Every November the annual Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction takes place in the heart of Burgundy. The auction is one of the wine world’s most prestigious and historic events. For 157 years the auction – which is a charitable event benefitting a hospital built in the 15th century -- has served as a bellwether for growers, negociants and collectors to gauge the quality of new vintage. The fine Burgundies offered to the participants in the Hospices de Beaune auction are made in very limited quantities, and they represent the best of traditional Burgundian winemaking.
Mâconnais is in the southern end of Burgundy, just above Beaujolais. The district takes its name from the village of Mâcon, which was the center of a thriving wine trade in the 17th century. In those days Mâconnais produced more red than white wine. Today Mâcconais makes mostly white wine made from Chardonnay grapes and is best known as the home of Pouilly-Fuissé. Pouilly-Fuissé is a white wine appellation made up of the villages of Pouilly and Fuissé. There are no Grand or Premier Crus in Mâconnais. But in addition to Pouilly-Fuissé, village appellations include Saint-Véran, Viré-Clessé and Mâcon and Mâcon-Villages. The Mâcon plus a village name is an allowable wine label. Mâcconais includes 17,300 acres of vineyards. Red wines are made from Pinot Noir or Gamay, which is the primary grape just slightly further south in Beaujolais.
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.