SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

La Paulée San Francisco 2012


Burgundy - Harvest 2011

Burgundy is simply electric during harvest.  From early in the morning to late at night, there are people tirelessly working to get the grapes into the winery, into tank, and finally into barrel.  And when everything is done, despite aching muscles and sleep deprivation, everyone celebrates.  In Meursault, vignerons mark the end of harvest by sharing dusty bottles from their cellars during an event known as La Paulée — “the world’s classiest BYOB party.”

Fascinated by the community spirit and camaraderie he found in a visit to Meursault, New York based Sommelier Daniel Johnnes (wine director for Daniel Boulud‘s DINEX restaurants) has been hosting an officially sanctioned U.S. version of La Paulée since 2000.  La Paulée 2012 touches down in San Francisco in a few weeks and there are a ton of events for everyone from the seasoned collector to the Burgundy novice.

You’ve likely heard about the Gala Dinner — a legendary night of singing and drinking that has been referred to as “the biggest and most coveted” wine dinner in the United States.  While the $1,400 price tag sounds steep, this is a no-brainer for serious Burgundy collectors.  Plus, it sounds like a ridiculously fun party — one which the WSJ’s Jay McInerney called “a bacchanal the likes of which my liver hopes not to experience again for at least another week or two.”  [That’s a pretty serious statement given that McInerney drinks for a living!]

Thankfully, there are many ways to take part in La Paulée 2012 without breaking the bank.  This should come as no surprise, given that Johnnes has built a reputation for trying to make wine accessible to those of us who don’t happen to have a cellar full of old bottles of DRC.  In addition to writing a book to help wine consumers to get the most bang for their buck, Johnnes was the first guest on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV.

Johnnes has signed up a slew of the city’s top restaurants — A16, Frances, Gary Danko, Quince, The Slanted Door and many others — to host Burgundy-focused events starting on February 13.   While there are no additional details about “Burgundy Week” at this time, I’ll forward along any updates via Twitter and Facebook and on this handy-dandy La Paulée 2012 Google Calendar I pulled together.

In addition, there are two La Paulée seminars with price tags right around $100.  The first, “Navigating Burgundy with a Sommelier’s Guidance,” takes place on Thursday, February 23 and features Johnnes and two other top somms:  RN74’s Rajat Parr and Rajeev Vaidya from New York’s Restaurant Daniel.  Not bad tour guides to help navigate the confusing world of Burgundy producers, vintages, and appellations.  Eric Asimov, the New York Times’ wine writer, will moderate a second panel on February 25 to talk about “continuity and change” in Burgundy.  Seminar attendees will taste 6 different wines from three different domaines.  Because I need some visual aids to help me understand Burgundy, I’ve put together maps highlighting where each of these wines come from.

Seminar Wines

And finally, the Grand Tasting takes place on Saturday afternoon, February 25.  24 domaines.  A smörgåsbord of food from top-notch restaurants.  Yup – this will be decadent.  I recommend showing up early to avoid rush hour.  Here’s a full list of wines being poured at the Grand Tasting, which helps justify the price tag.

The full schedule for La Paulée is below, and here’s a link to the La Paulée 2012 Google Calendar I mentioned before (the descriptions of the event on the calendar were pulled from the La Paulée website).

FEB. 13-24, 2012

BURGUNDY WEEK – Specific events TBD
Restaurants include:  A16, Absinthe, Acquarello, Baker & Banker, benu, Boulevard, Bourbon Steak, Cafe de la Presse, Epic Roasthouse, La Folie, Frances, Gary Danko, Jardiniere, Michael Mina, Piperade, Quince, RN74, Saison, The Slanted Door, Sons & Daughters, Redd, Zuni

WED., FEB. 22, 2012

6:30pm – 10pm — Legends Dinner
The Napa Valley Reserve, 1000 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, CA
Wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Roulot
7-course meal prepared by Meadowoods’ Christopher Kostow

THURS., FEB. 23, 2012

12pm – 2pm — Collectors Lunch
Jardiniere, 300 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA
Wines from Domaine Louis Michel et Fils and Domaine Michel Lafarge (full list here)
Lunch prepared by Jardiniere’s Traci Des Jardins

3:30pm – 5pm — Seminar: Navigating Burgundy w/ a Sommelier’s Guidance
RN74, 301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
Panelists:  Daniel Johnnes, Rajat Parr (RN74 / Michael Mina), Rajeev Vaidya (Jean-Georges)
Wines from Pierre-Yves-Colin-Morey, Maison Joseph Drouhin, Domaine Ponsot  (full list here)

FRI., FEB. 24, 2012

3:30pm – 6pm — Verticals Tasting
Westin St. Francis, 32nd Floor, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
24 different domains serving up 3-vintage verticals (wines listed here)

7pm – 11pm — Rare Wine Dinner
Westin St. Francis, 32nd Floor, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Featured wines from Domain Ponsot, including multiple vintages of Clos de la Roche going back to 1971 (full list here)
Evening will kick off with Champagne Salon 1999 from magnum. (!!!)
Meal prepared by Chefs Michael Mina, Daniel Boulud, and Romain Chapel from Restaurant Alain Chapel

SAT., FEB. 25, 2012

10am – 11:30am — Seminar: Eric Asimov on Continuity and Change in Burgundy
Westin St. Francis, The Colonial Room, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Panelists:  David Duband, Jean-Marie Fourrier and Etienne de Montille.
Moderator:  New York Times’ Eric Asimov
Wines from Domaine Fourrier, David Duband, Deux Montille Soeur – Frère (full list here)

12pm – 3pm — Grand Tasting
Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Wines from:

Domaine Ballot-Millot Hospices de Beaune
Domaine Bonneau du Martray Maison Louis Jadot
Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Domaine François Carillon Benjamin Leroux
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Domaine Michel Lafarge
Maison Deux Montille Méo-Camuzet
Maison Joseph Drouhin Domaine Louis Michel et Fils
David Duband Domaine de Montille
Domaine Faiveley Domaine Bernard Moreau
Domaine William Fèvre Domaine Ponsot
Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet Domaine de la Pousse d’Or
Domaine Fourrier Domaine Marc Roy
Maison Camille Giroud Domaine Roulot
Domaine Henri Gouges Commune de Meurseult


Restaurants serving include: A16, Acquerello, Boulevard, Frances, Jardiniere, Michael Mina, Piperade, Quince, Redd, RN74, Slanted Door

6:30pm – 10:30pm — Gala Dinner
Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Dinner prepared by Chefs Chefs Daniel Boulud, Romain Chapel, Thomas Keller,Christopher Kostow and Michael Mina
Wines from all attending wineries
Remember to bring a bottle from your cellar to share


3 thoughts on “La Paulée San Francisco 2012

  1. Pingback: Wine Events: Week of Feb. 13 | SF Wine Blog: having fun with wine

  2. Pingback: Wine Events: Week of Feb. 20 | SF Wine Blog: having fun with wine

  3. Pingback: Wine Events: Week of Feb. 27 | SF Wine Blog: having fun with wine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s