Hospices de Beaune 151st Wine Auction Supporting the Heart, the Memory and Gastronomy

by amantduvin

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Christies Paris Hospices de Beaune Press conference coordinates well with the nearby Paris Fashion Week each year.

As fashion model and muse, and a member of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Inés de la Fressange is a perfectly fitting Président of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction for 2011.

Inés is supporting the young and the old at heart, to create and preserve memories, by sponsoring the associations Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque (patron of heart surgery for children) and France Alzheimer.

Inés loves the idea of the beauty, generosity, quality, creativity and talent shared between Burgundy and heart surgeons. “Heart surgery and hospitalisation, like Grands Crus wines, is very expensive. … And wine is good for the heart”, as a preventative for cardiovascular disease and hopefully the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Last year the Association Climats de les Vignobles de Bourgogne for UNESCO heritage listing was supported by the Hospices de Beaune Auction. This year, the successfully UNESCO listed French Gastronomy as an immaterial heritage, celebrating the nuances of eating and drinking wine as a work of art, is at the heart of the wine auction.

The restauraunt Troisgros at Roanne has been selected to represent the gastronomy of France. Michel Troisgros has adapted six classic dishes to match six Hospices de Beaune wines. Troisgros has three michelin stars, three members and three generations of the family, and three different styles of cuisines they follow:  freshness, lightness and harmony.

With this match of food and wine, complex and classic plates have been created, retouched to season with the late Autumn Hopsices de Beaune auction.

The six wines were served after the press conference, with cheese, however each matched wine and dish (with explanation to be added) is cited below:

Pouilly Fuissé 2008
Cépes bouchons “saltimboca” à la sauge

Meursault Charmes 2008
Sole en filet, fleurette à la ciboulette

Corton Charlemagne 2007
Dialogue entre lapin, langoustine et menthe

Pommard Epenots 2007
Hommard bleu et civet de baies rouges

Mazis Chambertin 2002
Pigeonneau et foir gras frits à la Kiev, jus reglissé

Corton 2003
Liévre en effilochade, le râble en aiguillettes, poivré

45 cuvées will be auctioned in Beaune on 20 November – 32 red and 13 white wines totalling approximately 750 Burgundy barrels of 228 litres are for sale.

Rolande Masse, Director of the Hospices de Beaune vineyards and wines, is very optimistic for the vintage 2011. Following an abnormal vegetal rhythm in Spring and Summer, the third very early season within a decade, he explained that the three vintages 2003 (finished harvest 20 August), 2007 (finished harvest beginning of September) and 2011 are completely different.

2011 was harvested in beautiful conditions, with ripe but not excessive grape maturity. Masse is very happy with the especially ripe and healthy white grapes, “magnificent, with excellent acidity, absolutely exceptional, balanced and great ageing potential.” However, he added that it is too early to tell how long they will keep, but reinforced that it is a very good white wine year.

The red wines are showing surprisingly well. With good pips and skin maturity, the grapes had good phenologic ripeness and preserved acidity. After heavy summer rain, dilution was a concern, however maturity, structure and colour were not affected. It may be a year of earlier consumption for the red wines, but with good balance and more supple tannins than 2004, Masse gave an early prediction of a drinking window of 20 to 25 years.

Masse said that although malic acid levels are not high, the malolactic fermentation should proceed rapidly and earlier than usual.

Anthony Hanson MW admitted that he had been worried when he arrived in Burgundy at beginning of harvest, but was relieved to see that the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay had resisted the summer storms he had witnessed from England. Flowering was successful in very good hot and dry conditions during Spring and the grapes developed well. However, one hundred days later after the wet and cool summer, a severe triage was necessary in the vineyards and wineries to select the mature, concentrated  grapes and eliminate any potential rot. The resulting wines are concentrated, well structured, with supple tannins and texture.

Hanson is also optimistic for a good range of prices from the large selection of wines for sale, from potentially good value Premier Cru reds, to excellent quality Grand Crus whites.