About this WINE
Hospices de Beaune
In 1443 Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor the Duchy of Burgundy began construction of the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, site of what was to become a charitable hospital now known as the Hospices de Beaune. Such charitable organisations need endowments to support them and across the years many donors bequeathed vineyards to the Hospices.
In 1859 for the first time the wines of the new vintage from these holdings were sold at auction. Now the hospices de Beaune wine auction is held on the 3rd Sunday in November every year, acting as major moment of Burgundian pageantry and the focal point for launching the new vintage. The Hôtel-Dieu only ceased to function as a working hospital in 1952, while the wines continued to be made and raised on site until the building of a new cuverie on the edge of the town in 1994.
In 2005 the bold move was taken to replace the local auctioneer with Christie’s , led by Burgundy wine expert Anthony Hanson MW. Barrels can be now purchased rather than multiple lots.
The cuvees take their names either from the benefactors, or from famous figures in the history of the Hospices over the last five centuries and more.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.