I received an opportunity to attend a dinner party thrown by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (The Fraternity of Knights of the Wine-Tasting Cup) . If you are a wine enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about such events and might even have wished to be a part of such a gorgeous gathering. There are several wine promotional organizations located in the major wine districts of France that call themselves the Chivalric Order of Wine. Those who have contributed to the spread of wine in a particular area and/or have been influential in getting the word out about the area's wine are appointed to become a knight of the wine area, sort of like becoming a wine ambassador of an area. Ordre Des Coteaux De Champagne must be one of the best known wine promotional organizations in the world. The event I attended was put on by the organization for Burgundy Wine. I learned about the Chivalric Order of Wine organizations after I got into wine school and dreamed of attending one of their events at least once in my lifetime. Of course I didn't know any celebrities who would take me to a shiny dinner party like that, so my wish, I supposed, would remain a dream that would never come true.
Well, never underestimate the power of wishing! One of my facebook friends was appointed to the Knights last year and invited me to join to the dinner party. Unbelievable! I've seen pictures of those parties for years, but never imagined that I would be in those pictures. It was early July and too hot for kimono, so I prepared an evening dress. It's been a while since I last attended to a party with a formal dress code, so I enjoyed every moment of the preparation time. Going for hair and makeup, having my nails done...were all fun! The party was held at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, one of the high end hotels in Japan. We arrived early and toasted with Champagne at the aperitif space. I started to feel a bit awkward, thinking maybe I should have decorated myself a bit more, while watching ladies in beautiful outfits and gentlemen in black tie enter and start filling up the space.
The dining hall had long dinner tables covered with white tablecloths, sprinkled in the middle with red rose petals. Fancy! The wines, brought to the event from the organization, were all in magnum size. And they were 1er cru or grand cru from the top domaines of Burgundy! The wines were all great, but what impressed me most was that I had the chance to hear stories from surrounding chevaliers about Burgundy, the landscape and vineyards, which added richness to the taste of wine.
I imagined that the party would be formal and ritualistic but it was actually more like a gathering at a harvest festival in a French vineyard, just that the attendees happened to be in formal dress. There was an orchestra on stage constantly singing songs that required clapping and humming together.