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A Tour de France of wines

Wine connoisseur will explore the chemistry of wines and food at a special event for the Bowen Island Arts Council
Jean-Edouard de Marenches
Jean-Edouard de Marenches, a wine aficionado who traces his family’s ties to France to the mid 1400s, will conduct a tasting of eight French wines at the Gallery at Artisan Square on November 24.

When two people meet, something magic can happen, something we often call “chemistry.”

The same thing can happen when you pair certain foods with certain wines. Everything comes together perfectly, with one complementing the other, and each made better by the addition of the other

On Saturday, November 24, Jean-Edouard de Marenches will be exploring that chemistry at a special event for the Bowen Island Arts Council

“It’s not a lecture,” he says of the wine tasting event. “It’s a presentation followed by a conversation about the wines we will taste and how they pair with the foods we’ll eat

“Wine and food pairings are like people — some are compatible, some are not, and although there shouldn’t be too many set rules, there are guidelines one should follow.”

A scientist could give you precise reasons why some foods and wines work best together, but that would take away some of the mystery. Marenches would rather focus on more spontaneous reasons such as passion, a blending of knowledge and your own sense of adventure. “Always trust your palate, but the more you’ll try the more you’ll know”

He’s chosen eight French wines and worked with a group of arts council volunteers, spearheaded by Mariana Holbrook, to come up with appetizer pairing for each one

Tracing his family’s roots in Burgundy to 1452 when paternal ancestor Anselme de Marenches came from Piedmont to found the university of Burgundy at the behest of Duke Philippe III, Marenches says he primarily drinks French wines because he knows them better. “Wine was part of growing up; from an early age we were allowed a dash in our water at dinner,” he recalls. “Of course I have a bias for Burgundy but I love French wines for their complexity and, sometimes, their disarming simplicity,” he says. “You can find the best or the worst wines in France but, on average, they offer the most variety, quality and honesty. By honesty I mean winemakers are bound by traditions set by their own forebears and produce wines they can be proud of. Mercantilism comes only after.

The event will be held at the Gallery at Artisan Square - doors open at 7 and the tour begins at 7:30 p.m., Teun Schut will provide the music

Tickets cost $65 (price includes an annual BIAC membership if they are purchased before November 17) and are available at the gallery or on A seat on a free shuttle bus can be booked by calling 604-947-2454