Sunday, May 21, 2023

A faux pas (from the past) in New York and a stunning Sauvignon Blanc (from the present) by way of Friuli

An old colleague of mine texted recently and told me about the death of a French wine producer we knew. We had gotten to know him over the years when he came to Texas to work. We sold his products. We even had a men’s tasting group based loosely on one of the top wines of the estate. A nice group, including the national sales manager for the estate.

A few years ago, in NY for the Wine Spectator Experience, my friend told me to join him for the dinner at a nearby restaurant with said Frenchman. I said I had not been invited. He said, “Hey, we’re friends of his. We all formed a tasting group around one of his greatest wines, ‘The Friends of Chuck!’” So, I went with him.

We get to the place, a large restaurant and all the top (national) brass of the distributors for the French producer were there. Even a big wig VP for California winery supplier relations was there. I never saw him sell a bottle of French wine in his time as a VP. But he played tennis with the National sales manager for the French company.

I spotted our French friend and said hi to him. We chatted for a moment, caught up.

As I took a seat, some official-looking fellow (i.e. security) approached me and asked me what I was doing there. I told him my colleague invited me. They told me that he didn’t have the authority to do that and that there was no room for me. I had already sat down, at someone else’s seat. He escorted me to the front door. It was embarrassing. But I also felt shamed.

I cannot tell you how many years I sat in meetings and was beat over the head with how many (more) boxes of wine from that company we had yet to sell to make it through the month (the cheap stuff, usually). And years later, here we were. Big mistake. I was a good soldier, “a friend of Chuck” even, but there would be no seat for me at that table. That was the day that winery, and everyone associated with it, died for me.

I’m not saying this to fault any of my French friends. No, this was an American-driven travesty. It also happened to me in Napa Valley. Still, I cannot imagine this happening at an Italian event. Someone would always make a place at the table. There were no strangers, no outsiders. There was always room for one more “friend.” Business be damned.


How is everything tasting?

Lately the wine I cannot put down is from Friuli. A Sauvignon Blanc (2020) from Le Vigne Di Zamò. A racy white, full of zing and acidity, but nicely dosed with ample yet not overbearing fruit. And none of that off-flavor, that hint of bleach and tropical fruit, that is so popular these days among Sauvignon Blancs. Really a delicious white and very suited to the foods of Spring time. My current house wine. 

I've written about this winery and Friuli, in another incarnation, HERE, and more recently, HERE.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
Real Time Analytics