A rare thing occurred yesterday morning. I woke feeling down-right excited about one of the only parts of my job that I truly loathe, the trade tasting. I've bitched about them here before so you all know how I feel about them and as odd as it sounds to many that have never had to endure them, it aint all free snacks and drinking fancy wines...least not to me. The LA wine trade event is pretty much an Asperger's convention; a parade of hipsters in skinny jeans, hot guys wearing over-sized Buddy Holly glasses....trying to down play their smashing good looks, that or going for the "wicked hot smart guy" persona. The old guys in graffiti T's or fedoras, also sporting the skinny jean, that or the ripped up baggy ones. The perfume encrusted, tight dress and super high heeled teetering around on their wine wobbly legs because, "Spitting is gross" and toss in the grumpy know-it-all wine curmudgeon, often in a stained shirt, not wearing a name tag and always grazing at the food table and you get one pissy wine slinger with crunched unders. Not the way I like to spend the afternoon and really not the way I can truly evaluate wine. Yesterday however, yesterday was different.
I met Randy at The Wine Country early so we could make our way up to Santa Monica for a tasting that neither of us would have missed, a tasting that has not happened in as long as I have been buying French wine for the store. When we pulled up to the venue my heart started thumping around in my chest, not only was I going to be sampling the wines from one of the world's most renowned French wine importers, poured by the winemakers themselves, I was going to be doing it there....on the breathtakingly beautiful shoreline in Santa Monica.
An elegantly, subtly furnished ballroom; tables swathed in creams and off-whites, set far apart from one another with ample room to move about and dodge the teetering non-spitters and curmudgeons with their cheese smeared wine glasses and Bordeaux stained grill....the sound and smell of the ocean faintly wafting in between stops at tables adorned with bottles of wines that make my knees weak, heart race, mind flash wildly with sensory dictation, the thickly accented voices filling me with that ache to revisit my beloved France and retell our customers about these wines, these estates, these humble but passionate people that make them. I may have woken excited but I could never have imagined just how perfect the day would be.
Randy and I had worked our way through the Champagne tables, rough as that was...when I heard Randy say, "Hey, is that Kermit?" turned my head to see, yes, yes it was Kermit Lynch. Without question one of the most important men in the wine business, one very responsible for the quality of French wines we have access to, paving the way with refrigerated containers ensuring that the wines he tasted and imported were delivered tasting the way they did when he had them in France. A man whose palate and passion brought those wines here and a man that can write, in one sentence, something so compelling that you ache to taste what he is tasting. It was his tasting and there he was, in the middle of this room of perfectness. It was, well even more perfect.
Randy had been Kermit's Southern California broker before starting The Wine Country, they have known and respected each other for years now and although I have met Kermit several times I still found myself a little star struck as we made our way over to him to say hello to him. Pleasantries and a bit of shop talk, we parted and Randy and I got back to tasting our way through the room only to find ourselves once again face to face with Kermit, this time at the Beaujolais table. Kermit pouring a deep glass and me with just enough Alsatian wine and Graves in my belly to say, "So Kermit, gotta tell you, saw you on Gary V, good thing you didn't have anything to say" which not only made him laugh but broke the ice. By the next time I ran into him and my adorable sales rep Kate tried to introduce us he stopped her, put his arm around me and told her, "We are already engaged." perfectness.....
The stunningly beautiful setting, the uncrunched aisles, the banter...that alone makes for a trade tasting far and above most but on top of all that, the wines were fucking brilliant! The Beaujolais from Jean Foillard both elegant and powerful proving that anyone that says Gamay is wimpy is an idiot. The Saint-Romain and Bourgogne Rouge from Christophe Buisson, so pure and loaded with vibrant fruit that, considering the price, makes me feel like we are taking advantage of him...which I will be doing when the wines arrive in May. Regis Bouvier's silky textured and explosive 2009 Morey-Saint-Denis filling my lungs with dark red fruit and smoked meat. The Loire wines from Domaine de la Chanteleuserie and Domaine de Reuilly causing my spine to shiver and flesh to be covered in tiny want inspired bumps.
I spent the afternoon waving my French Wine Freak Flag, wrapped up tight in the aromas and flavors, the people that make what I do, my job, one of the greatest there is. Cannot get over what an affirmation that trade tasting was....hipsters, high-heeled wobblers, table grazers and all. Cannot believe how fortunate I've been. And just when I thought the day couldn't get any better.....
Gifts, picked for me and tucked into my screen by the cutest almost 5 year old boyfriend a girl could ever have.
Finding myself splashing around in love again and damn, it feels amazing.