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Chambolle-Musigny seminar with Eric Asimov and Raj Parr was a knock-out!

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One of the most exciting gathering at this year’s festival was the Chambolle-Musigny tasting and seminar with New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov (above, right) and leading sommelier and author Raj Parr (left) — two of the leading Burgundy experts in the U.S. today.

Brett Zimmerman MS, founder of the Boulder Burgundy Festival (center), presented them at this year’s marquee event, which was held in the ballroom of the St. Julien Hotel.

As we’ve seen in years past, it’s always exciting to have such brilliant presenters for the seminar (last year, we were joined by Master of Wine Jancis Robinson and legacy Volnay producer Étienne de Montille).

But this year, the standing-room crowd of 150 + persons (including another leading wine writer, Jeb Dunnuck, and Master of Wine Ashley Hausman Vaughters) just seemed rapt by both the speakers and the wines themselves — an extraordinary flight of wines and styles from Chambolle-Musigny.

Where Raj delivered a superb talk on the appellation itself, including a virtual climb up the côte and his description of how the soils change from the bottom to the top of the hill, Eric offered invaluable insights into how perceptions of these wines has changed over a generation of Burgundy lovers. There couldn’t have been a more perfect balance between the technical and geeky, the sensorial and the intellectual.

What a great seminar!

We still haven’t lined up the speakers for the 2018 festival but this one is going to be tough to beat…

Old and Rare Burgundy at Frasca with Danny Haas (Vineyard Brands), Eric Asimov (New York Times) and too many Master Sommeliers to count!

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There’s a running joke each year at the Boulder Burgundy Festival. Ever since Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman began inviting leading wine writers to speak at the gathering — Ray Isle (Food & Wine), Master of Wine Jancis Robinson (Financial Times), and this year’s keynote speaker Eric Asimov (New York Times), they all say the same thing.

“It’s my first time to Boulder and my first time dining at Frasca,” they all have said, “and I’ve come on the one night of the year that Frasca is a French restaurant.”

They are referring to the fact that Frasca, one of the most acclaimed fine dining destinations in the U.S., is actually an Italian restaurant with a focus on the foods and wines of Friuli.

Of course, it’s no secret that chef and co-owner of the restaurant Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson studied and cooked in France before his interest shifted to Italy and Friuli more specifically. He also cooked at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in California where he met Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey (above, right) who would become his business partner when they opened Frasca together in 2004.

So it’s safe to say that guests at the festival’s Saturday night dinner were in good hands!

It was quite an evening: Between an unbelievable selection of old and rare Burgundy selected by legendary importer Danny Haas (Vineyard Brands), keynote speaker Eric Asimov, and too many Master Sommeliers to count, the event was one of the festival’s best ever.

Photo by M. Thurk Photography.

Boulder Burgundy Festival Day 2: Scenes from the Paulée Lunch and Dinner with Eric Asimov

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Jenn and Brett Zimmerman welcomed New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov (above, right) last night to Frasca where guests dined with the wine writer and American legacy importer Danny Haas of Vineyard Brands, whose wines were featured at the gathering.

And the weather couldn’t have been more perfect or more picturesque for yesterday’s event at the Flagstaff House with its sweeping views. Here are a few glimpses from yesterday’s Paulée-inspired lunch.

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Festival founder Brett Zimmerman welcomes keynote speaker Eric Asimov

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What a thrill for the festival organizers to welcome wine writer Eric Asimov last night at the Exceptional Burgundy Dinner last night at PMG restaurant, where owner Emily Gold and her team served a truly superb French country-style meal.

That’s festival founder Brett Zimmerman MS (right, standing) presenting the wines and introducing Eric (left) to guests.

There are just a few spots left for Eric’s Sunday seminar on the wines of Chambolle-Musigny. He will be joined by sommelier Raj Parr for the discussion and tasting.

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Festival kicks off with a “lights out” tasting of spectacular old Burgundy!

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What an extraordinary flight of wines to kick off the festival!

This morning Jason Smith MS, Jay Fletcher MS, Ashley Hausman Vaughters MW, and Brett Zimmerman MS (below, from left) presented a spectacular lineup of “old and rare” wines.

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It was also great to have acclaimed wine writer Jeb Dunnuck (below) with us for the tasting.

Most agreed, as Brett put it, that the 1988 Clos de Tart was a “lights out” wine. An unforgettable flight and tasting.

Stay tuned for more…

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Taste more than 200 top wines from Burgundy at the Grand Tasting

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Each year our guests tell us that one of the most memorable events at the festival is the Grand Tasting, where more than 200 wines are poured by the distributors who represent these elite properties in the U.S.

Not only do you get to taste the 200+ labels at the same event (which, in itself, makes the ticket cost an excellent value) but you get to experience these wines with some of the most knowledgable wine professionals working in the U.S. today.

Like all of the festival volunteers, these women and men are among the top wine pros in the country and they literally live and breathe Burgundy. Most of them have traveled to the properties they represent and most are veterans of the Burgundy wine trade. And because they work so closely with the producers, they are intimately familiar with the wineries, the winemakers, and the vineyards where the wines are grown and raised.

There’s nowhere else in the world that such a simpatico group of Burgundy lovers convenes and there couldn’t be a better way to “wrap your mind” around Burgundy and its wines than the Boulder Burgundy Festival Grand Tasting.

