Followers of wine.co.za’s zany Extreme Pairing video series with the so-called Crazy Frenchman, Jean-Vincent Ridon, will be delighted to know they can see Ridon in action at the first-ever TOPS at SPAR Wine Show Cape Town, taking place from 14 to 16 December 2017 at Sun Park, GrandWest.
A French sommelier extraordinaire with a long history of winemaking, Ridon knows oodles about wine. But he doesn’t take himself, or his wine, too seriously. Rather, he blends his knowledge of wine with his off-beat sense of humour to offer a tantalising take on wine education.
Crisp, refreshing and not stuffy at all, Ridon makes learning about interesting, untraditional food and wine pairings fun and entertaining. Just take a look at his hilarious Extreme Pairing vid featuring British food star, the humble pork pie, which provides plenty of opportunity for a few French jokes aimed at the Brits. In offering ideal wine pairings for this British staple, Ridon declares that tea is “probably not the best choice, as we are not in England in the 19th century; now we can have fun!”
Funny accents, jokes and skits that gently tickle the funny bone like a smooth Chardonnay on a summer’s day are all part and parcel of Ridon’s Extreme Pairing experience.
On a more serious note, Ridon is passionate about South African wines. Having first encountered SA wine as a young sommelier working in Belgium, it was love at first ‘swirl, smell and sip’, and shortly afterwards Ridon found himself with a one-way ticket to the tip of Africa.
That was 21 years ago, and since then his passion for South African wines has grown. Today Ridon is on a mission to raise the profile of local wines, and uses his edutaining approach to wine education to do so. Trusty corkscrew in hand, he aims to smash the upper crust stigma that often surrounds wine, making drinking and enjoying wine more accessible for all South Africans.
As part of the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show’s Cape Town debut, Ridon will host a live Extreme Pairing session with wine.co.za at the show’s highly anticipated Cape Times wine theatre. Here he will introduce visitors to the best food and wine combinations of the season in his usual inimitable style.
Andrew Douglas, owner and producer of the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show, says fun, interactive initiatives such as this set the show apart from others. “Being able to give our visitors the exclusive opportunity to enjoy an audience with someone like Jean-Vincent and experience his extreme pairings for themselves, is truly unique. We are also fortunate to enjoy a fruitful partnership with wine.co.za, which enabled this great collaboration between the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show Cape Town and Jean-Vincent,” explains Douglas.
Aside from working to educate South Africans on local wines, Ridon is also founder and owner of Signal Hill Wines, and earlier this year received his ASI Diploma from the Association de la Sommellerie International in Salzburg, Austria. He is one of only 16 sommeliers in the world to qualify for this diploma with a Gold distinction, and is the first sommelier in Africa to achieve the ASI qualification.
Catch Ridon’s Extreme Pairing session on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at 5pm at the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show, Sun Park, GrandWest.
Tickets are available online for the entire show with new ticketing provider, Ticketpro.
General admission is R120 online or R140 at the door. It includes a tasting glass, all tastings, access to the Cape Times Wine Theatre and a map to help navigate the show.
For more information, please go to www.wineshow.co.za.