The RRVW Annual Paulee – An Amazing Wine Experience Not To Be Missed by John Dyrek of VinStars
The Russian River Valley Winegrowers hosted the ultimate winemaker dinner, the Annual Paulée, on September 1st, 2017 at Landmark Vineyards Hop Kiln Estate, featuring 26 Russian River Valley Wineries pouring world class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. (source: http://rrvw.org/events-calendar/russian-river-valley-paulee/)
La Paulée is a harvest dinner celebrating the end of the grape harvest in Burgundy, France where it’s customary for everyone to bring a bottle of wine to share. Winemakers would compete to bring the best bottle of wine to impress their favorite clients. However, the spirit of La Paulée means much more than geography. It’s about sharing and enjoying prized wines with strangers. Large format bottles make appearances along with older vintages.
The name “La Paulée” comes from the French word for sauté pan, poile. In the early days, the post-harvest meal was so simple that it was cooked in a single poile.
In the spirit of the Paulée tradition, the Russian River Valley Paulée did manage to bring some great winemakers and collectors together to enjoy an elegant multi-course meal paired with wines from winemakers and guests’ personal cellars, including special, limited and rare vintages. And the event included an auction for some very special wines too.
When I arrived at the historic Hop Kiln Estate for the evening festivities, I immediately felt the 110 degree heat. As I looked out at the long rows of tables sitting across the lawn where guests would later enjoy the evening, I was worried that the heat might adversely impact this wonderful event. Well, as it turned out, it was not an issue.
With the celebration starting inside this historic, cavernous building, guests enjoyed a very cool climate with some amazing wines from DeLoach, Dutton, Gary Farrell, Korbel, Kosta Browne, Landmark, Ramey, Williams Selyem, and many others. And when we finally ventured back outside, it had cooled enough (low 90s) to fully enjoy the real party.
The pre-dinner event was clearly the start of a fete that had the makings of remarkable adventure. As the evening ensued, guests were served some amazing food like Olive Oil Poached Yellow Tail mixed with Grilled Late Summer Vegetables and Herb Chimichurri (by Chef Ben Davies of Russian River Vineyards). And the bite size desserts (by Chef Condra Easley of Pâtisserie Angelica) were all so good that I cannot tell you which one was my fav.
While eating, we enjoyed many quality recent vintages and library wines from the Sonoma and the Russian River Valley. I was personally honored to sample a Zinfandel and Petite Sirah blend (2013 Christopher Creek), some Pinot Noir (2012 Bucher, 2009 Landmark, 2006 Williams Selyem) and some Cabernet Sauvignon (2009 A. Rafanelli, 1987 Hanzell). These extraordinary wines were a testament to the Sonoma County artistry. In the spirit of sharing, a bottle of 1982 Travaglini Gattinara was poured too.
If you truly want to enjoy a unique wine experience that includes interesting people, wine, food, a great venue and a festive atmosphere rarely found at most wine events, then the RRVW Annual Paulee is not to be missed.