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Olivier Bernstein, yes! Olivier Bernstein to be poured at this year’s festival

olivier bernstein wine burgundy

“There’s not a lot of opportunities to taste wines like these in the U.S.,” said William Davis a Denver-based regional trade ambassador for the Wilson Daniels company, a leading importer of fine wine in North America.

He was referring to the wines of Olivier Bernstein, some of the most sought-after labels from Burgundy today.

When Bernstein signed a contract with Wilson Daniels just over a year ago, it marked the first time his wines would be available to the general public. Until Bernstein agreed to allow the importer to bring them into the U.S., they had only been accessible to a small group of elite, fine wine collectors.

“We actually received the wines in March,” said Davis, “but we decided to hold them back… until now.”

When Davis pours the wines at the Boulder Burgundy Festival grand tasting a week from Sunday, they will be making their Colorado debut he said.

Pretty exciting stuff, if you ask us.

Bernstein has only been making wine in Burgundy since 2007, first as négociant and now as a vineyard owner as well. But it’s only taken the span of seven years to shoot him to the top of the charts, so to speak.

Here’s what some of the experts have been saying about the wines.

“Bernstein has put together a remarkable micro-négociant operation that now includes a few estate vineyards, including parcels in Mazis and Champeaux. The Bernstein wines are made in a fruit-driven style that is all about texture and volume… Bernstein’s wines are incredibly exciting.”

Antonio Galloni

“In a very short space of time Olivier Bernstein has established himself as a new star in Burgundy, receiving superb press notices from his very first vintage, 2007 from both Jancis Robinson and Allen Meadows among others.”

Jasper Morris, Master of Wine
Author of Inside Burgundy

“Time stopped while I had this in my mouth.”

Stephen Tanzer
International Wine Cellar

“Potentially one of the top grand crus of the vintage [2007].”

Allen Meadows

The difference a glass makes

riedel pinot noir burgundy glass

Above: Boulder Wine Merchant owner and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman has obtained the Riedel Burgundy glass for the Fourth Annual Boulder Burgundy Festival.

It’s one of those questions that sommeliers and wine professionals get asked a lot.

“Does the shape, size, and quality of the glass make a difference in the way the wine tastes?”

The answer, not surprisingly, is yes, it does matter — a lot.

“A great wine in the wrong glass at the wrong temperature can be a train wreck,” says Boulder Wine Merchant owner, Boulder Burgundy Festival founder, and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman.

“If you do the Pepsi challenge by tasting a great wine out of a superior glass like the Riedel Burgundy glass” made from crystal “and a Libbey glass” made from glass, “you’ll immediately smell and tast the difference.”

One of the most important things about a crystal glass is that the crystal defuses heat much more easily than the thicker, heavier glass does.

Even when a wine is cooled to the correct temperature, the Libbey glass will convey the warmth of the drinker’s body and the room temperature to the glass more quickly than a crystal glass.

But it’s also the diameter of the glass at its widest point and its aperture that help to enhance the wine lover’s experience.

Different grape varieties will perform differently depending on the size of the glass.

As Riedel writes on its website, its “Vinum” series (like the Burgundy glass pictured above, image via the Riedel site) was “the first machine-made glass in history to be based on the characteristics of grape varietal.”

Before it was created in 1986, varietally specific stemware was out of reach for most consumers.

We’re very pleased to announce that Brett has reached an agreement with the Riedel management that will allow him and his team to served all festival wines in the Riedel Vinum Burgundy (Pinot Noir) glass.

“If there were just one glass,” he says, “I could enjoy everything in that glass.”

“It’s so important for us to be respectful of the winemakers who participate and their wines. They took the time to create this beautiful wine and then they come all this way to share it with us. To serve it in a subpar glass didn’t make sense to me.”

The organizers of the Boulder Burgundy Festival would like to thank Doug Reed of Riedel and his team for making this possible.

Top US sommeliers for fourth annual Boulder Burgundy Festival

robert bohr sommelier

Above: Robert Bohr (left) and Rajat Parr (right) are just two of the leading U.S. wine professionals who will be taking part in this year’s festival (see the list below). Not only do festival-goers get to taste the wines and meet a handful of Burgundy producers, they also get to interact with some of the best sommeliers in America today.

One of the cool things about the wine world is the talented, dynamic people you meet.

And one of the coolest things about the Boulder Burgundy Festival is that it brings together some of the top wine professionals working in U.S. today (see the list below).

Here in America, we’re living through a wine “renaissance.”

A generation ago, wine seemed to be reserved solely for the entitled and elite. But today all of that has changed.

