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The Chablis Brunch, one of the more “chill” events at the festival

raveneau burgundy kermit lynch

Above: Raveneau for breakfast, anyone? Yes, it was poured at the Chablis Brunch on Sunday morning of the festival at The Kitchen Upstairs (The Kitchen’s “lounge” spot). Note the flight of wines poured below.

Let’s be honest: In the wake of the festival’s Saturday night, everyone was a little bit — how can we put it? — “toasty” on Sunday morning.

But that didn’t stop people from waking in time for the Chablis Brunch, definitely the festival’s most casual event but no less impressive in the breadth and caliber of wines that were poured.

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Above: The eggless mini “Benedicts” were ideal for the Sunday morning crowd.

Here is the flight of wines that were poured for guests:

1996 Domaine Raveneau Montmains 1er
2004 Domaine Raveneau Butteaux 1er
2010 Domaine Dauvissat Sechet 1er
2000 Domaine Dauvissat Sechet 1er
2011 Domaine Dauvissat Fôrest 1er
2012 Louis Michel Vaudisir Grand Cru
2012 Louis Michel Montée de Tonnerre Premier Cru
2012 Agnes & Didier Dauvissat, Petit Chablis
2012 Agnes & Didier Dauvissat, Chablis
2012 Agnes & Didier Dauvissat, Chablis Beauroy
2012 Albert Bichot Chablis
2012 Albert Bichot Chablis Vaillons 1er
2012 Albert Bichot Chablis Vaucopins 1er
2011 Albert Bichot Chablis La Moutonne Grand Cru
2012 Albert Bichot Chablis La Clos Grand Cru
2002 Brocard St. Claire Old Vines
2011 Brocard Montée de Tonnerre 1er
2007 Brocard Le Clos Grand Cru (Magnum)
2011 Romain Collet Mont de Milieu 1er
2012 Tremblay Fourchaume Premier Cru Vieilles Vignes
2012 Domaine Dampt Cote de Lechets 1er
2011 Domaine Pattes Loup, Chablis
2011 Grossot Forneaux
2011 Grossot Fourchaume
2012 Val de Mer Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru

Holy cow, right?

tim wanner kitchen boulder

Above: Wade Vizena, left, manager at The Kitchen, and Tim Wanner, The Kitchen restaurant group’s executive general manager.

For one blogger in attendance, it was a great time to reconnect and chat with Tim Wanner (above, right), The Kitchen restaurant group’s executive general manager and his fellow Italophile wine lover.

From the management to the bussers, everyone who works at The Kitchen seems to be wholly in tune with the importance of wholesome food and cooking and the role that it plays in human experience (more on that later).

It’s always interesting to get to interact with people like Tim and Wade (above, left). Their intelligent approach to restaurateurship is as sensorially thrilling as it is intellectually satisfying.

The Kitchen “kitchen” staff did a superb job in their spread of “Sunday morning” (insert your own euphemism) fare, including a great selection of scones and savory bites inspired by classic American breakfast foods like the eggless mini Benedict above.

Raveneau and comfort food for Sunday morning? Not bad at all for the $50 admission.

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Scenes from the Grand Tasting 2014

olivier bernstein burgundy

Above: William Davis (right) of Wilson Daniels pours the much-sought-after wines of Olivier Bernstein at the Boulder Burgundy Festival 2014 Grand Tasting. William, alone, showed eleven wines, including labels that sell for upward of $450 per bottle.

It’s hard to explain the uniqueness of the Boulder Burgundy Festival Grand Tasting.

Yes, the bean counting is easy. There were twenty purveyors of fine wines who presented their wines. And by the official count, there were roughly 170 wines poured, although many distributors brought extra wines that were not listed in the official tasting book.

rajat parr burgundy wine

Above: Leading U.S. sommelier and author Rajat Parr (right) and his sales manager
Natalie Vaclavik poured Rajat’s Burgundy négociant project Maison L’Orée.

The data alone would be impressive for this tasting, which was held in the historic Boulderado Hotel’s event center.

But the thing that takes the numbers over the top is the fact that the importers and distributors who participated weren’t simply showing “entry-tier” wines. In fact, you would be hard pressed (excuse the pun) to find more than a handful of wines at this tasting that retail for less than $80-90.

maison oree rajat parr raj

Above: At most tastings of this scale, you’d find dump buckets brimming over. Not so at the Boulder Burgundy Festival 2014 Grand Tasting where spitting would be considered in bad taste.

By one blogger’s guestimation (based on the prices listed in the officially tasting book), the average bottle price fell somewhere between $100-130. And some of the bottles sell for upward of $400 — that is, if you can find them.

But the thing that really takes the Grand Tasting over the top is the fact that the guests truly appreciate the wines and the people who were pouring them.

mike joyce natural wine company

Above: Mike Joyce (left), sales manager at Natural Wine Company, a leading Colorado distributor and an underwriter of the event, with Wade Vizena, manager at The Kitchen, one of the Boulder restaurants that hosted festival events.

Ask anyone in the wine trade and they will tell you about inconsiderate and even unruly guests at tastings like this. Especially as an event like this wears on, people can lose sight of the fact that they are tasting wines that command their attention and respect (we’ll just leave it at that).

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this truly remarkable event was how polite everyone was and how easy it was to make your way from one table to the next.

