Category: Chicago

Sommelier Jon McDaniel of Acanto Restaurant

SOMMTALKS Wine Tasting Series: Sommelier John McDaniel of Acanto


Sommelier Jon McDaniel has something important to say– he loves his Italian wines. Wine Director at Chicago’s Acanto, along with the rest of Lawless Restaurant Group’s properties (Beacon Tavern, The Gage, The Dawson), McDaniel reaches far and wide with his mostly Italian wine list, which includes approximately 500 wines from all 20 regions across Italy. McDaniel discusses his passion for Italian varietals, even if they may come from regions outside of Italy, such as Virginia and California. The wines we’re tasting today include:

2012 Sartori di Verona, Bianco Verenese IGT, Gargenega– 15-20% of these grapes are produced in “appassimento” style (dried for 40 days), producing a wine with lots of layers. This white wine is a great pairing wine and has decent amount of acidity to work with the pasta and meat dishes at Acanto. It’s a full body white wine made from a classic grape from the Veneto region yet done in a more experimental manner, borrowing a technique more commonly used for red wine, in particular Amarone.

2010 Nebbiolo, Barboursville, Virginia The shorter growing season in Virginia is a challenge, as is the rain. Nevertheless, this volatile area produces stunning Nebbiolo, in a more modern manner with more fruit, moderate oak and a lush mouth feel.

“3 Liter Thursday” are a super fun time to join John at Acanto. Check on their website for the upcoming tastings.

Listen to our last interview with McDaniel on his Sommelier Slam right here. 

Remember to tune in regularly for great interviews with Sommeliers, Wine Makers, Wine Directors and Top Chefs. Also, virtually taste wines with top wine experts then go taste them yourselves. SommTalks is your weekly podcast for the inside scoop on the restaurant and wine scene. Please SUBSCRIBE here, on iTunes , on TuneIn Radio or on Stitcher. Send us your thoughts, ideas, and names of peeps you’d like us to interview.

You can check out the past few episodes but if you SUBSCRIBE , you’ll receive each new episode right to your device, whichever one you listen to your podcasts on.  Share episodes across social media channels, as well, to let others discover our wine conversations. A few of the most recent include:

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Parag Lalit of Sixteen at Trump Tower Chicago on Wine Pairing, Greek Wine, Burgundy

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Wine Tasting Series:

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Catch you next time.

GM/ Partner Michael Muser of Grace Chicago

Michael Muser: Michelin 3-star Grace Talks Service Ninjas, Wedding Invitations, Cerebral Chef Curtis Duffy


Join us for a visit with the magnetic and captivating Michael Muser of Grace, Chicago’s Michelin 3-star dining room. Listen to him discussing the evolution of the Jean Banchet Awards ceremony which he emcee’ed, along with the challenges of running a dining room of this caliber.

General Manager/Partner Muser and Chef/Owner Curtis Duffy made the move from Avenues Restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel several years ago and carefully created their ideal restaurant, detail by detail. Watch that transition, the thought process, the trials and tribulations and the touching stories of Chef Duffy challenging upbringing in the recently released documentary For Grace.


In case you missed passed episodes, here they are at your fingertips!

Jean-Charles Boisset on JCB Lounges Opening in 2016

Liz Mendez of Vera, Chicago Takes Top Somm Award at Jean Banchet Awards

Charles Ford, The Bristol Chicago on Wine Inspiration and Teamwork

The Kitchen Chicago’s Shea Zimmerman Talks Sustainable Wine, Keggers and more

Spiaggia’s Top Somm Rachael Lowe Shares Interactive Pairing & Italian Wine Picks

Formento’s Chicago Sommelier Steve Morgan’s Journey from NYC to Alinea to Open This Popular Neighborhood Italian

Joy Sterling on Sparkling Wine at her Family’s Iron Horse Vineyards

Wine Director Ryan Arnold, Lettuce Entertain You

Andrew Mariani of Sonoma’s Scribe Winery Talks Wine, Friends and Community

Belinda Chang on Bending the Steakhouse Paradigm

Sommelier Lauren Helm’s Journey to Harvest Table by Charlie Palmer

Tune in for great interviews with Sommeliers, Wine Makers, Wine Directors and Top Chefs- SommTalks is your weekly podcast for the inside scoop on the restaurant and wine scene. Please subscribe.