Phillipe Prost of Bouchard

Phillipe Prost of Bouchard Pere et Fils pouring Chevalier Montrachet

For the first time I attended a La Paulée event; the Vertical Producer Tasting to be exact.  Just in case you are not familiar with La Paulée it is, in a nutshell, a celebration of the wines of Burgundy.  I had never been to a La Paulée before for a variety of reasons like, I was intimidated by Burgundy and often over whelmed, I didn’t want to get into four figures to get into an event, or simply that I don’t really feel comfortable wearing a suit.

But on the sage advice of Levi Dalton, I signed up for the producer Vertical Tasting.  It was relatively affordable by La Paulée standards and it offered an opportunity to taste several vintages side by side from some of the most noted producers in Burgundy.  Of all the Burgundy events I have attended, the La Paulée Vertical Tasting was by far the best and most educational.  If I could fault it for one thing it would be that the two hour event was not long enough to sample all the amazing wines being shown.

I walked away from the event a changed man regarding Burgundy however.  To be able to try wines from one producer, from multiple vintages, from specific crus was really eye opening.  Even more so than vintage variation, it was nice to see site characteristics, and most importantly, producer style.  I may never be able to afford to attend the baller Le Paulée dinners that run into the thousands of dollars, but a few hundred bucks was well spent on the Vertical Tasting.

I could not try all all the wines at the La Paulée Vertical Tasting, which was a shame.  But I did get to try a lot from some amazing producers.  Some I knew, others I was trying for the first time.  While choosing amongst such epic wines is a challenge, below are a few standouts.


Domaine R&V Dauvissat may be an obvious choice, but the wines are always standouts when it comes to Chablis.  What was great about this showing of “La Forest” was that the vintages all had a lovely amount of age on them (1999, 1995, 1990).  The Dauvissat wines age into something magical.


The Meursaults from Antoine Jobard were a real standout for me amongst the white wines shown at the Le Paulée vertical tasting.  I was unfamiliar with the producers wines, but they blew me away.  They were showing Meursault Charmes 2009, which was stunning, 2006, and 1993.  The wines were excellent both young and with age.  Jobard is on the top of my list for Mersault.

Comtes Lafon

I really liked the Meursault Perrieres from Comtes Lafon.  The wines are richly styled and seductive.  Something about them makes me feel a little dirty, a little wrong, and I like that.


To throw Laflaive in the list of favorites is another obvious choice.  Laflaive is always excellent, especially Les Pucelles.  I always find the wines to have great balance, often bordering on perfection.


Perhaps the most surprising of all the whites I tried were those from Bouchard.  Bouchard is a big name and one might discount the quality of the wines for that reason.  The Chevelier Montrachets that Phillipe Prost was showing were all exceptional.  So balanced and classic and wonderful to drink.  Put conceptions aside, the Bouchard Chevelier Montrachets are the real deal and then some.

Chandon de Briailles

My first stop trying the reds at the Vertical Tasting was a wonderful one.  The Ille des Vergelsses from Domaine Chandon de Briailles was a lovely set of wines.  Chandon de Briailles uses varying proportions of whole cluster fermentation depending on each vintage and the wines all showed amazing fruit and the absence of the hand of the wine maker.  Lovely wines, classic, with great fruit.  Whole cluster ranged from 30%-80% depending on the vintage.


Domaine Fourrier has certainly achieved a certain status in the United States.  And the Vougeot Les Petits Vougeots that they showed were amongst my favorite wines of the day.  The fruit expression of the Fourrier wines was just so lovely.  So primary, and so approachable across the board (2010, 2009, 2007).  Levi Dalton has an excellent piece on the Fourrier wines on his blog.  The wines were delicious.

Comte Liger-Belair

I was also really blown away by the wines from Comte Liger-Belair.  The wines were all so beautiful.  I especially loved the 2010 Vosne-Romanée Aux Brulees.  The fruit was just so fresh and lovely and begged to be drunk now.  The 2008 was super classic with great acidity and the 2006 was really beautiful too.  Great stuff from Comte Liger-Belair.


One of the great names in Burgundy, Dujac also showed well.  The Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts were great across the board.  I walked away thinking that Dujacs style is quite age worthy.

Bruno Clair

Bruno Clair also showed very well.  The Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques wines were all so beautiful.  Very lovely wines.


The last table at the Vertical Tasting, and the last word in Burgundy at this event.  Roumier Bonnes Mares.  Magical stuff by anyone’s measure.  Loved these wines, so did everyone else, no big surprise.  An honor to taste them really.

Mugneret Gibourg

Somehow I missed a photo of one of my favorite wines, I recall it was the moment I saw Levi Dalton, I might have been temporarily taken with his poise and charm, or maybe it was just that the Mugneret-Gibourg Ruchottes Chambertin’s were just so exceptional.  I loved these wines, certainly amongst the best at the tasting.  Subtle masterpieces.