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Asians invade Hospices

22 Nov 2010 by Jancis Robinson

The 150th Hospices de Beaune wine auction of special barrels of 2010 wines which took place yesterday saw average prices rise by 12.55% for reds and 12.7% for whites. Although, as in so much of Europe, the 2010 crop was a small one and Christie's had 156 barrels of wine fewer to sell than last year, the total raised was almost as much as for the record 2009s.

Christie's, who have been charged with conducting the Hospices auction since 2005, set their cap firmly at potential Asian buyers with a series of tastings and dinners in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. This seems to have paid off to judge by the results for the top ten lots. Apparently, Asia became the second most important region, after Europe, for both the number of registered bidders and the value of wines acquired. European buyers accounted for 85.5% of the sale by value, Asia accounted for 12.5% and the US for just 1.6%. America's most celebrated blogger Alder Yarrow of Vinography.com was invited to witness his countrymen's relative apathy to this famous auction and you can read his account from the saleroom here.

Anthony Hanson MW, senior consultant to Christie's International wine department, commented, 'Many wines set record prices for the last 10 years, beating the 2005 and 2009 vintages. For instance, amongst the reds: Clos de la Roche, Cyrot-Chaudron, Corton Charlotte Dumay, Volnay-Santenots de Massol and Beaune Nicolas Rolin. Amongst the whites: Corton-Vergennes Paul Chanson and Meursault-Genevrières Philippe Le Bon. These cuvées are now some of the most greatly admired of the Hospices de Beaune, alongside Mazis-Chambertin Madeleine Colignon and Bâtard-Montrachet Dames de Flandres.'

The Christie's image above shows the characteristic tiled roofs of the original hospital towards which the profits from the Hospices wine auction still go.

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