At 11h30am 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!
And I was at the right place! The long awaited Primum Familiae Vini 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 wine making 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 offered me a glass of bubbly. Knowing that Pol Roger Champagne is a member of the PFV, I accepted and took a sip without hesitation. My taste buds exploded! Being at such a prestigious event, I knew the wines and the food would be something out of a dream, 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”. Next were juicy scallops with “Les Clos 2012”, a Drouhin Grand Cru Chablis and “Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 1994” from Egon Muller. Then, a pasta dish with rabbit confit, served with Torres’ “Mas La Plana 2010”, “Sassicaia 2009, Tenuta San Guido” and Famille Perrin’s “Château Beaucastel 2005”. Braised bison short ribs were served next with Antinori’s “Solaia 2007”, “Château Mouton Rothschild 2005” and “Vega Sicilia Unico 2004”. 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 in pure delight. As each family member spoke, overwhelming 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 - wines that truly represent that illusive, abstract but yet so omnipresent “terroir” concept. That 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.
This is your classic David and Goliath story. The PFV truly represents the last line of defense against global corporation, and has ultimately become a point of reference in the wine world. Glad to report that David is alive and well! Santé to the under-dog!
As I was saying my goodbyes, hoping to get a chance to shake Miguel Torres’ hand, I noticed he was speaking with John Szabo, MS. Couldn’t think of anything interesting enough to say to interrupt those 2 great minds! Maybe next time!
For my review on all the wines tasted at the event, check WINENOTES!
*Article published on nataliemaclean.com