In August 1443 a serendipitous twist of fate set in motion a series of events which led to a debauched Duncan Quinn Eleventh Bottle dinner in August 2012. It took 569 years for the stars to align. But it was worth the wait.
Words by: DUNCAN QUINN
Photos by: HENRY HARGREAVES
In 1443 Burgundy was ruled by Duke Philip the Good. Beaune and its environs were in a state of emergency. Although the hundred year war with the dastardly English had been wrapped up by the signing of the Treaty of Arras, rape, pillage and general mayhem continued. To help out his destitute subjects, the Duke commissioned the building of the Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune, a hospital and refuge for the poor.
This hospital is better known as the Hospices de Beaune and it remains open to the poor, sick and destitute to this day.
Over the centuries grateful families and benefactors donated precious vineyards that led to the Hospices having its hands on some of the finest wine land in the world. So to make profit from the generosity of its benefactors they went into the wine business, holding the first auction to sell the wines they made in 1851. The annual auction on the third Sunday in November every year remains the only way to obtain the fruits of their vines. Of course the three day festival of booze and food called Les Trois Glorieuses that surrounds it makes for quite the jolly, even if you’re not buying.
As we love getting great company together and celebrating life we hold dinners with our club of gentlemen rogues almost once a month. We call the dinners the Eleventh Bottle. Supposedly because one wag in the auction world commented that they never auction eleven bottles in a lot. It is always ten or twelve. So guess where the eleventh bottle ends up…it's the Angel’s Share of the wine world.
Which led to us celebrating the barrels of 2009 Hospices de Beaune we had purchased so that we could get up to some serious shenanigans with some spectacular grape juice in our glasses. And we weren’t let down. It probably helped that 2009 was supposedly the best year for decades, but as always we like to think the company helped. Our friends at Krug decided to kick off the evening for us with some of the finest Champagne known to man and Paul Marie & Fils were kind enough to set us up with a very special bottle of Duncan Quinn special reserve single barrel 60 year old Champagne Cognac to propel us out the end of the evening. In between the good stuff was a fine repast prepared by Michelin star chef Farmerie at Public in NoLita.
Not exactly your average Tuesday night, but you only go around once after all…so you may as well enjoy it.
Public – ***** Mouth watering tucker from our mate Chef Farmerie
Krug – ***** The king of Champagnes
DQ Hospices de Beaune Monthelie – ***** A light a fruity little number
DQ Hospices de Beaune Pommard – ***** Packing some tannic punch
DQ Special Reserve Cognac – ****** Sometimes the old ones are the best ones
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