The common perception is that the Paulée revolves 100% around drinking. This notion is not a million miles from the truth, but there are many more elements that differentiate this event from any old booze up. We were lucky enough to attend this year so let us to shed some light on the renowned meal. First off, it’s a lunch. Gathering just after midday, guests are given a tour of the winery of Chateau de Meursault where the event takes place, before taking their seats.
The timing of the Paulée is significant as it is held on the Monday after the renowned auction of the Hospices de Beaune, held every year on the third Sunday of November. The eyes of the wine world are firmly on Burgundy during this time, of which the Paulée makes up one third of Les Trois Glorieuses, alongside the auction and a dinner at Clos de Vougeot. Originally, the Paulée de Meursault was a lunch held by Conte Lafon for winemakers, cellar workers, etc. to celebrate the end of the harvest. Today, the Paulée has evolved into an international wine event with winemakers, clients and Burgundy lovers coming from all around the world to join. Attendance this year reached nearly 700.
Each guest attending traditionally brings some interesting bottles of wine (often with an air of friendly competition), and shares with the other guests throughout the lunch. Given the venue, bottles from the Cote de Beaune tend to dominate the lunch. Between courses there are songs and music. If you are lucky enough to be invited, prepare to get comfortable. Guests don’t tend to filter out of the Chateau de Meursault before 8pm.
In addition to the all important wines, the Paulée also celebrates literature and science. One writer is awarded the prize of the Paulée every year, this year seeing Philippe Claudel gain the honour. In science, Sophie Trouvelot was awarded the bursary from the Monique and André Boisseaux foundation, for her research on vine diseases ESCA and BDA. 2017 marked the 85th Paulée de Meursault, and judging by the hype, I think we can expect many more to come!
– Lucy Kelly