The Hospices de Beaune was founded as a charitable almshouse in Beaune by the Chancellor of Burgundy in 1443. Every year, on the third Sunday in November, a wine auction is held to fund the charity. Thanks to the increasing reputation and record figures attained at the auction, it has been organised by Christies since 2005. Wine makers have donated wines and vines for hundreds of years and this has resulted in the Hospices de Beaune becoming one of the most important vineyards in Burgundy. Enabled by bequests the administrators of the Hospices have also been able to buy vineyards to add to their growing portfolio. These vineyards have become the Hospices de Beaune’s core asset.
The Hospices de Beaune estates wine (known as cuvees) cover some famous names. Cuvee Jehan de Massol is produced from vines owned by the Hospices de Beaune in Premier Cru Santenots (Les Santenots de Dessus, Les Santenots du Milleu) and Les Plures. The Cuvee Jehan de Massol honours the Italian doctor Augustino Mazzoli who became one of their first doctors, dying in 1505 and his descendant, the magistrate Jehan de Massol, who bequeathed his art collection to the Hospices on his death in 1669, saving the Hospices from ruin.
The village AOC of Volnay Santenots lies in the Cotes de Beaune just south of the Volnay border in the commune of Mersault. The wines here were once known as ‘tete de cuvees’ (meaning ‘top of their game’) before the appellation was created, making them distinct from Volnay itself. These vineyards have been valued for centuries with their wines finding favour with the Knights of Malta, the Dukes of Bourgogne and the Kings of France. Admired for their elegance and depth, the wines of Volnay Santenots tend to be more powerful than Volnay with subtle richness. The Hospices’ cuvees are barrel aged and bottled by the negociant-eleveur (wine producer/merchant). Cuvee Jehan de Massol 1993 was developed under the negociant eleveur Pierre Andre of Chateau de Corton Andre. A producer of truly rare and marvelous Grand Cru Burgundies, Pierre Andre was an excellent choice.
The 1993 Cuvee Jehan de Massol comes from a great producer who made the most of this good vintage and it is drinking extremely well right now. Its velvety femininity holds bright and its brooding power has been mellowed with age. You will also find that the 1993 pairs splendidly with food; are a perfect match for roast goose, partridge and turkey, baked salmon, roast pork, beef casseroles or lamb tagines.