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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
18 Feb 2011

28 Feb - I'm afraid and thrilled that our event is now fully booked. Thank you so very much, all who donated and helped us reach our target of £10,000 so relatively rapidly. Richard will be sending more details of the evening to you. Kindly let him know which bottle(s) you would like to bring as soon as convenient - the bigger, the better to share them.

25 Feb - There are now so many people who have expressed an interest in coming to our very special bring-a-bottle party that we would ask you to email to find out whether there is any space left. Thank you all very much indeed. It should be a great night.

23 Feb - I'm delighted to report that the party is developing very nicely and that Huntsworh Wine are kindly supplying suitable glasses for the wines we bring.

22 Feb - Excellent news. Thanks to some very generous donations (not all of which show up on the Comic Relief donate page), we are already well on our way to our £10,000 target with over £4,000 given so far and more promised. Thank you and keep them coming, please. You can give discreetly by unticking a couple of boxes as you make your donation. Richard will explain how to proceed once you have made your donation here.

Forum comments and thoughts on the party, if you want to know what other members think, are here.

OK, we now have the details in place for La Paulée de Purple Pages at 7 pm on the evening of Monday 14 March in aid of Wine Relief, the wine-inspired biennial fundraising campaign that has raised £3.8 million since its launch in 1999. You can read a description of what a Paulée is here and a longer first-hand account of the original Paulée de Meursault here.

This is a bring-a-great-bottle event aimed at well-heeled Purple pagers, and wine lovers in general (even those foolish enough not to be members!), who are prepared to make a substantial donation to Comic Relief via Wine Relief.

To book a ticket, or several, go to this page on Comic Relief's website and make a donation via the special Paulée giving page we have created. We've done this partly to maximise the chances of the charity's being able to claim Gift Aid, thereby making your donation all the more valuable, and also to make it absolutely clear that all the money you donate goes straight to Comic Relief. But it does mean that, a bit confusingly, you have to click on the 'Sponsor Me' button, since these giving pages are primarily designed for people seeking sponsors for the crazy things they are undertaking in aid of Comic Relief - which clearly isn't us, is it? We suggest a donation of at least £200 a ticket - more if you have just been given a big fat bonus. (I should add that several people have donated privately so that the list of donors/participants on the Comic Relief page is not exhaustive.)

I know some of you will think these sums are iniquitous but I would draw your attention to the cost of the tickets to the recent Wine Society dining club Lafite dinner, and to the far, far higher prices of the events run by Daniel Johnnes in the US as part of - and, correct me if I am wrong, I don't think there is a charity angle to the American Paulées. [22 Feb - Daniel Johnnes has just emailed me to let me know that 'my Paulee last weekend just raised $215,000. We will deliver over 25,000 meals to homebound elderly people.' This is wonderful news and I am truly delighted to publish this correction. Let's hope we can do out bit too.]

Once you have made your donation, kindly email Richard Hemming at and tell him how many tickets you would like and, ideally, which bottle(s) you intend to bring.
(You needn't specify your wine(s) until the beginning of March but we need to know how many people want to come as soon as possible since we do have a maximum.) Feel free to bring along wine-loving friends and family.

The whole idea of a Paulée, based on the annual Paulée de Meursault, where burgundy lovers and growers vie with each other for who can bring the best bottle, is that it should be relaxed and convivial. Wear whatever you want. Expect to table hop. Share food served family style. But please don't stint on the wine. There are some particularly generous suggestions here in our forum. Don't worry if you can't compete with Thomas De Waen's rarissimo burgundies, but do try to bring something pretty valuable and/or rare that you have been looking for an excuse to open. That is the point of the evening!

What better excuse than helping the admirable life-changing projects that Comic Relief undertakes in Africa and the UK?

So what are we doing to contribute to the evening? Not just arranging a time and place for fine wine lovers to meet, and administering the event, is paying for all the food and service at the delightful Clarke's restaurant on the border of Kensington and Notting Hill. Sally Clarke herself, needless to say, has entered fully into the spirit of this and given us a very friendly price for the following menu:

Clarke's lovely breads

Jambon persillé

Daube de boeuf with rosemary and baked root vegetables

Salad of leaves with mustard dressing

Cheese with more lovely bread

Apple tarte Tatin

Coffee, tea, fresh mint tisane


Do email Richard if you are unable to eat any of those dishes. Sally, a great friend of Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, is brilliant with vegetables so I'm sure vegetarians will be handsomely accommodated. We aim to start eating by 7.30pm.

We will ensure that glasses are of suitable quality, and I suggest that you might like to bring your own corkscrew rather than waiting for the Clarke's staff to open every bottle. Bottles should be brought by you on the evening itself, decanted and/or chilled if necessary. Of course the wine can come from anywhere, and I would urge you not to think automatically of red wines. In my experience, bring-a-bottle events tend to be inconveniently short of whites and fizz.

Please don't worry if this event is out of your price bracket, as it will be for many Purple pagers. There are all sorts of ways to contribute to Wine Relief, some of them involving only a very few pounds. Take a look at What can you do for Wine Relief? and see my reviews of this year's special Wine Relief wines, which range upwards in price from just £4.08 a bottle, 10% of the retail price going straight to Comic Relief's life-changing projects in Africa and the UK.

WHAT La Paulée de Purple Pages, bring-a-bottle dinner in aid of Wine Relief

WHEN 7 pm, Monday 14 March

WHERE Clarke's restaurant, 124 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BH (nearest tube Notting Hill Gate)

HOW MUCH Suggested minimum donation per head: £200, plus a great bottle or an additional £100

HOW Donate here (click on Sponsor Me) and then email Richard Hemming at to say how many tickets you would like and, by 1 March, which bottle(s) you intend to bring.