20 importers and producers were part of the event; more than 60 wines were featured. The aim of the event was to bring the most affordable and accessible wines from France’s most famous wine producing region. Since the US has become the world’s largest wine-consuming nation for the first time in 2011 (even though it is 5 times bigger than France), there is a real opportunity for our wines to increase exportations.
We know that French wines and everything France related is appealing to the American consumers. However, there are two challenges for French wine, which is the basic consumer challenge, as they do not understand it and is not necessarily appealing to him because of the lack of differentiation. It is then also a distribution challenge created by producers themselves. Retailers have stopped importing top wines in the States as they will not be bought by the consumer who does not know about it.
However, I don’t know if it is because of the 4 wine tastings organized in Manhattan on the same day, the bright sun, or the disappointing French style cheese and charcuterie buffet that cost the event a small number of participants.
Like every tastings, people just walk around the room with their glasses, talking to producers. However, some of them did complain since they could only feature their wines from any other appellation than AOC Bordeaux and AOC Bordeaux Superieur. It could have been one of the reasons of the poor involvement.
The funniest part of the event was the Master Class led by Kevin Zraly. The guy was hilarious, trying to teach us how to taste and appreciate affordable 2009-2010 Bordeaux. I would have appreciated a bigger discussion about tasting notes. 10 wines tasted later, I leave the event with a great wine list for my dinners to come.