Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere
NEW YORK--Lafayette, the French grand cafe and bakery in the heart of downtown Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood, was the setting for Provence in the City 2014, Media Day in New York, The Gold Standard. Chef Andrew Carmellini and Chef de Cuisine Damon Wise created an elegant four course menu to accompany an expansive tasting of more than 70 wines from France's oldest wine growing region and the birthplace of rose' wine.
Francois Millo, Direcor of the Provence Wine Council was personally on hand to great members of the wine and travel media and highlight the reason why rose' wine sales have increased by double digits over the past decade in the United States and how American wine consumers now have access to more diverse Provence wines than ever before.
Wines were set out on long tables in front of the vaulted windows that look out onto sun-drenched Great Jones Street. The wines were also positioned like crystal vases, with the sun glinting through the pale pink color, along the window sills. It was an idyllic scene, perfect for an exploration of wine from .France's most texturally contrasting region. Tasting the vast array of wines, it can truly be said that no two were alike.
Following the walk-around tasting, four flights of wines were offered for pairing with each of the four courses, ranging from Seafood Salad St. Jan de Luz, with chickpeas and herbs, Artichauts a' la Barigoule, with black olives and arugula, Local Steam Halibut in a delightful delicate broth flavored with Lemon Verbena and perfectly crisp Spring Peas that made the lunch seem like a trip to the Mediterranean. A final course of Roquefort, Grana and Brie with Dried Fruit and Pain Aux Noix, accompanied by the finest cup of cappuccino I have ever had, brought the delightful afternoon to a crescendo!
Dwight The Wine Doctor with Francois Millo, Directeur General Vins de Provence
Chef Tor Sporre, Hospitality Consultant and TV Journalist and Writer
Bill Marsano Poured With Pleasure.com wine blog
John D'Amico of My Favorite Wine Is.com
Mark Sullivan Editor, Fodor's Travel
The First Course of Seafood Salad St. Jean de Luz
Aurelien Pont of Chateau Pigoudet, AOC Aix-En-Provence
Among the favorites tasted at Provence in the City, Premiere de Figuiere Rose' 2013 $15, an easy-to-drink "starter" wine to ease you into the World of Provence. The wine has never seen oak, having been fermented and aged in stainless steel. The wine is crystalline with floral notes of acacia and fennel coupled with citrus fruit. It went perfectly with the first course of Seafood Salad St. Jean de Luz.
By far, the most complex wine of the tasting was Cuvee Tradition Cru Classe Rose 2012 $26
This blend of 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache is aged in wood and has good structure with a seductive nose and flavor. This is a great food wine for pairing with seafood, Mediterranean dishes and lighter meats. With its distinct aromas of orange peel and spice this is a fresh and vibrant wine perfect for drinking now or for a bit of aging.