Wine Art Design

Category: Paris

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

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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.




152nd Hospices de Beaune 2012 Wine Auction: A Brilliant Year, Première Dame and Hôte Depardieu

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The theme of the 152nd Hospices de Beaune 2012 Burgundy Wine Auction is to help the young disadvantaged by epilepsy or access to education.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and the actor-vigneron Gérard Depardieu will be present to auction this year’s President’s Piéce.

Money raised from bidding on the 350 litre barrel of Corton Grand Cru “Charlotte de Dumay” will be shared between two foundations.

“Fondation Idée” is helping fight epilepsy and “Fondation Carla Bruni-Sarkozy” with the patronage of Gérard Depardieu wishes to eliminate illiteracy and encourage education, access to culture and the arts, under the motto “Knowledge is Power”.

As Anthony Hanson highlighted the importance of partership between the growers, the houses that mature the wine, and the exporters of each barrel for auction, the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation echoed this sentiment with the combined work of terroir and spirit, functioning a little like this to support education, culture and literacy.

Six piéces of Grand Cru Echezeaux Cuvée “Jean-Luc Bissey” have been donated by the fourth generation family producer from Burgundy from 10 ares of very old vines planted by their grandfather after the war at the end of the 1940’s in the heart of “Echezeaux du Dessus”. “The wine is marvellously fleshy, rich and perfumed, with finesse and elegance” said Roland Masse, delighted to receive a third Grand Cru from the Côte de Nuits to join Clos de la Roche and Mazis-Chambertin.

Masse, Director of the Hospices de Beaune vineyards, has declared Burgundy 2012 “a brilliant vintage”.

Depite every meteorological event possible experienced in Burgundy this year – snow, rain, frost, difficult flowering, hail, heat – this has created an environment for perfect concentration in the grapes, and superb wine.

2012 will win with quality over quantity with healthy, rich reds, and fresh whites, says Masse. There is disparity between quality of one vineyard to the next in the Cote de Beaune. The Cote de Nuits escaped all weather and disease pressures.

Roland Masse said that silky tannins with long finish are almost ideal, with perfect quality. Small, ripe, healthy berries give concentration and complexity.

Anthony Hanson tasted the wines for the first time with Masse in Beaune yesterday, and is very excited, comparing 2012 in Burgundy to 1961 in Bordeaux, a small havest resulting from millerandange following poor flowering, which produced perfect concentration.

The smallest harvest in 25 years, Hanson is confident not to worry if there is not so much wine available, as any amateurs passionate about Burgundy will appreciate this subtely, silky, fresh and exciting vintage.

There is a 33% reduction in barrels available for auction compared to last year.

A resurging interest from the USA and evolution of discovery, knowledge and passion from China may help balance the auction results.

85% of the Hospices wines are Grand and Premier Crus.

31 red and 13 white cuvées totalling 44, will be sold as 410 red and 111 white barrels- piéces.

Quality over quantity should encourage bidding on 18 November in the Beaune market place.

The stage is set for the 2012 Hospices Presidents First Lady and Depardieu act at the Hotel de Dieu.

The Art of Wine at FIAC Paris

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

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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.

Burgundy Wine Auctions in Paris Raise 120,000€ for Japan

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Burgundy charity wine auctions in Paris raise close to 120,000€ for Japan

The Ambassador of Japan M. Yasuo Saito, a Chevalier du Tastevin, introduced Acte I of the sale at the Hotel Bristol on Wednesday night.

In an act of “solidarity, generosity and sharing” 2,300 bottles of wine were donated directly from the cellars of domaines, merchant houses and cooperatives in Burgundy.

Sophie Meunier, President of the association Mosaique Bourgogne International said “Wine has no borders and its conviviality is consumed without moderation …”

The lots that raised the most excited bidding at Le Bristol, at relatively moderate prices, were Coche-Dury Meursault 2009 two bottles for 380€, Clos de Tart 2007 magnum 300€, Armand Rousseau Charmes Chambertin 2007 6 bottles 600€, Ramonet Montrachet 2008 jerobaum at 1,800€, and for 1000€ Maison Louis Jadot Chambertin Grand Cru 1947 magnum.

Acte II continued at Christie’s last night.

