Chez Panisse‘s Alice Waters, champion of local and seasonal cuisine, does Chicago:


For its France vs. the Rest of the World showdown Thursday at 7 PM, the French Wine Society will select one French wine made from each of eight major wine grapes (e.g., sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, syrah) for comparison with a wine of that grape from anywhere else in the world. Wines will be selected from Chicago-area wine stores and retail for $25 (whites) or $35 (reds). Attendees will blind taste the wines, try to identify which is which, and vote for their favorites. It costs $55 for members, $65 for nonmembers.

Can you list the first-growth chateaus of Bordeaux? The Ultimate Wine IQ Challenge this Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 PM at Sam’s Wines & Spirits aims to separate the connoisseurs from the amateurs (no professional sommeliers allowed, though) with written and verbal tests, plus blind tastings, in three elimination rounds. It kicks off with tastings, games, and prizes, along with a written test for first-round contestants; the grand prize is a $1,000 Sam’s shopping spree. 

Swirl Wine Bar celebrates its one-year anniversary Saturday with a free cocktail and wine reception from 9-10:30 PM. There’ll also be hors d’oeuvres and a flamenco performance by Ojos Gitanos at 10:30.

The craze for all things porcine reaches new heights Monday at Osteria via Stato with Swine & Wine, a prix fixe dinner at 6:30 PM introducing baconcello, a creation of wine director Adam Seger. Described as “indescribable, like an infused vodka that’s both smoky and a bit sweet,” it will be served as an aperitif to a five-course meal with wine pairings. Featured items include pork confit crostini, Italian pork sausage with black lentils, risotto with house-cured bacon, pasta with a wild boar Bolognese, and pork chops from Gunthorp Farms. Apparently–thankfully–there’s no pig in the dessert, an almond cake with wine-poached pears and vanilla gelato. It’s $69 a person.

The Chopping Block celebrates Saveur magazine’s first-ever issue devoted entirely to Chicago with a hands-on tasting event at its Merchandise Mart location Wednesday at 6:30. Saveur editors and cooks featured in the Chicago issue will do cooking demonstrations of recipes from the issue, which will be available for tasting, as will wine and Goose Island beer. Tickets are $60; part of the proceeds will go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.