Hospice de Beaune Wines

Burgundy

Overview

In 1443, the Duke of Burgundy’s Chancellor, Nicholas Rolin, and his wife Guigone de Salins founded the Hospice de Beaune, a hospital in the heart of Burgundy with the primary goal of serving the sick and the destitute. The Hospice de Beaune owns 61 hectares of mostly Premier and Grand Cru Vineyards, and has been auctioning off barrels of wine from their parcels to fund their charitable initiatives since 1859.

Every year during the third week of November, Harry Poulakakos travels to Beaune, France to attend the prestigious auction and to taste the 44 cuvees of wines from the Hospice de Beaune parcels straight from the barrel.  Once Harry has selected the wines he wishes to bottle, the barrels are transferred to the winery of Thierry et Pascale Matrot, one of Burgundy’s most esteemed winemakers. It is there that the wines undergo maturation prior to being bottled by the Domaine.


Terroir

2008 Selections

Beaune 1er Cru, “Cuvee Clos des Avaux”, 2008: The parcels that make up this cuvee were acquired by the Hospice de la Charite prior to the French revolution. 45% of the cuvee is made up of vineyards planted in 1944 and 1948. The average vine age is 36 years.

Volnay 1er Cru, “Cuvee Blondeau”, 2008: These 1er cru parcels were part of a large donation made by Francois Blondeau, who ceded his estate to the Hospice in the early 1800s. The average vine age is 30 years.

The 2008 vintage was incredibly complicated; it lacked a true spring and summer season. The wines were also complicated and underwent an extended malolactic fermentation in their original barrels.They express redcurrant flavors and are much more approachable for drinking now.

2009 Selections

Volnay 1er Cru, “Cuvee General Muteau”,  2009: The grapes for this 1er cru are selected from 10 separate parcels with an average vine age of 26 years. It was named to remember Paul-Jules Muteau, an esteemed World War I General who donated his large estate to the Hospice.

Corton Grand Cru, “Cuvee Charlotte Dumay”, 2009: This Grand Cru cuvee is a blend of grapes from Corton Les Renardes and Corton Les Bressandes. The land, which includes over 100 ouvrees of vineyard in Aloxe, was gifted to the Hospice in 1534 by the childless Charlotte Dumay, “for the cure and salvation of her soul”.

The 2009 vintage was very different from 2008. The weather conditions during 2009 were perfect, with an early Spring followed by a hot summer that provided grapes that were fully matured. The wines from 2009 are rich, powerful, and oppulent. These wines have a firm tannic structure and will keep well for many years to come.

2013 Selections (Coming 2015)

Beaune 1er Cru, “Cuvee Clos des Avaux”, 2013: The parcels that make up this cuvee were acquired by the Hospice de la Charite prior to the French revolution. 45% of the cuvee is made up of vineyards planted in 1944 and 1948. The average vine age is 36 years.

Volnay 1er Cru, “Cuvee Blondeau”, 2008: These 1er cru parcels were part of a large donation made by Francois Blondeau, who ceded his estate to the Hospice in the early 1800s. The average vine age is 30 years.

Due to hailstorms during the summer months, the 2013 vintage was incredibly limited in Beaune and Volnay.

Winemaking

Winemaking

The wines undergo maturation and bottling at the Domaine of Thierry et Pascale Matrot, one of Burgundy’s most esteemed producers and winemakers. Following the late November auction, the wines are transported to Domaine Matrot in early December. They remain in their original new oak barrels from the Hospice de Beaune until they complete malolactic fermentation the following spring. The barrels are from the Tonnelerie Francois, one of France’s most esteemed barrel producers. In May or June of the following year the barrels are changed to 4 to 5 year old barrels from the Matrot estate. In October a single, anerobic racking occurs from one barrel to the other, following by a fining with egg whites. Three weeks following the fining the wines are bottled directly from the barrel.