A year on the Hill of Corton

A busy Hospices weekend part 2

Pernand-Vergelesses in the Sunday morning fog

Pernand-Vergelesses in the Sunday morning fog

Mounir Saouma, Trappist monk turned winemaker, gets his ration of Corton Charlemagne at the Hospices new cellars near the modern hospital in Beaune

Mounir Saouma, Trappist monk turned winemaker, gets his ration of Corton Charlemagne at the Hospices new cellars near the modern hospital in Beaune

Photographers keeping out the way and waiting for the big moment

Photographers keeping out the way and waiting for the big moment

Hugh Johnson is happy all that book signing is over for today

Hugh Johnson is happy all that book signing is over for the day

Frédéric Drouhin gets his lot

Frédéric Drouhin gets his lot

With a 20% increase in the price of  white wines and 28% for the reds the auctioneer can smile.

With a 20% increase in the price of white wines and 28% for the reds the auctioneer can smile.

An exciting game of handball at Pernand-Vergelesses, but "we" still lose 21-24

An exciting game of handball at Pernand-Vergelesses, but “we” still lose 21-24

Keeping score while trying to keep warm

Keeping score while trying to keep warm


After a photogenically sunny morning on Saturday on the Hill which I regretted leaving, Sunday had a quite different atmosphere in the fog, much more mystery and intimacy until it began to lift.
I had wanted to avoid the crush at the new Hospices’ cellars so was there, shortly after opening, at 8.45. Its always useful to find old friends on hand to model without asking awkward questions, but it was a great surprise to run into Isabel Ferrando of Domaine St Prefert with her friends from Châteauneuf du Pape. Not too much time for chatting as I had to be in Pernand for a handball match starting at 10.30 – all part of the winemakers life !
After Sunday lunch chez Thierry and Christine it was back into Beaune centre in search of a parking space. Thierry’s advice only involved one slightly risky manoeuvre but proved the importance of local knowledge in parking matters.
I had been looking forward to getting into the hall early before it started to fill in order to catch up with the negociants who were supporting the book with their subscriptions and to encourage those that needed it !
However the Christies’ rule was that no journalists were allowed onto the floor of the hall before the start, no interviews or private chats then…. When we were allowed in there was a scrum to be among the first 10 let in. The rest had to wait until someone had had enough and came out. Anyway its a long afternoon and patience and politeness wins in the end.
Sadly, although prices were up due to another reduced harvest, the “President’s barrel”, Meursault Genevrieres this year (“only” a premier cru) made only half last year’s amount despite the charities guest auctioneer’s efforts to encourage the Chinese bidders at Maison Latour’s expense. Despite the scrum for entry it always surprises me how much the photographers co-operate and give way to each other, but then its France and they are all in the same union I suppose…
Gave up at around 5 p.m. to meet the publisher who is interested in my little book. It went well but I still await the paperwork. More news there as soon as I have it. Its been a long wait…

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