Going to a free Champagne-filled lunch at Aria Restaurant isn’t something that would normally make me gasp “oh no!”, but I totally freaked out when I was sent a reminder yesterday that I was expected at one in a few hours time.
I had COMPLETELY forgotten about that particular RSVP. I don’t usually agreed to attend daytime events due to workload constraints and yesterday was already shaping up to be manic without a three-hour boozy lunch in the middle.
Jaysus on a jet ski! It sent me into such a flap.
I was frantically trying to put together my weekly newsletter for Drinks Trade before heading to the de-brief session for The Drinks Association’s annual mentoring program, followed by Chairman’s Drinks.
How was I going to fit it all in?
How’s that for a first world problem?
Somehow I coped with drinking Fourny & Fils at Aria with this view …
It was an absolutely lovely event and turned out to not be stressful at all, especially after the third glass of champers.
I was the life of the midday party … or more accurately the long lunch table, which was mainly filled with dour blokes who didn’t have much to say for themselves (I later learned it’s because they’d been to their annual awards bash the night before, which is renowned in the industry for being massive, so they were probably all horribly hungover.)
Remember how I mentioned earlier this week that I could win a Gold medal for guilt? I was wrong. I’d win the Gold for talking and the Silver for guilt.
I’ve become super chatty in my old age. I think it’s genetic, my mother is exactly the same. I wouldn’t say boo to a goose in my younger years, but I’ve done a complete one-eighty later in life.
At the Champagne lunch, I monopolised the sales manager first, then managed to sit myself next to the guest of honour, Charles-Henry Fourny, a fifth generation champagne producer.
Note the elegant way he’s holding his Champagne in the main pic and the low rent way I’m clutching mine.
The rest of the media pack didn’t stand a chance with Charles as I enthusiastically discussed the 2018 vintage versus the 2017 and 2019 vintages with him: 2018 was a corker, 2017 was terrible, 2019 is a bit iffy, Fourny’s vineyard lost 30% of its grapes to extreme weather. The ones that were left were small but wonderful.
I’m vaguely up on the state of the Champagne harvest after three years at the Drinks Association, but I was out of my depth once he moved on to terroir and how all the chalk in the soil affects the salinity of the grapes. Fortunately I’d appeared so knowledgeable up until that point that I could just smile enigmatically as he extolled.
Charles even invited me to drop in and say hi next time I was in his neck of the woods, which is a village called Vertus, located in the south of the prestigious Cote des Blancs region, before handing me an autographed bottle of his wine …
We tried three different varietals at the lunch, I couldn’t tell you which one was my favourite, they were all very nice and have blurred together.
But, according to my notes, the first one had a long “stay in mouth” and was very crisp, the second had a saline freshness and the third had a fruity finish, while its salinity – according to Charles – makes it a good match for cheese and lobster.
The food was extremely delicious as well, especially the bacon-wrapped wild kingfish.
Drinking during the day doesn’t entirely agree with me, I get to about 5pm and want a nap, but that was the exact time I was due at my next work event, at the Coca-Cola Amatil head office.
It offered an equally stunning northern view of the harbour as I reported on the debrief session of the 2019 mentoring program and took lots of social snaps of guests at the Chairman’s Drinks. I also ducked off a few times to admire the fabulous sunset, which made me miss DD rather badly.
I rallied from my earlier indulgence to sip a Peter Lehmann rose to match the fabulous sunset, while nibbling on yummy finger food, including roast pork belly bites and arancini balls.
I also did a lot more Gold medal talking at the Chairman’s Drinks – I actually had a sore throat from all the gabbing by the time I walked wearily through my front door.
What a day!
Song of the day: Donna Summer “She works hard for the money”
And then it was on to my next fancy event …