Three magnums of Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-du Milieu 2005 sold for 480€, twelve bottles of Maison Champy Corton-Charlemagne 2009 1,400€, a trilogy of A. F. Gros Richebourg 2006, 2007 and 2008 for 750€, and twelve bottles of Comte Georges de Vogüé Musginy Vieilles Vignes three each of 2006, 2007 and 2008 for 5,500€.

The two highest selling single bottles were Dujac Clos de la Roche 1978 at 8,500€ and DRC Romanée Conti 1971 13,000€.

Successful bidders included Laurent Brelin of the Caves Madeleine restaurant in Beaune, Philippe Séré proprietor of the cave and bar Ambassade de Bourgogne in Paris, and George Dos Santos the Flying Sommelier of Antic Wine shop in Lyon. The wives of Brelin and Séré are both Japanese, and helped organize the charity wine auction with Mosaique Bourgogne. Brelin will keep the three lots he bought at the Bristol for his private cellar rather than his restaurant cave.

Séré bought many lots at Christie’s for his personal and boutique cellars. Dos Santos will keep some of the wines for his private cellar, include a few in his wine shop, but he has already organized to sell on certain bottles donating the profits for ongoing aid to Japan.

Anthony Hanson MW, senior wine consultant at Christie’s was very pleased with the prices and 21,000€ raised at Le Bristol sale, and his hopes for even more bidding and better results at the second auction at Christie’s realized 75,130€.

The lots 672 to 739 added to the annual September Christie’s Fine Wine auction, had special conditions of sale including no buyers premium and no reserve prices, to benefit Mosaique Bourgogne International.

Mosaique had already raised 23,400€ from an on-line sale last June, the total including the 21,000€ and 60,000 from the Paris auctions is now more than 119,500€ for the Japanese Red Cross.

Paris 23 September 2011

Champagne au Salon RVF 5

Le Salon de la Revue du vin de France 5eme édition 2011, Palais Brogniart, Paris

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Veuve Fourny & Fils
Bérèche & Fils
J-L Vergnon
Agrapart & Fils
Françoise Bedel & Fils
Pol Roger
Charles Heidsieck

St Vincent Montmartre Paris

Champagne Legras Michelin Stars

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La Cave d’Or de La Tour d’Argent

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The Golden Cellar in the Silver Tower

A Tour of the Cellars of La Tour d’Argent with David Ridgway Head Sommelier

Built by Charles V in the 14th century on the left bank of the Seine in the heart of Paris, the southwest tower of the Château de la Tournelle was:

Made of champenoise stone, so rich in mica it glittered in the sun, it became known as the “Silver Tower”[1]

Champagne plays a glittering role inside La Tour d’Argent welcoming guests in the restaurant and on the wine list, however the heart of the cellars is the Cote d’Or, creating a cave d’or or golden cellar of wine.

Continuing the theme of precious metals, the setting and view from the tables of the sixth floor of the tower is platinum.


And the party begins! Champagne, which liberates its short-lived bubbles, creating laughter and happiness…

Now, me, Claude Terrail, I will tell you confidentially, you exclusively – you can not have a fête without its glittering cascades. Its Champagne bubbling around will open the dance for you, the dance for friends, sharing in the same joys.

You have bottled the whole French spirit. Champagne, fill my glass Champagne, I’ll drink to my loves! Champagne, to my friends! Champagne for ever!

David Ridgeway adds his professional opinion:

The effervescence should be there to sublime flavour rather than derange the palate.

The house Champagne is produced by Legras in Chouilly, 100% Grand Cru 100% Chardonnay, with a focus on ultra brut.

David prefers the use of reconstituted grape must than sugar mixes resulting in much fresher flavours and better quicker integration, and does not oxidise as much. The champagnes rest for minimum 6 months in cellars before being served.

The house champagne is the only champagne served by the glass:

More expensive wines are not a positive thing, taking away the image of the producers losing the rarity and luxury image of the product, becoming just a party drink rather than a great wine. The price of a prestige cuvée can put the host or guest ill at ease by price, and if there are three or more a bottle is more cost effective.

David’s favourite Champagne vintages to drink now are 1996 and 1973.