And of course, the tradespeople who were pouring were among the best and brightest in the industry. These folks know their stuff.

francesca deorio calluna events

Above: Heather Dwight (right), founder and owner of Calluna Events in Boulder, with her colleague Francesca DeOrio. Calluna was the tasting’s official organizer and did a superb job of making everything run seamlessly.

Considering the price of admission was only $85, noted a wine blogger who attended, the event was a steal.

Happy Thanksgiving! Look for festival coverage early next week

We’re still catching our breath in the wake of the Boulder Burgundy Festival 2014.

Thanks to everyone who attended and especially to the winemakers and team of sommeliers who flew in from across the country and the globe to make the festival a truly world-class event.

We’ll begin posting interviews and notes from events early next week. So please stay tuned.

And in the meantime, we’d like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

burgundy thanksgiving

Gearing up for the Guillaume d’Angerville seminar

Very exciting stuff… Stay tuned!

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Scenes from a “Paulée-inspired” lunch at the wonderful Flagstaff House

raj parr burgundy

Posting in a hurry this morning, as I prepare to head to the Chablis Brunch at Kitchen Upstairs this morning: an end-of-the-night gathering of sommeliers at Pizzeria Locale kept a blogger up until the wee hours.

But here are a few quick highlights from yesterday’s sold-out “Paulée-inspired” lunch at the wonderful Flagstaff House, one of the top dining destinations in the U.S. today.

That’s the inimitable Rajat Parr pouring for guests, above.

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One half of the restaurant was filled with collectors. The other half with wine trade members. Everyone brought collectible and rare Burgundy from their cellars.

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The food was stupendous. Can you imagine a better dish to pair with great Chardonnay?

brett zimmerman master sommelier

Festival founder and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman (standing, foreground) was remarkably calm despite the challenges posed by organizing a weekend of events for leading American wine collectors and professionals. But then again, with so much top-flight wine being poured so liberally, levity was in order. That’s Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey in the background, pouring.

don monette mark

Those are Flagstaff House owners Don (left) and Mark Monette. Chef Mark’s cooking is sensational (more on that later). Super nice people, too. When I asked if I could snap a photo of them, Don said with the biggest smile, “I’m very proud of my son.”

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We’ll be posting more notes from this incredible lunch and other festival events shortly.

Stay tuned… Now it’s time to go taste some more Burgundy.

Notes from the Guild of Sommeliers “Old and Rare” Tasting

richard betts sommelier boulder

Yesterday’s “Old and Rare” tasting was presented by Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher (standing), who has mentored many of the top wine professionals working in the U.S. today.

The wines came from the Guild of Sommeliers “trust”: a collection of rare wines donated to the Guild by a leading American collector. They are used for educational purposes and also, as in this case, to raise money for the myriad scholarships that the Guild offers to young American wine professionals.

As Jay pointed out, the modest fee per seat at the event hardly came close to the value of the wines being poured.

The seated panelists, all of them Master Sommeliers, from the foreground moving back: Brett Zimmerman owner of the Boulder Wine Merchant and founder of the festival; Bobby Stuckey, owner and wine director at Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder; and Richard Betts, author and spirits producer.

jay fletcher master sommelier

What a flight of wine!!!

From left to right:

Domaine Jean Collet 2004 Chablis Valmur Grand Cru
Domaine Ramonet 1993 Bievenues-Batard Montrachet Grand Cru
Domaine Paul Pernot 1998 Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru
Camille Giroud 1976 Corton-Clos du Roi Grand Cru

The highlight of this first flight was the Paul Pernot, which elicited high praise from each of the panelists.

Bobby noted its “electric” character underneath its “richness,” calling it one of the greatest values in the flight.

best flight burgundy wines

Wine collector Adam Plotkin, who attended the tasting, shared this photo of all the labels.

It was such a thoughtfully chosen flight and it brilliantly illustrated the breadth of Burgundy and its aging potential.

Here’s the second flight that was poured:

Domaine Michel Lafarge 1995 Beaune-Grèves 1er Cru
Louis Jadot 1990 Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru
Domaine Georges Roumier 1982 Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru
Domaine Emmanuel Rouget 1998 Vosne-Romanée Les Beaumonts 1er Cru

The Louis Jadot was arguably the stand-out.

Jay talked about what an exceptional, however warm, vintage this was for Burgundy.

“One of the greatest,” he said, “and most successful.”

Brett noted the “powerful core of fruit” in this now twenty-four-year-old wine.

But perhaps even more so than the wines, the stars were the panelists themselves.

It was incredible, for example, to hear Richard rattle off vintage notes on the 1998 harvest from the top of his head.

To watch the four Master Sommeliers banter as they traded impressions and insights was spectacular.

The Boulder Burgundy Festival begins! #BBF14

master sommeliers boulder

The festival kicked off officially this morning at 11 a.m. with a fantastic tasting led by Master Sommeliers, from left, Brett Zimmerman, Bobby Stuckey, Richard Betts, and Jay Fletcher.

burgundy collectors colorado

They led a rapt audience of collectors and trade through a dream flight of older wines from the Guild of Sommeliers trust (see the wines below).

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We’ll be posting more notes from the panel member’s talks and tasting notes for the wines.

But in the meantime, we just wanted to get this initial post up to let you know that Boulder Burgundy Festival 2014 has begun… stay tuned!