La Fete de Paulee Chicago (Long--let you judge on boring)

La Fete de Paulee Chicago 2018
This was held last Friday at Formento’s, an Italian restaurant. To me, it was a surprising choice, but most of the dishes were fine and a couple were standouts. For a number of reasons, I am not actually in a position to comment extensively on the food, mostly just tasted the wines solo, until the cheeses.
The wines provided by La Fete are marked LP; the rest were brought by the guests and shared.


2006 Salon (LP): Coiled, not much nose, light,white-fruited , metallic finish—did not do for me what I had expected and not much change over the next 2 hours (slightly off bottle?)

Selosse Rose NV (LP) Amazing wine; at once ethereal and profound, with sauvage note, strawberry, some rhubarb and even chicory?

1998 Krug Great bottle, brought by Neal—not so different from standard Krug, but richer, deeper, more precision and clarity—open sunshine of a bottle, with lovely vanilla, peach, and an amazingly long finish.

1996 Bollinger out of Jereboam—good stuff, but by then I was past the champers.

1993 Robert Ampeau Puligny Les Combettes—some folks thought white wotn, brought by me; it did really show what aging white burgundy can do. Opens with big notes of yellow fruit (moving toward pineapple, but not there, thankfully), it has a lovely burnt nutty top note of caramel, noticeable minerality in the midpalate and later maybe slight salinity —big beautiful wine in perfect condition.

2013 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres This, however, was my white wine of the night. (Not all at my end of the table got some. I commented on it being Coche and those who brought it took pity.) Can see what all the fuss is about. Insanely extracted, with great depth, it had the complexity out of the gate that it took the other wine twenty five years to attain. Had distinctive opening note of something brown and brawny, but still seem folded into itself, yet already showing such power and cut and glorious yellow fruit.

2014 Roulot 1er Boucheres (LP) Still quite young, but quite pretty, more white-fruited, delicate than the above, but still displaying noticeable cut and power, amidst the white fruits an interesting hint of beeswax shows through. This may take some time, but could be special.

1996 Rousseau Chambertin Incredible complexity of spice on nose and in palate, like no other wine I have had (though the CSJ below echoed it), except other Rousseau Chambertin. The acidity of '96 was detectable in the finish, but it had the body to carry it—along with the spice, translucent red fruits, cherry, a little dust, finish goes on and on, just a gorgeous wine.

2006 CSJ The ’06 was a kind of paler imitation of the ’96, with this same distinctive spice that led palate and nose. But the '96 was just so big and complex in comparison. I know they serve the CSJ last at tastings, but not there for me yet and this one probably never, though still a treat.

1993 Jadot Musigny along with Chambertin, red of the night (and this will include 2 DRC’s). The whole Musigny package here: a streak of lovely dust runs down the center of this wine, with beautiful red fruits on one side and sweet complex tannins on the other; all three keep expanding as the finish goes on and on. Just a marvel.

1985 Arnoux Les Chaumes was in a beautiful place—well stored bottle. Slightly more darkly fruited than the other two, with a lovely twist of spice in the finish. Could still age further, though obviously no need.

1990 G. Lignier Clos St Denis (my wine), still young, also, big complex wine, more dark fruited, but nice spine, powerful, brambles, and something molasses like mix into toward the end; also could go further and maybe should.

1964 Beaune 1er Evaux? Still on its feet, fun drink

2000/2002/2005 de Vogues Bonnes Mares brought by various parties; the 02, I think, was showing the best, with 05 more power and youth, but not inaccessible today. On their own either of these would have been a treat, but finally did not stand out in this company nor equalled the depth, power, and kaleidoscopic spice of the 1996 Laurent Bonnes Mares VV I had last month.

1993 DRC Grand Echezeaux from Jereboam; noticeable rubber on the nose, maybe an off bottle—depth here, especially as it opened in the glass, but remained disjointed, not very fun.

1995 DRC Romanee St Vivant Had powerful nose of mushroom, truffle, beautiful midpalate, crystalline, still noticeable acidity in finish (which I did not mind); certainly fun, a very good wine, but to me did not seem a great one.

1974 Dujac CDLR This was still holding and proved a very fun drink, with classic Dujac nose and opening spice on palate, notable purity in the midpalate and nice length in the finish.