Claude Terrail says:

Our cellars are mostly devoted to burgundy wine. Here, among so many famous others, you can see the three finest jewels; a Chambertin 1865, a Clos-Vougeot 1870, a Romanée 1874.

David Ridgway is a collector, curator and conservator of wine, and lover of Burgundy.

There is a lot more Burgundy than Bordeaux. Traditionally cooking has been more oriented to Burgundy. Burgundy is more complicated than Bordeaux.

Bordeaux has an image of being stereotyped – luscious, ripe wines or hard unyielding wines with not much middle ground. Burgundy is more sensual therefore appealling and capable of ageing perhaps better than Bordeaux.

Burgundy offers diversity. For example four different growers from Chambertin Clos de Beze and continuing down the côte like that are lots of different people and wines that we work with. We have four growers from Le Musigny so even if there are just 4 to 6 bottles per grower this gives great diversity.

There is more fidelity between grower and purchaser in Burgundy. We do not worry about allocation unlike in Bordeaux where the first, highest bidder gets the wine. Some years we will not buy Bordeaux but we buy Burgundy every year. For example, Le Musigny by de Vogüé or Roumier are less expensive than second growth Bordeaux. The cost:value image is no comparison.

La tour d’Argent has bought piéces at the Hospices de Beaune auction in the past, the last time “Cuvée Nicolas Rolin” in 2005.

The Hospices de Beaune auction is a wonderful charity, but the control of quality during élévage after the purchase is not enough to guarantee quality:price value.

Ridgway is not very excited about vintage 2009, especially in Burgundy, except in the Beaujolais. He says that Morgon and Fleurie in particular will be very good, but that is not a priority for the restaurant.

David’s favourite Burgundy vintage drinking well now is 1985. And his favourite climats:

I love Richebourg (or ideally Le Conti being snobby) more than La Tâche, and Vosne Romanée and Musigny which are the heart of the Côte de Nuits.

The Cellars

The Tour d’Argent prides itself on having the most technically perfect cellars in Paris … glorious treasures and most renown bottles, some rare trophies, certainly collectors’ items and also some fine specimens selected from unparalleled vintages. Treasures were saved from the German occupation during the Second World War thanks to Claude Terrail, who personally walled up part of the cellars on the night of 14th June 1940.

The cellars began to lack space in the 1990s, however the proprietor Claude Terrail and Ridgway did not want to rent space or store wines off site, so in 1998 a second level was excavated below.

A welcome site at the bottom of the staircase are four bins built into the wall each containing a two month supply of 600 bottles of house Champagne, a total of eight months’ supply.

The cellars house 400,000 bottles now after a heyday of 500,000.

The diversity is still the same with 15,000 different wines. The quantity will not go up anymore but diversity will become more and more important.

The exceptional and unique auction of 18,000 wines from the cellars of the Tour d’Argent twelve months ago raised 1,542,767 euros and has created empty shelves that will be re-sized to take more Burgundy. For highlights of the sale see:

18,000 bottles are sold per year compared to 25,000 in its heyday, however, the restaurant is now closed two days per week and six weeks per year resulting in 25 to 30% less time open. The chef has capped the number of customers in a single setting from 100 now to a maximum of 80.

Ridgway has been Head Sommelier since 1981 and is present in the restaurant every day it is open.

The wines are computerized, and every room in the cellar has a letter, and each bin a number.

Glimpsing names or colours on labels and capsules as each room flashed past was memserising and exciting, passing every few seconds under another wine-arch, it was hard to follow how large this maze it. David referred to it modestly as “our little cellar”.

The Wine List

La Carte des Vins is a 400 page book containing 15,000 wines. Seven wine lists are updated everyday, slightly changed with one or two pages replaced according to availability.

Wines are arranged on the list by region then vintage. Each region is presented geographically for example the Côte d’Or of Burgundy from north to south, starting with Gevrey Chambertin to Puligny Montrachet, and again within a village appellation, so their 70 or 80 different vignerons of Chambertin will be arranged by vintage, followed by Chambertin-Clos de Beze, Chapelle, Charmes etc. south.

Ridgway takes the 6:55 am TGV to Burgundy most Monday mornings when the restaurant is closed to taste wines.

