La Paulée is a series of events celebrating the wines and winemakers of Burgundy. Every important city of North America where Burgundy has an important market host one. There has been several notorious Paulées. These include the ones from New York, San Francisco .
The event takes its name from the traditional post-harvest celebration, La Paulée de Meursault, where guests and winemakers bring wines to share with each other. La Paulée de Meursault is part of Les Trois Glorieuses, “the three glorious days,” that take place around Beaune on the third weekend of each November. The first day centers on a Saturday banquet hosted by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin at the Château du Clos Vougeot. On Sunday, the renowned auction of Hospices de Beaune wines is held in the beautiful fifteenth century Hôtel-Dieu. The grand finale of this oenophilic trilogy is La Paulée, an extravagant luncheon that starts at noon on Monday at the Château de Meursault and continues well into the evening.
A special feature of La Paulée is that everyone brings wine which, no doubt, makes it the world’s classiest BYOB party. A friendly but intense competition prevails as bottles are uncorked, shared and imbibed. Anyone who appreciates fine wine and cuisine should try to attend this event, which captures the essence of Burgundy’s joie de vivre.
In Montreal, La Paulée of Bourgogne was held this year at Restaurant État Major. I, along with other journalists and sommeliers was invited to participate in this special event. Surprisingly, one table was empty. I overheard that there were 29 no shows. It makes me wonder, who in the right mind would want to miss this event.
We started off with an appetizer of Oysters paired with a Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru-Clos de la Garenne from Domaine Duc de Magenta. Excellent wine by itself. Aromas of marzipan nougat, nutmeg and caramelized apricots.Racy in the mouth with a lot of nerve and personality. However, it was very serious with the oysters. I would have preferred something fruitier to pave the road ahead.
We continued then with a small presentation of the terroir of Burgundy and a blind tasting of different wines. There was an exercise of guessing the wines and vintages that you were drinking. Indeed, lots of guessing because each tiny territory of Burgundy has a particular nuance that gives a special character to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. My colleague Yves from the Huffington Post says that it takes about 20 years to start understanding Burgundy.
My favorite in the line up was wine number 3. Francois Raquillet Mercurey 1er Cru Les Veleys 2013. Lovely nose bringing to mind yellow fruit, flowers and smoke. A bit hermetic but quite the nose. On the mouth, racy and elegant with many different fruit layers in the texture. Powerful and almost infinite finale.
In regards with the reds, the number 4 was outstanding. Gevrey-Chambertin Au Closeau 2012. Domaine Drouhin-Laroze. Heady nose bringing to mind earth, clous de girofle, with black cherry and tomato leaf notes. Fresh with fine tannins but quite austere giving off flavors. Nice peppery finale. This is a wine that needs a decade to start expressing itself.
The food at Restaurant Etat Major was pretty amazing and went beautifully well with the burgundies served.
The wines that the guests brought at my table were quite amazing. A brigade of young sommeliers shared some pretty big guns. Raveneau, Pacalet, Pico.
Those two guys from Bouillon Bilk, really know their wines. They are in the mids 20 and are already drinking beautiful burgundies.
However, my favorite wines from the guests were a Mugnier 2004 Clos de La Marechale and a ravishing Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Clos 2003. Yves Mailloux brought that fantastic 2004 bottle. Nicholas from Bouillon Bilk served the Raveneau
The Mugnier show how incredible Pinot Noir can age if grown in the appropriate territory. A well-developed nose displaying fruit peels, dry flowers and a collection of exotic indian spices. On the mouth, perfect elegance and perfect fine tannins. Impeccable texture.
My first experience with Raveneau. This Chablis displayed a marvelous nose bringing to mind complex mineral nuances with a touch of oxydation, giving it a particular pleasant style. Fantastic and elegant mouth bringing to mind flavors of malt, honey and wax. The perfect finale.
And last before I forget was the Chablis Vaudesir that one of the Sommeliers of La Serpent brought. Lovely mineral nose with nuances of white pepper. On the mouth, young and austere with the oak needing some integration.
Hope I will assist for the 2017 edition!!!. I enjoyed some much La Paulée. This event shows the generosity and passion of Burgundy lovers.