Sunday, March 16, 2014

La Paulee San Francisco 2014. The 2011 Burgundy vintage confirmed.





The 2011 line-up of great burgundies, a celebration of celebrations that takes place once every two years in San Francisco, and a must-attend for a serious Burgundy lover, did not disappoint. I've written about this glorious tasting in the past, and this was my third time covering the event. On March 15, the long-awaited La Paulee came to San Francisco again, and the 2011's on display confirmed my positive impression of the 2011 vintage so far - there were many very good and even brilliant wines, with much great drinking to look forward to in the next 15 years, and even a lot to enjoy in the relatively immediate future as many wines are already quite delicious.

As usual, the food at this event is top-notch. Tons of amazing gourmet bites from top restaurants...



Three producers stood out for me.

Armand Rousseau. That's Eric Rousseau in the photo below - the current owner of the domain, holding his precious Chambertin Grand Cru. One month ago I tasted a barrel sample of the 2012 Chambertin. In comparison, this 2011 seemed tastier and more approachable, while I recall the 2012 being thicker and more monolithic, which makes sense in the context of the respective vintages. The entire Rousseau line-up was excellent. I think the 1er Cru "Lavaux St-Jacques" is a beautiful wine. But the Chambertin is a pinnacle. It was hard to fully appreciate this $2000/bottle beauty in all the ruckus around me.


Domaine Fourrier. Jean-Marie and his wife Vicki. The 1er's were juicy, precise, and joy to drink. The Clos St. Jacques quite special.



Even Mr. Daniel Johnnes himself - the famous sommelier and the organizer of the La Paulee event, was giving a hand at the Fourrier table.


Marquis d'Angerville. Gloriously delicious, balanced, clean, refined, joyous wines. Mr. Guillaume d'Angerville holding his famous Clos des Ducs - Volnay's most famous wine.


Other producers made excellent wines too. I will comment specifically under each photo below.

Hudelot-Noellat - very tasty wines. The Romanee St. Vivant was quite fine.


Domaine des Lambrays didn't blow me away in 2011.


Bouchard - the "baby Jesus" was a stand-out, with lots of depth and sap. Both whites where quite good too, but I preferred the Meursault Genevrieres (I also tasted the 2011 Meausault Perrieres in other events, and thought that was excellent too.)  Always nice to see Luc Bouchard (and Tanya the rep) brighten the pages of this blog!


I thought both of Drouhin's whites on display - the Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot 1er, and Corton-Charlemagne were very good. The reds - forgettable.


Pierre-Yves Colin Morey showed in good form. (The man - Pierre Yves Colin - clearly looks bigger in person than on the photos on the internet, btw). No disappointments here - good flavorful white burgundies across the board.


Very serious Clos de La Roche from Hospices de Beaune


This was a very nice palate cleanser! I quite enjoyed the '02 Delamotte on several occasions.


Always great to catch up with Erwan Faiveley. I liked the 2011 Latricieres-Chambertin quite a bit! (on the heels of my recent tasting of his 1993 Latricieres, documented here.)



Jadot's Corton-Charlemagne was good, but Clos Vougeot was truly impressive.



Domaine de Courcel's wines from Cote de Beaune were good, but suffered, following the glorious wines from Marquis d'Angerville.


Similar note about de Montille - good but d'Angerville was a hard act to follow.


Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon. Always super solid in both whites and red.


Sauzet also solid, tastes like classic burgundy, more understated than Colin-Morey, I must stay. Oooh, that Chevalier-Montrachet!



Christian Moreau is a good value, good quality Chablis, but clearly not in the league of Dauvissat / Raveneau.



Francois Carillon also solid and flavorful.


I wish I had more time, but alas three hours blew by like a whirlwind, and I only got to taste about 70% of what was being poured. Perhaps enough time to form impressions, but surely not enough to properly assess or appreciate the wines. I am inspired to purchase more 2011's now, with a bit more confidence. Certainly not as across-the-board great power-vintage like 2010 and not as seductive as 2009, the 2011 offers a lot of charm, appeal and excellent juicy drinkability, and in many cases within a shorter maturity window.

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