The Burgundy will be flowing in Boulder from October 13 to 15.
The Burgundy will be flowing in Boulder from October 13 to 15.
Boulder Burgundy Wine Festival

Warm Up for the Boulder Burgundy Festival With Terroir Tuesdays at Arcana

With more than 200 wines, visiting wine experts and delectable pairings, the 2017 Boulder Burgundy Festival, an event 600 years in the making, comes to the St. Julien Hotel (and several Boulder restaurants) from October 13 to 15. Tickets are selling fast. A Saturday night dinner with New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov has sold out, and two other events may well do the same by the time this article is published. Participants from as far as Italy, New York, Georgia and Texas are booking reservations.

Maybe 600 years is a stretch. That’s when monks developed the winemaking industry of the Burgundy region in eastern France. Technically, the Boulder Burgundy Festival began in 2011, when Brett Zimmerman, master sommelier and owner of the Boulder Wine Merchant, held a Burgundy wine seminar and wine tasting in a room at The Med, a popular Boulder restaurant. The festival is now a three-day affair held at several locations. Master sommeliers Jay Fletcher and Jason Smith, Asimov and acclaimed winemaker Rajat Parr will join Zimmerman in providing a Burgundy wine education and epicurean experience. Proceeds support There With Care, Family Learning Center, and the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation.

Zimmerman sponsors the annual festival because he loves Burgundy wines and wants to make expensive, hard-to-get wines attainable for the community, if only for a weekend. “Imagine if a car dealer let ordinary people test-drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris to get a taste of being behind the wheel of an elite sports car. They may not buy that car, but now may consider a less expensive sports car,” says Zimmerman.

Arcana's Terroir Tuesdays will make the wines of Burgundy accessible for the next two weeks.EXPAND
Arcana's Terroir Tuesdays will make the wines of Burgundy accessible for the next two weeks.
Danielle Lirette

When people have the opportunity to taste exceptional Burgundy wine, they want more, even if it means buying a mid-range bottle. Zimmerman also enjoys making Colorado “a relevant market” for elite French producers who could just as easily sell to New York buyers.

Burgundy wines are typically made from pinot noir or chardonnay grapes but can include lesser known grapes like gamay and pinot blanc. The flavor and quality of the wines are influenced by subtle changes in the environment, referred to as terroir. “You can be standing at a grand cru [the highest classification] and feel the difference between it and a village-level vineyard, such as a little breeze that cools the valley and reduces the ripeness of the grapes,” says Zimmerman, “Soil differences in limestone and clay can also change the way the wines taste in the glass.”

Speaking of terroir, Arcana, one of the restaurants hosting a Boulder Burgundy Festival event, the Chablis Brunch on Sunday, October 15, has devoted its Terrior Tuesdays to Burgundy for the next two weeks. Arcana will sell rare and high-end Burgundy wine at a price as close to wholesale as possible. There will also be $15 burgers to pair with the wines. On Tuesday, October 3, the restaurant will pour the wines of Benoit Ente and Puligny-Montrachet, and the following week (October 10), it will be Simon Bize from Savigny-les-Beaune.

Says Mike Elmore, Arcana's general manager, “The idea is for a relaxed and comfortable wine event, so we also make Terroir Tuesday our burger night.” Mike borrowed the concept of Terroir Tuesdays with permission from Matt Sussman, owner of Chicago restaurant Table, Donkey and Stick, which is arguably the best name for a restaurant, ever.

Other events for the wine-heavy weekend include the Old and Rare Burgundy Seminar and the Exceptional Burgundy Dinner at PMG Restaurant on October 13, the Paulée-Inspired Lunch at the Flagstaff House on October 14, the Burgundy Seminar with Eric Asimov and Raj Parr on October 15, and the Grand Tasting, also on October 15. Visit the festival's website for exact times and tickets. {Note: As with those high-performance sports cars, a little sticker shock might come with your ticket.)

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