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Mc Donald’s Camp Out #2 & The Soft-Return of ‘The Ceci Sipper’

So yes, still no internet 'chez moi', but I did manage to make it to McDonald's to use their Wifi. They must be thinking, "Oh, look at zat “typical” American, she comes all ze way to la France to eat McDonalds! Pierre, go buy her a baguette, Camembert, and some Coq au Vin, she needs to experience la cuisine Francaise!" I wonder if they would change their opinion of me if I told them I am just here to use the free Wifi? Probably not. Ok, where do I go from here? Where did we leave off? I do believe I never finished up the happenings at the London International Wine Fair. I think I was somewhere around day two of my trip to the fair?

So …

Still no internet ‘chez moi‘…

The internet rep said it is taking so long because “it is summer and a lot of their installers are on vacation.” ….

I am not thrilled.

Oh how I love being in a country with 5 weeks paid vacation time per year. I mean, you think they are lucky for having that amount of time … but that is only until you are on the receiving end and get to enjoy the “extra time” it takes for things to get done during the summer or the amount of things that are closed or only running at 50% production. I should be fair though, it is not just France that participates in this ‘extended summer vacation’ movement… no, basically the whole of Europe does. But I digress.

So yes, still no internet ‘chez moi‘, but I did manage to make it to McDonald’s to use their Wifi. They must be thinking, “Oh, look at zat “typical” American, she comes all ze way to la France to eat McDonalds! Pierre, go buy her a baguette, Camembert, and some Coq au Vin, she needs to experience la cuisine Francaise!”

I wonder if they would change their opinion of me if I told them I am just here to use the free Wifi? Probably not.

Well, as I said in my last post, I have relocated to a new “city” in France, but I can’t exactly reveal those details just yet, so I shall leave you in suspense =)

So what have I been doing sans-internet? Well … besides running around piles of boxes in the new apartment like a commando in full-on combat mode with war paint slashed across my cheeks yelling into a walkie-talkie for ‘more reinforcement’? Well not too much then, haha.

Just kidding, sort of …

I have spent my ‘internet-less’ time here setting up the new apartment, working on my thesis and trying to organize my photos and posts to get back into the flow of blogging. I have this overhanging cloud of guilt that has set in while I have had all this ‘internet-free’ time to ‘self reflect’. I feel soooooooooo horrible that I have been semi-MIA from Vinously Speaking for a few weeks now, always posting about how hectic my final weeks in my masters in wine business program were. I hope y’all understand. I mean finishing up a masters is a good excuse right? Well, now that my classes are all wrapped up, I can officially say that I am back from my semi-blogging-hiatus! Well I suppose I need internet at my apartment first, but I am trying to be optimistic and hoping that the connection will be made by Monday. (Crossing my fingers and rubbing my lucky rabbit’s foot!)

Ok, where do I go from here? Where did we leave off? I do believe I never finished up the happenings at the London International Wine Fair. I think I was somewhere around day two of my trip to the fair?

Well as usual, I took the 45 min tube ride to get to the fair grounds.

Obviously I took advantage of the press pass I had for wine blogging and sipped on some free coffee and indulged in a few breakfast finger foods in the press center! Gotta love having a press pass!

Once I was all caffeinated up, I attended a few morning seminars …

This particular photo was from the Euromonitor International seminar on “Trends and Opportunities in Wine: Product & Packaging”. I enjoy seminars like this because it helps to keep me ‘grounded’ as a future wine business professional. It is so easy for those of us working in the wine industry to think our preferences are what the ‘average’ wine consumer prefers as well, but that is just not the case. For example, I may not prefer box wine and think that as the world consumption and knowledge of wine increases, the wine consumers will grow away from this form of wine packaging, but that is not true. Euromonitor pointed out that box wine is actually increasing in popularity and due to this, many winemakers are now offering this packaging option for their wines.

I then spent some time walking around the fair to see what interesting things I could find…

I came across ‘a self serve wine station’! Who needs a water fountain in the office anymore when you have this??

Then there was the “Wine in Cans” stand. Apparently ‘wine in cans’ are becoming a trend? I’m curious, would you buy wine in a can? Leave those Bud Light cans out of the ice chest and make room for some canned Chardonnay!

Next up on the agenda was a tasting seminar on English Sparkling wine. Yes folks, England does produce sparkling wine, and some rather impressive ones as well. I would certainly recommend seeking some out!

The presenter was Jamie Goode, the wine blogger behind the #1 most read wine blog, The Wine Anorak. It was awesome to get to meet him! (Also a bit humbling. I am like #1,013 on the list, lol)

And a nice surprise was waiting for us at the end, there was a tasting of the just released (as in that morning!) 2002 vintage of Dom Perignon!

I never tasted Dom before and when I did, I got to be one of the first to try the recently released vintage! (This tasting happened at 10:30am … Dom, the breakfast of Champions!)

After Lunch I attended a talk put on by the Chilean stands on their signature varietal, Carmenere.

A highlight of the speech was when the presenter said she was trying to find a personnage that matched the descriptions of the Carmenere grape …

aaaaaand she thought of Santa, haha, love it!

But I think even more funny than that was when she showed the person that came to mind to describe the style of the Shiraz varietal they produce in Chile, hahahahahaha …

Pamela Anderson!!! hahahahahaha!!! I literally cracked up in the middle of the seminar. No one else did. A few people even turned around to look at me and all I could say was, “Come on, you cannot tell me that wasn’t hilarious!” If you know me personally, you would not be surprised that I laughed out loud for that, hahahaha!

