The Côte de Beaune wines, like the gift of creativity itself, have the ability to inspire. And it was divine inspiration which in 1443 drove Nicolas Rolin to found his Hôtel-Dieu, the famous Hospices de Beaune, to aid the sick and needy.
It was a divinely-inspired decision which put the revenues from the sale of the Hospices wines to the upkeep of the hospital and the modernization of its services.
And so it is that today, every November, wine-lovers from the world over flock to the sale by auction of these great wines.
There they find themselves at the very heart of the Côte de Beaune, which stretches from Ladoix-Serrigny to Maranges - twenty kilometers and 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of inexhaustible creativity where the finest dry white wines in the world rub shoulders with highly-renowned red crus.
Throughout the nineteen villages of the Côte de Beaune, the red wines derive exclusively from the Pinot Noir grape. With the addition of the Côte de Beaune-Villages wines and the 400-odd hectares (990 acres) of regional Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, the result is a complete range including communal appellations with their Premiers Crus and the single Grand Cru - Corton.
The wines of Ladoix, Pernand-Vergelesses, Chorey, Savigny, Monthélie, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain, Saint-Aubin, Santenay, Maranges and the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune are fine, well-fruited, supple, and elegant.
Those of Aloxe-Corton, Beaune, Volnay, and Chassagne-Montrachet are ample, well-structured, richly aromatic and of great distinction. Pommard and Corton contribute highly-colored wines which are powerful, generous, firm and solidly-built.
There is a full range, too, of whites from the Chardonnay grape. They have a fine bright golden color and richly and complex aromas recalling hazelnut and honey. In many cases they have as long a cellar life as the reds and are no less splendid. Those of Pernand-Vergelesses, Auxey-Duresses, Saint-Romain and Saint-Aubin are well-rounded, elegant and delicate ; those of Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet have fullness, finesse and a miraculous balance - a brilliant gamut of premiers crus and grands crus culminating in Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne the most sumptuous of all white wines, at once rich and meaty, subtle and powerful.
Here in the heart of the Côte de Beaune you are also in the heart of Burgundy. Here the whole history of wine and the vine is open to you. And here, as a final touch of the inspiration, is the capital, Beaune itself.