Daniel Johnnes presents La Paulée de New York

  • Robert M. Parker, Jr.

  • 01 Mar 2005 | Events

This event, organized by importer and restauranteur Daniel Johnnes, is a hugely successful charity event that raises money for the Meals on Wheels program. It usually occurs when I am in Bordeaux tasting the newest vintage, but since my trip this year was later than usual, I was able to attend. What an amazing evening! There were more than 275 guests, including a number of Burgundian producers, who enjoyed what must be the greatest array of red and white Burgundies on Planet Earth as well as some terrific food made by a bevy of chefs, including Washington D.C.'s Michel Richard (Citronelle) and New York City's Daniel Boulud (Daniel). Richard prepared a Soupe à l'Oignon with a boudin blanc of foie gras. There was a wonderful bar "au Pistou" from Montrachet's Chef Chris Gesualdi, followed by Daniel Boulud's famous short ribs of beef.

However, it was the wines that blew everybody away. They are poured in random order in a machine gun-like rapidity that is so overwhelming that you are basically turning down great bottles because the four glasses you are given are already filled with remarkable elixirs. I missed many renowned wines because I couldn't bring myself to not drink the stuff already in my glass. Only in New York would an event like this take place. It was an unprecedented demonstration of generosity by a roomful of Burgundy enthusiasts.

All I can say is that for the thousand dollar entrance fee, one got to taste nearly a quarter of a million dollars worth of Burgundy. Any Burgundy enthusiast who does not jump at the opportunity to attend this event is crazy as it is a dinner/tasting of a lifetime. Of course, one could quibble over the chaotic service as well as the fact that the wines are given no aeration and are drunk too fast, but there is something about the incredible generosity and spirit of participating and focusing on so many great wines in such a selfless evening for the good of mankind that makes it all work. Truly a special evening! I was also touched by the generosity and warmth exhibited by over two dozen Burgundian vignerons, most of whom I have not seen in over a decade. Not that there isn't some tension between me and a handful of Burgundian wine producers, but it is a distinct minority, and I'll leave that kind of hostility to be inflamed by those who would rather find evil in every wine glass than goodness and joy.

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