Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Blog Year in Review: Part III, La Paulée

This is the third in a series of posts looking back at the blog coverage areas over the past 12 months. The initial post covered activities in the area of postmodern winemaking while the second covered wine region writings. This one focuses on 2015 La Paulee events which the author attended.

The reputation of La Paulée precedes it. A decadent, boisterous celebration of Burgundy rotating annually between San Francisco and New York, it is the brainchild of Sommelier Extraordinaire Daniel Johnnes but is now, to all intents and purposes, owned by New York Chefs, New York Sommeliers, Burgundian vignerons, and Burgundy lovers from all over the US. It was held in NY this year and we were there. It was all that was promised; and more.

DRC 2012 Vintage Preview
One of the most highly anticipated events of the 2015 edition of La Paulée de New York was the Domaine de La Romanée-Conti (DRC) 2012 Vintage Preview which was held at Daniel and led by the Domaine's co-Director Aubert de Villaine. The wines tasted at the event were as follows:
  • DRC Échézeaux Grand Cru 2012
  • DRC Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru 2012
  • DRC La Tâche Grand Cru Monople 2012
  • DRC Romanée-Conti Grand Cru Monople 2012
The Échézeaux exhibited pale strawberry, creaminess, and leather on the nose. On the palate ripe Pinot fruit, attractive levels of acidity, spice, balance, and great length. Slight astringency and long, drying finish.

The RSV was less structured than the Échézeaux. On the nose a floral rose aroma along with ripe Pinot fruit, vanilla, and a hint of reduction. On the palate ripe fruit, complexity, and a long, sweet finish. Somewhat reserved and mysterious. A sense of something hidden.

The La Tâche exhibited layered Pinot fruit, richness, wax, and earth. On the palate strawberry, hot spices, baking spice and a long finish.

The Romanée-Conti had cherry, tree bark, and baking spice on the nose to go along with hot spice and savoriness on the palate. Complexity and power. Long, balanced finish.

In his summarization of the tasting, Aubert indicated that the 2012 DRCs had a tendency towards reduction. They had persistence and depth on the palate and are all approachable at this time. They were recently bottled and he was surprised at how well they have taken to the bottle. They are still young but, even at this early stage, are already displaying their individual characteristics:
  • Échézeaux: character
  • RSV: an elegant nose yet austere and hard in the mouth
  • La Tâche: layering
  • La Romanée-Conti: reserved complexity.
He saw the wines of the vintage as being somewhat akin to those of 1991 and 1992 but cautions that we should take them as they are.

These wines were all of exceptional quality and will bring years of pleasure to those "fortunate" enough to acquire (now) and drink (later) from the miniscule stock.
Collectors Dinner
The Collectors Dinner was held at ElevenMadisonPark and featured the wines of Domaine Méo-Camuzet. We were welcomed by a waiter offering glasses of Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2007, the first place in the world that this vintage was being poured.

The Lobster Poached with Daikon Radish and Citrus course was accompanied by a Champagne Salon 1983 en magnum. We were informed that the Champagne House only had 24 of these mags in its cellar and five had been sent to this event. The wine had been disgorged in June 2012. The 1983 vintage had experienced bad spring and winter weather but had been very good for Champagne, with high acidity and excellent sugar levels in the fruit being the order of the day.

The lobster was exceptional and bolstered by the Salon with its notes of orange rind, citrus, distant bread, tropical fruit, and green apple. Excellent acidity and mousse.

The third course was a Foie Gras marinated with Black Truffle and Purple Potato accompanied by a quartet of 2006 Méo-Camuzet wines:
  • Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Chaumes
  • Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Aux Murgers
  • Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
  • Corton Grand Cru Clos Rognet
The Vosne-Romanée showed coconut and spice, strawberries, savoriness and a slight phenolic note. It had strawberry cherry on the palate, excellent weight, and was balanced with a nice, round mouthfeel. The Nuits-St.-George was unyielding on the nose with spice and a slight creaminess on the palate. This wine was non-complex. The Clos Vougeot yielded strawberry, with a lemon tinge, tobacco, leather, spice, dill, and tree bark. Length and intensity wanting. The Corton showed pinot fruit, coffee, and mocha on the nose and power and weight on the palate. Great length and intensity. Still young.

The next course was Celery Root Braised with Black Truffle. The wines were from the Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Les Brûlées climat and were produced in the years 2002, 1999, and 1990. The wines were served youngest to oldest in this flight, an approach that differs from my preference. The dish was excellent. The 2002 Les Brûlées showed strawberry, spice, dried herbs, and rosemary. Vibrant. Jumped off the palate. Chewy. Long, herby, savory finish. This turned out to be the wine of the flight. The 1999 Les Brûlées exhibited strawberries, spice, walnut, coffee, and mocha. Savoriness on palate. Finish could have been longer. Strawberry, vanilla, and elegance were the hallmarks of the 1990 Les Brûlées along with a marked color differential. Blackpepper on palate. Evolved. Slight bitterness. Finish interruptus.

