Photographs by: LUCAS NOONAN

Every now and again I am lucky enough to be extended an unusual invite. One which immerses me in a pool of talent and knowledge crafted over generations.

Distilled and refined through the ages to nurture and protect something special. And thus I landed at Harry’s in Hanover Square. As a lone interloper at a dinner to honor the indomitable Harry. And to bring the creme of Bordeaux’s wine producers to break bread together and hear about Harry’s plans.

Given my penchant for practicing the dark art of things which can never be perfected, what better chance to increase my knowledge of Bordeaux than to attend?

Harry came to New York from Greece to follow in the footsteps of an uncle he had heard had become incredibly successful. Unfortunately the truth didn’t quite align with the tales. So he soon found himself working as a busboy in a restaurant. Hard work and application brought for him the American dream. And his love of Bordeaux brought him respect. His integrity trumped his desire for money. So much so that if he didn’t think you would appreciate the extraordinary and also inordinately expensive wine you were ordering he would instruct the sommelier to tell you it was out of stock.

Which may explain in part the gathering of the great and the good of Bordeaux to break bread at his table. And hear others from his team regale of his plans. For with his son, Peter, the game is afoot. Eataly may be the bastion of Italian cuisine brought to Gotham by Mario Batali. But Harry is bringing 180,000sf of France into play. Restaurants, markets, bakeries. The best of all things French teleported to Manhattan. Complete with Michelin chefs, Grand Cru Classe wine, and patisseries made with enough butter to frighten the bejesus out of your cardiologist.

And what did I learn? Well. I learned never to enter a finger fight with a Count. Especially if the Count in question is the sartorial dervish of a charm offensive that is Stephan von Neipperg, Count of the Holy Roman Empire. A man who not only can talk the birds from the trees, but also take on the Most Interesting Man In The World and probably win.

Every now and again its good to up your game. And the best way is to choose to play with someone who can teach you a trick or two.

So I’m looking forward to a visit to Bordeaux soon. To learn more. After all, knowledge is power.