Across the nation, from large urban centers like New York and San Francisco to smaller cities like Austin, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina, more and more restaurant professionals are obtaining “sommelier certification” from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

And even more tradespeople and laypersons are joining and following the excellent Guild of Sommeliers, which strives “to promote wine education, enrichment, collaboration and healthy debate among our members while maintaining the chief values of the sommelier profession: integrity, humility and hospitality.” The group aims “to help our members broaden their knowledge of the world’s wine regions, enhance their beverage service skills, network with other wine enthusiasts, and stay up-to-date on industry news and trends.”

And that’s not to mention the growing number of Master Sommelier candidates who are braving the rigorous testing — blind tasting, service, and theory — required to join the elite Court. There are currently 140 Master Sommeliers in the Americas and 219 worldwide and five of them (see below) will be in attendance at this year’s festival.

It’s a golden age for wine in America and many of our country’s brightest and best wine pros will be joining us this year to pour, pair, and parse the finer points of the great wines of Burgundy.

None of them are compensated for their participation: they come to trade notes, catch up with colleagues and clients, and — most importantly — to enjoy the wines and expand their own wine knowledge.

The wines and the winemakers are the stars, of course, but the gathering of so many remarkably talented wine professionals, from some of our nation’s leading restaurants, is worth the price of admission alone.

The list of participating sommeliers follows…

Grant Reynolds, Charlie Bird, NYC
Eric Railsback, Les Merchands, Santa Barbara
Jordan Salcito, Momofuku, NYC
Robert Bohr, Grand Cru Selections, NYC
Rajat Parr, Sandhi and Domaine de la Cote Wines, Santa Barbara
Mark Bright, Saison, San Francisco
Jay Fletcher, MS, Director of Fine Wine for Southern Wine and Spirits, Aspen
Carlton McCoy, MS, Wine Director of the Little Nell Hotel, Aspen
Chubby Oveges, Assistant Food and Beverage of the Little Nell Hotel, Aspen
Matt Mather, Sommelier with Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder
Carlin Karr, Sommelier with Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder
Bobby Stuckey, MS, Owner of Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder
Richard Betts, MS My Essential Wines, Sombra, Scratch & Sniff Wine Book
Carla Rzeszewski, TLU Wine Co.
Brett Zimmerman, MS, Owner of Boulder Wine Merchant, Boulder
Melanie Kamen, The Flagstaff House, Boulder
Jonathan Pullis, Chefs Club, Aspen

The woman behind the magic

best wine service colorado

Exceptional wine service requires thoughtful planning, precision, and focus.

And when you’re dealing with top Burgundy wines like those we’ll be pouring at the Boulder Burgundy Festival next month, attention to detail in event planning is key.

There are many moving parts in a festival like this and everything has to be perfect.

That’s why we turn to Heather Dwight, Boulder-based event planner and owner of Calluna Events, to run the festival.

It’s now the second year in a row that she’ll be working with us. But our relationship goes beyond our partnership for the yearly Burgundy gathering.

Throughout the course of the year, we work with her and her team on private and public wine events that we organize, from intimate tastings for high-level collectors to wine-themed parties.

And in turn, Boulder Wine Merchant owner and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman consults with Calluna on the wines it serves at its own events.

“We partner with Boulder Wine Merchant and Brett,” says Heather, “with clients ranging from small, intimate dinner parties with wine pairings as a focus to larger cocktail parties and wedding receptions. We truly value the partnerships we have with Boulder Wine Merchant because it allows us to provide expert resources to our clients from a Master Sommelier when navigating their choices for wines for their event.”

So when every glass (or “stem” as they are called in the trade) has been polished and everything is set to go, it’s thanks to Heather and her team that the magic happens.

Click here to learn more about Heather and Calluna Events.

Domaine Lignier Michelot: it’s the “materia prima” that makes the difference

morey st denis harvest 2014

Above: The 2014 harvest team at Domaine Lignier Michelot (image via the Domaine Lignier Michelot Facebook).

As you peruse the many pages and posts about winemaker and grape grower Virgile Lignier Michelot and his family’s winery, Domaine Lignier Michelot, you find that nearly every one of the great Burgundy writers and trade insiders points to a fundamental shift in the winery when Virgile began making the wines in 2000, taking over for his father.

He underwent “an epiphany in the vineyard,” writes the legendary Burgundy merchant Becky Wasserman on her site.

She echoes a note from her son Peter: “Virgile has changed his philosophy from one of technical winemaker to passionate vitculturist where all energy is spent on ensuring the growth of the very best vines and letting the wine make itself.”

“Father and son had worked well together and without conflict,” writes Burgundy blogger and author Bill Nanson on his excellent site Burgundy Report.

“But in 2000, right from the start, Virgile chose to make changes that reflected his own philosophy — mainly in the vines. Green pruning and working the soil without herbicides were the starting point.”