2012 Domaine Roumier Chambolle-Musigny (LP), at first gave very little, but eventually opened, very pretty, expansive red fruits, nothing sharp, almost Zen wine, with a decent but noticeably continuous finish—an infinity pool of a red.

2010 Dujac Vosne Aux Malconsort (LP) Not quite as Dujac-y (less noticeable stems?) than some Dujac, also nice red fruit with a quite distinctive finish, dusty but with a trace of iron or something along those lines, maybe characteristic of the terroir? This will clearly be very fine in time, but among the more aged bottles did not pop.

2007 Mugneret-Gibourg Ruchottes Had it not been for the Chambertin and the Musigny, this would have been red wotn, and, as it is, I would place it third. Such a big savory wine, almost mint in the opening with some darker fruits on opening—yet light on its feet, with a finish that goes on and on, a really bewitching drink: you want to drink more because it’s so damn tasty but also because it’s so interesting and you want to figure out what’s going on in the wine.

Just to be clear, in addition to the ones marked LP, there was Delamotte (06?) poured at the open and a 2000 Clos Vougeot, not listed on the menu, eventually came around, that I don’t think I ever got to. At a 1/3 or 1/4 of the price of the standard La Paulee dinner (in SG or NYC) I would do this again in a heartbeat; great time and met some great people, both ITB and not.

Thanks for getting the thread started Joshua. Sorry that we didn’t connect and meet one another.

Agree that it was a great dinner and an exceptional value relative to the Grand Tastings in SF/NYC. The somm team assembled and staff at Formentos did a phenomenal job serving 70 odd people the meal + hundreds of bottles of wine.

We had some different takes on the handful of wines we had in common. Of course, my impressions should be take with a grain of salt given the celebratory format and volume of wines.

LA FÊTE DE LA PAULÉE - (5/4/2018)

Another La Paulée dinner that lives up to the hype. Drinking the best of Burgundy with fellow enthusiasts. The generosity and celebration is off the charts!

