By Mymi Myriam
At 11:30 a.m. on a windy Thursday, I walked into a sumptuous room at the Four Seasons Hotel. Immaculately decorated, it had high ceilings and an incredible view of Toronto’s affluent Yorkville neighbourhood. In the center of the room was a very large and beautifully dressed… dining room table!
I was at the right place: the long-awaited Primum Familiae Vini (PFV) luncheon. The PFV is an international association of some of the world’s finest wine producing families from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It was created in 1992 by Robert Drouhin and Miguel Torres as they strolled through a vineyard and discussed the intricacies of their craft and the challenges of running a family company.Their goal was to create an association of winemaking families where members could exchange their experiences of the wine trade, gain insight into future trends, and explore solutions to their business challenges. Today, only 11 families are part of this illustrious group.
A man wearing white gloves and holding a silver tray offers me a glass of bubbly. Pol Roger Champagne is a member of the PFV; I accepted and took a sip without hesitation. My taste buds exploded. I knew the wines and the food would be something out of a dream today, but I never imagined sipping on a Pol Roger Champagne, Cuvée Winston Churchill 2002 – but here I was.
We were asked to take our respective places at the table as an array of decadent and perfectly paired food and wines were introduced, one after the other, as a member of each family went up to the podium and spoke.
First came a Foie Gras appetizer with a Hugel “Riesling Jubilee 2010”
Finally, a Stilton cheese plate was served as glasses were filled from a magnum of “Graham’s Vintage Port 1977” by the Symington Family Estates.
I savoured each exquisite bite and sip with pure delight. Wines that truly represent that illusive, abstract, but yet so omnipresent “terroir” concept; an idea that a specific geographic place, its soils, climate and the unique human hand could deliver an exclusive wine that could only be produced from those very elements and not duplicated in others.
As each family member spoke, commonalities between them became evident. In fact, there was a camaraderie, a strong sense of pride in their roots, dedication to their product, an intense respect for each other, deeply ingrained family values, and this palpable passion that united them in their fervent and sincere desire to craft a superb and impeccable product.
When asked why she is so enthusiastic about wine, she replies; “Wine connects so many elements of life that I absolutely love! From growing herbs and vegetables to cooking, eating, travelling, entertaining, studying… There is always something new to learn in the world of wine. Sharing my knowledge with people, no matter their level of expertise, is something I sincerely enjoy.”
Her qualifications include certifications from The Court of Master Sommeliers, The International Sommelier Guild, The Society of Wine Educators, The Ontario Wine Council and most recently, The French Wine Society. Being a performer, it is with ease that she shares her knowledge in a down-to-earth, exciting, comprehensible and unpretentious way.
She is completing the French Wine Society’s Master-Level program studying the region of Provence, is in the early stages of creating a food/wine/music show, is a regular contributor to Natalie.MacLean.com and is currently recording her first all-French album.