Sought-after sommelier Jason Wagner, 32, who formerly served as Wine Director alongside 28-time Michelin Star recipient Joël Robuchon, has announced that his progressive hospitality project, RM, will officially open to the public on August 2nd. Alongside the nationally-revered nightlife visionaries of Element Collective, Wagner will launch the 1,500 square foot high style champagne salon and spacious outdoor patio, which is discreetly tucked-away at the foot of a secluded cobblestone alley at 116 N. Green Street.
RM, simply put, is Grower Champagne. The designation RM is derived from the French wine Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system’s classification of Champagne Houses; Récoltants Manipulants (RM), signifies an artisanal farmer who bottles his own wine. Celebrating this passion and care, the salon will pay homage to these growers that rely solely on fruit from their own vineyards with inherently distinct terroir. Bringing a balance of knowledge and passion that will be an enriching testament to Chicago’s forward-thinking wine community, Wagner will tailor an obsessively curated portfolio, which will feature a large selection of estate-grown wines from these vignerons who are intensively involved from bud-break to bottling. “I want to break away from the intimidating aspects of Champagne,” he explains, “For me, despite all of the ostentatious terminology and ritual, Champagne is essentially fun and fascinating; there is nothing that gets me more stoked than simply sharing that same fun and fascination with a guest.”
Conceptually, the name RM embodies Element Collective’s core philosophy of a balance between the progressive and the approachable. “We thrive on juxtaposition—this urbane and incredibly romantic setting presents the perfect environment to showcase artisanal winemakers,” explains Chris Dexter, Partner. ”We share an appreciation for artisanal products that just exude the care with which they were made... and these vignerons, these grower-producers, they have the dirt under their fingernails to prove it. There’s no pretense within any of our projects, nor is there at RM—which is why we chose the bold simplicity of the acronym over the complicated French phrase from which it is derived.”
The accessibly elegant wine and Champagne salon will draw inspiration from the actress, princess and style icon Grace Kelly – her perennial embodiment of sophistication, glamour and stunning self-possession serves as the ‘muse’ of RM’s design aesthetic. A warm, romantic ambiance will be nurtured by an abundance of fresh flowers throughout the intimate candle lit venue, while demure antique hand mirrors and vintage crystal perfume bottles line the bar. The meticulously selected and sourced Champagne, sparkling and wine menu will be paired with an ambitiously esoteric cheese program, dainty tea sandwiches and canapés; refined petits fours, pastries and mignardises will be made in-house by Pastry Chef, Nate Meads. For more information, please visit wwww.rmchampagnesalon.com or call 312-243-1199.
ABOUT JASON WAGNER: With a refreshingly modern—yet decidedly mature—approach to his craft, Jason Wagner, 32, is helping to redefine the role of the sommelier with each and every artfully selected glass that he pours. With nearly a decade of experience in New York City, Jason worked with an elite compendium of chefs and sommeliers, including internationally recognized Wine Director Olivier Flosse at New York’s A Voce and Executive Chef Ed Brown of Rockefeller Center’s Sea Grill. Most recently, Jason served as the Wine Director at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in New York under the tutelage of the world’s most Michelin-starred chef. Here, he amassed a reputable portfolio of more than 750 labels, while developing a respect for the many traditionally classic and historically important wines. Between his experience with rare classics that are typically cost-prohibitive to aspiring “somms” and his concurrent certifications with both the American Sommelier Association and the Court of Master Sommeliers, Jason is well on his way to establishing a national presence in the American wine and culinary industries.
ABOUT ELEMENT COLLECTIVE: Element is a collective of highly motivated, disciplined and accomplished operators in the hospitality world. Each Element concept and business is launched with a vision so simple, it’s almost radical: a balance between the progressive and the approachable. A collaboration of eminent names in hospitality, Element Collective consists of industry veterans Chris Dexter, Chris Freeman, John Warken and Jared Van Camp, who are successfully launching innovative projects in several markets throughout the U.S. With a quiet confidence that comes from equal parts experience and passion, their concepts appeal to an audience based solely on attitude and lifestyle rather than conventional demographic restraints. For more information, please visit: www.elementcollective.com