Ever wonder how a James Beard Award-winning sommelier might size up plain old bottled water? Well, we did.
Enter Belinda Chang: insanely accomplished wine pro, Chicagoland native, and all-around hilarious human. Belinda heads up the wine and spirits program at Maple & Ash, an upscale steakhouse smack in Chicago's chichi Gold Coast, and comes to the table (er, corner booth) with a boatload of experience, including stints as a wine director for the likes of Charlie Trotter and Danny Meyer (she nabbed a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service at The Modern). On a recent sunny afternoon, Belinda graciously allowed us to turn Maple & Ash's cocktail bar into a bottled-water research lab and, like a true champion, plowed through 9 different brands. Our somm evaluated each bottle in terms of flavor, aroma, texture, and finish and scored each out of 100 possible points, Wine Spectator-style.