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07.07.2010

The World's Best Burgundy? Tasting La La Paulée de San Francisco 2010

lapaulee2010.jpgI won't be winning any awards this year for "timely reporting." It's now been more than three months since the event called La Paulée de San Francisco came to town, but I'm finally getting my notes from the grand tasting posted here.

For those who aren't familiar with La Paulée, it offers the opportunity to spit out thousands of dollars of wine in the space of a couple of hours. In other words, it's one of world's best Burgundy tastings, where attendees get the chance to sample some wines that are made in such small quantities, and at such high prices, that most people never have a prayer of getting their hands on some.

Not all the Burgundies at
La Paulée are that elusive, but they are mostly all that good.

La Paulée is an annual event started in 2000 by sommelier Daniel Johnnes in the spirit of an event known as La Paulée de Meursault, which has been held, in some form or another since 1923 in and around the commune of Meursault in Burgundy, France.

The French version began as a communal dinner among wine producers, and evolved into its modern incarnation as an extravagant lunch that follows the Hospices de Beaune wine auction every year. This luncheon (to which I have never been) is really more of a feast of wine that begins in the early afternoon and lasts well into the evening. It is marked by good food and in particular, by incredible old Burgundies brought from the personal cellars of all who attend.

It was this spirit of conviviality, as well as this passionate consumption of what he considers to be the world's greatest wines, that prompted Johnnes to hold his own such celebration. The event now flip-flops back and forth between New York and San Francisco, and offers an over-the-top experience for anyone who loves Burgundy, or simply wants to get to know it better.

I get a press pass to the grand tasting, but the real event is the evening grand dinner, which I can't afford to attend, and since press passes to that aren't available, I merely live with the fantasy of one day finding a ticket to it in a bar of chocolate, or something like that.

But in the meantime I'm always deliriously happy to buckle down and taste a lot of really fine wine at the grand tasting. This year's tasting improved mightily on the one held two years ago in the logistics department. Spit buckets were plentiful and the room was arranged with much more space available for tasting. It was still crowded, of course, but the press and crush that marked the 2008 tasting was gone. You could actually stop to have a conversation with a winemaker if you wanted, instead of being edged out immediately by the next person looking for a taste. The food, provided by the likes of A16, Perbacco, and Quince, was excellent.

Below are my notes on the wines I tasted.


White

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10

2007 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chenevottes"
Near colorless in the glass, this wine has a fantastic nose that mixes herbal and mineral aromas with amazingly perfumed pine sap and lemon zest aromas. In the mouth, the wine offers amazement from the moment it hits the tongue. A terrific melange of flavors that range from the nutty to the piney are shot through with an incredible lemon and grapefruit essence that is captivating. Like balancing a kitchen knife on the point of another kitchen knife, the wine hangs in perfect balance through an incredibly long finish. Wow. $74. Click to buy.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5

2007 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne
Pale gold in color, this wine has a phenomenal nose of rainwater, cold cream and wet stones, as if it emerged from a cave of limestone. In the mouth the wine explodes on the palate with lemon juice and lemon zest shrapnel. A tart minerality grips the bright fruit with a firm grasp and allows it to vibrate through the long finish. Mouthwateringly delicious. $180.

2007 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Pucelles"
Pale gold in the glass with greenish highlights, this wine smells of unripe apple and the fresh zest of a pomelo. In the mouth the wine has a crystalline minerality and offers flavors of tart lemon zest, grapefruit, and hints of unripe apricot that linger in a long gorgeous finish. Delicate and powerful in the same breath, this wine sings like a struck chime. $??

2008 Domaine Matrot Meursault 1er Cru "Perrières"
No tasting note.

2008 Domaine Matrot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chalumaux"
Pale gold in color, this wine has a powerful nose of piney apple and raw quince aromas. In the mouth the wine is electric with lemon zest and pink grapefruit juiciness. Fantastic acidity makes this wine vibrate even as a resonant mineral foundation courses its way through the wine like a river of stone. Very long finish. Outstanding. $60 Click to buy.

