Higher yields and a 'superb' Burgundy 2015 wine harvest means this year's Hospices de Beaune auction will the biggest in four years, and is to be presented by Highlander actor Christopher Lambert and French television journalist Claire Chazal.

There are set to be 575 barrels at the Hospices de Beaune 2015 auction, up from 534 barrels last year and the largest since 2011, when 761 barrels were offered in the annual Burgundy wine en primeur sale.

This year’s rise reflects a slightly bigger Burgundy 2015 wine harvest, where many producers escaped major hailstorm damage for the first time in several years.

‘It is not too soon to state that the [Burgundy] 2015 vintage shows every sign of being superb,’ said the wine team at Christie’s, which includes Anthony Hanson MW.

Christie’s organises the Hospices de Beaune auction, which always takes place on the third weekend of November.

The number of white wine barrels offered this year will be 117, the same as 2014, but red wine barrels on sale will rise to 458 from 417 a year ago.

Highlander actor to co-host

American born French actor Christopher Lambert will co-host this year’s auction. Lambert has starred in dozens of films and is perhaps best known as playing Connor MacLeod in Highlander in the 1980s. He is also to star in an upcoming Coen brothers film.

He will host Hospices de Beaune 2015 with Claire Chazal, a journalist, novelist and regular fixture on French television screens for many years.

Hospices de Beaune 2015 vintage

Wines for the Hospices de Beaune auction are drawn from donations and from around 61 hectares of Hospices vineyards.

It is Ludivine Griveau’s first vintage as Hospice de Beaune’s vineyard manager and winemaker, after Roland Masse retired.

‘This vintage is producing richly fruity whites, with aromas of ripe apricot and white peaches,’ she said. ‘Natural alcohol is fairly high, with acidity levels which may surprise us favourably.’

Of the reds, she said, ‘Red wines show intense, beautifully nuanced, ruby colours, with varied aromas, some recalling fresh, black fruits, some reflecting the sunshine-rich summer, others being spicy.’