by Paige Donner
There’s a new sheriff in town… Or, well that’s what it felt like anyway at the brilliant wine dinner hosted by Oenoteam, a wine consultancy based in Libourne, Bordeaux, France. The dinner was organized here in Paris in the understated chic neighborhood of the 7th arrondissement in the fabulous Atelier Eiffel.
The purpose of the wine dinner: to share their joy of wine and a few of their favorite picks with us, members of the press including some of France’s most notable wine tasters and critics (Philippe Faure-Brac, Michel Bettane…).
Throughout the evening, the Oenoteam partners – Stéphane, Julien and Thomas – would catch one or another of us scribbling down tasting notes and, with a wine taster’s religious fervor, copying down the name of the estate, the vintage year, the varietal blend and other technical and non-technical details. And they – Stéphane, Thomas and Julien – would gently remind us that the evening, this particular wine dinner, was for the pure pleasure of it. And with Chef Vivien Durand of Le Prince Noir in Bordeaux (1*Michelin) overseeing the kitchens, joy was not in scarce supply.
It reinforced a TEDX talk I once sat in on where a wine consultant, I believe she was based in Oregon, told her audience that the quickest way to kill your wine buzz is to make it your life’s profession. I’m not sure that I totally agree with her, but there have been times, in fact many times, when tasting your way through dozens of new vintages can become something of a chore. Tasting 100 wines all in a row becomes work. And when wine becomes work, the pleasure – doesn’t disappear – but it does diminish.
How gentlemanly of them then, to host a dinner for their few dozen favorite Paris-based wine writers and critics for the sole purpose of sharing. Sharing in the real sense – time, delight, conversation, moments spent with like-minded (and some not so like-minded) people.
Laughter. Joy. Wine. Good food.
Before there was instagram, twitter and facebook, this was the real meaning of sharing. Sharing time and sharing experiences. Breaking bread with your fellow (wo)man. Wine, for thousands of years, has of course played a central part in this kind of sharing.
Thank you Oenoteam. Thank you for not killing the wine buzz. But rather for nurturing it – with gentleness, enthusiasm, gentlemanliness and passion shared amongst others,
Another TEDX talk I listened to not so long ago was given by another female wine writer and critic who travels around the world, tasting great wines. She said that wine has kept her humble. To be included in these special moments, with people who have spent generations cultivating vineyards and lovingly putting this nature’s elixir into bottles so that it can enjoyed by others, is humbling.
And there is only one response that such an experience evokes, and that is deep gratitude – for all that went into creating such a moment. And for this most divine of nature’s gifts, Wine!
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