  • NV Jacques Selosse Champagne Rosé - France, Champagne
    Super oxidative nose is complex, but not all that appealing. Modest berry aromas trying to show through the oxidation. Palate is more pleasurable with significant density and freshness to the fruit, with no signs of oxidation. Not my preferred style of bubbles. (88 pts.)
  • 2006 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut - France, Champagne
    A brooding, dense nose of non-delineated orchard fruit. The palate is concentrated, intense and delicious with big, creamy, ripe orchard fruit that is rich yet lifted and weightless. Long, long finish. Awesome young Champagne. (95 pts.)
  • 1990 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill - France, Champagne
    From magnum. Full complex nose has mature white fruit with earth and mushroom notes. The palate is rich but fully mature with orchard fruit and roasted nuts. Great intensity of mature flavors and still quite zesty. Long, savory finish. Impressive. (95 pts.)
  • 1996 Bollinger Champagne R.D. Extra Brut - France, Champagne
    From magnum. Big, youthful nose of ripe apples and biscuit. The palate is big, bright and energetic. Despite it’s raciness there is still good richness of fruit. Tastes like a current release. (93 pts.)
  • 2002 Marquis de Laguiche (Joseph Drouhin) Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
    From magnum. This mag is firing on all cylinders and much, much better than an advanced 750 at La Paulee SF two months ago. Huge nose that is complex and layered with rich, nearly buttery apple fruit and loads of spice. The palate is so rich, powerful and packed with fruit yet precise and composed. A benchmark Chardonnay. (98 pts.)
  • 1999 Maison Leroy Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
    Youthful appearance and nose with aromas of lemon, apple and spice. The palate has medium concentration with smooth textures. Some modest nut notes along with mineral and citrus add complexity. Round, fresh finish. (92 pts.)
  • 1975 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Royal Celebration Cuvée - France, Champagne
    Fairly advanced with lots of toffee and caramel notes. Still has some freshness and zip, but clearly on the back nine.
  • 1986 Jean Boillot & Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru
    Still alive an quite interesting with lots of mushroom, earth and bruised apple. Moderately vibrant acidity provides some energy and lift. Good complex finish. (89 pts.)
  • 1999 Domaine Jacques Prieur Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
    Showed fairly closed in and brooding, though it did open with some air. Tough to follow and appreciate in the La Paulee format. Good core of rich orchard fruit that starts to show some herbal and mineral complexity with time. (92 pts.)
  • 1999 Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru
    A pristine and still young bottle. Full nose of rich orchard fruit with abundant mineral and some matchstick. The rich palate has an amazing crystalline quality with intense mineral notes weaved into ripe apple. Smooth, richly textured finish. (95 pts.)
  • 2013 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
    Rich and hugely reductive nose. The palate is dense and full of primary, ripe orchard fruit with a ton of matchstick. Painfully young and tough to appreciate beyond its scale and density.
  • 1998 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut - France, Champagne
    A classic Krug that is drinking splendidly. Rich, full nose with toasty apple and pear. Good richness and depth though starting to show some age as the intensity and effervescence is dialed down. (92 pts.)
  • 2014 Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Bouchères - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru
    Full, dense nose of sweet and ripe orchard fruit is primary and non-delineated. Big, rich and ripe sweet orchard fruit with some citrus and mineral. Taut acids that aren’t yet in harmony with the fruit. Showed a bit simple and awkward at this stage. Lots of upside from here. (92 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru
    Medium nose of crisp white fruit with intense mineral and citrus notes. Palate has taut, vibrant acids and dense, under-ripe green apple. Good salinity in the finish. Classic Chablis. (92 pts.)
  • 1959 Bouchard Père et Fils Musigny - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru
    Aromas of decaying earth, mushroom, old leather and dried fruit. Palate still shows modest sweetness though it’s mostly dried fruit and earth tones. Surprisingly lively, lifted and long for a nearly 60 year old Burg. (91 pts.)
  • 1980 Maison Leroy Musigny - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru
    Full lifted and detailed nose of spice, mushroom, and dried black cherry. Impressively ethereal palate. Good depth of mature, dried black cherry and tertiary earth notes. Persistent, weightless finish. (95 pts.)
  • 1996 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru
    Seemed like an off bottle with stewy aromas. A shame. NR (flawed)
  • 2012 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny
    Full nose of youthful black cherry with florals and clay layered below. Fairly young and primary with medium-to-full concentration of black cherry with well-integrated fresh acidity. Lots of everything at this level. Seems typical Chambolle and 2012. (91 pts.)
  • 1999 Domaine du Clos de Tart Clos de Tart - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos de Tart Grand Cru
    Lots of youthful, ripe red cherry on the nose. Palate shows a ton of power with it’s rich red fruit. At the same time precise with good complexity from earth, floral and spice. Long finish. (94 pts.)
  • 2010 Domaine Dujac Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    A simply gorgeous, though young, Malconsorts. Seductive, sexy, spice-filled black cherry nose. The palate is packed with supple fruit that has good grip from suave tannin. Tons of herb and spice accents. Second 2010 from Dujac (after a Charmes last month) that was delicious, expressive and fun right now. (96 pts.)
  • 2002 Domaine René Engel Echezeaux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Echezeaux Grand Cru
    I haven’t had much Engel, but this was seriously impressive. Full, expressive nose has just the right amount of earthy funk layered into red and black cherry, with spice accents. So composed and precise on the palate with great depth and layers – maturing red fruit, earth, clay, funk and spice. Long, long bright finish. (98 pts.)
  • 2003 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Charmes-Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Typical 2003 that is ripe and rich, though not to an unpleasant extreme. Big, ripe, rich black cherry, smoke and spice nose. The palate is very ripe and one-noted. Tasty but simple. (90 pts.)
  • 1983 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru
    From double magnum! Full nose has dried black cherry, mushroom, earth, iron and spice. Great layering to the pure, still sweet fruit. Lots of spice and clay throughout. A real treat. (93 pts.)
  • 1988 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru
    Gorgeous aromatics with a lot of forward spice and mature black cherry. Palate has round and still sweet, youthful fruit. Grand Cru concentration and depth. Delicious and so forward that it is almost too easy to drink and enjoy. (94 pts.)
  • 1993 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Paired with an 01 DRC RSV, which showed much more expressive. The nose here was a bit dirty and muddled though you can still appreciate the underlying brown spice and black cherry. Palate is subdued relative to the more energetic 2001. Seemed a bit closed down. (90 pts.)
  • 2001 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    A dazzling nose with pronounced Vosne spice and rich black cherry. Gorgeously lush on the palate with bright, pure black cherry fruit with an array of baking spices. Long, lingering and intense finish. (98 pts.)
  • 2008 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Musigny - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Musigny Grand Cru
    Tasted side-by-side with '08 Mugnier Amoureuses, which was far more expressive and the superior wine today. This was closed and therefore double decanted and then decanted to try and wake it up. The nose never showed much outside of some high-toned fruit. You can sense the polish and refinement in the red fruit, but never really came around to play tonight … and the La Paulee format is unforgiving in its pace to re-visit.
  • 2008 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
    Tasted side-by-side with the '08 Mugnier Musigny which was more closed and ungiving. This on the other hand was singing from the get go. Gorgeous, bright nose with both red and black cherry and spice for days. So lithe, intense and complex on the palate – sweeter, almost candied cherry fruit, with clay and mineral notes. Long, long finish. (98 pts.)
  • 2008 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru
    Tasted side by side with 08 Roumier Bonnes Mares. The Amoureuses has the more expressive, ethereal, epic nose – unreal amounts of spice and florals paired with red cherry. Close to a 100 point nose here. The palate is rich yet lithe and layered. A beautiful, young wine. (95 pts.)
  • 2008 Domaine G. Roumier / Christophe Roumier Bonnes Mares - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
    Tasted side-by-side with the 08 Roumier Amoureuses. Aromatically more muscular and brooding vs. the Amoureuses. Big and powerful on the palate with richness and so much nuance. A wine that has density and layers, but those layers evolve and express themselves differently from taste to taste. Should age for decades. (95 pts.)
  • 1999 Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Brulées - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    Only 538 bottles produced. Just an unreal nose with sensational amounts of intense arrayed spice notes and ripe black cherry. Rich with Grand Cru concentration and intensity of Vosne spice. Deep and super long. A wow wine experience. (98 pts.)
  • 2001 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Bonnes Mares - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
    Tasted side-by-side with the 2002. The one shows more dense and brooding vs. the expressive 2002. The flavors and energy here are almost dull in experience. Shows bigger and richer, but without much nuance. Kind of clumsy. I suspect time and air would have settled this down. 90-92? points.
  • 2002 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Bonnes Mares - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Bonnes Mares Grand Cru
    Tasted side-by-side with the 2001. Contrary to what you might expect given vintages, the 2002 showed much more approachable, forward and delineated. Full, open nose has good detailing of an array of red an black fruit. The palate is showing open knit and well integrated. Surely this will get better, but already quite good now. (95 pts.)
  • 1996 Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    Tasted soon after a spectacular 99 Leroy Aux Brulées, and this is even better. Unending nose of powerful spice, potpourri, florals and black cherry. Rich and ripe black cherry with so much balancing tension. Lifted and intense throughout. Long polished, silky finish. A singular wine. (99 pts.)
  • 2000 Domaine René Engel Clos Vougeot - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
    Similar to an '02 Engel Ech tasted earlier in the evening, this has an earth and funk element component in the nose though there is also bright red cherry, florals and spice. An acid driven wine with moderate concentration but good brightness and lift. Clay, funk and spice adds complexity. (93 pts.)
  • 1995 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru
    Somewhere between the subdued '93 and sensational '01 tasted earlier in the evening. Aromatics are very similar to the '01 with loads of Vosne spice, if a little less intense. Delicious and lively palate. Concentrated, ripe black cherry and pronounced Vosne spice. Sexy and polished. So, so good. (96 pts.)
  • 1996 Coche-Dury Meursault Les Rougeots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
    Tasted later in the evening side-by-side with the '11. I liked these equally and there is definitely a common signature, and you wouldn’t guess the '96 was 15 years older. Serious richness and depth. Powerful, concentrated orchard fruit with great minerality. Long finish. (94 pts.)
  • 2011 Coche-Dury Meursault Les Rougeots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
    Tasted side-by-side with the '96. Similar signature but the youth is on full display here. Some reduction in the nose along with mineral and ripe orchard fruit. Palate is rich and creamy with searing, driving acidity. Not yet integrated but with loads of potential. (93 pts.)
  • 1995 Emmanuel Rouget Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cros Parantoux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    Paired with the 02 Meo Cros Parantoux very late in the evening. Good spice driven complexity. Rich black cherry and still firm structure. A bit hard relative to the round, luscious 02 Meo. (93 pts.)
  • 2002 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cros Parantoux - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru
    Paired with the 95 Rouget Cros Parantoux very late in the evening. Huge, rich, layered aromas of black cherry, spice with some emerging earth tones. Serious concentration and spice intensity. For all the richness, this has good balance, freshness and persistence. In a terrific place. (96 pts.)
  • 2007 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Ruchottes-Chambertin - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru
    Late night. Rich, forward and expressive. Good spice and meat notes underneath polished, suave black fruit.

