WSDC Event - Burgundy Dinner

What: Burgundy Dinner Event Sold Out  
When: 09 Feb 17 ,19:00 -22:30
Where: Cutlersí Hall EC4M 7BR map
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Speaker: Neil Courtier

Dear Fellow Member

This dinner is being held in the very attractive Livery Hall of the Cutlers Company in the City of London.   It is in fact their fifth Hall built in 1888 on land once occupied by the Royal College of Physicians and which now backs onto the Old Bailey.

In these grand premises we shall be relaxing with some splendid Burgundies.  Our aperitif, The Wine Society Champagne will be served in the ground floor Court Room.  Most of us I think know that this champagne is made by Alfred Gratien.  The relationship with that firm goes back more than 100 years and it is made in the very traditional way by fermenting in cask rather than stainless steel and, when bottled, kept on its lees for three years.  What is less known is that laying down champagne for an extra year or two greatly improves the flavour and the Dining Club is now regularly laying down champagne for future drinking.  This wine was bought and put away in early 2015.

The first wine, to partner fillet of sea bass with wilted spinach and champagne sauce, is a 1er cru Chablis – Mont de Milieu - from the 2012 vintage.  While the keeping quality of white burgundy is now something of a lottery, no such problems exist with Chablis.  The maker is Samuel Billaud who split from his family firm (Billaud Simon) and is now recognised as one of the very finest addresses in Chablis. His Mont de Milieu is fermented 85% in stainless steel and 15% in five year old 450 litre casks.

With all Burgundies including Chablis, it is the reputation of the grower/winemaker rather than the area or village that should define the quality.  Sam Billaud’s reputation is rising while that of the maker of our first two red burgundies, Tollot Beaut, is assured particularly in the UK.   The Dining Club visited the house at Chorey-lès-Beaune in 2004 and, probably as a result of that visit and meeting the charming Nathalie Tollot, bought both the 2004 and 2005.  The village of Chorey lies to the north of Beaune on the east side of the main RN74.   While the address may be a tad unfashionable, their wines are balanced and delicious and repay keeping.   The grapes are de-stemmed and the wine is fermented for 10-12 days and then aged in oak (20% new) for 16 to 18 months. 

The next two wines are from another distinguished domaine, Jean Chauvenet in Nuits St Georges.  This is a family estate of 9ha managed since 1994 by Christine and Christophe Drag after the retirement of Jean Chauvenet, founder of the estate, in 1964.  There is a big difference between wines from north and south of Nuits.  Those to the south and around the village of Prémaux tend to be deep, dark and a little ungainly while those to the north are similar to wines from Vosne Romanée, i.e. silky and rich.  Both these wines are from the Vosne end of the commune, the first, a village wine from the 2001 vintage and the second, another 2005, coming from the 1er cru vineyard of Les Damodes.  Christophe Drag de-stems all the grapes and cold soaks them for 4 days to give silkier tannins.  Fermentation begins in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for a 3-4 week maceration period. The wines are aged for 18 to 20 months in barrels, of which 15% (for the Nuits AC) and 20-25% (for the 1ers Crus) are new.

The food to accompany these four red burgundies will consist of fillet of English veal, chanterelle mushrooms, parmentière potatoes and a trio of beans followed by one Irish and three English cheeses. 

Our guest speaker, Neil Courtier, is a member of the Wine Educators Association and gives talks at wine tastings and dinners.  He has appeared on the BBC Good Food Show and judges for the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

John Cruse, Vice President and event organiser

Dress Code: Lounge suits

Guests: £125
Members: £120

Forthcoming events:
Chilean Tasting – 29 March, Army & Navy Club
AGM and Dinner – 22 May, Savile Club

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