“Enter here to be and find a friend.” In 1953 Michael Kimelman walked under this inscription entering the Hackley School as a shy, insecure, mediocre student. Three years later, thanks to the School’s culture and Pop Lindsay (an incredible human being and teacher), he graduated as a young, confident man prepared and anxious to seek and enjoy life’s journey.
In 1986 Blue Chip Farms and the Hambletonian Society took Kimelman to Paris. In 1989 reading Robert Parker’s Rhone Valley book inspired a visit to Auguste Clape in Cornas. Tasting in Clape’s cellar and dining with him at Restaurant Jacques Pic transformed Michael from a mere consumer of wine to someone with a passion for the industry. He was overwhelmed by the people and the beauty of the Rhone Valley. Clape, Chave, Hermitage Hill, vineyards of Cotie Rotie, Cornas, Condrieu carved out of huge hills. The only thing that prevented the Kimelmans from having a home in the Rhone Valley was visiting Burgundy and realizing they didn’t want to give up either area for the other.
“Does Francois Mikulski live here and do you know if he speaks English?”, The Chief shouted to a handsome young man mowing the lawn. “Yes, and when he finishes cutting the grass, he will offer you to taste his Meursault”. Ten hours later, Mike and Pat Kimelman kissed Francois and Marie Pierre goodbye. A terrific friendship was born that now embraces almost all members of both families.
Given The Chief’s passion for people, food, and wine, the creation of Voix de la Terre was practically pre-ordained. Hosting stimulating dinners for six to twelve people was at least a weekly high for Mike and his sidekick, Lenny (“Marvelous”) Samson. Whether family, friends, or fellow board members – work or pleasure – it was always pleasure and with dazzling food and wine.
With each trip, the relationships in France grew both in quality and quantity and, With each year that passed, the wines at the table in New York multiplied as did those who wanted to buy them along with The Chief. In 2008, Raphael, Madina, and The Chief agreed to jointly build VDLT. Dinners entertaining winemakers were held in France and winemakers came to New York to participate in tasting dinners at restaurants and at Kimelman’s home. We were more than buying wine together – we were developing a wonderful atmosphere of sharing and growing. Now thanks to a push from my friend of forty years (Alex Porter), we have built a website. We invite you to slowly study the opportunities that “Voices of the Earth” offers and, if inclined – ENTER HERE TO BE AND FIND A FRIEND.
Michael Kimelman – Background
Formed Kimelman & Baird, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser and Broker Dealer, now 45 years young
Formed Blue Chip Farms with Oscar and Ted Kimelman – today one of the world’s leading standardbred breeding farms
Trustee of The Hackley School
1987-present Member of The Hackley School Advisory Board of Trustees
1987-present Director of the Hambletonian Society
First Vice President and Member of the Executive Committee
Takhir pressed his palm to his forehead in disbelief. His “little Princess” was Gargling vigorously with some red liquid taken from a barrel with a syringe. Oh, no!! She spat the mouthful on the floor. Yes, Madina was tasting in a winemaker’s cellar and she had taken her Dad along to experience her new craft.
In 2001, at the age of 21, Madina came to America. Smile, charm, and ambition enabled her to capture a series of continually improving sales jobs. Then in 2006, she competed for and won the job of Assistant to the Director of Marketing at a $500 million company. Madina very much enjoyed the challenge of this job – interesting people and demanding projects. Nevertheless in 2008, she became a founding member of the VDLT team. She entered Fabrice Larochette’s tasting room, an occasional drinker of a glass of wine and left on a new career path. From the moment that Raphael taught her to smell the wine and then taste in search of fruit, acidity, alcohol and tannins, she was hooked. Madina has a terrific sense of smell and a wonderful palate heretofore confined to flowers and Mom’s cooking. Raphael opened her eyes to a whole new world which she has pursued relentlessly. Madina has been a hands-on participant in every aspect of our organization. Building the VDLT culture requires full dedication of a talented team and Madina’s endless supply of positive energy has motivated our lawyers, website builders, winemakers, and warehouse staff.
Going forward, 90% of Madina’s focus will be assuring every member the opportunity to learn about and experience the Voices of the Earth. Between Raphael’s mentoring and her determination, she has become an excellent taster and now is consumed with finding ways for members to taste all of our wonderful wines.
As a result, we have a very well designed and extensive tasting kit program. These are mixed cases that represent different treatments of the same grape or might give the member the opportunity to experience different grape varietals. These kits have already been extremely well received by our members. Additionally Madina will be in charge of organizing special events like tasting dinners and conference calls. Her pride and joy has been working with Erica Meadows on our forthcoming (October 9) tasting dinner with Allen Meadows (Burghound). She will be available for guidance by email at email@example.com
and telephone (855) SIP VDLT.
Raphael Gimenez Fauvety
Among the five most interesting, talented, knowledgeable, honorable and passionate souls I have met in a life filled with exciting, wonderful people, is a Frenchman and partner of VDLT who I affectionately call “the Grape”. Francois Mikulski (Meursault not vodka) introduced us to “the Grape” ten years ago. His given name is Raphael Gimenez Fauvety.
Raphael has made the most of his privileged upbringing. His parents inspired without inhibiting – exemplified by his ponytail and the motorcycle parked outside his wine store in the Bastille section of Paris. Our “Man of La Mancha” is living his dream. He isn’t tilting at windmills but rather continuously circumnavigating France’s wine regions bringing his sunshine and passion to every winemaker’s cellar he visits. He monitors each vintage from the first bloom on the vine to harvest – from the barrel to the bottle – and from bottling to the wine’s maturity. He is admired because of his knowledge and work ethic and he is enjoyed because of his warmth and engaging personality. VDLT’s treasure trove of exceptional wines has been assembled with the careful guidance and sensibility of “the Grape”.
Raphael’s wine store in Paris, Les Caprices de l’Instant , is filled with followers eager to taste the treasures that his travels have unearthed. In addition to the wonderful relationships he enjoys with established, well-known winemakers, Raphael is constantly tasting in the cellars of winemakers with potential to become future stars. Consequently, several of our extraordinary wines have never before been imported into America.
Yes, our chivalrous knight is the source of our wonderful wine. However, he is also an intricate part of the team that has molded the VDLT experience and culture. To fully appreciate Raphael, you must read his winemaker write-ups and enjoy his tasting videos.