Last Tuesday, the 21st of October, we hosted a Burgundy Dinner featuring Allen Meadows of Burghound.com and 15 of our top growers.
With the total number of guests hovering around 250 people, a pre-dinner tasting featuring top verticals from each grower (66 wines in all), 8 dinner wines and a choreographed dinner/presentation with Allen, we must admit that the event was a bit daunting as Goedhuis & Co. has never hosted anything of this scale before. Yet, we were determined. For quite some time, we had longed to do an event like this, an event that would show our clients the heights that Burgundies can achieve, celebrate our growers, yet at the same time make the region seem less daunting. We thought Allen Meadows was the perfect man for the job. We were even more thrilled when we discovered that he had never previously been to the UK to speak at a wine event.
I have known Allen almost since the beginning of Burghound.com, his newsletter which focuses exclusively on Burgundy and occasionally other Pinot Noirs. As a previous resident of La-La Land (aka Los Angeles), I met him in 2000 at a local wine shop renowned for their Burgundies (the buyer at the time was Paul Wasserman, the son of American wine importer and Beaune resident, Becky Wasserman). Allen had just started his newsletter the year before and was trying to get his name out. Let’s just say that I was in the perfect place at the perfect time to have been able to get to know Allen before he was well-established. And fortunately for me, we have been friends ever since.
I must admit that to this day I have never met anyone quite like him. Tasting blind with him is like an out-of-body experience. On many occasions, I have witnessed him guess not only the producer and the vintage but the vineyard as well (with of course convincing reasons for his opinions). “˜What?’ you gasp? Yes, I know. It’s almost as if he momentarily leaves his body to get a clean peek at the bottles and then returns with a definitive answer. But, no. Rather, his knowledge of the region is second to none. All the while, he is friendly, insightful and modest (it might be the modesty in him that will deny these blind tastings with me ever took place, but you must believe me, they did).
Our dinner would not have been nearly the same without him. He discussed a plethora of subjects including the vineyard variations of Chablis, 1999’s “˜miracle’ vintage (quantity and unbelievable quality), why Burgundy should have long drinking windows (and the controversy surrounding this idea), the fantastic ageability of Corton, the underappreciation of Clos de Vougeot and the pre-oxidation of some white Burgundies.
The evening would not have been the same without our growers either. With a late 2008 harvest, we could not have been more admiring and enthralled with them taking time away from their busy schedules to join us for the evening.
For those of you who were able to make it, we thoroughly hope you had as nice a time as we did. For those who couldn’t, you missed a truly exceptional event.