Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor
Luvs, the festive season is indeed upon us and what better way to celebrate than with a glass or two - or even three or four - of vino? And it being that time of the year, the third Thursday in November, what better wine to raise a toast with than the celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau, if you are the French ambassador to Jamaica, as is the case with Her Excellency Madame Ginette de Matha; and on the eve of the celebration of the relaunch of the once much-celebrated and anticipated annual French showcase, 'A Touch of France!'
Dubbed the Thanksgiving Day for wine lovers by commentators, the celebration of the Beaujolais Nouveau is one of the fashionable accidents of history that has taken on a marketing life of its own and is now part and parcel of international wine culture!
Curiously, it was once thought that, in order for red wine to be truly appreciated and enjoyed, it first had to be aged to perfection before being consumed. With the Beaujolais Nouveau, that changed, as here was a young wine being promoted and enjoyed for what it was - the first harvest of the Gamay grapes, bottled and released internationally, with much fanfare and hoopla, on the third Thursday of November, to wine lovers around the globe and, thus, creating a new and very fashionable sense of occasion to the French.
And so it was, my dears, that Jamaica, too, became part and parcel of the international celebrations surrounding Beaujolais Nouveau Day as wine lovers and oenophiles everywhere join in the celebratory drinking of Beaujolais Nouveau, across the globe, taking their cue, of course, from Paris, when the festivities would commence - just after midnight.
Well, my dears, French Ambassador Her Excellency Ginette de Matha is as charming a French envoy as she is the consummate host. And, on the occasion of Beaujolais Nouveau Day, she invited a shortlist of friends and French nationals to her official residence, in the ritzy Golden Triangle neighbourhood on Hillcrest Avenue, to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day.
This year, Beaujolais Nouveau is one fabulous-tasting wine - full with the vibrancy of its youth, it is easy on the palate and easier on the senses, as it is as cordial as it is inviting to the taste. And accompanied as it was by a fine selection of French cheeses, cutlets, crackers, and other finger foods, you know we are talking an elegant outing here for the Beaujolais Nouveau 2013.
The shortlisted guests who gathered at the ambassador's home were wine lovers for the most part, and this made the occasion that much more special. But, coming as it was on the eve of the official relaunching of what was once the region's premier French trade and fashion showcase, this year's Beaujolais Nouveau Day was made that much more special, as it had a number of visiting officials from the French Caribbean territories, adding an extra oomph to what was, in essence, a truly cosmopolitan outing!
And with the contemporary musical ensemble Black Zebra providing musical entertainment and a repertoire as fashionable as the evening, y'all know we are talking a simply charming event here - and of the fabulous order!
And the fabuloucracy was out too, as spotted out sharing in the occasion were: Paul Robotham, permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Elinor Felix, chief of state protocol, Office of the Prime Minister; The Hon Oliver Clarke, chairman of The Gleaner Company Ltd; British High Commissioner David Fitton and wife, Hisae Fitton; Belgian Ambassador Godelieve Van den Bergh; Mexican Ambassador Gerardo Lozano Arredondo and his wife, Moriza; Helen Hagen Larsen, wife of the ambassador of Argentina; Jesús Orus Baguena, deputy head of delegation, Delegation of the European Union; Arun Kashyap, UNDP representative; Michael Dumke, first counsellor, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; Dr Fritz Pinnock, executive director, Caribbean Maritime Institute; Etienne André, managing director of Vinci Construction Grands Projets; Paula Duncan and Andrea Stephenson representing Total Jamaica Limited; John Valentine for Jamaica Aggregates; Captain Michael Lyn and wife, Thalia; Dr Dhiru and Dr Laura Tanna; Capt David McRae; E.G. Hunter and his lovely wife, attorney-at-law Nesta-Claire Hunter; Catherine Handa; Dwight Moore of Kia Motors and his daughter, attorney-at-law, the fabulous Shari Moore; Pierre and Karlene Lemaire; the lovely Suzanne Constantine; wine buff, the fab Raihn Sibbles; Leopold Nesbeth, general manager, CMA CGM Jamaica Ltd; Christiane Mage, president of the Cooperation Commission and European Affairs at the regional Council of Martinique; Eliette Lesuperbe, Guadeloupian fashion designer; French embassy official, the charming Salima Amirally; and the dapper Alex Reid; plus a number of others.
Indeed, my dears, it
was an absolutely fabulous opening for what proved a weekend that was
truly one of France's finest 'heures' here in the
capital of the Caribbean. Following up on the fabulously successful
celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau, it was on to The Jamaica Pegasus
hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Touch of France showcase,
which was as spectacular as it was a gold mine of
Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer