Burgundy lovers are a special breed. Not even the recession could prevent hundreds of them from enjoying New York's biggest Burgundy party, La Paulée de New York, on March 5 to 7. Attendees paid $1,400 to swirl and sip some of the region's greatest wines at the event's finale, a gala dinner held in Manhattan on Saturday evening. The wines were provided by the guests, many of whom are avid Burgundy collectors, as well as by the visiting vignerons.
Fifty of the country's top sommeliers lugged jeroboams, double magnums and magnums from table to table, dispensing the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Henri Jayer, Domaine Leroy, Domaine Leflaive, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Roulot, Louis Jadot and more. Chefs Daniel Boulud, Paul Liebrandt (of Manhattan's Corton), Michel Troisgros (Restaurant Troisgros, France) and Grégory Pugin (Veritas) prepared a six-course meal to accompany the wines.
The original La Paulée is a three-day festival in Burgundy that celebrates the end of the harvest. The most famous, La Paulée de Meursault, is held in late November to coincide with the Hospices de Beaune auction. In 2000, Daniel Johnnes, wine director for Boulud's restaurant group, organized an American version.
The weekend's festivities began Thursday with a rare-wine dinner at Bouley highlighting wines from Domaine J.F. Coche-Dury and Joseph Drouhin. That was followed by a lunch at Restaurant Daniel on Friday featuring the wines of Domaine Leflaive and Dr. Georges Mugneret. Zachys also held an auction exclusively of Burgundy wines in the main dining room, raising more than $100,000 for CityMeals on Wheels.
Saturday morning, importers Becky and Peter Wasserman lead 65 participants on a tour of the Côte d'Or with six wines. At the grand tasting that afternoon, more than 500 attendees tasted the current releases of two dozen domaines and houses, with small plates from New York restaurants to stave off hunger.
In all, about 1,500 bottles were uncorked at the gala dinner that night. A La Paulée tradition is that everyone brings their own bottles. That made for an incredible end to a Burgundian weekend.
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