New York and the Ruinart Champagne Competition

A fortuitous series of events has lead me to heading off to NYC this Sunday to compete for an all expenses paid trip to Champagne plus a $1000 scholarship. I was selected to be one of 100 participants, based on an essay I wrote.  The contestants are spread across five cities.  Each city has 20 competitors, and one winner from each city is selected for the trip.  The competition is focused on a blind tasting of four wines.  I’ll have to write up my tasting notes for the wines, then name the grape, region, and vintage of each wine. Finally, I have to give food pairing suggestions for each wine.  Its that easy, and that hard. 

The other sommeliers I’m competing against are top notch wine professionals, many of which have more experience blind tasting that I do because they work for master sommeliers and are active in their quest to become a master themselves.  They work at some of the best restaurants on the east coast.  To my knowledge I’m the only one of the 100 participants coming from Portland.   I’m also the only one coming to NYC from the west coast.  I feel like I have some great advantages as a result, but I’m definitely feeling the pressure. 

Beyond the competition, I’m looking forward to spending time in Manhattan.  I’m planning to check out some of the other Champagne bars as well as some kick ass wine bars like Terrior, Corkbuzz, and Ten Bells.  There’s going to be some awesome meals at Del Posto, hopefully Le Bernadin, and wherever the wind carries me.  I’m considering Bar Boulud, Carbone, Hearth, Dirt Candy, and so many more.  I feel like a puppy dog with two peters in a room full of fire hydrants. 

I’m hoping I’ll post once or twice while I’m in New York, but if not I’ll post a bunch when I return.