Thursday, November 19, 2015

Vive la France!

Time to kick it into overdrive—it’s “the holidays.” A lot has been going, and I apologize for the lapse in postings. My bad!

The horrible events in Paris last Friday have certainly upset me, as I’m sure they have disturbed all of us. As a New Yorker, memories of 9/11 flash before my eyes. Those were difficult days. I was so appreciative of the emails and calls from people checking in to see if my family, friends, and other loved ones were safe. It was comforting to know, and feel, how connected we were to each other. For the weeks and months that followed, there was a special bond among New Yorkers. We helped each other; we were kind and giving. We were not going to be defeated and let the evil of cowards change our lives and upset our sense of freedom.

I don’t know anyone who lives in Paris, but as soon as I got to work on Monday, I went into the office of French colleagues who import and distribute tea from France. I asked if their family and friends were safe. Thankfully, everyone was accounted for. They were hurting, but I could tell that checking in with them had brought some comfort.

Before I was an investment advisor, I imported wine, mostly from France. It was wonderful to travel there a few times a year. The wine that I imported was from the Jura region, which borders Switzerland. The company that owned the property was based in Alsace, but I would travel to Paris and Bordeaux and throughout the Burgundy region.

I never ate and drank so well in my life. The French are passionate about their food and wine, and I took it all in. Lunches always lasted at least an hour, usually accompanied by a bottle of wine. Dinners ended with an amazing array of cheeses that still permeate the inside of my nose.
Americans like to joke about the French, as the French like to joke about Americans. At the end of the day they are weak generalizations that don’t capture the essence about what we, as people and as cultures, are about. Paris is my favorite city in the world. Even this jaded New Yorker can say that Paris is the city that truly never sleeps. Paris is as beautiful as it is energetic and passionate.

It is a sad state of affairs that the world finds itself in, but I am strengthened by, and feel connected with, our brothers and sisters in Paris. In the long run good will triumph over evil, and we will never surrender to terrorists, whose only goal is to provoke fear and angst in us.

This is a terrible transition, but maybe that’s fitting: in support of the greatest wines in the world, I offer up the following French suggestions to accompany your Thanksgiving turkey.

From the Alsace region both the Hugel et Fils Riesling Classic and Pinot Gris Classic. Both are flavorful with fruit but not sugary sweet. The Pinot Gris will be drier, but both are a perfect pair for your bird and sides.

While many wine lovers prefer pinot noir with their turkey, I am stepping it up a bit and recommending a Côte du Rhône. I have been drinking the Clos du Mont Olivet Côtes du Rhône Vielles Vignes of late. It is packed with jammy flavors with a bouquet of mint and fresh earth. (I hate wine descriptions but went with it.)

Please enjoy your holiday with friends and family and appreciate how lucky we are. All the best for a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday season.


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