Hospices de Beaune & Domaine Dugat-Py: Gevrey-Chambertain October 1, 2015
A shot of the famous facade at Hospices de Beaune
After seeing the sights of Alsace, I headed south to the most serious leg of this trip, Burgundy. Why serious? It felt serious. Wines give me a sense of who and what they are about in so many ways. In Champagne, I learned that while the wines are associated with festivities and light-heartedness, they are coming from a place that is incredibly cold and producing these wines takes everything the people have. In Alsace, the energy is jovial and the wines are superb and serious but there is a remaining element of fun in the winery. Burgundy, on the other hand, is serious. The importance of these wines on the world stage can't be denied. The greatest white AND red wines in the world come from France - many of them from Burgundy.
I arrived in the city of Dijon after the three hour drive from Ammerschwhir. I had rented the basement apartment of a local family's home via Airbnb (click here to check it out). Once I parked and settled into the space I followed the homeowner's recommendation and headed out to eat. The restaurant was tucked into an alley way and I had to look hard to find it. Once inside there were all of six seats in the place, so I cozied up to the bar. An incredible meal of coq au vin and red Burgundy got me settled into my new surroundings. The next day I wasted little time exploring Dijon and got back into the car and headed south again to the city of Beaune. I wanted to see one place: the Hospices de Beaune.
The world-famous Hospices de Beaune was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin. Originally the hospital was built to serve the poor people of Burgundy and to this day the proceeds of its existence aid those in need. The architecture is an incredible example of 15th century France and even though I had seen pictures of it before, they hadn't done it justice. The place was founded on a love story and deserves a blog of its own.
In addition to being a hospital, the Hospices de Beaune is home to 60 hectares of some of the greatest vineyards in Burgundy. The wines produced from these vines are auctioned every year on the third Sunday in November in what is one of the most famous charitable wine auctions in the world.
Above left, I'm standing in the famous courtyard where the annual wine auction is held. Above right, a view of the preserved patient space inside the Hospices which is now a museum. Bottom left, the intricately carved and painted ceiling inside the chapel and patient room. Bottom right, the original floors throughout the hospital display the seal of the hospital's founders.
After an incredible visit through Hospices de Beaune, I explored the city of Beaune. I found it to be home to a slew of incredible secondhand stores with lots of fantastic vintage fur and French designer clothes, shoes and accessories. I could have spent the day there but decided to press on. I got back into my car and drove the thirty minute distance south from the Côte de Beaune to the Côte de Nuits to the village of Gevrey-Chambertain.
Bernard Dugat’s first vinification was 1975. He married Jocelyne Py in 1979 and finally created Domaine Dugat-Py fifteen years later in 1994. Many advancements and changes followed. Son, Loîc became part of the domaine after studying enology. They started on the road to farming organically and all vineyards became organic in 2003. Vineyard plots in Pommard and Meursault were acquired. Renovation of the old and creation of a new winery ensued. A Chassagne Montrachet 1er Morgeot plot was added to the fold. With the use of horse drawn ploughing Dugat-Py made another nod to the ecology of the vineyards of Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, 1er Cru Fonteyn and Les Evocelles. And, finally in 2009 parcels of Les Evocelles were re-planted with new vines.