Review: Bordeaux Wine Tasting at Splashlight Studios Dec 7, 2016

Cover Image: Bordeaux MatchMaking © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

Bordeaux MatchMaking © DanielDaPhotog

Bordeaux MatchMaking was a free and fun event. © DanielDaPhotog

Bottom Line: Too often the preserve of those in the industry, Bordeaux Matchmaking invited the general public to a rare and fun opportunity to swish some wine, savor and learn about the region of Bordeaux, France.

Review: Tucked away on the third floor of a SoHo office building sits fashion photography company Splashlight Studios, where models are often seen playing pool in the reception between photo shoots. This evening was different as guests queued in for an exclusive sampling of affordable French wines.

One of the tasting stations © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

One of the tasting stations © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

With the goal of seducing the American public to the beauty of Southwest France, the Bordeaux MatchMaking soirée was a joint effort by Vins de Bordeaux, NYC swanky socialites French Tuesdays, reputable French wine distributor Baron François, and other movers and shakers in the industry including Uriell Feuillard of Le Pif, whose family has been in the wine business for generations.

© Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

Wine and mingles © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

Far from a horrid speed-dating hell, the only matchmaking here was between people and wine. Depending on one’s preferences selected when registering for the event, guests had up to 1o tastings from one out of four tasting tables pre-designed to suit their tanic palettes. There was plenty of mingling over a glass, while the DJ spun classic beats along with today’s Francophone stars like Stromae. Our table featured whites, rosés, sweet nectary Sauternes and my favorite reds, which included: the Sauvignon-Merlot blend Haut-Médoc Château Cantemerle 2012 and Château Grand Jean 2012 which had a higher Merlot content, giving it an earthier, chocolatey note. While both delicious, my favorite was the Grand Jean, which retails at $10, less than a third of the cost of Cantemerle. Quel bargain!

After sampling the spread of hors d’œuvres, we went to one of the complimentary classes to discover more about Bordeaux.

One of several mini wine pairing classes © DanielDaPhotog

One of several mini wine pairing classes © DanielDaPhotog

Sommelier and wine writer Carson Demmond guided our group of 10 through the ropes at the beginning-level course, which began with a small introduction to the region.

Bordering on the Atlantic in the southwest of France, Bordeaux wines are amongst the best in the world. Famous for its rich and robust flavors, the region’s

Sommelier Carson Demmond © Danieldaphotog

Sommelier Carson Demmond © DanielDaPhotog

wine roster has some of the most expensive red wines in the lot including the famous: Pétrus, Pomerol and Margaux, which could cost you an arm and leg. In fact with nearly 6,500 winemakers, red wine accounts for nearly 86% of the wine produced in Bordeaux. As the Gironde Sound forks into two rivers: Dordogne and Garonne, the land is primarily divided into four parts: the Haute Médoc where some of the most expensive wines are made, the Left Bank or Rive gauche, Right bank or Rive droite and the Entre deux mers, or land between two seas. The latter being where some of the best affordable whites are made.

Rosé and Rousset Gaillard 2015 © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

Rosé de Giscours and Rousset Gaillard 2015 © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

For our mini class, each wine had its own pairing including a fruity Rosé de Giscours 2015 with a mini croque monsieur, and a beautiful blanc from Château Rousset Caillau 2015, both retailing each at $18 and $16. The white was a seriously delicious find. It paired beautifully with a rich lobster bisque canapé. With 60% Sauvignon and 40% Semillon grapes, it was a perfect foil that cut through the richness of the bisque while accenting the lobster’s sweetness. For the final wine in the workshop, Carson, poured us each a glass of a $45-priced Fleur Cardinale 2012 (a particularly good year for Southern reds!), which paired wonderfully with sirloin and caramelized shallots sitting in front of us. While it had a strong bouquet, the dominant Merlot and complimenting Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon grape flavors gave it a structured taste, but ironically with a smooth, clean finish. It carried the grilled sirloin to a new level.

Just enough to clean the palette © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

Just enough to clean the palette © Kei Hayashi for WhereNYC

As the evening wound to a close, the buzz in the main room was still in full swing. Waiters served the patrons moist dark chocolate cake wedges while people mingled and danced. Down to my last ticket and running low on fuel, it seemed only fitting to have a final slurp of the sweet Château Petit Vedrines, Sauternes 2012 to wash down my cake. The sweetness of the Semillon grapes lingered happily on the palette long after leaving the party. I can’t remember a wine tasting being both this fun and informative.

For more information on upcoming events, visit Vins de Bordeaux.