milestone |ˈmīlˌstōn| 
an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development

Forge Cellars has hit an export milestone.

I am not necessarily a fan of the posting that starts with a definition, so please forgive me for using this approach, but I thought it was appropriate as Forge hit a small, yet important milestone this week.  Last year while in France, Louis said he had a great idea–he has many, so I asked for some elaboration.  He said we were going to use his estate as Forge’s distribution hub for Europe.  This way his existing customers in all of Europe and Asia would have access to our wines.  Shipping full pallets of wine from Upstate New York to Japan is a tall order for small producers like us.  A few weeks ago, we sent our first shipment to Gigondas.  It is in Marseille as we speak, about to finish its passage to storage at Chateau St. Cosme.  This is wonderful as we can now ship small quantities to just about anywhere in Europe.  Buying a bit of Cotes-du-Rhone in London? How about we toss on some dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes?

My wine education, as you may know, is based in France and specifically with the core producers that Kermit Lynch imports.  I spent a lot of time visiting and buying from these producers.  During these buying forays, I started and ended many trips in Paris with my co-worker, Philippe Hervy, at his parents’ apartment.  At their little table, I experienced epic, life changing meals.  His mother is a cook of the tallest order and would make the great French classics in only the way a French women can in a tiny, tiny kitchen in an old building in Paris with pots hanging from all places and room enough for only one in the kitchen.  I remember how his father would agonize for days over  which wines he was going to blind taste us on.  His stack of index cards with his entire cellar printed on them with date of purchase, place, initial thoughts on the wine, who he last drank it with and what and some other random notations all done in the nicest script that would make any teacher proud.   These meals left such an impact on my idea of what great wine and food really means that it is hard to describe.  We never spoke of whether the producer believed in this thing or that thing or if he was part of that movement or that movement.  We just simply talked about the wine and food in front of us…for hours.  As a matter of fact, in true French fashion, it took Philippe’s father two years (yes, two years) to ask me a personal question.  Amazing, considering that our conversations on many levels were so deep.  We had so many important things to talk about…would you have served Chinon with the rabbit or a Sancerre Rouge?
This love of Paris carried over into my personal life as I would eventually be married there (at the Chapelle Expiatoire — see pic).  In fact, we were the first Americans allowed to be married there, but that is another tale.

The point?  Louis sent us a note the other day and said his agent (“distributor” in U.S.-speak) for Paris tasted our Riesling and wanted to reserve 28 cases for the City of Lights.  This agent’s customers are predominantly Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris.  This man would be presenting our little wines from the “Lakes” to some of the great restaurants in the city.  The thought that this city that to this day is still a big part of my life (I will be there in April with my family) will have dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes (not just Forge, but the FINGER LAKES), is just mind boggling for me.  It really is a great feeling to come full circle with a city that gave me so much.
Here’s to Parisians drinking Finger Lakes Riesling…