On this, the day after Bastille Day, I bring to you descriptions of an evening reminiscent of that fine day in French l’histoire whence the revolutionaries stormed the Bastille in 1789.
The Noble Rot has turned one! To celebrate we planned an event, reminiscent of our first event (The Best $10-Wines You $10-Bills Could Pay) but this time upped the ante to $20 bangers. Hence, we presented: French Vacation Wines.
It’s July and so all of France is vacationing in Saint Tropez, Le Mont Saint Michel, La Rochelle, Montpellier, Biarritz, Villefranche sur Mer and Cap Ferret. While the French are consuming billions of gallons of crude oil rosé and are baking basking in the sun, we wanted to join in the fun, albeit far from the French Rivieria. “French Vacation Wines,” presented an evening of wine and food delights (while Dr. Strangelove played silently on a projector with French Subtitles).
Annihilating the Noble Revolutionaries with words, words, words in French, French, French, like “Lingerie!” and “Baguette!” was the famed TRAV SD. Trav is an actor, author, journalist, impresario, and all-around wildly hilarious mad-man genius. His blog is here. And if you are a person interested in theater and the history of vaudeville, get his book: “No Applause: Just Throw Money.”
Musical guest, Les Chauds Lapins, presented French songs from the 20s – 40s, “an epoch when American jazz and swing was being absorbed into the witty, passionate, highly melodic tradition of French popular music” – quote from their site. They were: Kurt & Meg on the banjo-uke, Ian on Bass, and Karen on Viola.
Mayur Subbarao, of EVOE! (also Mayhuel and Dram), a brilliant mixologist, begat our evening with a cocktail and ended the evening with a cocktail. He used bourbons and gins and Armagnac and Lillet – Mayur whipped up the Twentieth Century for guests as well as what he dubbed a “brandy crusta variant” with the Armagnac and Lillet named the “Paris-Midi.” It was: wow. Assisting Mayur was the talented food-photographer Nora Leah Sherman. We generously thank Nicole Cloutier for our Lillet and for the Armagnac, May Matta-Aliah.
- La Source de Vignelaure rosé – ($13 per bottle)
- Patrick Lesec Costierre de Nimes Vieilles Vignes – ($17 per bottle)
- Jaillance Cuvee Imperiale Sparkling – ($12 per bottle)
- Domaine de Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet ($12 per bottle)
The Twentieth Century cocktail:
- 1 1/4 oz. gin
- 3/4 oz. Lillet Blonde
- 3/4 oz. lemon juice
- 1/4 oz. creme de cacao
Shake, strain, serve up with lemon twist.
The Paris-Midi cocktail:
- 1 oz Laubade VSOP armagnac
- 1 oz Lillet Rouge
- 1 barspoon each lemon juice, orange curacao, maraschino
Stir, strain, serve up with one ice cube.
Damian Gutierrez of Cabriniwines.com and Matt Franco of Rare Wines Limited (new store opening in the West Village soon) were on-hand to answer any real questions about French wine. My favorite was the Vignelaure. It smelled of first dates and the excitement of exchanging phone numbers with the woman you will eventually marry. Second in line was the Picpoul—this is a wine I have discovered recently and consider it my go-to summer drink. The Lesec was a brit, if you catch my drift (?). And the Jaillance was exactly that: Imperiale!
The event would not have been possible without the gracious staff at Orsay, and their food, which was exceptional! Passed foods for the evening included: Gougères (choux pastry with cheese specialty from the Burgundy region), Tuna Tartare on toast, Chicken pretzel (chicken breast), Croque monsieur (grilled ham and Swiss cheese mini sandwich), Vegetable roll, Pork Rillettes (preparation of pork similar to pâte spread on white bread from the Tours region). Many thanks to Jean-Pierre and Melanie at Orsay – they were the best of hosts, and I encourage you to visit Orsay for an enchanted evening of delectable French-cuisine that will honestly knock your french socks off. Orsay Restaurant is at 75th & Lexington Ave in Manhattan.
Finally, our good friends, Nick Gray, Sean O’Hagan, Jeremy Welch, and Zach “the shark” Bernstein made the evening possible by pouring wine and passing food, while wise-cracking the evening away. Please enjoy these delicious photos in no particular order, and hopefully dear wine-stewards, we will see you at a Noble Rot event soon.