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About this Episode

Tina Johansson, WSET Diploma Graduate and Michelin restaurant sommelier, and Robert Tas review the wine list at Dear Margaret, an authentic French Canadian restaurant. The atmosphere is rustic and the food is wholesome, comforting, and surprisingly decadent. The wine list represents the world of wine with selections from classic areas in addition to regions on the rise, offering something for the traditional wine lovers and something for the more adventurous. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2018 Enrique Mendoza La Tremenda

  • 2020 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett

  • 2018 Domaine du Closel La Jalousie, Loire Valley, France

Transcript: Dear Margaret

Dear Margaret

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules!

I’m your host Robert Tas along with Tina Johansson, WSET Diploma Graduate and Michelin restaurant sommelier.

Hi Tina, thanks for being back with us on another episode of CorkRules, - a podcast where we help simplify and demystify the wine lists at some of your favorite restaurants. We talk with certified sommeliers and wine professionals who point out interesting bottles, classic food and wine pairings, hidden gems, value wines, or splurge wines that will take your dining experience over the top.

TJ: Thank you, happy to be back Robert.

RT: Today we’re diving into the wine list of Dear Margaret in Chicago. It’s run by chef Ryan Brosseau who opened the restaurant in honor of his grandmother Margaret just over two years ago and it’s already a success. Margaret was French-Canadian so of course the food here is as well, but still working with local producers.

TJ: Yes, how about duck leg cassoulet or caramelized sweet potato with black garlic? They also have a healthy selection of fine cheeses which is hard to say no to. Everything is presented with a comforting, homemade vibe which very much lives up to the romantic image of one's grandmother’s cooking. The wine list is quite short with about 20 listings each of red and white, but despite that, they manage to represent the world of wine quite well with wines from classic areas like Chablis and Champagne, to areas on the rise at the moment like New York and Bierzo in Spain.

RT: I do like the more rustic cooking from time to time and with all the accolades this restaurant has gotten in two short years, I’m sure the food is even better than it sounds! So what are we drinking first, something fresh to start off with together with servings like the Pommes Dauphines with oyster mousse? Maybe they have something Canadian on the list?

TJ: I’m afraid there’s nothing Canadian on the list, yet at least! But I would propose we start with something from another cool climate region – Nahe in Germany. The 2020 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, so Riesling with a bit of sweetness to handle the high acidity that comes naturally in a wine from such a cool climate. The sweetness will also go great with the sweetness coming from the fried potatoes.


RT: Off to a good start with a producer like Dönnhoff. What else would you drink with the hearty food cooked in Dear Margaret?

TJ: Why not go to red next, something with a bit of body and fruit concentration to handle the flavors. They hold the 2018 Enrique Mendoza La Tremenda, the Mendoza family is one of the leading producers of Alicante in southern Spain. The Monastrell grape used is perhaps not very well known outside of Spain, but it gives ripe and generous fruit aromas but with a good tannin structure. And fairly priced like so many of the bottles on the list here!

RT: Continuing with something from a very warm climate instead that is, what a fun comparison. What’s your best wine on the list then? The bottle to pick for a big celebration to make the night extra special?

TJ: Since the list is a bit short it’s a bit easier to choose just one bottle for once. There is one wine that really stands out to me. The 2018 Domaine du Closel La Jalousie, a Chenin Blanc from Savennieres in the central Loire Valley of France. It’s one of my favorite producers of Chenin Blanc because all of their wines have a deep fruit concentration but sharp acidity. It’s the kind of wine you could also age for a long time, if you’re patient enough to wait that is… I can tell you straight away that I won’t be, so I’d be happy to have this with some of the cheeses here that we talked about earlier. For me, this is one of the best wine styles with a selection of different kinds of cheese.

RT: I don’t think I’ll be patient either, so I’ll take you up in that celebratory bottle as soon as possible. Thank you for your great recommendations, Tina.

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to:

Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists wherever you get your podcasts.

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.




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