Scenes from the Grand Tasting 2014

olivier bernstein burgundy

Above: William Davis (right) of Wilson Daniels pours the much-sought-after wines of Olivier Bernstein at the Boulder Burgundy Festival 2014 Grand Tasting. William, alone, showed eleven wines, including labels that sell for upward of $450 per bottle.

It’s hard to explain the uniqueness of the Boulder Burgundy Festival Grand Tasting.

Yes, the bean counting is easy. There were twenty purveyors of fine wines who presented their wines. And by the official count, there were roughly 170 wines poured, although many distributors brought extra wines that were not listed in the official tasting book.

rajat parr burgundy wine

Above: Leading U.S. sommelier and author Rajat Parr (right) and his sales manager
Natalie Vaclavik poured Rajat’s Burgundy négociant project Maison L’Orée.

The data alone would be impressive for this tasting, which was held in the historic Boulderado Hotel’s event center.

But the thing that takes the numbers over the top is the fact that the importers and distributors who participated weren’t simply showing “entry-tier” wines. In fact, you would be hard pressed (excuse the pun) to find more than a handful of wines at this tasting that retail for less than $80-90.

maison oree rajat parr raj

Above: At most tastings of this scale, you’d find dump buckets brimming over. Not so at the Boulder Burgundy Festival 2014 Grand Tasting where spitting would be considered in bad taste.

By one blogger’s guestimation (based on the prices listed in the officially tasting book), the average bottle price fell somewhere between $100-130. And some of the bottles sell for upward of $400 — that is, if you can find them.

But the thing that really takes the Grand Tasting over the top is the fact that the guests truly appreciate the wines and the people who were pouring them.

mike joyce natural wine company

Above: Mike Joyce (left), sales manager at Natural Wine Company, a leading Colorado distributor and an underwriter of the event, with Wade Vizena, manager at The Kitchen, one of the Boulder restaurants that hosted festival events.

Ask anyone in the wine trade and they will tell you about inconsiderate and even unruly guests at tastings like this. Especially as an event like this wears on, people can lose sight of the fact that they are tasting wines that command their attention and respect (we’ll just leave it at that).

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this truly remarkable event was how polite everyone was and how easy it was to make your way from one table to the next.

And of course, the tradespeople who were pouring were among the best and brightest in the industry. These folks know their stuff.

francesca deorio calluna events

Above: Heather Dwight (right), founder and owner of Calluna Events in Boulder, with her colleague Francesca DeOrio. Calluna was the tasting’s official organizer and did a superb job of making everything run seamlessly.

Considering the price of admission was only $85, noted a wine blogger who attended, the event was a steal.