A Perfect Storm is a meteorological term referring to a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse factors, such as what happened in October 1991 when a nor’easter absorbed Hurricane Grace. The Urban Dictionary states that A Perfect Storm is when “a combination of events causes an amazing, unforgettable night”. La Nuit en Rosé , a rosé wine festival aboard one of the Hornblower yachts organized by the Able marketing agency, fits the second description: An international selection of wines, a luxury yacht cruising New York Harbor, a tasty assortment of food to accompany the wine, pulsating music to get everyone in a festive mood, all to the backdrop of the skyline of the greatest city in the world.
As is our custom at this type of event, we headed directly to the food table before it became overwhelmed with hungry wine drinkers and then searched out some bubbly to kick off our tasting. For the food, we sampled a variety of cheeses from Artisnal Cheese of New York. For the bubbly, we started with a trio of Cremants, the Grande Cuvee and Cuvee Marie Ambal, both from Veuve Ambal in Burgundy and the Thomas Jefferson Cremant de Limoux from Gerard Bertrand Wines in Languedoc. This was followed by the Veuve du Vernay Rosé from Barton & Guestier.
Having accomplished step one (food and bubbly), the next priority was to visit an old friend. Being a longtime supporter of Long Island wines, we headed to Bridge Lane, a North Fork winery that was not only the sole representative from Long Island, but from the entire United States. There Director of Sales Michael Cook was serving up their mostly Cab Franc and Merlot rosé . Long Island has come a long way in the development of first class rosé wines, the Provencal rosés from Croteaux, rosati from Channing Daughters and the ever popular Summer in a Bottle from Wolffer immediately spring to mind. And the light-bodied dry rosé from Bridge Lane was up to the task.
We then took a step back and relaxed on the deck, where we enjoyed spectacular views of downtown New York, with glass-in-hand of course. Looking at the program we spotted some of the wines we enjoyed at the previous year’s cruise: Saint Aix (a Provencal rosé comprised mostly of Grenache), Mulderbosch (a Cabernet Sauvingon rosé from South Africa) and Estandon Vignerons (another Provencal rosé, this one was comprised of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah). All were sensational!
A few months earlier we were introduced to the wines of Corsica at a tasting at Openhouse Gallery on Mulberry Street in SoHo, so we decided to continue our education with a stop at their table. After discussing the uniqueness of Vins de Corse with Eric Foret, founder of Cellar To Table, a New York based distributor of artisanal French wines and craft ciders, we tasted two grapes not normally found anywhere else in the world: Sciaccarellu (the parent of the Tuscan grape Pollera Nera) and Niellucciu (possibly a distant cousin of Sangiovese). We were impressed with the Vermentino wines at the gallery tasting and our positive opinion of Corsican wines continued with these grape varieties. Further investigation of this subject was definitely required.
While the rosé wines were the obvious stars of the show, for me the views of New York City had equal billing. So, with a glass of Chemin des Saules from the Loire Valley we headed back outside for views of One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. Does it get better than this? Well, actually it does. After a tasting of the wines of the Sud de France, highlighted by the Domaine Clavel Mesclaids (a Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre blend) we headed back outside just in time for an unexpected fireworks extravaganza. Was this part of the package or just a serendipitous occurrence? None of us were really sure. But we really didn’t care who actually planned the fireworks, we just stood in silence and enjoyed the early 4th of July festivities.
Time for one more glass before docking. For this we decided that a stop in Italy would be a nice finishing touch. So we headed to Bisol Vitivinicoltori for some Jeio Cuvee, a sparkling Merlot Pinot rosé from the Veneto and a long chat with the export manager Stefano Marangon. An excellent ending to a spectacular tasting.
There was a threat of thunderstorms, but thankfully they did not materialize. While it was summer in New York City, there was a cool breeze in the air and temperatures were mild, but not overly hot or humid. As Bob Dylan famously said in Subterranean Homesick Blues, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Well, we didn’t need a weatherman (or anyone else for that matter) to tell us which way the wind was blowing that night: The winds were highly favorable. It was not just a great evening, but a perfect storm.