You probably can't go further toward an extreme Burgundy education and experience than through a ticket ($4,000) to La Paulée de San Francisco's Legends Dinner at the Napa Valley Reserve. As one friend described it, "I stopped going when I had to dump a 1946 Richebourg to get the next wine." It's know to many as the ultimate Bacchanalia. But with a lot less money, and no need to drive anywhere, you can brain-up on Burgundy right here in the city.
On the other end of the price spectrum, for $95 you can have three top sommeliers, including the organizer of the La Paulée event itself, teach you the insider secrets of Burgundy.
The series of events occur annually and alternate between New York and San Francisco; this year is San Francisco's. Events run from Feb. 22 to 25, and there are two sessions that look promising for aspiring Burgundians on a budget.
Navigating Burgundy with a Sommelier's Guidance
When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
The three sommeliers are Rajat Parr, wine director for Michael Mina; Daniel Johnnes, the founder of La Paulée in the U.S. and wine director for Daniel Boulud; and Rajeev Vaidya of restaurant Daniel. La Paulée says that the seminar "promises to be as entertaining as it is enlightening." It also promises to be irreverent and to "reveal the truth behind three widespread misconceptions." Sounds like a reasonable path to enlightenment -- and to lightening the serious topic of Burgundy.
Seminar with Eric Asimov
When: Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Where: The Westin St. Francis, Colonial Room
The wine critic for the New York Times, Asimov will lead you through "three of Burgundy's most dynamic young producers" with a talk and tasting. With the price of Burgundy these days, you'll likely drink more than your entry, even if the pours are short, so this should be a worthy investment in any wine education.
If you want to stretch beyond the entry level, the event offers many choices, from a $300 Grand Tasting with over 100 wines, to the aforementioned $4,000 Legends event. Whatever level you decide to invest, if you're a first-timer you're likely to buy a lifetime memory.
Full listings and tickets available online.
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Wether you have $4,000 or $95 to spend on your Burgundy education, La Paulée has an option for you.