On Sunday afternoon, when most wine shops are shut, owners dining and wining elsewhere with their foodie friends, Vin Vino Wine on Palo Alto's California Ave threw their 25th anniversary party "La Paulee" style. Never mind the pouring rain, never mind Sunday family chores, or the NFL Sunday games, or having to dig up a dear bottle of your own to share with the crowd - none of it seemed to contain the amplitude of the festivities that pulsed at VVW. Hors d'Oeuvres that interplayed uncannily with the wines, folks who've been coming there for years if not decades, the atmosphere was positively New Year's-like.
The "La Paulee style" is based on an old Burgundian tradition called La Paulée de Meursault where wine folk got together once a year to share their choice bottles with others in a 3-day "orgy" of fine wine drinking, eating and story-telling. The original event in France has always maintained a neighborly feel, while the grand affair put together by the celebrity-sommelier Daniel Johnnes that now alternates every year between New York and San Francisco is manner of unbridled extravagance. And VVW being one of the top wine shops for French wine in the Bay Area, distinguished by their deep tasting lineups and generous pours every day of the week, provided a perfect excuse for the heavy hitters to pop their long-awaiting beauties. (I am talking strictly wine drinking here, nothing more...) The one twist was that all wines had to be purchased over the years right there at Vin Vino Wine.
And the wines? Oh, the wines! The 1990 Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC) Echezeaux Grand Cru Burgundy (~$1000/btl) was spectacular, the wine of the night. Though no pairing was needed for that one, a slice of succulent medium-rare flank steak was wonderful with the DRC's deep and savory flavor.
But in terms of sheer fun, nothing could quite compare with the 15L larger-than-a-baby mega-shmega-Nebuchadnezzar (disgorged approx. 8 years ago) Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne, especially when paired with a melon/prosciutto appetizer!
Multiple vintages of Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape were a treat. The 1988 from a 3L double-magnum and a 1999 were classic - blood meets rusty pipe meet sour cherry - so vivid and savory - beautiful! The 1990 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape, rosemary meet lamb juice over a medium-body elegant texture, and oh it works! While a couple of impressive Loires, Burgundies, Champagnes, and Cali's made an appearance, it were the Rhones (both Northern and Southern) that were on parade that day - paired masterfully and daringly with sautéed chopped liver on a baguette - is there a better compliment to a Rhone red?!
And the rest of the wines? Well, just take a look!
This was definitely the best wine event I've been to by any wine shop anywhere!
Amongst the highlights were the 1993 Chave Hermitage Blanc (white wine of the night!) and 1986 Raveneau "Vaillons" Premier Cru Chablis (spectacular)!
Kudos to VVW and the owner Victor Pugliese for staying in this tough biz for 25 years and showing who's the man!
Victor Pugliese - the founder and owner of Vin Vino Wine and Iron Chevsky, with a bottle of 3L double-magnum 1988 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape signed by Daniel and Frederic Brunier. 1988 was the year when VT's Henri Brunier handed the reigns over to his sons Daniel and Frederic, the current owners of the domaine.