“Bordeaux After Work Party” in Toronto

Bordeaux has the well-deserved title of wine capital of France (and subsequently, the world), but with success comes stigma. A reputation as a connoisseur’s favourite status symbol can be a roadblock to those who know little about the wine they’re drinking, beyond whether it’s red or white.

At a recent event at Toronto’s Eight Wine Bar, the Bordeaux Wine Council and iYellow Wine Club teamed up to remove those barriers, on a continuing quest to prove Bordeaux wines are not just for oenophiles and ostentatious status-seekers, but also for casual sippers and neophytes.

The third installment of the “Bordeaux After Work Party” series, the event offered a smattering of Bordeaux wines (a couple of reds and a couple of whites) for the paltry sum of $5 a glass. As the name suggests, the cultivated atmosphere was low-key but professional, the dominant costume being three-quarters of a suit with a tie loosened ever so slightly.

Essentially, this was an attempt to replace post-9-to-5 pints on the patio with high-quality but affordable wine. For one night, anyhow, it seemed to be doing the trick.

“What they’re trying to do here is to reintroduce Bordeaux to the world,” explains Tannin Fine Wine importer Nicholas Pearce over a glass of 2005 Chateau de Panigon. “It’s easier to buy a bottle of Yellow Tail than it is to buy a bottle of this. But for the same price, you’re going to have a much better taste experience with a small production wine like this [the Bordeaux] than a mass-marketed Coca-Cola wine like that [the Australian Yellow Tail].”

There are, of course, icon wines from Bordeaux that are worth over $1,000 dollars. Pierce says it’s lesser-known that “the vast majority are wines you can drink young. They’re food-friendly, they’re approachable, and they won’t break the bank.”

Some chose to sit back and sip, but those as thirsty for wine knowledge as for wine itself were assisted by experts who were armed with the party line and knowledge of everything from the exact region to its genetic makeup. There was a sense that the event was meant to act as a gateway into the world of fine wines, a not-so-veiled attempt to put it on the same level as beer and spirits.

We’re not sure it would fit in at a hockey game, but Bordeaux wines were right at home in Eight Wine Bar’s loungey atmosphere.

The next, and final, “Bordeaux After Work Party” takes place October 25.

Image courtesy of FD Media.

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