(We highly recommend Bill’s profile of Virgile and the Domaine, including notes on the growing sites and a handful of tasting notes for some of the top wines.)

Peter perhaps puts it best in an anecdote about an early tasting with Virgile:

It was at a tasting in 2001 at the Domaine that Virgile pulls me off to the side.

Excitedly, he tells me, as if it is a secret, “I finally get it.”

My logical question: “What?”

Virgil: “It’s all in the vineyard. It’s not what I do in here, it’s out there. The raw material.”

Now, Virgile is a man with intensity and infectious energy. I was very excited. And I haven’t been let down since as his wines have continued to climb since that day.

Virgile represents a growing movement of young winemakers in Burgundy who have embraced transparency and anti-interventionism in winemaking over manipulation and technology.

After all, it’s the materia prima — Virgile’s “raw material” — that makes the wine, not the winemakers.

We’re thrilled that Virgile will be joining us at the Boulder Burgundy Festival this year.

Click here for details on the Friday, November 21 dinner to be held at Flagstaff House in his honor.

Guillaume d’Angerville: “precision, respect, and humility”

guillaume d angerville burgundy boulder

“Vintage after vintage,” begins his bio on the Domaine d’Angerville website, “Guillaume d’Angerville has run the Domaine Marquis d’Angerville preserving the fundamental values he inherited from his predecessors: precision, respect for the great terroirs, and humility in the face of nature’s surprises.”

It’s hard to imagine a better description of his family’s legacy and approach to winemaking.

The famed Volnay estate and winemaker behind some of the appellation’s most profound expressions is known throughout the world of Burgundy collectors and connoisseurs as a champion of restraint in winemaking. “Minimalist intervention” in the cellar and “judicious use of oak” in aging the wines are the expressions that pop up in nearly every write-up you’ll find.

During Burgundy’s dark period between the two world wars, the Marquis d’Angerville was a pioneer in battling corruption and championing quality. And he was also among the first to produce estate-bottled wines, an fundamental shift in the négociant system of the time.

Jacques d’Angerville took over the winemaking in the 1950s and his non-interventionist style and work in developing the estate’s unique Pinot Noir clone, Pinot d’Angerville, made the winery one of the most celebrated producers of fine wines in the world.

Guillaume, above, who worked as banker until his father’s passing, returned to run the domaine in 2003 and — just as his bio reads — embraced the same values of previous generations.

Perhaps the only difference in the way the wines are raised today is the fact that the winery is now a Demeter-certified biodynamic grower and winemaker.

Unfortunately, the Boulder Burgundy Festival’s Domaine d’Angerville dinner is already sold out. But there is still availability for the Domaine d’Angerville seminar, which will be led by Guillaume himself.

The organizers are thrilled to have him return to the festival.

Image via the Domaine Marquis d’Angerville website.

The Growe Foundation: blueprint for a healthier nation

From the Growe Foundation website: By providing children with engaging educational experiences that connect them to food, how it’s grown and why fruits and vegetables are essential to their diet, we aim to address the childhood health issues and the environmental problems facing society.

growe foundation boulder

Any parent in the U.S. will tell you the same thing: getting your kids, especially toddlers, to eat fresh fruit and vegetables can be a trying experience.

And it’s a universal problem that cuts across economic and geographic lines. Beyond a given family’s economic means or lack thereof, children from all walks of life in the U.S. are incessantly bombarded by advertising and marketing (often subtle or veiled) for processed food.

“98% of the $2 billion in food and beverage advertisements viewed by children,” writes Bryce Brown on his Growe Foundation’s website, “are for products that are high in fat, sugar or sodium.”

Brown created the foundation after many years of watching children suffer from chronic disease in the hospitals where he was working as a management consultant.

“[He] became troubled by the number of children with health issues,” he writes, “and the increasing role that environmental problems were having on disease. With a vision to create a healthier future for kids.

And so “he began thinking about how schools could play a role in helping children learn about healthy eating and caring for the environment.”

Today, “by providing children with engaging educational experiences that connect them to food, how it’s grown and why fruits and vegetables are essential to their diet,” he and his Growe Foundation “aim to address the childhood health issues and the environmental problems facing society.”

The Growe Foundation is one of the official causes of the Boulder Burgundy Festival.

Proceeds from select events will be donated to the foundation.

Click here to learn more about Bryce’ vision and work.

Davis Phinney, a true American hero

davis phinney parkinson

Davis Phinney (above, left, with his wife Connie Carpenter) is a true American hero.

He’s one of the most successful competitive cyclists in U.S. history.