The meat course was Venison Roasted with Parsnip and Mushrooms braced by Vosne-Romanée Premier Cru Cros Parantoux (1999 and 1988) and Richebourg Grand Cru (1999 and 1988) wines. Prior to the start of the course, Jean-Nicolas rose once again to describe the wines. He sees these two wines as being flagships of the domaine. He thinks that the 1999 shows "tight" at this time but is the greatest vintage that he has ever made. Nineteen eighty-eight was Henri Jayer's last year and so this vintage is made unfiltered. His (Jean-Nicolas) style is a little more "hands on."

The 1988 Richebourg exhibited deep red fruit, rhubarb, créme brulée, spice, earth, and vanilla. Weight and intensity on the palate. Long, savory finish. This is still a young wine. The 1988 Parantoux was corked. The 1999 Richebourg had a nose of classic Pinot fruit and spice. A little shoe polish. Delivers on the palate. Great intensity and life. Long, spicy finish. A young wine. The 1999 Parantoux was open and less finely honed than the other wines in this flight. Still young though. Overall the Richebourgs were better wines than the Cros Parantouxs in this flight. Slightly disappointing for me as I have a romantic attachment (Jayer-inspired) to the Parantoux.

This was an excellent event. Fifty-three Burgundy devotees, excellent food, great wines, and one of the leading winemakers in the world explaining his wines to us.

Lunch with Jean-Marc Roulot and Christophe Roumier
The main event of La Paulée's official Thursday afternoon schedule was a multi-course lunch, prepared by Daniel Boulud and his team, accompanied by selected wines from Domaines Guy Roulot and Georges Roumier, said wines to be presented by the respective vigneron. At the conclusion of the Roulot play, lunch attendees were shepherded back towards the front of the restaurant and into a room to the right of the main entrance. The room was populated with a number of 10-top, white-table-cloth-clad tables and as we entered, we were given additional glasses of Meursault Les Luchets 2011. As the attendees streamed in, I was pleasantly surprised to see Aubert de Villaine enter and stride to a place at the Roulot-Roumier table which was centrally located within the room. Daniel Johnnes welcomed us all and then launched the event.

The first course was called Jaune d'or et Soleil Vivace (components were Iberico Ham, truffles, and eggs) and had been prepared by Michel and César Troisgrois.

It was accompanied by 2010, 2009, and 2004 Roulot Les Luchets, the former two in magnum. The 2010 Les Luchets exhibited spice, orange-tangerine, power, minerality, orange rind, burnt orange and a slight pricking on the nose. On the palate bright, powerful, intense. Long, intense finish. The 2009 Les Luchets had similar characteristics to the 2010 except it had a little more stemminess, was a little more aromatic, and showed riper fruit. It was also not as tightly wound as the 2004. The 2004 exhibited a lemon-lime aroma along with minerality, crushed stone, sea shells and a hint of sulfur. Slight salinity and great acidity. Balanced. Bright, long, coating finish.

The second course was a Filet de Sole Duglére also prepared by Michel and César Troisgros. This was accompanied by a Roulot Meursault Charmes 2004, Roulot Meursault Tessons Clos de Mon Plaisir 2000 (in Jeroboam), and Roulot Meursault Perrières 1999 (in magnum).

The Meursault Charmes 2004 had tangerine and orange rind citrus characters accompanying notes of spice and herbs. Voluptuous, with bracing acidity and a long finish. The 2000 Meursault Tessons was elegant with apple-pear notes, spice, herbs, cardamom. The 1999 Meursault Perrières had citrus and citrus rind on the nose. Powereful, mineral, and coating on the palate.

de Villaine and Roulot 

Daniel Johnnes with the Jeroboam of Tessons

The third course was a Bœuf Wagyu Rossini which was prepared by Daniel Boulud. And this signaled a turn to the wines of Domaine Georges Roumier. The wines that he presented were the Domaine Georges Roumier Bonnes-Mares 1996, 1995, and 1990, all in magnums.

The Domaine Roumier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 1996 exhibited ripe pinot fruit, a herbaceousness, and barrel spice on the nose. Restrained but balanced. Long, spicy finish. The 1995 Bonnes-Mares had a richer nose than the 1996, and greater power and intensity. The 1990 Bonnes-Mares showed pinot fruit, spice, and orange peel on the nose. Perfect weight on the palate. Balanced. Light stemminess/astringency. Herb finish.

Thus culminated an absolutely wonderful day. You do not get this type of variety thrown at you in the wine world every day. Especially in NYC, you can go to a play any day of the week. But it is not every day of the week that you get to see one of the leading winemakers from the famously tight-lipped and closeted region of Burgundy placing his reputation on the line by stepping on stage in front of his customers and running the risk of hurting his brand. And it is not every day that you get to follow that up with that same guy coming back and pouring you a range of his best wines. And, for good measure, he invited along one of his friends to pour some of his (the friend's) wines. And all that wrapped around the food of Master Boulud.

It does not get any better than this.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

1 comment:

  1. Lovely article, and excellently written. happy new year from London!