Last year we were invited to speak and present at a special dinner for the LEAP organization in New Haven. LEAP's mission is to develop the strengths and talents of young leaders who create and implement year-round, community- and school-based programming designed to achieve positive academic and social outcomes for children living in high poverty urban neighborhoods. Our goal is to create and implement a multi-tier mentoring model where young people of all ages are welcomed, educated and provided opportunities to grow within LEAP.
LEAP Year Event is an annual fundraiser held each year on February 28th. It starts with a cocktail reception that is followed by dinners at 31 homes and restaurants in and around our city. A different notable Guest of Honor joins each dinner party, providing a special theme for each gathering. Guests of Honor are academics, authors, artists, activists, performers, elected officials, media personalities, journalists and a range of other talented individuals who lead a conversation on a topic of their expertise.
This year Cynthia and Matt Haiken invited me into their home to conduct a wine dinner with pairings for each course for their group of 8 participants. Weeks prior, Cynthia sent me the menu for the evening and I began the wine pairings. Knowing that Matt & Cynthia enjoy wines from Kermit Lynch's portfolio, not that this made it easier, but I knew we could have fun digging into some really eclectic wines to showcase against her menu.
Each course featured two wines to compare and contrast. Right now we're analyzing a Viognier blend vs a Beaujolais Blanc aka Chardonnay.
Beautiful bubbles to compare against a the Lambrusco Rosato.
Lambrusco ROsato to begin with as people arrived.
Photo cred goes to VCP Photograpy.
Bourgogne Rouge against Cotes du Rhone....
Bubbles with the cheese course.
By the end of the night one of the attendees exclaimed "so next week we're all doing this again at someone else's home?" That's the exact sentiments we wanted to create. Bringing people together for a great charity while eating an absolutely fabulous meal and sipping spectacular wines with no cell phones, selfies or Instagram posts. Just people enjoying each others company.