In the center of the Burgundy district is Beaune, and in Beaune is its famous Hospice. I just barely touched upon the Hospices de Beaune, and now I shall go forward. Traditionally the third Sunday of November is when buyers the world over converge on Beaune to bid on the wines of the Hospices de Beaune. It was a three day affair, but by now it may be a grander affair then it was back in the day.
The Hospices de Beaune is a charitable hospital that originated in the fifteenth century by Nicolas Rollin and his wife Guigone de Salins. Through the years (centuries) that followed assorted parcels of land in some of the finest plots in Burgundy were bequeathed to the hospice. They probably own about 125 acres or more of land through out several villages in the Cotes de Beaune. This land produces more than fifteen thousand cases of wine each year, and it is during the auction that the wine is sold, and consequently the price of most of the wines of Burgundy are determined from this sale. It is always been felt that the wines of the Hospices de Beaune are overpriced, but there the demand is still there.
One cannot just refer to a bottle of Hospices de Beaune for any vintage, because there are thirty or more specific parcels of land or cuvees that make up the Hospice’s holdings. There are both red and wine wines from these holdings, and they are not only from Beaune, but from Corton, Pommard and Mersault. One year in my youth, when I was so young and perhaps unappreciative, but an avid learner I acquired two different bottles in the same year. I am sure that it was a King’s ransom back then, when I was working and going to school, but well worth the expenditure. I was able to enjoy a bottle of Hospices de Beaune (Beaune) Cuvee Nicolas-Rolin 1972 and a bottle of Hospices de Beaune (Beaune) Cuvee Dames-Hospitalieres 1972. I did not splurge and enjoy these two wines at the same time, but during the same year, and it added to my enjoyment of Pinot Noir wines to which I still maintain.