I have to admit, before working with Morrell, I never paid much attention to the Hospices de Beaune. Frankly, I had grown used to being let down by gimmicks in the industry. Specially labeled wines made through a collaboration of winemakers or consultants usually equated to marketing ploys—which we all see too much of these days. Rarely do these projects present us with great wines.
Then the day came when the 2012 Hospices de Beaune reds arrived at the office, and it was time to taste. I approached them with trepidation, as I was expecting to be underwhelmed. What a mistake.
Each showed gorgeous varietal character, transparency of place, and all the hallmarks of this tremendous vintage. As I worked through them, I found myself impressed with each wine. While some scored higher then others, I assure you, there was not a single poor performance. Then I reached the Corton, and—Wow!
Typically, great Corton requires patience, often leaving us with an angular and herbaceous impression in its youth. Yet here, while I was presented with the expected austerity of youth, it also showed generosity, and that silky, ethereal ripe Pinot fruit we all crave. Digging deeper, I came to learn that Louis Jadot provided the élevage, making this one of the most enjoyable wines I’ve ever tasted from their cellar. Yet what truly sealed the deal was the price. This is a Grand Cru Corton of tremendous character and assured longevity, which costs $120. It’s a wine that I hope to add to my own cellar.
2012 Hospices de Beaune Corton-Cuvée Charlotte Dumay – The nose was intense with sensual dark-red fruits and savory herbal tones, followed by hints of dry spice, musk and a slight, sweet buttery note. On the palate, it was full of energy with youthfully-lean textures, which seemed longing to burst at the seams, showing focused red fruits with palate-coating sweet tannin and hints of green stem. It was long on the finish with brilliant red and black fruit, minerals, soil and floral tones. This is a gorgeous Corton in need of a few years in the cellar–also a great value. (93 points) Morrell
For those who don’t know about this program, the Hospices de Beaune is a charity auction held each November in Beaune’s Hotel Dieu. It’s a home created for the sick and poor over 500 years ago, which now functions as a museum. Hospices de Beaune has ownership of over 150 acres of vineyards, much of it classified as Grand and Premier Cru, and all of which has been donated over the centuries. From these vineyards and with the winemaking talents of some of the most revered names in Burgundy, the Hospices de Beaune produces a number of cuvées to be auctioned off, with proceeds made as a donation to the hospitals of Beaune.
Article and Tasting Notes by: Eric Guido