There are actually some interesting comparisons to be made here, for those with time to work through what is definitely a longer (and perhaps now still more boring) thread–especially as a couple of bottles are the same ones, besides those supplied by La Fete. Rich was at the table where I think some of these were opened, so perhaps he is right that the double magnum of DRC Grand Echezeaux was in fact the 1983; we diverge a bit on that and also on the 1995 DRC RSV, as well as some of the LP wines. Still great night, including meeting Rich himself, as well as his “gang.” One takeaway for me is that '96’s (see his note on the Leroy and mine on the Rousseau) are now showing their original promise; these and a couple of others that I have recently drunk have been extraordinary.

forgive me if this is a naïve or uneducated post because any of these bottles would easily be the most expensive wine I’ve ever had the opportunity to drink, but I’ve always wondered: after participating in an event like this, with respect to each individual wine, do you who have posted feel like it cheapens them or elevates them? I think I could see it either way, but I’m curious to hear from people who have actually done it.

Hi Matt,

I hear you–and to be clear, I very rarely drink at this level myself and most of the heavy hitters were very generously shared by others. That’s one thing that makes the event so great. (In my experience generally, wine lovers tend to be extraordinarily generous when they encounter others interested in wines, and I try to do the same at “my level,” as it were.)

My answer to your question–Rich obviously can speak for himself–is a little bit of both. Obviously, something gets lost when so many wines are drank so close together, and generally we are speaking of relatively small amounts of each one tasted, maybe 2-3 ounces, with some exceptions when one can go back for more. At the same time, to experience them in the other wines’ company allows gauging them against one another and picking out similarities and differences that might otherwise go unnoticed–in style, terroir, as well as quality. It’s just a snapshot, of course, and some of the de Vogue’s for instance probably were underappreciated (by me) in this setting, as also the younger wines generally. On the other hand, the ones that leap out can really stick with you and show just how special they are. Besides the ones I rave about above, I can still, for example, virtually taste an '89 Lynch Bages I had in an analogous scrum a few years back. It proved the adage only great bottles, no great wines (I’ve had other bottles since not so good)–and this was true this night as well. Taking on a bunch you can find some extraordinarily memorable wines and there is a kind of gloriousness to the whole thing at a certain point (maybe a little like potlatch), but sure there is also a downside.

It def seems like this year was a significant step up from the inaugural event in Chicago a year or two ago. I clearly went to the wrong one :slight_smile:

I can definitely see all those things being true. It has to be interesting to be able to basically side by side some of the worlds greatest wines and truly see where they stand in the grand scheme of things. I would imagine there is a building effect of having wine after wine appear where each is something you cant wait to try.

I have also found what you mentioned to be true of wine lovers. for the most part I have found them extremely generous. to the point where I think its hard to really call yourself a wine lover if you aren’t willing to share, part of the enjoyment is experiencing it with others. I’m glad to hear its true at the upper reaches of wine-dom too! haha

also, FWIW, I wanna make sure and say that my question was not meant to bash the event. I think it sounds like a pretty much unforgettable evening. Was just something I had always wondered.

What a wonderful and civilized conversation!

Good question from Matt and response from Joshua. An interesting discussion for sure.

The two Paulee events I’ve attended (a few dinners in SF this past March and now Chicago) have been pure Bacchanalia with seemingly endless amounts of the best of the best from Burgundy in rapid fire progression. On the one hand, I’d love an evening focused on just one or two of the wines, where they’d get the focus that they warrant and the opportunity to evolve over a couple of hours. On the other hand, it’s a helluva a lot of fun to sit at a table (or two!) full of great Burgundies where they can be enjoyed, contrasted and celebrated.

No right answer, for sure. Personally grateful and fortunate to have the friends and the means to take part in the Bacchanalia every so often.

There’s always NYC in March 2019!!

I agree…totally champagne.gif [cheers.gif] [welldone.gif]