Click here for registration details.

Sunday Chablis Brunch at Arcana: The perfect coda to a weekend of great Burgundy

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From the first year Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman organized the gathering, the mission of the Boulder Burgundy Festival has been to offer its guests a value-driven Burgundian experience. And there is perhaps no event that better achieves that goal than the Sunday Chablis Brunch, to be held this year at one of Boulder’s favorite food-and-wine destinations, Arcana.

The caliber and breadth of the wines alone is worth the price of admission. And the homey touches that Arcana adds to its world-class food only sweeten the deal.

It’s also the last meal that guests share together before they head to the Sunday Burgundy Seminar (which features New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov and celebrity sommelier Raj Parr this year) and the Grand Tasting.

There couldn’t be a better way to catch up with fellow guests and trade tasting notes: A meal of Sunday-morning comfort food paired with a brilliant selection of mineral-driven, mouth-watering Chardonnay from Chablis.

Click here for registration details for this year’s Chablis Brunch at Arcana.

Image via the Arcana Facebook.

Old and Rare: One of the festival’s most compelling tastings, led by Master Sommelier (and raconteur) Jay Fletcher

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He’s been called “a legendary sommelier emeritus.”

“The Mr. Miyagi of Sommeliers.”

“The Obi-Wan Kenobi of sommeliers or the Coach K of wine-tasting coaches.”

“A guiding light for many of the Masters.”

His name is Jay Fletcher, a Master Sommeliers, one of the country’s most renowned wine professionals, and one of the wine trade’s most engaging and entertaining raconteurs.

And each year, he leads what is arguably the most compelling seminar at the festival: The Old and Rare event.

There’s plenty of jaw-dropping Burgundy poured at the festival. But the flight Jay presents each year is unique: He selects the wines from the Guild of Sommelier’s cellar, a collection of older Burgundy wines that were donated to the association by an extremely generous collector.

It’s one of those rare occasions when guests get the opportunity to taste a truly impressive flight of older wines — not something you get to do every day.

But the icing on the cake is Jay’s storytelling and his immense abilities as a taster and raconteur of wine. If you are a Burgundy lover, this is one you really don’t wan’t to miss!

Click here for registration info. Just a few spots open.

1999 Clos de Tart is just one of the extraordinary wines to be poured Saturday night…

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The festival organizers are thrilled to be working this year with Vineyard Brands, one of the leading importers of top Burgundy wines in the U.S. today. Founded in the 1970s, this family-owned company, with its tightly focused portfolio of fine wines from the Old and New Worlds, has built a reputation as the purveyor of some of Burgundy’s most exclusive domaines. Nearly 30 percent of its wines come from Burgundy, including the legendary Clos de Tart (above), one of only six grand cru monopolies in Burgundy.

Danny Haas, the son of Vineyard Brands’ founder Robert Haas, will join New York Times wine writer and celebrity sommelier Raj Parr for the event at Frasca Food and Wine where the staff will be pouring an extraordinary flight of wines from Vineyard Brands’ “book,” as they say in the trade:

Delamotte NV Champagne Brut Blanc de Blanc
Louis Michel Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir (magnum) 2014
Francois Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Perrières2015
Domaine de Courcel Pommard 1er Cru Grand Clos des Epenots 2007
Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains1999
Grand Cru Clos de Tart Monopole 1999

We are extremely thankful to Vineyard Brands and the Haas family for making this possibile!

Click here to reserve for the Frasca Saturday evening dinner event. What an amazing flight of wines and what an incredible gathering of Burgundy experts!

Click here to read Master of Wine Clive Coats’ profile of the legendary Clos de Tart vineyard, including a tasting note for the 1999.

And here’s a more recently penned post by Andrew Jefford for Decanter with tasting notes from a vertical flight of Clos de Tart stretching back to 1996 (and including the 1999).

What a spectacular wine!

Paulée Inspired Lunch (Saturday event): The quintessential BBF experience

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Don’t get us wrong: There’s not one event at the Boulder Burgundy Festival that you should miss.

From the Old and Rare tasting that kicks off the festival to the Sunday seminar (this year with Eric Asimov and Raj Parr) and Grand Tasting that close the gathering, the Boulder Burgundy Festival represents an entirely unique way to taste, trade notes, and make new friends with Burgundy lovers and connoisseurs.

But if there’s one event that you really want to make sure you get in on, it’s got to be the Paulée Inspired Lunch that takes place each year on the Saturday of the festival at Boulder’s celebrated Flagstaff House, one of the country’s best restaurants, with sweeping views of Boulder and the Rockies.

If you’ve had any experience with Burgundy, you already know that La Paulée de Meursault is a convivial lunch served each year in the countryside to celebrate harvest’s end. The word paulée literally means a pan full [of food] and the idea is that everyone pitches in — with wines and foods — to make a sort of Burgundian potluck.

At the BBF, the Saturday Flagstaff House event marks a special occasion each year when collectors generously share rare and older wines from their cellars. It really captures the convivial, community spirit of what the festival is all about. And all of the volunteer sommeliers lend a hand in pouring the wines (like the flight above) for the guests. It’s just one of the great events each year at the festival. But it’s one of the ones you don’t want to miss. Even if you don’t have wine to share, you are always welcome at the Paulée Inspired Lunch. And that’s what the festival is all about.

Click here for registration details (just a few spots open at this point!).

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