2007 Domaine Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chenevottes"
Pale greenish-gold in color, this wine has a wonderfully mineral nose of cold cream, pastry cream and rainwater aromas. In the mouth a burst of pink grapefruit dances a jig with lemon curd smeared on a cold marble slab. Wonderful acidity and fantastic balance drive this wine through a long and lip smacking finish. $60 Click to buy.

2007 Hospices de Beaune Corton-Charlemagne "Cuvée François de Salins"
No tasting note.

2008 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru "En Remilly"
Near colorless in the glass, this wine has a nose of explosive lemon essence and pastry cream. In the mouth the wine is just as dynamic, with juicy lemon oil and piney, sap flavors that zip around the palate on the back of racy acidity. Fantastically delicious. $40. Click to buy.

2007 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru "Perrières"
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of nut skin and lemon zest. In the mouth the wine does a wonderful trick of being both rich as well as crystalline in its minerality. Flavors of lemon, lemon zest, and wet stones course electrically through the finish. Outstanding. $100. Click to buy.


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2007 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne
2007 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru "Clos Saint-Landry"
2007 Domaine Brocard Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent
2007 Domaine Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
2007 Domaine Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
2007 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Valmur
2007 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos
2007 Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot 1er Cru "Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot" Monopole
2007 Domaine de Montille Château de Puligny Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Folatières"
2007 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault "Clos de la Barre"
2007 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault 1er Cru "Charmes"
2007 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet
2007 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Clavaillon"
2008 Domaine Matrot Meursault 1er Cru "Charmes"
2007 Domaine Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chaumées"
2007 Domaine Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Maltroie"
2007 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Ruchottes"
2007 Domaine Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet
2007 Maison Louis Jadot Pommard 1er Cru "Les Rugiens"
2007 Maison Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne
2008 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru "Les Champlots"


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Folatières"
2007 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault 1er Cru "Genevrières"
2007 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault 1er Cru "Perrières"
2007 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Clos Saint-Jean"
2007 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Boudriotte"
2007 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Morgeot"
2007 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Cailleret"
2007 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Meursault 1er Cru "Genevrières"
2008 Domaine Brocard Chablis Boissoneuse
2007 Domaine Bruno Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Boudriotte"
2007 Domaine Bruno Colin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Truffière"
2007 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay "Au Champ Salomon"
2008 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon
2007 Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc
2007 Domaine Leflaive Mâcon-Verzé
2004 Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru "La Moutonne" Monopole
2002 Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru "La Moutonne" Monopole
2001 Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru "La Moutonne" Monopole
2007 Domaine Marquis D'Angerville Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos de l'Arlot" Blanc
2008 Domaine Matrot Meursault
2007 Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Les Terres Blanches" Blanc
2007 Domaine Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet
2007 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chaumées"
2007 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru " Clos des Mouches" Blanc
2007 Maison Deux Montille Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru "Sous Frétille"

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2007 Domaine Alain Chavy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru "En Remilly"
2007 Domaine Ballot-Millot Meursault 1er Cru "Charmes"
2008 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Mâcon-Chardonnay "Clos de la Crochette"
2006 Domaine Long Depaquit Chablis Grand Cru "La Moutonne" Monopole
2008 Joseph Drouhin Chablis 1er Cru "Sécher"

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2007 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny-Montrachet
2007 Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Clavoillons"
2007 Domaine Bruno Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chaumées"
2008 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis


Red


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10

2007 Domaine Faiveley Corton "Clos des Cortons"
Pale ruby in color, this wine has a mostly indescribable raspberry cocaine (if there was such a thing) aroma to it that will completely stop you in your tracks. If you can bear to get your nose out of the glass and actually taste this wine, you will find crystalline flavors of tart sour cherry dusting a wet forest floor and a deep mineral aspect to the wine. Perfectly balanced and poised, the wine has a minutes long finish that begs for silence and stillness. Phenomenal. $100. Click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5

2007 Domaine D'Eugénie Clos de Vougeot
Pale garnet in the glass, this wine smells of a gorgeous, piney forest floor dusted with fresh raspberries. In the mouth bright, flavors of black raspberry are blown about in a dusty blanket of earthiness. Wet dirt and cranberry flavors linger on the finish. Great acidity, fine grained, muscular tannins, and a wonderful balance pervade the wine. Excellent and distinctive. $260. Click to buy.

