153rd Hospices de Beaune 2013 Burgundy Auction: The Princess, the Little Princes and White Butterflies

by amantduvin

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The charitable, cultural and ethical links around the world of wine and children are reinforced by the choice of charities to benefit from the 2013 Hospices de Beaune wine auction.

The Princess of Savoie, Clotilde Courau is the President of the 153rd auction, supporting the Association Petits Princes. To help very sick children find an identity and live for the future, this charity makes a wish come true every day.

Co-President Laurent Gerra is supporting Les Papillons Blancs – White Butterflies to give social and medical assistance to children with handicaps. Both associations are delighted and grateful to receive the support from this wine auction.

Registrar of the Domaine of the Hospices de Beaune, Roland Masse, has called 2013 a “rare and precious vintage”, referring equally to the unusually challenging conditions of the growing season and the resulting rarity of volume. Masse said “2013 is a year where you have to make your choice” – another double reference to making and buying the wines. Anthony Hanson MW Senior Consultant of Christie’s, added that the vintage is “promising for both red and white wines”.

43 cuvées will be auctioned on November 17, made up of 30 red and 13 white, totalling 433 individual piéces of which there are 333 red and 111 white lots.

While some cuvées have been more severely affected and reduced in volume than others, by as much as half, the President’s Piéce this year has doubled –  a 456 litre Tonneau (a double piece) of Meursault Genevrières Premier Cru  – Cuvée Philippe Le Bon.

Roland Masse said that because the harvest was so late – one of the latest starts in the Hospices Domaine’s history on 1 October  – not all wines have finished fermentation. However, “after such strict triage there are good results from quality selection, therefore, the quality is superior to other years in terms of vinification … reflecting the respect of terroir and the product.”

Anthony Hanson was “surprised by the health of grapes I saw during vintage, despite all of the talk over previous months of rot and mildew”. The grapes that had not been damaged by hail and other events arrived into the winery in a good state. “When you taste the wines, the texture is very silky, the tannins very fine, and the wines are very pretty”.  Hanson said that you can drink these wines young, or keep. Masse added that “there are beautiful red as well as white wines, more classical in a sense with fruit, freshness and elegance of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that you can enjoy young, but with a balanced potential for ageing”.

The winery was 100% gravity fed for the first time this year.  Masse also feels that too much new oak is not especially good, therefore, he has adapted and managed the use of new oak at different stages of fermentation accordingly until the wines are all, by nature of the event, auctioned in new barrels.

Severely affected by hail, cuvées Pommard Billardet and Beaune Premier Cru Hughes et Louis Bétault were selectively and respectively blended into Cuvées Pommard Dames de la Charité and Beaune-Grèves Premier Cru Pierre Floquet. Beaune Premier Cru Cyrot-Chaudron will not be made again this year. Honestly, Roland admits that the Savigny wines are not like 2009 or 2005 great years, but they are good.

Positively, Masse emphasizes that the Pouilly Fuissé this year is a great classic and excellent standard for this cuvée, and also believes that the Cuvée Nicolas Rolin red is better than 2010 and 2012. To illustrate, Mass presented four older wines to taste that he believes represent the best that the Auction 2013 will offer – lots of optimism.

Meursault Genevriéres Philippe le Bon 2010 – The 2013 President’s Piece in 456 litre Tonneau

Pouilly Fuissé 2011 – Masse declared the 2013 is excellent

Beaune Hospitaliers 2010 – representing the spirit of the Auction

Corton Grand Cru Charlotte Dumay 2005 – which raised 270,000€ last year as the 2012 President’s Piece.