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

jay fletcher master sommelier

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…


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


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!).


Raj Parr to join Eric Asimov for this year’s main event (REGISTRATION NOW OPEN)

raj parr burgundy

This year’s Burgundy seminar (Sunday, October 15) is really shaping up to be an star-studded event: Not only will New York Times wine critic and author Eric Asimov be our keynote speaker but celebrity sommelier and fine wine guru Raj Parr will be joining him for this year’s panel.

Raj (above, center) has taken part in the Boulder Burgundy Festival in years past and we are really excited to welcome him back.

Hands down, Raj is one of the world’s leading experts on the wines of Burgundy and his wine list at RN74 (named after the famed Route Nationale 74 that runs through the heart of Burgundy, the “Route des Grands Crus”) is widely considered to be one of the best Burgundy programs in the world.

Author, winemaker (with his excellent Domaine de la Côte in Santa Barbara county), and sommelier truly extraordinaire, Raj is also one of the most accessible and approachable wine professionals working in the U.S. The best part of having him with us is getting to interact and taste with him. You’ll see him at other events as well: In the past, he’s poured at the Paulée lunch and other tastings as well. Such a treat to have him with us.


Chablis Brunch Sunday: Wines and home-style comfort food at PMG


One of the events that festival guest remember fondly each year is the Chablis Brunch held on the last day of the gathering. At host restaurant and Boulder Burgundy Festival partner PMG this year, wines and home-style comfort foods were served up generously for guests.


The weather was simply gorgeous last Sunday: One of those beautiful, crisp fall mornings in Boulder on the Pearl Street Mall where the restaurant is located. Savory brunch casseroles and kale salad, among other dishes, were ideal pairings for the flight of mineral-driven Chablis wines that were poured by festival sommeliers.


Many Burgundy-focused events tend to present the wines in a sterile setting without the support of food pairings. The concept of this gathering is to break that mold and show how our appreciation of these extraordinary wines is only enhanced by getting to taste them in gastronomic context.


The Sunday morning meal is also a great way to wind down on the last day of the festival. Thanks to everyone who took part last Sunday. We’ll look forward to seeing you next year!


Jancis Robinson, Étienne de Montille, and Brett Zimmeran MS close festival with sold-out seminar and tasting


What an incredible seminar and tasting yesterday, led by Master of Wine and author Jancis Robinson (center), legacy Burgundy producer Étienne de Montille (left), and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman (right), founder of the Boulder Burgundy Festival!

The three presenters spoke to a sold-out crowd of more than 150 persons, the largest gathering for a seminar and guided tasting in the festival’s six-year history.

Guests included some of the country’s leading Burgundy collectors and wine professionals, including a number of Master Sommeliers.


Following Jancis’ superb overview of whole-cluster fermentation, including its history and current usage among winemakers today, she asked winemaker Étienne to comment on the practical applications and challenges of whole-cluster fermentation in his own wines and in winemaking in general.

Earlier in the day, Jancis’ husband Nicholas Lander (a venerated food writer in his own right) had joked wryly: “Whole-cluster fermentation? A topic that’s surely on everyone’s minds!”

But there couldn’t have been a more rapt crowd at yesterday’s marquee event.

We’ll be reporting more on this and other events soon. Please stay tuned! And congratulations again to Brett and his team for a fantastic festival and heartfelt thanks to Jancis and Étienne for their participation and invaluable contribution!

Great dinner at Arcana last night and amazing to hear Étienne de Montille speak


An unforgettable dinner last night at Arcana, where Richard Betts MS, Jay Fletcher MS, Lynn Fletcher, and Carla Rzeszewski poured an incredible flight of wines (check back for the complete flight).

One of the most remarkable things was that guest of honor, winemaker Étienne de Montille, decided to pour wine all night instead of being seated for the meal. It was wonderful to watch guests ooo and aaa as Étienne approached their tables.


And of course, there was a already a team of celebrity sommeliers hard at work. That’s Richard Betts and Carla Rzeszewski in the photo above.

In conversation, Étienne spoke about something he had said earlier in the day at the Old and Rare seminar.

Recounting something his father, the inimitable Hubert de Montille used to say, Étienne told the group that “we,” the winemakers and grape growers of Burgundy, “are here to serve the land [of Burgundy], one of the most extraordinary places to farm in the world.”

“The word serve in French comes from servir, which comes from serf, my father used to say. The serfs were people who ‘belonged’ to the land. The owners of the land would change. But the serfs always remained. We are the serfs of Burgundy today,” he said.

One of the greatest things about the Boulder Burgundy Festival is how guests get to interact with people like Étienne.

We’ll be posting more in-depth stories from this year’s festival as soon as we have a moment to catch our breath!

Scenes from the Old and Rare seminar

Just posting some quick highlights from this afternoon’s Old and Rare Burgundy Seminar and Tasting, where guests tasted a flight that spanned 1991-2006. Really interesting to hear the panelists talk about their experiences pouring many of the wines in the flight over the years. Great to hear Étienne share his insights into Burgundy growing and winemaking practices. See the flight below…




1991 Domaine Ponsot Chapelle Chambertin Grand Cru
1996 Camille Giroud, Mazis Chambertin Grand Cru
1993 Domaine Denis Mortet, Gevrey Chambertin Les Champeaux 1er
1997 Domaine Hubert Lignier, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru
2006 Domaine Meo-Camuzet, Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
2004 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret, Richebourg Grand Cru
1998 Domaine de L’Arlot, Nuits St. Georges Clos des Forêts St. Georges 1er Magnum
1991 Domaine Daniel Rion, Vosne Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er

Champagne Kick-Off party: Highlights from the festival’s bubbly event

Please follow the festival’s NEW Instagram @BoulderBurgundy!


Here are a few highlights from last night’s Champagne Kick-Off party at the Kitchen Upstairs, the festival’s inaugural gathering.


Guests were treated to spectacular flights of Krug, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, and Dom Pérignon, among other wines.


And of course, the Kitchen staff did a phenomenal job with Champagne-friendly small bites. The service was as attentive as the menu was spot-on.


What a great way to get the festival started and what a great group of guests this year!

Stay tuned for daily updates from this year’s events…