On Wednesday there was an amazing tasting at Color de Vino where I am lucky enough to work on my days off. Anyone who has been to the store knows that the people who work there are fantastic! It’s a small space, packed to the ceiling with wonderful, quirky wines that express their place in the world. The prices are remarkable and the selection just does not quit.
Anyway when I got there on Wednesday this week, Juanita told me that there would be a tasting of Louis Latour wines later in the day. The rep for Louis Latour just so happens to be my old colleague Mister Dwayne Bayda. He and I worked together many years ago when he was the (only) salesman for my family’s tiny wine & spirit importing agency. Between the two of us (along with our crazy book-keeper) we managed to grow the company until we were able to purchase the largest independent agency in western Canada at the time (Pacific Wine & Spirits). Eventually, as we took both companies national, Dwayne left to pursue greener pastures but we never lost touch. He actually returned to work with us in the late eighties and we were lucky to have him.
Back to the present: we tasted six wines in all… Meursault, Grand Ardeche Chardonnay and Corton Charlemagne. Then on to the reds…Bourgogne Gamay, Aloxe Corton and finally the divine Chateau Corton Grancey. The room was full of warm happy people drinking sublime wines from one of the truly great producers in that world. We served a fine selection of artisanal cheeses from Bonjour Bakery with dried organic cherries and apples to highlight some of the nuance in the wines. All the details came together and a great time was had by all.
Louis Latour’s export director Mark Allen circulated around the room connecting with everyone in casual conversation winning them over with a combination of technical knowledge and great story telling. Towards the end of the evening Mark and I had a conversation about some of my family’s old friends in the business. We talked about some of our experiences in Burgundy. We discovered a mutual passion for horses and an early life competing in A circuit level show jumping. We talked about The Dirt On Wine and he encouraged me not to give up on that dream. It was great. It reminded me of my old days in the agency business when we first started to have casual cocktail party style tastings to introduce people to our spectacular suppliers and it made me remember something important.
Advertising doesn’t sell wine. Stores don’t sell wine. Agencies don’t sell wine… People sell wine and they do it by forging honest to goodness relationships with other very real people. That’s the best thing about wine. No matter how you look at it, it brings people together in the most glorious ways and reminds us that we are all wonderfully, oddly, human and that we are all in this together.