In Napa or Sonoma, you might own an entire vineyard. But in Burgundy, France, you are more likely to own a few rows in a vineyard. That’s why some of the best French wines are produced in miniscule amounts.
That’s what we learned last week at a phenomenal wine tasting at the lovely Cherokee Boulevard home of Pilot exec Mark Hazelwood and his wife, Joanne. Mme. Laurence Jobard and her sister, Mirelle Desmonet, with the help of only one worker, produce less than 1,000 cases of wine each year from old vine vineyards located in and around the village of Pommard. Both women were at the Hazelwood home for the tasting. Jobard is one of France’s most respected winemakers. Desmonet, who handles the business side of the operation, is a founding member of Women and Wine of Burgundy, the first association of females in the wine trade. Their family estate, Domaine Gabriel Billard, bears their late father’s name.
“Gallo makes more than that in about 10 seconds,” joked Steve Pignatiello, who has been the exclusive importer for these and other fine French wines for more than 10 years.
“Everyone in the world is trying to emulate the kind of thing they are doing,” agreed Thad Cox of Ashe’s Wines & Spirits, who offered a limited number of the precious wines for sale that evening.
Seven wines were offered for tasting: a sparkling, two chardonnays and four pinot noirs. The setting on the Hazelwoods’ patio overlooking the Tennessee River was stunning as the sun slowly set during the event.
About 90 people paid $35 per person to attend with proceeds benefiting the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Mark’s Pilot colleagues were lending support: CFO Mitch Steenrod and his wife, Debby, and General Counsel Kristin Seabrook and her husband, Eric, attended. Some others we saw: Joe Landsman, CEO of the hospital; Dr. Jim Newton, dean of the graduate school of medicine; Dr. Dale and Wendy Wortham; Bruce Pearl and Brandy Miller; Gregg and Patti Swersky; J.E. Henry; Jim and Kati Blalock; Teddy and Christie Phillips; Michael Moore; Joy Gardner; Allison Burchett; Teresa Levey; Dan and Tamara Roling; Elisabeth and Bill Rukeyser; and Nicole and Mike Strickland.
In case you were wondering about all the construction underway at the Hazelwoods’ fabulous and relatively new home at 1024 Cherokee, we got the info. The work on the right side when you are facing it is construction of a three-story wine cellar; the work on the left is turning Joanne’s office into a guest bedroom with a balcony. Wow!