I then spent some making my rounds in the US section. I do miss me some US wine! Not so easy to find here in La France.

Next, I came across a UK based company called Flame Homeware that makes these metal wine bottle cappers. Loved the chef and the sommelier in the front!

They even had a drummer! I really wanted to buy this one for my brother!

I then went to a session put on by the Riedel Glass Company on why the proper glassware is important when tasting Champagne.

I learned that depending on what type of Champagne you are drinking the different type of glass you need. For example, with a young Champagne you should use a flute that is tall and very narrow at the rim. (middle glass). The narrow shape keeps the wine from tasting overly acidic by directing the flow of Champagne in a narrow path over your tongue and not allowing it to flow to the side of you tongue where acidity is easily felt. It is exactly the opposite for very old Champagne, if you are lucky enough to possess some, which should be served in the bulb like glass (on the right) to allow the Champagne to fall onto the side of your tongue and help you taste the subtle acidity that remains in the old Champagne.

Next up for me was a 2009 Beaujolais tasting.

Now when I came to France, I was one of those people who was 100% anti-Beaujolais and thought all Beaujolais would taste like Beaujolais Nouveau. But luckily for me I have been proven wrong and since I lived in Dijon and I was fortunate to meet my favorite Dijon wine shop owner, Bertrand Joinville at ‘O Gre du Vin‘. Bertrand, along with the presenter at this seminar, Masters of Wine Sarah Jane Evans, are serious advocates for good Beaujolais and want to show anti-Beaujolais people (like I used to be) that there are Beaujolais wines out there that are beautiful and seriously worth your time to drink, appreciate, and explore! I am happy to say I am now one of those ‘good Beaujolais‘ advocates!

Moving along, in the afternoon I attended one of the coolest sessions I participated in at the London Wine Fair, put on by InterRhone: Wines of the Rhone Valley stand…

They had us taste 10 Rhone wines, blindfolded, with the lights off, in black wine tasting glasses, and with headphones on to silence the outside noise! It was such an awesome experience! I was very lucky to be able to sign up for this tasting thanks to the nice lady that was taking reservations outside the tasting room the day before. She stopped me as I passed by and we got to talking, she was nice enough to tell me that there was one spot left for this ‘Black Session’ Tasting. So to her I say a big “Thank you!!” for this really unique and totally rad tasting! (On a side note, we tasted 10 wines and I was correct on the color for all of them, I guessed the correct varietal(s) for 8 of them, and even was able to guess where the wine came from in the Rhone Valley for half of them. I felt pretty cool!)

I wrapped up the day by hanging out at the Access Zone and boy was I happy I did, I got to taste one of my favorite Champagnes out there … Champagne Tarlant(!!!!!) and also meet on of the Tarlant crew, Benoit Tarlant! (I also met Melanie Tarlant at the VinoBarCamp in Paris last Saturday AND had some more of their delicious bubbly!!) Seriously, friend them up in Facebook, read their wine-blog, go visit their website, and if your lucky enough, go visit them in person! I know I need to!

Don’t mind the red tinge on my teeth, one of the small sacrifices I have to make to work in this industry =P

After being all nice and wined up and the wine fair closing for the day, I decided to head off with some new friends of mine and have a beer, because alllllllll that wine just wasn’t enough, hahaha.

I decided to leave the Rhone Valley blinders on, I felt they really pimped out my outfit!

And the night didn’t end there, I finished by having dinner with some classmates of mine from my college days!

We went to Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. It had seriously been almost 6 years since we last saw each other! The one on the right, Branko the Bulgarian, went on to get his masters in London and has lived there ever since he is now a big time business man. (His fiance joined us and it was such a joy to meet her, if I remember correctly they were to be married sometime around the beginning of July, so a big “Congratulations” to them!!) The one on the left, Nico the Finlandian;) shacked up with Branko during their masters studies in London, but the wine bug bit him and he is now importing wine into Finland, so he was at the London Wine Fair as well! (On a side note, he recently took the same WSET wine exam I took, so I wish him a lot of luck!)

Such a wonderful second day at the London International Wine Fair! It was great to meet new friends and see old ones, to taste new wines and re-visit ones I already know! Can I go to these kinds of events every month!?

Again, thanks for putting up with the delay, I know this post was long overdue! But I know y’all Vinous Readers understand!

Keep sending those good-luck vibes my way so I can get some dang internet connection at my place and stop having to go to McDonald’s =P

See y’all on the next post!

Vinously Speaking & Vinously Yours, The Ceci Sipper

3 thoughts on “Mc Donald’s Camp Out #2 & The Soft-Return of ‘The Ceci Sipper’

  1. Ceci, I enjoy reading your posts. Though I know it is a pain, using the free wi-fi does have it's advantages – people watching!!

  2. Hi there Ceci, "nice lady" here. Thanks for mention. Am enjoying your blog. Good luck in your new city and with whatever projects are coming up. I have 3.5 weeks to my WSET advanced cert exam…..gulp!

  3. Hi Lizzie!!! Yaaay! I am so happy to see you here on my wine blog!!! Thanks again for being so nice and for telling about this Black Session Tasting! And gooood luck with your WSET advanced! I am waiting for my scores from when I took the exam in early June! I hope to keep in touch with you! Are you on Facebook? Twitter? Email?

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