1971 Hospices des Moulin-à-Vent Moulin-à-Vent


Held every November, the Hospices de Beaune is Burgundy’s most famous charity auction. It attracts global attention, celebrities and, in recent years, stratospheric hammer prices. Lying in its shadow is the annual Hospices de Nuits auction that unfairly doesn’t attract nearly the same hoopla. Yet I have encountered very fine bottlings. Until the 1971 Moulin-à-Vent was poured, I had no idea that a similar auction was held in Beaujolais. I do not know when the auction ceased and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems lost in the mists of time.

Before I continue, I must stress that this particular bottle is unconnected with Château du Moulin-à-Vent. Proprietor Edouard Parinet had simply acquired it at a local auction in France. The second thing that I must stress is that it is unequivocally the finest mature Beaujolais that I have ever drunk. Slip this into a line-up of Grand Crus in this fecund Burgundy vintage, however illustrious the Domaine, and I bet you could never tell it was Gamay and not Pinot Noir. The Hospices des Moulin-à-Vent 1971 Moulin-à-Vent is ethereal in the truest meaning of that word. Showing bricking commensurate with its age yet clear in color, the bouquet blossoms from the glass with entrancing strawberries, wilted rose petals and subtle loam and damp moss scents, all delivered with stunning definition. The palate is medium-bodied with plenty of freshness and tension after more than half a century, filigree tannins borrowed from a top Clos-de-Bèze with a haunting, ineffably complex finish. This is a wonder to behold. If you think my score is generous for a Beaujolais, you’re wrong. If I stand accused of anything, maybe I’m being a bit mean. 97/Drink 2023-2033.

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