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Rare Burgundies Dinner at the St. Francis

WELCOME TO SF, LA PAULEE!



I have to write a brief report on the craziness that was La Paulée, the big Burgundy party in which everyone brings a great bottle (or ten) to share. There was so much great wine at this year's dinner, held on March 1, that had it not been so delicious, it would have been sickening. It was all collected in a back room at the Westin St. Francis, where the army of sommeliers (somewhere around 60 of them, from all over the country) would fetch it and pour it for the guests who brought it.



The meal, supplied by the likes of Michael Mina, Daniel Boulud and Traci Des Jardins, was scintillating, and the quality of the wine going around was astounding--from early-20th-century vintages to recent ones, but great pedigree in every bottle. I tasted a drop of a 1949--along with about a hundred other wines, from the '20s, '50s, '60s and '70s--that was simply mesmerizing.



By the end of the night, the onslaught of fine wine was overpowering, as you can tell by looking at the guy who fell asleep in his chair.



Nevertheless, festivities continued at the after-party in Michael Mina. Here you can see famous sommelier Robert Bohr, of Cru in New York, decanting a three-liter bottle of Comptes de Vogue Musigny with a rubber siphon.



No one seemed to want to finish the six-liter of 1970 Romanée-Conti, so I took it upon myself. The wine was older than me.



But ultimately unsuccessful in that endeavor, I cabbed it home at about 4 A.M. My hangover? Not bad, because the memories were so sublime.