And he’s also the man behind the Davis Phinney Foundation, which strives “to help people living with Parkinson’s to live well today.”

From the Davis Phinney Foundation website:

In 1993, after almost 20 years of nearly unprecedented success as a cyclist, Davis retired from pro cycling. His last professional win set yet another record that is still unbroken; he finished the legendary “Hotter Than Hell 100″ in Texas in an amazing 3hrs. 23 minutes. To this day, no one has ridden faster.

After his retirement from cycling, Davis’ career continued as a well-known sportscaster for ABC, CBS, NBC and OLN. In 2000, after years of feeling not quite right, and an almost endless round of tests, Davis was diagnosed with Young-onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD). Finally, the years of battling constant fatigue, the mental fogginess, the muscle cramping and bouts of sudden numbing weakness had a name.

Shortly after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Davis, his wife (Olympic medalist Connie Carpenter) and their two children moved to Italy, in part to adjust to the disease and in part because many of their Bike Camps were based in Italy. While living in Italy, Davis was contacted by a former Bike Camp client Kathleen Krumme who asked Davis to lend his name to her ride in Cincinnati to benefit PD. And from those beginnings, the Davis Phinney Foundation was born.

Realizing that there are ways to improve the quality of his day to day living, Davis started the Davis Phinney Foundation as a way to promote and fund innovative research that demonstrates the effects and importance of exercise, speech and other elements that are critical to quality of life. In 2008, Davis underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery to control his Parkinson’s symptoms.

Today, Davis lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife of 25 years, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, and their children Taylor and Kelsey. Davis continues to celebrate the daily victories in his life and inspires others with his message of optimism and encouragement.

The Davis Phinney Foundation is one of the Boulder Burgundy Festival’s official causes.

Proceeds from select festival events will be donated to the foundation and the event organizers hope to raise awareness of its mission through the festival’s social media campaign. Thanks for being here and for letting us share Davis’ story.

Image via HeyDay Creative.

SOLD OUT: Marquis d’Angerville Dinner 11/22

We regret that seats are no longer available for this event.

Marquis d’Angerville Dinner with Guillaume d’Angerville

Saturday, November 22, 6:00 p.m.
Frasca Food and Wine
$325 per person, 75 seats available
Dinner includes the menu, wine pairings, tax and gratuity

To purchase your seat, please contact Erin Pommer, Director of Events, at or (303) 442-0608.

Join Guillaume d’Angerville from Domaine Marquis d’Angerville in Volnay at Frasca Food and Wine.

Continuing with our tradition for the past four years, we will transform Frasca into a French restaurant for an evening with a Burgundy inspired menu and one of Burgundy’s greatest producers, Guillaume d’Angerville.

The D’Angerville Volnay wines come from a collection of the greatest Premier Cru vineyards in the commune, which happen to also be among the most sought-after bottles in Burgundy. Guillaume is one of today’s star producers of Burgundy. He took the reigns of the family domaine in 2003 when his father, Jacques, passed away. After many years in banking, Guillaume immediately rose to the challenging expectations of a fine-wine audience who had come to know the accomplishments of his talented father. Guillaume has exceeded these expectations and now runs a domaine that produces some of the most sought after wines in France. The D’Angerville wines are refined and precise – a perfect example of Volnay at its finest.

Bobby Stuckey and the Frasca team will host an amazing evening of food, wine, and service for a limited number of guests. We will be honored to include a few special guest sommeliers from around the country for the evening as well. The wine team has selected an extremely rare offering from the D’Angerville winery to accompany the fall inspired Burgundy menu.

2014 Participating Sommeliers

robert bohr

Above, from left: Robert Bohr and Rajat Parr at last year’s festival.

Grant Reynolds, Charlie Bird, NYC
Eric Railsback, Les Merchands, Santa Barbara
Jordan Salcito, Momofuku, NYC
Robert Bohr, Grand Cru Selections, NYC
Rajat Parr, Sandhi and Domaine de la Cote Wines, Santa Barbara
Mark Bright, Saison, San Francisco
Jay Fletcher, MS, Director of Fine Wine for Southern Wine and Spirits, Aspen
Carlton McCoy, MS, Wine Director of the Little Nell Hotel, Aspen
Chubby Oveges, Assistant Food and Beverage of the Little Nell Hotel, Aspen
Matt Mather, Sommelier with Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder
Carlin Karr, Sommelier with Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder
Bobby Stuckey, MS, Owner of Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder
Richard Betts, MS My Essential Wines, Sombra, Scratch & Sniff Wine Book
Carla Rzeszewski, TLU Wine Co.
Brett Zimmerman, MS, Owner of Boulder Wine Merchant, Boulder
Jonathan Pullis, Chefs Club, Aspen