What a great week this has been for celebrating natural wines from around the world. It started last Friday with the arrival of our first winemaker guests, The Cousin family — Olivier, Claire and Mathilde – from the Loire Valley. Ever the troopers, they got off the plane, dropped their bags and went for a long, chilly walk in the park. Me, I would have taken a nap. Then we were all off to party welcoming a bunch of winemakers, wine writers, and the crème de la crème of wine retailers (we got on the list because we were housing Olivier) at the famous wine writer Alice Feiring‘s apartment downtown. The place was packed, the conversation lively and French, and the wine and food great. Thank god for Ellen for her charm and her extensive knowledge of the French language. She always gets exhausted at these things, translating. Thank god, also, for the French education system, because a lot of these folks spoke pretty decent English. Somehow we all made ourselves understood. Great fun and such nice people.
Saturday night was lamb steaks and roasted root vegetables at our house with Nic Coturri and his girlfriend Charlene who were in from Sonoma, along with my daughter, her boyfriend and our neighbor Bill Kent. Let’s just say it was 2:30 AM when we saw them out, and much, much later when the last glass was washed and dried. But we all rallied on Sunday for the Coturri tasting at WSW, where we were joined by Nic’s father, Tony. And our French guests? We barely saw them over the weekend. These guys can certainly out-party us. We’re talking 4, 5 in the morning. Mon dieu.
Monday was the big “Return To Terroir” tasting at the Metropolitan Pavillion. Bill and I went down there together, and were just blown away by one delicious wine after another. It’s great to have the winemakers right there to answer questions. Excellent tasting, but it only happens every two years, unfortunately.
That night the Cousins moved out, and Magali Terrier from Corbières moved in. She and her husband make wonderful organic reds at their winery, Domaine des 2 Anes (two donkeys.) As seems to be the custom, these guys always arrive with a great bottle of wine as a gift for putting them up. Not that we do it for that reason, but it is a nice bonus. There’s a magnum of Magali’s “Les Cabrioles” sitting on my kitchen counter, just calling my name.
Tuesday was the big tasting of Jenny & Francois wines. Jenny & Francois are the guys who import the wines made by our house guests, as well as wines from a number of other natural winemakers in France. This tasting was held at The Smith on Third Avenue. Every year this event attracts, as does the Louis/ Dressner tasting, the most serious natural wine enthusiasts, better known as geeks (in the good way.) We brought Tiffany (our future guide dog puppy) downtown with us via subway, and she was the belle of the ball. Not a drop of wine was consumed by her, for the record. Great tasting and really well attended.
And finally, last night we had our free natural wine tasting at West Side Wine with three of the winemakers — Cousin, Jean-Marie Rimbert and Alain Rochard of Le Vignoble du Loup Blanc . It was a smash hit, and we turned a lot of folks on to these kinds of wine. Everyone who tasted bought something, which is really rare.
All in all, a good time was had by all. Magali is still with us, still partying, and still sneaking in at very odd hours. She’ll be here until Sunday, when she’ll pour herself into a plane and return to her donkeys and beloved Corbieres. We’re invited to visit and stay with her and her family. Too good an opportunity to pass up. That’ll be another blog.
Now about that nap…..