and team members for welcoming me as one of your new Sommeliers! Folks ask me all the time, “What does a Sommelier do: sit around and taste delicious wine all ...

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sulfur Dioxide in My Wine

  This isn't a subject that comes up often when I'm serving wine, but when it does, one thing is apparent: no one knows what sulfites are or why they are in our wine. Despite that fact, I often hear ...

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The Seemingly Insurmountable Mountain of Wine Appellations

  I touched briefly on wine appellations in my post last month, and I want to revisit that topic because learning about appellations has really enhanced my understanding and enjoyment of wine. So, ...

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Best and Worst Case Scenarios with Wine Labels

  There's an old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Is the same true for wine? Aside from avoiding labels with kangaroos and footprints, what should the discerning shopper look for when ...

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Dry Wine: How Sweet It Is

Stop me if you've heard this one. A German walks into The Chopping Block. He approaches the counter and asks, “Do you have any wine I could taste?” The guy behind the counter (probably me) ...

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A Treasure Map for Food Adventures

  I recently rated three mobile wine apps I felt helped me in selecting wine and tracking my tastes. I wanted to follow up on that with a second post about finding the right cheese pairings for wine. ...

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I Can't Believe It's Not Champagne

  The year is almost over, and that means it's time for everyone in the food blogosphere to start talking to you about that Champagne, which you will presumably be drinking sometime in the very near ...

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Zinfandel + Meat = A Pairing You Can't Pass Up

Let me tell you a little story about a bottle from Sonoma County. It was a fine bottle, made of the best type of glass… the kind you put alcohol in. It shone with promise and purpose, excited about ...

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Pokémon GO for the Wine Enthusiast

What do Pokémon GO and wine have in common? Well, if you're like me, they're both subjects you know little about.

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Mastering Wine and Food Pairing with our New Guide

Pairing wine and food is not as simple as the old rule of white wine with fish and red wine with meat. It's much more complicated than that, but despite what some wine experts would have you believe, ...

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Raise a Glass with The Chopping Block

Last year around this time, I decided that I'd apply myself, use the resources The Chopping Block has in abundance, and start really learning about wine and liquor. What a year it's been. Between the ...

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New Summer Drink Trend: Frozé

As a native Chicagoan, I can attest that we complain about two things: the never ending construction and the weather. This summer is no exception— it’s hot! We need something to cool us down and make ...

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Escape the Wine Rut by Choosing Bubbly

  It’s been almost a month since I’ve embarked upon a great adventure in the study of wines. It began with a complimentary wine class for The Chopping Block staff called “What’s In A Sip?”, and now ...

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Travel the World in Each Bite and Sip

  I am a big lover of travel, especially when it involves food and wine. There is no better way to learn about a culture and what it holds dear than tasting its foods and wines and sharing them with ...

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Wine Spotlight : Mas de Gourgonnier

I recently took Fine Vintage, Ltd.'s WSET Level 1 course— so I’m learning about wine! Wine is about savoring the moment and paying attention to what we’re consuming.

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Wines to Make Friends With

Did the title get you wondering what this post is about? Great! Keep reading. Because the wines I talk about will most certainly help you make new friends. So, you should befriend them…

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Wines for a Perfect Valentine’s Day

  I don’t like to celebrate Valentine’s Day the traditional way: dining in packed restaurants and overpaying for food and wine are not my favorite things. But I do love to celebrate. So, I cook at ...

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Bubbly Cocktails Can Brighten Your January

  In the day and age of the fancy cocktail, I must admit: I am not a big cocktail person. I love the idea of a cocktail, a civilized way to end the day and ease into the evening, surrounded with ...

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After-party Wine Tips: Storing and Using Open Bottles

  It’s December. Surely, you will have a gathering of friends and open some bottles of wine. If you have ready my blog posts for the last couple of months, you know exactly what wines to choose for ...

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Warm Up with Gluehwein this Holiday Season

  As a German living in Chicago for a while now, I have embraced the American holidays, especially Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving is basically a “friends-giving” holiday since I usually spend it ...

