I have been doing this blog for over a year now and there have been several people who have asked to write a guest post. I never really know how to respond to them. I often consider letting them send me copy in order to see if their writing falls in line, more or less, with my style and approach. But then I think “what if it doesn’t?”–then I would be forced to tell them, well, “thanks but no thanks” and I would rather avoid that altogether.
So I do nothing.
Yes, I avoid the situation entirely and just hope they go away.
Well, this past week, a good friend, Ted Slack, accompanied me to a press lunch by the Vins de Provence up in New York. He just quit his job and was looking, frankly, for something to do with his time. Despite his well-known disdain for Provençal rosé, he gladly accepted my invitation to join me.
A couple of days later, Ted informed me that he was doing an unsolicited write-up of the event, and he wanted me to take a look at it, adding:
Please feel free to edit at will or you can of course completely disregard it if you prefer.
Yikes. So there I was, with his attachment staring me in the face, wondering what to do. What if it was not any good? What would I tell him? What if it were good, but was something outside what I normally do on this site? What if it were really good, as in better than my writing good?
I soon realized I just needed to open it and read it–rip off the band aid.
Well, you know what? It was really good. In fact it was so good that I decided not only to publish it here, but also to make it my/our entry into this month’s Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC23). Please let Ted know what you think, or at least welcome him to blogging–I certainly hope he keeps it up!
This is my first experience as a guest writer, and I was fortunate enough to join Jeff, the Drunken Cyclist for the Vins de Provence Media Pairing Brunch and Seminar in New York last Friday. I have to admit it was a lot of fun but I was a little intimidated being there with Jeff given his extensive knowledge and cred in the wine blogging world.
We had discussed doing these together a couple of times before since I am winding down my “real job” career and will be free to do this more in the future. Like Jeff, I am an avid cyclist and really enjoy learning about and drinking wine but wasn’t completely sure of how the industry markets and communicates to the general public.
The Brunch was hosted at Claudette Restaurant in the Washington Square area of New York with a delicious 6 course pairing of Provençal dishes prepared by Chef Cedric Tovar with sommelier Marika Vida-Arnold from the Ritz Carlton explaining the subtleties of each wine to us. I had a strong negative bias against Rosé wines from Provence, but walked away with an entirely new appreciation for the many varieties including white, rosés, and reds along with the subtleties that are common in many wine growing regions of France.
2015 Chateau Barbanau L’Instant Rosé: Retail $18. Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache. I was very impressed with this first wine and recall that Rosé from Provence blended with Syrah grapes are very suitable to the palate, so was off to a very good start. The bouquet was nice but not as perfume-like as some of the other wines we tasted that day. It paired very well with the Crostini Trio that was served as our starter course. Very Good. 89-91 Points.
2015 Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube: Retail $20. 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre. This bouquet was very impressive with this wine, and also had a much fuller taste most likely due to the blend with Syrah grapes. This wine was a little more complex than the L’Instant wine we tasted first. It paired very well with the Roasted Vegetable Aioli that was served as our second course. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
Global Vini Services 2015 Maison Belle Claire White: Retail $18. 85% Rolle (Vermentino), 15% Ugni Blanc. Many of the guests at our table were pleasantly surprised with this limited production white wine. This bouquet was light and slightly perfumed like the other wines blended with Rolle grapes, and had a very light but smooth taste that paired very well with the Grilled Sardines and Ratatouille that was served as our third course. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
Château Paradis Red 2012: Retail $22. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 20% Grenache. This wine was quite a surprise to us all, since red wines from Provence aren’t that common. This bouquet was firm and a little spicy that was indicative of the balance they achieved with tannins. It paired very well with the Pork Cheek Provençal that was one of the main course options served as our fourth course. We also tasted their Rosé Wine afterward, and it was quite good as well. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
My take from this first experience is that Provence does really make an exceptional variety of Rosé wines, but should be careful not to pigeon-hole themselves into just that style. They also make some very good whites and excellent reds, as we tasting during this event.
Also, my friend Jeff has a very nice niche in the wine blogging world, but works very hard to juggle many things to provide relevant content for his many followers to enjoy. His friends in Philly will all very much miss having him close by, but will remain vigilant to stay in touch and travel together with him and his family as they move to Houston!