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11 November 2011  |  Wine   |  Article

Hospices de Beaune Cuvées, 2011 Vintage Tasting Notes

Listed in the order in which the wines will be auctioned on Sunday 20 November 2011

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Dames Hospitalières
Purple-ruby of medium depth, with open, fine fragrance.  This wine is full, ripe, luscious and charming, with balancing freshness on the finish.  Its gentle tannins will ensure fine development, over the medium term.

In common with other red wines of the vintage, the malic acidity level of this wine is relatively low, so after secondary fermentation it is likely to show a mild aftertaste, and be delicious soon after bottling.

Pommard 1er Cru, Cuvée Dames de la Charité
Impressive purple-red, with complex, ripe aromas of great beauty.  This has well-balanced structure, remarkable fruit intensity, and classic harmony.  Many whole, uncrushed berries went into the wine, resulting in a creamy texture and sumptuous, beautiful aftertaste. This is an outstanding wine, for medium and long-term maturation.

Volnay 1er Cru, Cuvée Général Muteau
Colour is garnet-purple of medium depth, the aromas being rich, fragrant and very fine. The palate is vivacious and elegant, with most attractive fruitiness and harmonious, silky length.  For lovers of Volnay, this wine embodies the village’s harmony and elegance, showing an impressive finish.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Guigone de Salins
The colour here is impressive, purple-garnet, the nose being compellingly ripe, recalling dark red fruits. This wine is powerfully structured, with dense fruitiness, impressive, fleshy texture and mouth-coating, ripe tannins.  A superb wine for mid- and long-term keeping.

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron
There are two Cuvée names for the Hospices’s Clos de la Roche.  4 barrels of Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron were made in 2011, and 3 of Cuvée Georges Kritter. They fermented in one vat, then were given the names of two different, generous, recent benefactors, who each donated funds to buy the vineyards.

In colour, this is impressively deep, rich purple, the nose being fragrant, ripe and beautiful.  The wine was entirely made from de-stemmed but uncrushed, whole berries, and its texture and fruit intensity are very beguiling.  The palate is full-bodied, luscious, sweet and long, with beautiful spiciness. The acidity and tannins are in perfect balance, promising a supple, very long aftertaste.  This is a thrilling, magnificent wine, of the greatest potential complexity and beauty.

Corton Grand Cru, Cuvée Charlotte Dumay
In colour, this is red-purple of medium depth, the nose being very fine, open, ripe and fragrant.  These grapes were picked in mid-harvest, and after de-stemming, allowed to fall uncrushed into the vat.  The fermentation went through relatively fast – over ten days, to be followed by 4 days maceration.  The resulting wine is one of the finest, most complex, gently-textured examples of this cuvée we have ever seen.  It has exceptionally beautiful elegance, and is a great wine for medium-term maturing, with lusciously fresh, gentle tannins on the aftertaste. 

Beaune-Grèves 1er Cru, Cuvée Pierre Floquet
This has an attractive, red-purple colour of medium depth, with complex, fine, ripe fruitiness on the nose.   The palate is rich, elegant, creamy and harmonious, with silkily smooth, long aftertaste – very beautiful.  It will be impossible to resist wishing to enjoy this wine while it is youthful, but it will certainly also improve and age harmoniously, if well stored, for 10-15 years.

Pommard-Epenots 1er Cru, Cuvée Dom Goblet
In colour, this is a medium-deep, light-catching garnet-purple, the nose being finely fragrant, and very pure.   The grapes were picked towards the end of the harvest, and the wine now shows sensuously ripe fruitiness, with sweet middle palate and charming length.   The tannins are very gentle, finishing complex, elegant and very long.  This is a wine of perfect balance and thrilling aftertaste.

Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Les Duresses, Cuvée Boillot
As happened for the previous, four vintages, these 2011 grapes were allowed to hang exceptionally long, producing superbly ripe bunches.  The wine’s colour is solid purple-red, right to the rim, the nose showing ample ripeness, if presently restrained.  On the palate, this is richly structured, with concentrated fruitiness, powerful, ripe tannins and impressive, gentle length - promising excellent development. 

Volnay 1er Cru, Cuvée Blondeau
Strikingly deep purple-red in colour, this shows Dijon fruit-cake (pain d’épice) with meaty aromas, on the nose.  The palate has impressive structure, with intense fruitiness, rich length, and vibrantly charming, mouth-coating tannins.  This is First Growth Volnay of unaccustomed power, with superb potential for mid- and long-term ageing.

Pommard, Cuvée Billardet
Deep, purple red in colour, with meaty, complex, expressive aromas.  On the palate, this has a powerful attack, rich middle fruit and ample, chalky tannins which will stand it in good stead for mid-term development.

Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cuvée Madeleine Collignon 
This has impressively deep, rich purple colour, with ripely elegant, red and black fruits aromas of the greatest distinction.  The wine was made from a very high proportion of whole, uncrushed berries, and this has brought a fleshy middle-palate, allied to creaminess of texture, which are exceptional.  This is again the greatest red in the cellar for mid- and long-term keeping, with gently mouth-coating tannins and a striking surge of beautiful, complex flavours on the finish. 

Corton-Clos du Roi Grand Cru, Cuvée Baronne du Baÿ
It is now five vintages since the Hospices first decided to vinify the grapes from Corton Clos du Roi separately, allowing the beauty and individuality of this most famous Corton hillside to be fully expressed.   In 2011, this wine is powerful yet velvety.   Its colour is brilliant purple-red, refracting the light appealingly;  the aromas recall blackberries and smokeyness,being also very ripe and elegant.  The palate is luscious, rich, harmonious and very long, with superbly fruity, gently mouth-coating aftertaste of the greatest finesse.

(A tonneau, holding 460-litres, of this wine will be the Pièce des Présidents in 2011, sold in aid of specified causes).

Volnay-Santenots 1er Cru, Cuvée Jéhan de Massol
Volnay-Santenots is regularly amongst the first vineyards of the Hospices Domaine to ripen, reflecting its position at the heart of one of Burgundy’s most perfect vineyard slopes.  The grapes catch the rising sun, the pebbles reflect its warmth, the drainage is immaculate - everything is in place to favour ideal fruit ripening. 

This wine is solidly purple-red, right to the rim.   The nose is complex, recalling roasted raspberries and ripe cherries.  The palate is full-bodied and powerful, with concentrated fruitiness relating to the low yields from these old vines.   The texture is creamy, the finish being fresh, elegant, luscious and very long.    It is an outstanding vintage for all 4 Volnay Premier Cru Cuvées here, and once again it would seem that this one is the greatest star, for its complexity, length and perfect harmony.

Meursault-Genevrières 1er Cru, Cuvée Philippe le Bon
These grapes achieved perfect ripeness, with impressive natural sugars – 13.2 degrees – and the resulting wine will be one of the greatest whites of the vintage.   Fermentation is still proceeding slowly, there being no reason to hurry it.  Aromas are already complex, rich and fresh, the palate showing concentrated fruitiness, with sumptuous, creamy texture and powerful length of aftertaste. 

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cuvée François de Salins
The grapes in this vineyard were small, and reached beautiful maturity before picking.  Aromas are already fragrant, spicy, ripe and complex.  The palate shows impressive structure, great richness, fine acidity and superbly creamy length   This is undoubtedly one of the greatest whites in the Hospices cellar, and will prove to be sensational in bottle. 

Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru, Cuvée Albert Grivault
This vineyard is situated at the heart of the finest section of Les Charmes dessus, and gives wines of spectacular opulence, allied to minerality and finesse.  In 2011, the wine’s aromas recall pears and golden peaches, the body being characterized by impressive roundness, rich complexity and refreshing, long aftertaste.

Meursault-Genevrières 1er Cru, Cuvée Baudot
This wine has very fresh, fragrant aromas, evoking white peach and citrus.  The palate is full-bodied and luscious, yet also shows minerality, concentrated fruitiness, and beautiful, fresh elegance on the finish.  Thanks to its natural balance and complex aftertastes, this has the potential to be one of the greatest whites of its year.

Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cuvée Dames de Flandres
Walking through the vineyard on Sunday 28th August, just before general start of the vintage, I was struck by the fine health of the bunches here, which were well aerated, protecting them from damage.  Some sun-burned berries (from a heat-spike at the end of June) were shrivelled, but these would be easy to discard, before pressing.   In the fermenting wine, ripe aromas and complexity were immediately apparent.  On the palate, great power is found alongside fruit intensity, mouth-coating, refreshing acidity and spectacular length.  The wine is vivacious, creamy, complex and thrillingly superb.

Corton-Vergennes Grand Cru, Cuvée Paul Chanson
Located three hundred metres downhill from the vineyard of Corton-Charlemagne Cuvée Roi Soleil, this wine is comparable in quality, but with a subtly different flavour profile.   It is less mineral, with more rounded, opulent fleshiness.  The nose is very fresh, ripe and complex.  The palate combines richness with fruit intensity, being complete and well-rounded, leading into silkily-textured length of the greatest beauty.

Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru, Cuvée de Bahèzre de Lanlay
For quality reasons, it is important not to hurry a wine through its fermentation, and this Cuvée is still transforming its final sugars, gently.   For those who love Meursault-Charmes for its combination of fresh minerality with spectacular fruit, this Cuvée in 2011 will tick all the boxes.  Aromas are already complex, and on the palate, the wine is elegant, racy, strikingly fruity and impressively fresh.

