Foreign relations, Peugeot-sized prime rib and dirty jokes: Dinner at Ducru
Post by Chris Caughman | Wednesday, March 31st
I’ve always been a big guy and a pretty good athlete, if I might say so myself. When I was a kid, you definitely would have picked me first for touch football at recess. Unfortunately, as I found out at dinner Wednesday evening, the Bordelais don’t play touch football.
This is all I could think about as dinner guests were singled-out and placed strategically around a lavish table set for 16 in the dining room at Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou. Here’s how it went down:
Proprietor Bruno Borie picks JJ Buckley founder Shaun Bishop first out of all
the guests assembled (go JJB, woot!), followed by a wealthy Chinese gentleman speaking neither French nor English. (Yeah, ok. I saw the prominently displayed Chinese flag flying in first position outside the chateau. He is more important than moi. Oui, je comprends.) M. Borie then selects the next ten guests for seating. Eventually it comes down to me, and Team JJB members John Sweeney and Alex Shaw. I’m now thinking we just got picked last for recess touch football— Bordeaux style.
With a bruised ego, I took my seat at one corner of the table smack amiddle three young Chinese ladies, all speaking Mandarin. Bringing all my big American hospitality and manners to bear, I turn to my left and introduce myself.
“Hi, I’m Chris.”
Lovely Chinese lady Number One replies, in perfect English, “Oh, I don’t speak English.” (Giggle, giggle).
Ok, let’s try the right. “Hi, I’m Chris.”
Lovely Chinese lady Number Two replies, “Oh, I don’t speak English…,” (giggle, giggle, giggle) “…just kidding, Chris!”
Well played, Fen Zhu. You got me.
It turns out Fen works as Export Manager to Asian markets for a Bordeaux negociant. These days you’d be hard pressed to find a negociant without a Chinese employee in a similar position. Since she started her job three years ago, she’s seen Asian interest in fine Bordeaux wine expand outside of Hong Kong to Beijing, Shanghai and now beyond. The next step, she thinks, is a more educated Asian buyer. Instead of the Lafite-Or-Bust mentality, there will be buying decisions based on critical acclaim, flavor profiles and personal preference, not simply on luxury brand recognition. Something tells me Lafite will still do ok, though.
As we are making conversation, out of the corner of my eye I notice a small French automobile has driven into the room. Wait…no, that’s my main course! This prime rib roast was seriously the largest piece of meat I’ve ever seen- and I’ve seen some big meat. It was also seriously delicious served with potatoes au gratin, which seems to be a staple of the Bordelais diet. Chewing away happily, I almost choked and spit out my 2000 Ducru, when M. Borie dropped an incredibly inappropriate and awesomely funny joke. I’d repeat it, but really it’s a little too R-rated for a blog that my Mom will probably read.