Monday, May 28, 2012

Wine Evenings at Restaurant 114 Faubourg St. Honore


By Paige Donner

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At the epicenter of chic, where rue Fbg. St. Honoré meets Avenue Matignon in the shade of Paris's Élysée gardens, is where you will find the restaurant 114 Faubourg. 
As part of Le Bristol Hotel, but with a separate entrance and in an adjoining building, the lunch and dinner restaurant headed up by chef Eric Desbordes along with his chief Sommelier, Marco Pelletier, is altogether a destination unto itself.

Tomes can and likely will be written about the talented young chef's French cuisine, but focus here is on the restaurant's once-monthly Wine Tasting Evenings, held the first Monday of the month, to be precise.

In a city that gathers the best wines of one of the best wine-producing countries in the world, there is an unexpected and surprising dearth of good wine-tasting evenings organized for the amateur/enthusiast and/or the visiting tourist. A once-monthly excellent wine and tailored food-pairing evening open to 25 guests is hardly going to make a dent in what should be a huge demand for this type of food and wine evening event, but, at least it's a start...

Marco Pelletier, an adoptive Parisian whose authentic Canadianisms pepper his oenological descriptions and explanations, shines as the evening's champion organizer. He not only invites the winemakers to Paris so they can talk about their "treasures," but also curates his wines with that delicate care that only a professional with great passion and reverence for his metier can muster.

Evenings start at around 7:30 with a tasting flight of four wines during which the winemaker shares tales about the vintages he's pouring. The 114 Faubourg team takes care of hosting duties, which allows these extraordinary cultivators of French wines to simply elaborate the stories of their wines in the company of the people who have come to sip and savor their particular expressions of terroir.

According to Pelletier, there is no commercial element to the evening. The winemakers are not honored guests invited to “sell” their wines. "They just come to share the story behind the wines and vintages being poured for the evening. The winemakers are often small producers that I've usually already chosen to feature and work with or who have already worked with Le Bristol for a long time," explains Pelletier. "These are the 'Haute Couture' of winegrowers."

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