2007 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru "Les Pézerolles"
Pale ruby in color, this wine has a wonderfully rustic nose of briary raspberry aromas. In the mouth it is impeccably balanced, with fine grained tannins and delicate acidity that wrap around a core of redcurrant and raspberry fruit. An undercurrent of that same briary woodiness works its way through the wine into the finish. Delicious. $83. Click to buy.

2007 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Champeaux"
Pale garnet in the glass, this wine has a fantastic nose of violet, cranberry and raspberry aromas. In the mouth soft cranberry and black raspberry fruit lays on a bed of velvety tannins. The wine has an utterly compelling texture, somewhere between velvety and satiny on the tongue and seems to have a bluish fruit quality to it as well, whatever that means. Fantastic length and deep deliciousness. $140. Click to buy.

2007 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Lavaut Saint-Jacques"
Pale garnet in color, this wine smells of violets and cherry fruit. In the mouth it has a silky sexiness that is difficult to ignore as incredibly juicy flavors of raspberry, orange peel, and forest floor dance like fairies in a glen across the palate. A fantastic earthiness rumbles below the tinkling fruit that shines brightly with the wine's great acidity. Lovely finish. $140. Click to buy.

2007 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Les Cazetiers"
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry fruit, briary green stems, and a wet stone quality that is quite disarming. In the mouth flavors of raspberry, redcurrant, and a hint of green, even minty herbs course through a raceway sketched by beautiful acidity. A fantastic texture of silkiness pervades the wine and it lingers in the finish with aromas of pine boughs and that mint character hanging just out of reach. Outstanding. $60. Click to buy.

2007 Domaine Faiveley Échezeaux
Pale ruby in the glass, this wine has a nose of bright raspberry and wet stone aromas. In the mouth the wine has a classic, regal composure with flavors of raspberry, redcurrant, and a stony minerality that hang beautifully in balance like some creation of Alexander Calder, as ocean breezes waft underneath. Wonderfully long finish. Delicious.

2007 Domaine Perrot-Minot Morey-Saint-Denis "La Rue de Vergy"
Pale ruby in color, this wine smells beautifully with the perfume of violets and cranberry skin. In the mouth the wine has an incredible stained glass window quality to it, shining with light and flavors of raspberry and redcurrant. An aromatic sweetness suffuses the wine, and fantastic acidity lifts the whole luminous swell across the palate. Delicious.


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2007 David Duband Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru "Les Sentiers"
2007 David Duband Échezeaux
2007 Domaine Chevalier Père et Fils Ladoix 1er Cru "Les Grechons"
2007 Domaine Chevalier Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne
2006 Domaine Chevalier Père et Fils Corton "Le Rognet"
2007 Domaine D'Eugénie Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru "Aux Brulées"
2007 Domaine D'Eugénie Grands-Échezeaux
2007 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Vielles Vignes
2007 Domaine Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin "En Champs"
2007 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru "Santenots du Milieu"
2007 Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis Rouge
2007 Domaine Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Aux Combottes"
2007 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche
2007 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru "Les Cras"
2007 Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes-Mares
2007 Domaine Marquis D'Angerville Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos de l'Arlot"
2007 Domaine Marquis D'Angerville Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos des Forets Saint Georges"
2005 Domaine Michel Gay et Fils Beaune 1er Cru "Les Toussaints"
2005 Domaine Michel Gay et Fils Corton "Les Renardes"
2007 Domaine Michel Gros Nuits-Saint-Georges "Les Chaliots"
2007 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru "Clos des Réas"
2007 Domaine Michel Gros Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru "Aux Brulées"
2007 Domaine Michel Gros Clos de Vougeot
2007 Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos des Argillières"
2007 Domaine Perrot-Minot Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "La Richemone"
2007 Domaine Perrot-Minot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru "La Combe d'Orveau"
2007 Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes-Chambertin
2007 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin 1er Cru "Clos Napoleon"
2007 Domaine Pierre Gelin Chambertin-Clos de Bèze
2007 Domaine Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Boudriotte" Rouge
2005 Hospices de Beaune Corton Grand Cru "Cuvée Charlotte Dumay" Rouge
2007 Maison Louis Jadot Clos de Vougeot
2007 Maison Louis Jadot Domaine Duc de Magenta Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot "Clos de la Chapelle"
2006 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Les Saint Georges"
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Clos de Vougeot


