New York City has no shortage of bespoke wine tastings. Charity events aren’t rare, either.
But the second annual Reboule du Rhône, November 15-18, 2018, is the best of both worlds. Patrons can enjoy exciting wines from some of the region’s most renowned winemakers, and, because all proceeds go to No Kid Hungry, they can go home with their consciences and palates equally satisfied.
Wine enthusiasts may be familiar with the Burgundy-focused La Paulée de New York or Bordeaux’s dedicated BurdiGala, two longstanding events on the wine calendar. Reboule du Rhône, however, is the only high-end northern Rhône tasting in America, and the only one to dedicate 100 percent of proceeds to charity.
In France’s northern Rhône Valley, “La Reboule” celebrates the end of the harvest with a rollicking party. Winemakers, grape harvesters, and cellar staff all toast the end of a successful vintage with great food, great company, and, of course, great wine. While tasting their way around the region, event founders Dustin Wilson and Thomas Pastuszak first hatched the idea of launching a similar event in New York.
They borrowed a few ideas from La Reboule, including three seated dinners and a tie-loosening after party, complete with dancing and plenty of wine. But the charity element differentiates this event from its namesake and, indeed, many wine events like it. After Reboule du Rhône, attendees will go home with a warm feeling they can’t entirely attribute to their glass.
Pastuszak, wine director at The NoMad, has been involved in No Kid Hungry since 2006. Wilson, Master Sommelier and owner of Verve Wine in TriBeCa, has worked with the charitable organization since 2014. No Kid Hungry works to end childhood hunger, so Pustuszak and Wilson felt it was a natural choice for an event that features memorable cuisine from some of the city’s top chefs.
“Seeing people being so generous and knowing that it’s going to a good cause is really powerful and moving,” Pastuszak says. This year, the Reboule du Rhône brings a star-studded lineup of winemakers, culinary personalities, and the industry’s best sommeliers. Those in attendance will include Olivier Clape, Andre Perret, Christine Vernay, Guillaume Monier, Antoine Graillot, Julien Cecillon, and many others.
For their part, Wilson and Pastuszak are looking forward to promoting a French wine region many American drinkers still haven’t entirely discovered.
“It’s an area in which the experience goes well beyond the price tag and where the wines are still underrepresented for how great they can be,” Wilson says. “You have this place that’s kind of in the shadow of some of these other regions, like Champagne, Burgundy, or Bordeaux, but the wines are really fantastic.”
The small northern Rhône region is largely populated by generations-old, family-run domaines, many of which are less tourist-trampled than, say, Bordeaux. Its wines center around the popular Syrah grape, which the organizers hope to showcase during La Reboule.
“The true original expression of Syrah is from this area,” Pastuszak says, differentiating French Syrah from its Australian cousin, Shiraz. “In its purest, most beautiful expression, it’s rich in depth and character, extremely aromatic but not heavy,” he says. “It’s so lively thanks to the specific soils and cooler climate of the northern Rhône region.”
Wilson and Pastuszak are looking forward to continuing their quest to introduce American collectors and wine lovers to the region, and give last year’s attendees a chance to bring back new discoveries and knowledge they may have accrued since then. Whether you’re celebrating with them for the first time or back again for more, everyone is sure to leave satisfied, having enjoyed great wine for an even better cause.