What Would You Do?

I have always tried to make my way up to New York for the occasional tasting since New York is the center of the wine trade on the East Coast (one could easily argue that it is the center of wine for the entire country, but I did not want my friends in California to get their hemp underwear in a bunch).

Once it became clear that we would be moving out of Philadelphia, my wife has gone out of her way to enable me to get up the I-95 corridor quite a bit this Spring since, frankly, she feels guilty for making me leave the Eastern time zone and head down into the Heart of Dixie where I will be required to utter idiotic statements such as “all y’all,” “fixin’ to,” and calling everyone “Sir” or “Ma’am.”

I would feel guilty, too.

A great day to drink some rosé!

A great day to drink some rosé!

So, with only a few months left in civilization*, I have certainly been taking advantage of this freedom as was the case back in February when I went up to Chelsea to attend the media  tasting of La Nuit en Rosé, described as a “special winter rosé tasting.” Since I am a firm believer in drinking rosé year-round, I figured I needed to walk the walk and brave the sub-freezing temperatures forecasted in the city that day.

[*To all you Texans, I am only kidding about the whole “civilization” thing. Please do not get angry and shoot me with one of the 37 guns that each of you owns.]

The main reason I was heading up was to taste the wines of Château d’Esclans, one of (if not the) premier producers of rosé in the world. (I have tried their über popular Whispering Angel, but I have never sipped their upper end wines like Garrus, which runs $80-90 a bottle.) Some of you might think that trekking up to New York to taste a couple of rosé wines in the middle of February in the middle of a snow storm is a bit extreme. Well, to put it simply, if you think that, you would be, in a word, right. It was not my the best idea I have had while on this planet, but it was far from the worst.

The plan for the day was fairly straight-forward: get up to the city fairly early, find a café and do a bit of writing, then head over to the tasting at noon, mill around for a bit, hopefully run into someone I know who would then inform me of another tasting or two to crash, and make it back to the station in time for my late train.

Everything was going according to plan as I queued up to get into the rosé tasting shortly after noon, grabbed my glass, and made a beeline for the Château d’Esclans straight away.

Problem.

There was no one there. Nobody. I quickly scanned the room of 20-30 producers and every booth had at least one representative, but most had several, pouring wine and chatting up the soon to be hordes of media types looking to taste some pink wine. There were bottles of wine on ice at the Esclans booth, and there was even some literature about the wines, but there was not a soul to be had.

So I worked the room a bit, tasted a few of the less than inspiring other wines in the room, and then swung by the Château d’Esclans booth again. Still no one. This time, however, there were a few more people standing there with their proverbial finger up their nose looking around for someone, anyone, to pour them some rosé.

Problem.

At $50, this is a bit steep, but well worth it, in my opinion.

At $50, this is a bit steep, but well worth it, in my opinion.

Instead of standing there and looking like an idiot, I headed over to grab some of the outstanding food that was being served at the event. When I came back to Esclans, the booth was still devoid of any representative from the winery. The big difference this time, however, was that a few of my media colleagues had decided to open up some of the bottles and serve themselves.

Problem.

Why? Well, the booth was quickly degenerating into a bit of a free-for-all with still no one there an hour into the event.

What would you do?

Well, I know what I did. I jumped behind the booth and started pouring wine for people.

Problem solved.

After about twenty minutes or so of pouring and chatting, the director of the entire event, Pierrick Bouquet came over to me and said in a very nice way: “Excuse me, but what the hell are you doing?”

Problem.

Getting it done at the Château d'Esclans booth.

Getting it done at the Château d’Esclans booth.

I explained to Pierrick the situation and told him that even though I was far from an expert on the wines, between the literature provided, my iPhone, and my previous knowledge of the wine, I was managing to present the wine that deserved to have some representation. Satisfied, he left, telling me that he had already called and that there would be someone over in a few minutes to pour the wine.

The top of the Esclans line. Not everyone enjoyed this oak aged beauty, but I was digging it.

The top of the Esclans line. Not everyone enjoyed this oak aged beauty, but I was digging it.

An hour later, Pierrick was back, but there was still no representative from the company. At this point, the booth was 3-4 people deep as I had found “the good stuff” behind the booth and apparently the word had spread.

Finally, with about 30 minutes left in the event, a woman showed up to pour the wines. I say “woman” but she was at best half my age (and I am not all that old), and the first words out of her mouth? She handed me her phone and asked “Could you take a picture of me so that I can prove to my boss that I was here?”

