While working in a restaurant in Australia, French native Kévin Charuel discovered wine.
“The manager wanted us to get to know the wines so we could make recommendations. I dove in.” Charuel subsequently moved from Australia to New Zealand to harvest grapes. Since then, the young rebel has gone back to pure and simple basics.
After three years in the “Wines and Spirits” department of BusinessFrance, he arrived in New York in January to serve as ambassador to the French group Marie Brizard. In his spare time, Charuel and his wife Adrienne started a tasting club, aptly named The Tasting Club. Their goal is to bring the traditional art of appreciation to the foodies of the five boroughs. The club meets monthly in a Bushwick backyard.
“The demand is large because consumers want to have new experiences, to discover new flavors and sensations. Oftentimes, we have pre-conceived notions of what we’re consuming. We want to push our knowledge. I have friends who call themselves whiskey fans, but they’re incapable of telling the difference between bourbon and scotch for example”.
These informal, convivial rendezvous were inspired by a student project on tasting that Charuel developed on return from Australia. The concept is simple: tastings in small groups (no more than 10 people) on a theme of “a country, a region, or type of alcohol”. The first two meetings of the Tasting Club focused on French wine and mezcal/Mexican tequila.
The next meeting, on Saturday 24th September, has an “Apero” theme. For $35, guests will enjoy three cocktails, accompanied by five dishes prepared tapas-style, with a barbecue to follow. As part of the experience, Charnel first walks his guests through the art of flavor profiles, and gives a brief tutorial on cocktail creation.
With future club meetings in the works, Charuel has grand plans: “Maybe we’ll open the club to a membership system which requires an annual fee”.
In the meantime, we’ll toast to that.