On Friday last week three of our staff attended a very special ceremony at a secret location in Auckland. Our Victoria Park store manager Zane Winskill was grandly inducted as a Chevalier, in the New Zealand Commandre of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (Brotherhood of Knights of the Wine Tasting Cup).
Founded in Burgundy in 1934, their headquarters is the massive 12th century chateau situated in the middle of the famed Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot vineyard. The dinners there are legendary, hosting up to 600 people. The order has around 12,000 Knights worldwide and is devoted to defending and enjoying Burgundy, the region, wine and food, in bacchanalian style. Our general manager Liz Wheadon, and fine wine manager Regan McCaffery have been Chevaliers for a number of years.
The silver Tastevin is presented to a new Chevalier on a gold and red sash, representing the colours of the two great wines of Burgundy, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The tastevin itself is the old tasting-cup used by wine-producers in burgundy. According to a custom going back to the 15th or 16th century, it is given as a christening present, for it is a tool rather than an “objet d’art”. In a dark cellar lit by candles, it allows the light to reflect off the silver and the raised contours, illuminating the colour and clarity of the wine.