Meursault, Cuvée Goureau
Nearly half of this Cuvée – 48% – comes from old vines in First Growth Les Porusots, which account for its rich body, sumptuous mouth-feel and impressive length.  The wine in 2011 has open aromas recalling quince.  On the palate it shows a sturdy quality, with well-concentrated fruitiness in middle palate, and vibrant aftertaste. 

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cuvée du Roi Soleil
- previously known as Cuvée Charlotte Dumay
These vineyards face due east, and lie high on the Corton hill. The vines’ roots, planted 10 years ago, have penetrated deeply into the limestone, and the wine has now achieved an opulence of fruit, with rich structure, which were not previously seen, while the vines were youthful.  

The nose has fresh citrus and white peach aromas.  The palate is magnificently full-bodied, with intensely pungent fruitiness,  and a sumptuous, long aftertaste.  This is magnificent Corton-Charlemagne, and now challenging its sister-wine, Cuvée Francois de Salins, for pre-eminence in the Hospices cellar.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Nicolas Rolin
This is rich, deep purple-red in colour, with fresh, ripe fruitiness of aroma, including chocolate.  The wine is intensely fruity, with impressive middle palate and elegant, complex length.  Nicolas Rolin is made from a high proportion of really fine Pinot plants, with small bunches and tiny berries, and is once again an outstanding success among the First Growth Beaunes.

Corton Grand Cru, Cuvée Dr. Peste
This is deep garnet-purple, with roasted, densely ripe aromas, already complex.    The palate is full-bodied and richly structured - more solid and tannic than Corton Cuvée Charlotte Dumay, as is often the case.  The character of Corton Dr. Peste is well delineated, and the wine will prove magnificent, particularly after several years bottle-age.  There is neither astringency nor bitterness, but massive complexity on the palate, showing great potential. 

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cuvée Georges Kritter
There are two Cuvée names for the Hospices’s Clos de la Roche.  4 barrels of Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron were made in 2011, and 3 of Cuvée Georges Kritter. They fermented in one vat, then were given the names of two different, generous, recent benefactors, who each donated funds to buy the vineyards.

Tasting note, same as Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron :
In colour, this is impressively deep, rich purple, the nose being fragrant, ripe and beautiful.  The wine was entirely made from de-stemmed but uncrushed, whole berries, and its texture and fruit intensity are very beguiling.  The palate is full-bodied, luscious, sweet and long, with beautiful spiciness. The acidity and tannins are in perfect balance, promising a supple, very long aftertaste.  This is a thrilling, magnificent wine, of the greatest potential complexity and beauty.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Clos des Avaux
Colour is an impressive, purple-red of medium depth, with aromas being openly fruity and appetising.   On the palate, this has medium structure with charming fruitiness, and a fresh lively aftertaste, well representing the elegance and harmony of this vintage.

Pommard, Cuvée Raymond Cyrot
First Growths represent 57% of this Cuvée, coming from Charmots, Bertins and Les Rugiens bas.  Colour is deep red-purple, the nose showing ripe fruit with spice and meatiness.  On the palate, this is big and burly, with strongly marked tannins which will need time to resolve, so consider this for medium-term ageing.

Volnay-Santenots 1er Cru, Cuvée Gauvain
In colour, this is a beautiful, purple-ruby, with very ripe, fragrant aromas, which are subtly spicy.  On the palate, the wine is full and luscious, yet also shows the inimitable finesse of its great, First Growth Volnay terroir.  This wine is delicately poised, all aspects being in fine harmony, but with elegance being the outstanding factor.  Tannins are firmly present, to ensure harmonious ageing, the finish being impressively long and vivacious. 

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Brunet
Amongst the Beaune Cuvées, this was one of the last to be picked, and it needed very careful sorting – but the result is remarkably successful.  Colour is an impressively rich, red-purple, the nose showing well-ripened, fine fragrance, with smokeyness.  Palate is well-constructed and sweetly fruity, with fine length and gentle tannins.  This is a classic Beaune for youthful enjoyment and mid-term keeping.  . 

Saint-Romain (blanc), Cuvée Joseph Menault
This wine comes from two plots in Saint-Romain at different altitudes, with just 50 metres between them.  The higher plot, known as Le Village Haut, lies alongside hilltop scrubland, and may be protected from the depredations of wild boar - who will eat the grapes, if given the chance - by carefully installed, electric fencing.    In 2011, the wine is pale, green-golden in colour, with still yeasty, fragrant aromas.  The palate is full bodied, with excellent fruit intensity and mineral, lively aftertaste.  Fermented in large tuns, its harmony is exemplary.

