Thursday 6 November
At Christies, presented by Anthony Hanson MW

The Hospices des Beaune was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin as a Hospital for the poor. Today it is the oldest and most famous charity wine sale in the wine world.

The original hospital building, the Hôtel-Dieu, was created by Nicolas following the Hundred Year Wars, the aftermath of which left Beaune and the surrounding region subjected to massacres, pillaging and poverty. The Hôtel-Dieu stands today as one of the most beautiful examples of French fifteenth-century architecture.

Since its inception the Hospices have been donated 61 hectares of vineyard plots, largely made up of Grand Cru and 1er Cru. This generosity means that every year there are approximately 31 red cuvees and 13 white cuvees made.

The charity auction which has been held annually since 1851, takes place on the third Sunday of November. It is a three day festival, called Les Trois Glorieuses, devoted to the food and wine of Burgundy and the wines sales provide indicative prices for the coming vintage.

The up and coming 2012 vintage is expected to be similar to 2010. With low production, wines produced have good concentration and will be long lived in the bottle.

2012 – good concentration, “possibly better then ’07 and ’09?”- Anthony Hanson.
2011 – tricky weather conditions however some good wines produced, good value.
2010 – classic vintage for both red and white, good acidity and good quality wines.
2009 – warm weather, ripe vintage, abundant fruit, to keep for a while, lower acidity than ’08
2008 – bad weather effecting yields and quality, though late sun helped, high acidity.
2007 – lighter vintage producing brisk fresh wines, drinking now and in next few years (whilst waiting for 2005 and 2009).
2006 – challenging weather, good are lovely and ripe, not so good can be uncompromising.
2005 – great year, concentrated wines, benefit more from age.
2004 – good value wines, fresh and mostly good for early drinking.
2003 – a hot year, powerful and dense but maintaining freshness (like 1947!)

We recently attended the Hospices de Beaune pre-auction tasting, please see our notes of some delicious wines from past vintages…


1. Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvee Dames 2009
Easy going, ripe, subtle, red fruit, strawberry, touch forest, soft tannins, drink young.
Destemmed, pneumatic punching.

2. Volnay-Santenots 1er Cru, Cuvee Jehan de Massol 2009
Single first growth of Santenots
More elegance, sweeter/ riper soft fruit, soft chalky tannins, nice mouth feel, slight hint of chocolate.Fuller palate, slightly higher alcohol, more rich and complex and sweeter finish, more potential to age, lingering finish.
22 barrels, 450 cases made

3. Pommard-Eponots 1er Cru, Cuvee Dom Goblet 2007
Slight bricking/red and lighter, slight touch wet leaves, red fruit – cherry, mushroom, higher acidity, more vegetal, more spice, silky mouthfeel.
Picked on 1st September, Eponots known as best vineyards in Pommard, not commercially available.

4. Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvee Guigone de Salins 2005
A little closed on nose, cherry, spice. Tannins still need time, fuller mouth feel, more structure, more alcohol but balanced by acidity. Meaty, medicinal andliquorice notes, nice meatiness on finish.

5.Volnay 1er Cru, Cuvee Blondeau 2005
First bottle was a little corked, in case you’re interested – it was very developed on the nose, vegetal, earthy, tar, cherry, not very well integrated.
New bottle, much better! Rich, ripe fruit, smooth, vibrant yet earthy, complex, notes of wet leaves, lovely smokiness (boiled sweets!).

6. Clos de La Roche, Grand Cru, Cuvee Georges Kritter 2005
Wet stone, saltiness, intense fruits, perfumed, melted sugar, smoky, deep forest floor, violets, mushroom. Soft and full palate, umami, slight tangy bitter finish. Long complex finish with notes of chocolate and touch of soya sauce.
Could drink now but will be much better age. 6-7 barrels, best so far.

7. Mazis-Chambertin, Cuvee Madeleine Collignon 2009
Situated next to Clos de beze.
Reminds me of a southern Rhone, a little Grenache like.Ripe strawberry, raspberry, cherry, hint of umami, a little tarry, smoke, dry Tobacco.Palate has nice fruit with ripe softintegrated tannins, full and ripe.
22 barrels made.

8. Corton, Grand Cru, Cuvee Charlotte Dumay 2003
Beautiful blood red colour. Nose of spice, wet leaves, chamomile and herbaceous aromas, almost Port like, quite plummy. High alcohol, tannins still need time but are ripe. On the palate dense fruit with mushroom and forest floor. Powerful but fresh, furry tannins. Still youthful incolour, lots of time to go.
One off vintage.


9. Pouilly-Fuisse, Cuvee Francoise Poisard 2008
Rich honey, vanilla, smoke, shortbread, cinnamon, spearmint, cucumber, touch nail varnish,on the palate more green fruit, apple but vanilla, fresh.

10. Meursault, Cuvee Loppin 2009
Nutty with baked fruit, cooked apple, chinese pear, citrus peel, mandarin, creamy. Richness creaminess reminded me of a durian fruit, rounder on palate.

11. Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru, Cuvee de Bahezre de Lanlay 2007
Fresh and crisp with stone, peach and hints of almonds, citrus dominates.High acid on finish, very refreshing. ‘Racy’, vanilla, lemon.

12. Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cuvee Francois de Salins 2009
Cooked apple again, ripe pear, full and rich with well integrated freshness.

Thank you Christies and Anthony Hanson for some wonderful wines.