A lot of wines are delicious when young, then go into a closed-up stage. Wines are never taken on and off the carte, so nothing is made available until Ridgway declares the wines ready to drink. For example 2009s that have been bought en primeur will appear under a heading “En Vieillissement” (under maturation) for many years before being served.

People like to see what David is buying – their own judgements are confirmed or influenced.


Throughout its 500 year history:

Hard times … only gave the Tour a more silvery shine. The wine cellar … is a source of marvel, frequented by lovers of fine wines as well as members of the high society.[2]

The Walt Disney/Pixar animated film Ratatouille (2007) was based on La Tour d’Argent. The restaurant was consulted during the production, but no one in particular was portrayed. The film was welcomed and has had good repercussions, demonstrating that this establishment is not an ivory tower.

As I left La Tour and walked across the Quai, the sky was blue and the sun was shining as the temperature dropped to zero and snow flakes floated across the ever glittering tower.

Visit 15 December 2010

[1] Terrail, Claude Nothing Is More Serious Than Pleasure. La Tour d’Argent, ASA Editions, Paris, 2002, p. 57

[2] Ibid, p. 67

Avenue Montaigne Vendanges 2010 10th Edition Couture et Cuvées

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Avenue Montaigne Vendanges 2010 20th Anniversary

The “Avenue de Montaigne Vendanges” is a bi-annual celebration of French wine and fashion – creations of luxury and prestige. Fashion and wine share references such as “robe” and “taste”. The reference to harvest, however is virtual as the evening has traditionally coincided with the harvest season in the vineyards in September and the debut of the Autumn social season in Paris.

The evening is a charity event to collect funds for the Hospital Foundation of Paris (Fondation des Hopitaux de Paris) presided over by Madame Brenadette Chirac, First Lady of France.

Avenue Montaigne runs on an angle from the Rond Point de Champs Elysées to meet Avenue George V at the Seine.

The tenth edition of the Vendanges in Paris was run on 23 November 2010, a special event to celebrate its 20th birthday from 1990 to 2010. Thirty seven of the couture houses that line the Avenue Montaigne and Rue François 1er opened their showroom doors, often with ephemeral entrances, to up to 700 invitation only guests at each house from 7 in the evening til close to midnight.

The event attracts over 20,000 visitors to the Avenue transformed from its traditional Parisien landscape into a runway of  illumination, enhanced this year by the recently lit Christmas decorations. Christmas trees of white balls glistened like bubbles and real trees transformed into red fairy light triangles pefectly co-ordinated with the colours of Champagne and Bordeaux.

The “Vendanges” on Avenue Montaigne is now associated with other famous fashion streets: Madison Avenue in New York, Sakae Machi in Nagoya, Ginza in Tokyo, and Avenue Louise in Brussels ran its first “Vendanges” in Autumn 2009.

Bringing the Montagne de Reims and the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay to the Avenue de Montaigne in Paris, each fashion house invites a different Champagne house and/or a Bordeaux Chateaux to a glittering reception amongst their fashion collections, the ambiance changing from maison to maison. 

On this fashion parade, the clients are the models and a coupe de Champagne is the most stylish accessory.  

The Champagnes

Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve from magnum at Prada
Olivier Collin Brut at Joseph
Laurent Perrier NV at Jimmy Choo
Laurent Perrier NV at S.T. Dupont
Louis Roederer Brut Reserve at Ralph Lauren
Perrier-Jouet at Chanel
Pommery Louise 1999 at Georgio Armani
Pommery Summertime Blanc de Blancs at Chloe
Ruinart Blanc de Blancs at Bluemarine

In 2008:

Taittinger at Nina Ricci
Heidsieck & Cie at Cartier
Veuve Cliquot at Louis Vuitton
Duval Leroy at Loro Piana
Louis Roederer at Valentino
Deutz at Zilly

Bordeaux served

Château Latour 2007 at Gucci
Château Giscours 2005 and Château du Tertre 2005 at Céline
Château Palmer at S.T. Dupont
Château Smith Haut Lafite 2005 at Lowe
Château de la Marque Haut-Medoc 2005 at Lowe

LVMH New World Wines

For 2010 LVMH presented their portfolio of new world wines, and did not include  a sparkling.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Cheval des Andes Malbec from Argentina at Louis Vuitton.