O ccurring over the third weekend of November each year, this historic triumvirate of events in Beaune is something that every serious wine-lover should try to attend at least once in their lifetime. Along with the festival of St Vincent, Les Trois Glorieuses represents the most important celebration in the Burgundian calendar and, of the two, it has without doubt the most global reach.
For one special weekend, private collectors and the wine trade from throughout the world descend on Burgundy for these three legendary days. As well as being the name of the second French Revolution, Les Trois Glorieuses is simply a perfect celebration of the conviviality, community and camaraderie that forms such an integral part of Burgundy’s culture, its people, and its wines.
Clos de Vougeot Dinner
The celebration begins on the Saturday, with a festival-like atmosphere in the centre of Beaune, which is closed to traffic for a vibrant street fair. The day culminates with the most formal event of the weekend, a black-tie dinner in the stunning surroundings of the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot. This beautiful estate is home to the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, nowadays a truly global organization that was founded in 1934 to promote everything about Burgundy and its wines. Over the years the Confrérie has been key to preserving the region’s traditional folklore, festivals and customs, of which the Les Trois Glorieuses is the jewel in the crown. This special evening kicks off the weekend in style, with superb food and wine, and no shortage of idiosyncratic traditions, particularly surrounding the induction of new Chevaliers into the Confrérie! Those lucky enough to secure an invite shouldn’t think twice about going; it is one of the wine world’s great events.
The Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction
The highlight of the weekend and the second of the Trois Glorieuses, this is the world’s most historic charity auction. Taking place on the Sunday afternoon, the sale sees hundreds of barrels of the latest vintage of the Hospices de Beaune’s 51 cuvées auctioned off, in benefit of the hospitals that provide care to everyone in the local community. The highlight of the global wine auction calendar, open to private collectors and the trade, by purchasing a barrel you have the opportunity to secure your own private labelling from some of Burgundy’s most prestigious Grand and Premier Cru terroirs, from vines that have been bequeathed to the Hospices over the centuries. The climax of the afternoon is a magnificent dinner by candlelight in the stunning ‘Hotel Dieu’, the original 15th century Hospices building.
Paulée de Meursault
Of the three events, the Paulée de Meursault represents the most unbridled celebration of wine appreciation, a pure expression of shared joy amongst friends and strangers. The Paulée has spawned copycat events the world over, from Bangkok, to New York, to Tokyo, such is the success and popularity of the original edition. A lunch in its most luxurious sense (proceedings don’t tend to finish until well into the evening), winemakers, vineyard workers, the global wine trade and their friends all join together in this rousing, raucous celebration to mark the end of the harvest. Those lucky enough to attend should come prepared to encounter more great wines in a single afternoon than is imaginable!
Every attendee, including Burgundy’s greatest and most famous winemakers, bring with them their best and most interesting bottles to share. This is truly a wine celebration unlike any other. Alongside the superb wine and food, is a generous helping of singing and entertainment, with a vast number of renditions of the Ban Bourguignon (Burgundy’s unofficial anthem) guaranteed to feature, each one more boisterous than the last, as the afternoon proceeds into the evening.