While doing some research on using my AMEX Membership Rewards points, I checked the By Invitation Only page to see what was being offered. One offer is a 5-day (10/14 - 10/18) Burgundy experience with Daniel Johnnes. Pricey, but a pretty cool itinerary for someone who does not want to do the grunt work of putting such an experience together. I think you have to be an AMEX PLT or Centurion card holder:
An Insider’s Tour of Burgundy with Daniel Johnnes
Experience the ultimate ins-and-outs of Burgundy, one of France’s famed wine producing regions with American Express® and Daniel Johnnes, acclaimed sommelier and founder of La Paulée de New York. Discover the region’s legendary vineyards, wineries and cuisine on this unique five-day journey.
This bespoke experience includes:
• Guided introduction to Burgundy
• A cultural tour of Beaune including Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune
• A visit to the Meursault Premier Cru vineyards of Genevrières and Charmes with winemaker & president of La Paulée de Meursault, Antoine Jobard
• An afternoon of tasting at the prestigious Maison Louis Jadot followed by a wine-paired dinner at Le Couvent des Jacobins
• Explore vineyards of Vosne-Romanée with Charles Van Canneyt of Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat
• Discover the terroir of the Montrachet vineyard with renowned winemaker Dominique Lafon
• Exclusive visit with Guillaume d’Angerville at his family’s estate in Volnay
• Tasting at Bouchard Père & Fils and tour of the incredible cellars at the Château de Beaune
• Wine-paired menus at an array of the best tables in Burgundy
• “La Paulée-style” farewell lunch
• Luxury ground transportation throughout the experience
Accommodations available at Hôtel Le Cep at an additional cost.
I think for a relative novice to Burgandy this might be a great option if you can afford the tariff of $5,500. I certainly can and do arrange better for a lot less, but it may be a hassle free trip worth it for many.
If they still do them I would rather do the Becky Wasserman seminar. Slightly more than this but a completely different experience. You get into top domains, it is usually taught by someone like Allen Meadows or Clive Coates plus you get to hang with Becky and Russell, it is a real insiders view. Unlike the Amex trip which is scheduled by some outside events company.
I did that a few years ago. Allen led it and the theme was Gevrey Chambertin. Although 09s were already in bottle, allen had us tasting 08s as he felt they better showed terroir (more my style of vintage anyway). Went a few days early and just hung out with becky and russell (and peter and paul when they were around) at the house, shopped for rilettes and tomatos with russell, and drank really old burgs an american customer of Becky had bought off ebay france and sent to them. Such a great experience. A couple of highlights - becky made sure i was seated next to my first burgundy love, denis bachelet, at dinner and I accompanied becky and russell (and rusty staub!) to a wild and wacky party given by sylvain cathiard to inaugurate his new cuverie.
Sounds like my experience. I went several years ago and remember going to a local tavern/restaurant like place with Peter and drinking a bottle of 96 Coche Corton Charlemagne that was ~100 Euros. We were the only three people in the place and sat outside with the owner. We waited an hour or so before ordering it so he could get to know us.
As I am a small investor in Becky’s company, perhaps I am biased.
But first, as a Centurion you get the chance to pAY $5500 for this??
Second, with Daniel J you visit several negociants you could visit on your own…But Daniel is tight with D Lafon so that might be more than worthwhile.
Third, even at today s prices you could buy a lot of Burgundy for $5500
Fourth, I don’t know what Le serbet is doing for tours these days, but the upside is probably better here. Not only might you get to party with Becky --one of the most charming people on the planet, but Russell is a lot of fun too and is a fount of wine lore. Her two sons–I still think of them as boys even tho they are middle aged–have some good stories as well. If you are really lucky, you might get to pet one of Jasper Morris’s cats!
Becky has a neighbor who does bicycle tours of Burgundy…that could be fun too