It should be an easy thing to organise a wine dinner – after all we’ve been doing it for years. And even if we say so ourselves, we’re pretty good at it. But we had not bargained for the vast complexity that is Burgundy…
It is one thing to liaise with the smooth administrative machine that is a Bordeaux Chateau. It is quite another to try to rally a score of Burgundy producers into a coherent programme for an evening’s entertainment and (this in hushed tones) education.
One of the most engaging things about the region is its adherence to the traditional. It is not just a matter of sending a few e-mails. We labour over faxes in our most eloquent French, requesting, enquiring, wondering whether it might be possible to attend, what wines might be suitable for tasting and indeed to drink with dinner. We await a response, we fax again. And so it goes on.
But we are getting there. Not a complete list of wines, but at least the broad outline and a few of the highlights, for what should be a truly exceptional evening. We are using One Great George Street, just at the bottom of Green Park. A tried and tested venue which has seen a veritable host of wine tastings over the years, so we know we are in good hands for everything culinary and organisational.
So on to the wines. We have eleven of the growers we work with confirmed – Jean-Paul Droin in Chablis, Jean-Marie Fourrier and Domaine Serafin in Gevrey Chambertin, Laurent Ponsot and Domaine des Lambrays in Morey St Denis, Ghislaine Barthod and Louis Boillot in Chambolle Musigny, Nicolas Potel in Nuits St Georges, Domaine Tollot-Beaut in Chorey-les-Beaune, Jean-Marc Boillot in Pommard and Jean-Philippe Fichet in Meursault. Several more growers are still deciding whether they can make it, so either way it should be a hell of a tasting.
And I haven’t even mentioned Allen Meadows yet. Author of Burghound, he is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading Burgundy experts. He is going to be talking throughout the evening – introducing the region in general, our growers in particular, right down to the wines themselves. We all certainly expect to learn a thing or two.
With dinner we are looking at six or seven wines, chosen to give a feel for the extraordinary variety such a relatively compact area can produce. It will definitely include two or three Grand Crus.
All this for £239 per ticket. So save the date in your diary and watch this space for more details as we firm up the details over the next weeks.