Burgundy’s Alternative Wine Auction: Hospices de Nuits St Georges… In the shadow of Burgundy’s mega-watt Hospices de Beaune lies an alternative wine auction – the annual Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges.
Held each March, the Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges makes up for in attitude what it lacks in media attention. Activities include a luxury chocolate festival, exclusive tastings and dinners, music, parades and a wine auction at Château du Clos de Vougeot with proceeds benefitting the Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges and the ELA Foundation.
Every year, wine aficionados travel from throughout France, Europe and the United States to the Cote d’Or for a chance to wave their paddles over more than 100 barrels of premier and villages cuvées. While most proceeds fund the hospital, one barrel benefits a designated charity. Bidders employ the expertise of local negotiants to steward them through the process, from tasting, to auction, to élevage – the ‘raising up of the wine’ to final aging, bottling, unique auction labeling and shipping.
Each barrel roughly equals three hundred bottles, or approximately twenty-five cases of wine, important facts to consider when working out the logistics for final delivery of the finished wine.
Founded in 1270 by the sisters of Hotel-Dieu in Beaune, Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges moved to its current site in 1633; remnants of the original structure remain. Originally built to care for lepers, over the years the hospital expanded to aid soldiers, respiratory patients and others in need. Currently, the 132-bed public health facility caters primarily to the elderly.
Throughout its benevolent history, grateful locals have donated to the Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges. The estate today comprises 12.4 hectares, including choice parcels from within the wine communes of Nuits-Saint-Georges, Primeaux-Prissey, Vosne-Romanée, and Gevrey-Chambertin. Planted mostly to pinot noir, the estate does include a few acres of chardonnay used to craft a small amount of premier cru white. Moreover, the addition of an updated cuverie in 2002 ensures enhanced productivity methods and increased quality levels.
It’s no secret that as the price of Burgundy soars, more and more wine collectors consider Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges an attractive alternative to the pricier Hospices de Beaune wine auction. All the more reason to enjoy the fun – and wine – while Hospices de Nuits-Saint-Georges remains relatively obscure!
For more information: www.hospicesdenuits.com
Creator of binNotes , a wine blog and the Red Thread™ wine maker interview series, L.M. Archer is also a member of the International Travel Writer’s Alliance, a recurring TASTE TV Chocolate Salon Seattle judge, and FoodableTV.com contributor. She holds French Wine Specialist and Bourgogne Master Level designations from the French Wine Society and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Smith College. You can find her at www.binNotes.com.