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 David Duband Nuits-Saint-Georges
2007 David Duband Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru "Clos Sorbè"
2007 Domaine Bruno Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "La Maltroie" Rouge
2007 Domaine Charles Audoin Fixin "Le Rozier"
2006 Domaine Chevalier Père et Fils Ladoix 1er Cru "La Corvée"
2007 Domaine D'Eugénie Vosne-Romanée
2007 Domaine de la Vougeraie Côte de Beaune "Les Pierres Blanches" Rouge
2007 Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin "Les Evocelles"
2007 Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot
2006 Domaine de Montille Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Aux Thorey"
2007 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny
2006 Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Aux Boudots"
2006 Domaine Jean Grivot Échezeaux
2007 Domaine Marquis D'Angerville Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Clos du Chapeau"
2005 Domaine Michel Gay et Fils Savigny-lès-Beaunes 1er Cru "Aux Serpentières"
2005 Domaine Michel Gay et Fils Beaune 1er Cru "Aux Coucherias"
2007 Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion Nuits-Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes
2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru "Les Lavières"
2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Corton-Bressandes
2007 Hospices de Beaune Pommard 1er Cru Clos des Epenots "Cuvée Dom Goblet" Rouge
2006 Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru "Cuvée Madeleine Collignon" Rouge
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanée "Aux Réas"
2007 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Les Saint Georges"


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2007 Domaine Ballot-Millot Pommard 1er Cru "Les Pézerolles" 8.75
2006 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru "Grèves" Vigne de L'Enfant Jesus 8.75
2006 Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Volnay 1er Cru "Caillerets" Ancienne Cuvée Carnot 8.75
2007 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay "Clos du Roy" 8.75
2007 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay "Les Longeroies" 8.75
2007 Domaine Georges Roumier Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru "Clos de La Bussière" 8.75
2006 Domaine Jean Grivot Vosne-Romanée 8.75
2006 Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru "Roncière" 8.75
2007 Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion Chambolle-Musigny 8.75
2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Chorey-lès-Beaune 8.75
2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Beaune 1er Cru "Les Grèves" 8.75
2007 Joseph Drouhin Grands Échezeaux 8.75

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2007 Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru " Clos des Mouches" Rouge

Comments (2)

BaroloDude wrote:
07.08.10 at 3:56 PM

thanks for these tasting notes! I struggle to find (relatively) affordable Burgundy that fits my tastes, which are still perhaps a bit too RRV centric. I want to expose myself to more Burg, acquire more of a taste for it, and there are one or two in your report that i just might have to hunt down! Your descriptions are very useful.

Burgnut wrote:
07.13.10 at 12:00 PM

Wow! Better late than never on this. I got to attend this event myself (first time!) and had a blast tasting a mind-blowing number of great Burgundies and talking to the producers who were friendly and generous with their time. Just the chance to talk to Jacques Lardierre from Jadot made it a fantastic time. Truly one of the great wine tasting experiences of my life. Thanks for your thoughts & tasting notes--an amazing feat, by the way, in this type of tasting with limited time and soooo much to taste! You must be a note-taking machine! Keep up the good work. Cheers.....

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