What is a Paulée? Traditions from Bourgogne.

Many traditions have emerged from France, some of the most impressive are based around sharing food and wine.  La Paulée is no different.  This Burgundian tradition has its roots firmly in the celebration of wine and sharing with friends.  Traditionally held at the end of the grape harvest, the Cistercian monks would reward all the vineyard labourers who helped to make that year a success, with a grand meal and wine.  A wonderful reception of rewarding hardwork and dedication.

 

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The modern day Paulée has had some alterations.  One of the most obvious being that the Paulée is now a much larger formal affair, a spectacular meal with a number of winegrowers. In 1923 Jules Lafon decided to resuscitate this tradition by inviting thirty-five of his friends to his Meursault domaine for a banquet.  The event was very well received and slowly but surely it grew in the local area to become an established annual event by 1932 with a number of local growers taking part, becoming known as “La Paulée de Meursault”.

 

As a result of the renown La Paulée de Meursault has garnered over the past decades, more and more smaller similar events have been taking place across Burgundy and across the world.  The original Paulée de Meursault is now a grand exclusive gala as part of a 3 day event known as Les Trois Glorieuses (three glorious days) and includes the auction of the Hospices de Beaune wines and a banquet of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (an exclusive association which promotes and celebrates Burgundian culture).  This 3 day festival takes place on the third weekend of each November.

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The most unique and exciting element of the Paulée has to be that it is BYOB.  This builds excitement and anticipation in the run up to the event, as well as intrigue and friendly competition on the evening, when friends can gather and put their best bottle forward to be discussed and enjoyed.

– Lucy Kelly

 

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