Meursault-Porusots 1er Cru, Cuvée Jéhan Humblot
Green-yellow in colour, with complex aromas, this is fragrant and fresh.  The wine is excellently balanced, being full-bodied, luscious, ripe and long.  Its fruitiness is very pure and intense.  All elements are in fine harmony, promising sumptuous early drinking, and also the possibility of added complexity, with bottle-age.

Pouilly-Fuissé, Cuvée Françoise Poisard
The harvest here was the first to be gathered in, the grapes showing admirable natural sugars and fine acidity.   Aromas now are lively and clean.  On the palate, this is very fresh, elegant, intensely fruity and vibrant on the finish.

Meursault, Cuvée Loppin
The nose is fresh and clean and the palate intensely fruity, with lively aftertaste.  This is a more mineral Meursault than last year’s Cuvée Loppin, with harmonious mid-palate, admirable acidity and fine length.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Rousseau-Deslandes
This was picked towards the end of the harvest, and had impressive, natural sugars and richly ripened grape-skins.    The colour is very deep, red-purple, the aromas being complex and beautiful.   Palate is full-bodied, with a juicily luscious fruit concentration which is most appealing.  The texture is well-rounded, with tannins in fine balance, finishing rich and long. 

Monthelie 1er Cru Les Duresses, Cuvée Lebelin
This First Growth vineyard is located in a narrow valley, and benefits from extra hang-time, to bring the bunches to perfect ripeness.  The grapes were fully de-stemmed, with uncrushed berries then falling gently, by gravity, into vat where the fermentation started naturally and immmediately.  The wine has very pretty purple-red colour, with piercingly clean, cherry aromas of great charm.  The palate has attractive structure, intense fruitiness, and gentle tannins.

Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Forneret
The majority of this Cuvée comes from les Vergelesses, which many would rate as Savigny’s most richly harmonious  Premier Cru.  The vineyards were picked at the end of the harvest, when heat had concentrated the berries, reducing the yield.  Colour is medium-deep, purple-red, the nose being fragrant, ripe and open.  The palate shows impressive structure, with well-ripened fruitiness, right from the start, which is confirmed in mid-taste, and on the finish.  Texture is creamy and luscious, promising complex development.

Pommard, Cuvée Suzanne Chaudron
Also picked late during the harvest period, on 4th September, this shows rich purple colour, and finely fragrant, well-ripened aromas.   Initial attack on the palate is rich and fleshy, this impression being well-sustained.  The wine finishes freshly, with gentle tannins. 

Santenay, Cuvée Christine Friedberg
This comes from a vineyard, Les Hâtes, which is just uphill from Santenay village, and is bordered by First Growths.  The wine has attractive purple-ruby colour of medium depth, with fresh aromas, recalling plums and raspberries.   The palate has a soft start, then a juicy, fresh-fruit middle, ending with gentle firmness.   It promises to make delicious drinking, from its bottling onwards.

Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Arthur Girard
Nearly always the finest and most aromatic of the three Savigny Cuvées, this Cuvée in 2011 is deep purple-red to the rim, with pungent fruitiness.  On the palate, the wine is structured, with dense fruitiness, and lovely harmony.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Maurice Drouhin
Colour here is richly impressive, garnet-purple, the nose showing brambles and rich black fruit character.  Palate is medium-bodied, with ripe fruitiness, fine finish and lovely harmony.  This wine can be enjoyed when youthful, and certainly also bottled for beneficial ageing.

Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru, Cuvée Rameau-Lamarosse
This has attractive, purple-garnet colour, the nose recalling ripe raspberries and black fruits.  On the palate, this has good structure, with full roundness and luscious aftertaste.  Aging in one-year-old barrels, it is destined to give pleasure while youthful after bottling, with future development being assured, thanks to its fine balance.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Hugues et Louis Bétault
Colour is rich, red-purple, the nose being open and fresh.  On the palate, this shows the lively, red fruits character of a wine picked relatively early in the harvesting period.   It does not have the structure of the biggest, late-harvested Beaunes, but its purity and clear, fresh fruitiness will allow it to mature for relatively early drinking. 

Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Fouquerand
In colour, this is an attractive garnet-purple, with pure Pinot aromas, which are very fresh and appetising.  It is a medium-bodied, luscious wine, with gentle, fully-ripened tannins.  It may be enjoyed youthful, or given 2-3 years bottle age.

Beaune 1er Cru, Cuvée Cyrot-Chaudron
This has deep, garnet-purple colour, with powerful, complex aromas.   The palate does not show explosive, fresh fruitiness, but rather a rich structure with solid fruitiness,  reflecting its high-lying, First Growth vineyard Les Montrevenots, which over-looks Pommard.  The wine has good stuffing, harmonious middle-palate, and well-ripened, tannic aftertaste.

Anthony Hanson MW
11 November 2011

Related Sale
Sale 1017
151ème Vente des Vins des Hospices de Beaune
20 Nov 2011

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