An evening with James Halliday and Jacques Reymond

By Anna Webster

17 Feb, 2023

On Thursday 16 February, the Halliday Wine Companion facilitated a dinner event between old friends and icons of industry, James Halliday and Jacques Reymond, at Frédéric Bistro. Here's a rundown of the very special evening, and the story of how it transpired.

In 1982, James Halliday was in Paris with his wife, Suzanne. Plans for a few days in Portugal, however, were thwarted when they realised Suzanne’s passport was locked in a garage where they’d been staying, and with no way to access it over the weekend, they had to think of something else to do. 
Jacques Seysses from Domaine Dujac suggested James and Suzanne go to the Jura instead and visit his friend, Jacques Reymond, in the Reymond family’s small hotel and restaurant. Little did Jacques Seysses know, but this meeting would trigger a friendship that would last for more than 40 years. 

James Halliday and Jacques Reymond.James Halliday and Jacques Reymond.

At that time, Jacques Reymond was looking to leave France. He wanted to break out from under his parents’ shadow, and was considering Argentina. But after meeting James, he decided to move to Australia. Jacques cooked for five years at Mietta’s before opening his eponymous restaurant Jacques Reymond – Cuisine du Temps in Lennox Street, Richmond, in 1987. In 1992, he moved the restaurant to a Heritage-listed mansion in Prahran, where it stayed until he retired in December 2013. 
Over those years, James was a regular diner in Jacques' restaurants, and even enlisted him to cook at several famous Single Bottle Club dinners. So, it was a real privilege to facilitate an evening with James and Jacques at Frederic restaurant on Thursday February 16. 

A man talks to a crowd in a restaurant James Halliday talks guests through the chardonnay bracket. 

This sold-out event saw food and wine lovers gather for five courses (plus canapes) of French food matched with James’ top wines of 2022. There was lots of laughter as the two hosts regaled guests with stories of their meeting, and James shared lots of fascinating insights about the wines served. 
There were 15 wines served across five brackets, plus the 2014 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs which was served with the canapes. The wines included riesling from Henschke and Grosset, chardonnay from Penfolds, pinot noir from Giant Steps and cabernet from Cullen, among many others. 
Guests also had plenty of opportunity to talk to and spend time with James, who sat at a different table for every course. 

A line up of wine bottlesThe night's wines.

For a full list of the wines served, see below. And if you’d like to stay abreast of future Halliday Wine Companion events, sign up to our newsletter

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