At one point or another in our existence, we had mentors that had a significant impact in our lives. It could have been the person that “taught you the ropes” of your first job or that academic advisor that guided you for that undergraduate program of studies.
We all need to relay on someone to show us the way or a glimpse of the light. After all, we are humans and need to reach out for nurturing and guidance
I didnt have any significant work or study mentors but I did have one that defined my early adulthood years. Her name was Christine and she ignited in me my wine and food passion.
I came to know Christine in my early twenties when I was an undergraduate student at Concordia University. She used to rent me a room in her apartment on Cote de Neiges in from of the Cemetery.
Christine embodied all the elements of the classic Parisian woman. From her approach to life to the way she dressed, ate, smoke and drank wine. I used to tell her that she had a flair of Francoise Dorleac and everytime she would crack up.
Her taste for food was undeniable French classical cooking. In the room, where I used to sleep, there were stacks of books from the greatest French chefs such as Bocuse, Escoffier and Robuchon. She had a great taste for wine and lay out the foundations of my classical wine education.
Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese, Meursault with Lobster Thermidor, Pauillac with slow roasted leg of lamb. All this, I learnt from her. My eternal gratitude to this woman that made me the man of taste I am today.
However, the most important lesson learnt from her was the importance of wine in the table. A meal is icomplete in the absence of good wine. Good wine and food also mean nothing with no friends to celebrate.
There were other important mentors in my wine life that defined my wine personality. Moreno de Marchi ( The greatest Italian wine ambassador in Canada ever), Allan Laforest( a great wine taster that helped put words in wine pleasure),Jack Jacob from Glou ( the father of my natural wine passion) and Theo Diamantis from Oenopole ( learnt and keep on learning on Italian, French and Greek natural wines)
Overall, I was quite lucky to have such a special guidance. Today, it is a whole different ballgame. With the advent of technology and social media, there are so many false wine prophets. At times, it could be alienating and annoying. It is a paradox, because everyone claims to know everything but at the same know nothing.
Today, I try to give back by transmitting my wine passion to two very special people: my sister paola and her boyfriend Karim. They are my wine students. Basically, I am doing the same thing that Christine did for me. This is my way of giving back the vision that was transmitted for me. My only expectation is that with time they give back their own wine vision to somebody else
Until next time, I will leave you with that to think about. Do you have any wine mentors?
A special wine from my cellar..
Alain Graillot Saint Joseph 2010
A beautiful evolved Syrah that reminds me of black pepper, licorice with complex vegetable nuances that brings to mind dark green leafy vegetables and a combination of dry black fruits with savoury notes of meat. Full body, with cashmere like tannins. It is spicy but with a beautiful fruit crescendo. Bright and exciting, it is a wine that breathes vitality. Divine, poetry in motion.