Hospice du Beaune, pre-auction sampling

I was extremely lucky and spoilt today when I managed to get an invitation with a comple of others to a pre-auction tasting at the Hospice du Beaune. I tried nearly all their reds and many of their whites. These sample are all pre-malolactic fermentation (MLF), and some of the whites were still not quite dry. To be frank the tasting was tough: after 3 weeks in new oak and with these world-beating wines being so young I found it challenging to pick the wonderful from the exceptional – all had very tight tannins. It was a unique and fortunate experience.

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The concept of the Hospice auction is a great one. At Sunday’s charity auction, ALL the 2011 production will be sold in barrel. The barrels stay with the Hospice for a few months until MLF is finished and then the owner ships them to somewhere else (probably a negociant they have lined up) for maturation. So the Hopsice gets money up front, and none of the hassle of storage, bottling or labelling! No wonder their winery was so beautifully clean and uncluttered, and felt more like a show-room for tanks and fermentation equipment!

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