Literally, her next sentence was: “Now what kind of wines are these? Are they all pink? Are they all sweet?”

Problem.

Perhaps needless to say, I stayed around for the remaining time, pouring wine and answering questions. As I was leaving, Pierrick stopped me and thanked me for stepping in and helping out. I guess he was impressed as he asked if I could come back later that evening for the regular event (i.e., the one that people pay to attend) and pour the top wines in the V.I.P. lounge. Since my train was not until much later, my response was easy:

“No problem.”

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Philadelphia with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Rosé, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to What Would You Do?

  1. talkavino says:

    wow. A double wow – both on unattended booth of probably the highest ranking producer at the event, and on the clueless person showing up to pour the wines 30 minutes before the event it done. wow and wow.
    Provence tasting which I attended last year had the best format ever – all the wines were set on ice in the middle of the long corridor, and it was, essentially, the self-pour event with representatives available to chat on a side, but people been able to pour for themselves.
    So what did you think of Garrus? For me, it is nice, but for sure not $80 nice… it might be just me with my plebeian taste…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really did like the Garrus, but I would say I was in the minority. The oak really adds some heft to the wine, which is not usually what people look for in a rosé. I have been screaming for a while now that rosés can and should be looked at as a more serious wine and the Garrus underscores that point (but you are right: $80+? Yikes.).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What a crazy day. Good for you for taking ownership and rocking it!! One note as a Texan, Texas is in no way the heart of Dixie. You have lots to learn Young Kralik. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually did know that and I put it in there to bait you Texans!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ggggrrrrr…. Just wait! I give you 5 years and you will be hooked! It is the greatest state in the US. I realize that more and more as I travel abroad. It’s amazing how much the French love Texas. However, as far as the wine capital of the US I completely agree with you…you will miss all the events that come through New York.

        Like

  3. Surely a case of Garrus is in your future by way of a Thank-you? You saved the day and no doubt only heightened the cachet of the d’Esclans pouring station. Expect to find yourself deluged with requests to help set up and pour!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Theresa says:

    I know it has already been said but my immediate reaction was just like the others….wow!! (Accompanied by head shake.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill Barth says:

    OMG, really?

    Tell the truth…by “pour” you mean dumped Garrus in your mouth?? I love this story.

    I tasted the Château d’Esclans lineup in Chicago at a Vins de Provence tasting (excellent event, btw) and someone from the local distributor was pouring. He actually said to me something like “didya stop by to taste the most expensive bottle here?”… do I detect notes of irritation? A profile of crass?

    Maybe you’ll get hired instead!
    Gorgeous wines to share & enjoy, though. I’d do it too….can I pour you another glass? Hell, make it two…it’s on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were a total of six bottles of Garrus for the whole weekend (four total tastings I believe), which I did not know until later at the VIP tasting. Let’s just say there was not a whole lot of Garrus left to pour that evening and I was doing a lot of “quality control” during the trade tasting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. GFwinecountryliving says:

    Paleeze…the whole world knows California and France are the wine centers of the world, don’t they? And…hemp is a superfood in our morning smoothies. Just saying…
    Oh and nicely done at the event.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kara Sweet says:

    You handled it perfectly! Except I hope you kindly declined to take the young woman’s picture to “prove she was there.” Maybe her boss needs a note so he can hire some much more enthusiastic representation for his beverages. Good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good for you to throw on your super-hero cape and save the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This would have been the perfect opportunity for you to test drive one of the best and most useful southern colloquialisms . . . “Could you take a picture of me so that I can prove to my boss that I was here?”

    “Well, bless your heart. I’d be happy to.” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks–I do need to get a few of those in my daily repertoire, I reckon (does that one count?).

      Like

      • chef mimi says:

        When I moved to Texas I bought a couple of Texas dictionaries. I still have them and they still make me laugh. Want them? Stuff like “far” – light the “far” in your “far”place. My secretary asked me if I favored my mother and I had no idea what she was saying. It will be an experience. But I really love Texas.

        Like

  10. Well played! What a great story! Those folks were fortunate to have someone like you around to step in and showcase the wine as well as you did! (Case? Did I say CASE? Yes you deserve one for your efforts!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. dakegrodad says:

    I hope you managed to save a bottle to take home as proof you were there

    Liked by 1 person

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