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Wine Tips for Parties 101

  Last month, I wrote about some great wines to take to a party. But what if you are hosting a party? What wines will please your guests and be budget-friendly? The wine tips from last month apply ...

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Mull this Perfect Spicy and Sweet Halloween Treat Over

Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, apple and orange are all the classic scents and tastes of fall. Add to that candy, costumes, candy, pranks, candy, scary scenes, oh, did I mention CANDY – and you ...

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Fun and Food-Friendly Party Wines

The party season is upon us and that means one thing: fun wines. I love discovering wines that turn every party into a great experience. Often, we go to parties without knowing what food will be ...

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In Defense of Sweetness in Wine

Sweetness in wine is a funny thing. Take Riesling. Every time I mention it, I see facial expressions that tell me it’s not a favorite. When I ask why, the answer is “I don’t like sweet wines.” But ...

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Expanding the Palate: Teaching Yourself to Drink (Well)

Back in college, when my friends and I had just hit our 21st birthdays and had more free time and spare change than sense, we decided to figure out the drinking world through random selection. We'd ...

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Love Wine Blends? Tell Me What You Really Like

Recently, several customers looking for wine have asked me for ‘blends’. It catches me by surprise. I don’t quite know what they mean. Sure, I know what wine blends are, but do they want a light, ...

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How to Choose Wines for Parties

Spring and summer are party seasons. But if you are hosting, party planning can be stressful.

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Craft Spirits are Here

It’s been a long time coming, but we are pleased to welcome craft spirits to The Chopping Block's beverage program. Staying along the same lines as our wine program, we are focusing on small batch ...

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Wines for Grilling and BBQ Season

Every day the temperature reaches at least 50 degrees, I see people grilling out. And that makes me think about the delicious wines I will enjoy with grilled foods this spring and summer. Let’s face ...

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A Most Romantic Wine

Let’s face it, February is tough. Winter is in full swing, the skies are dark, the cold fierce. Then, there is the pressure of Valentine’s Day. If you are single, all that Valentine’s Day talk is not ...

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3 Wine Myths Uncorked

No topic is burdened with more myths and fear than wine. We love it, but it scares us, and we have a million questions we’re afraid to ask for fear of sounding ignorant. The critics bombard us with ...

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Out with the Old, In with the New

As we roll into a new year at The Chopping Block, we have lots of exciting changes planned. Granted some are a little more exciting than others (stay tuned for a big announcement in the coming week), ...

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It's One of a Kind Show Time

I live for the One of a Kind Show. For four days, I get a break from traditional retail as I wander through booths showcasing over 600 talented artists work. Each year I treat myself to one special ...

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Food and Wine Pairings: The Gobble-Gobble Version

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is around the corner. The time has come to start placing orders for Heritage birds and testing favorite recipes for all of the accompaniments. In addition to that, it’s ...

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Culinary Evolution

I don’t know about you, but I find the evolution of the culinary world to be completely fascinating. These days, everything from the groceries that we buy to the to the cocktails that we consume are ...

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You Benefit by Giving the Gift of Cooking

You may have heard we're planning a party tomorrow. DNAinfo Chicago even put out a freebie alert this week (be sure to listen to the interview) about The Chopping Block Classic. This free food and ...

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Shh! Our Wine List is a Best Kept Chicago Secret

Big news! My half case of wine from Tuscany recently arrived. What does this mean for me? Well, it means that I’m going to be the happiest girl for the next few weeks.

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WSET Level 1: Understanding & Tasting Wine

You are at a new restaurant, and you want to order a bottle of Chardonnay. But you look at the wine list, and you've never heard of any of the wines on the list. The server is fast approaching, and ...

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Pairing Perfection: Why Beer Pairs Better than Wine

The Chopping Block is celebrating Chicago Craft Beer Week with different beer-focused classes, including last Friday's "He Said, She Said: Food & Beer Pairing Dinner". The evening featured five ...

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