Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Pilgrimage to the Cote d'Or (part 2)

Having visited the Cote d'Or many times, I have learnt the hard way that villages such as Gevery-Chambertin and Puligny-Montrachet can be an expensive lottery, where high expectations are often dashed at great expense! Like its geographical location, tucked away behind Beaune, Savigny's wines are a relative backwater that sit in the shade of other more illustrious names.

However, do not mistake modesty for poor quality. There are other villages in the Cote d'Or that are more famous and make more prestigious, more expensive wines; but to my mind there is no village other than Savigny-les-Beaune that provides such consistently good wines at prices that represent such value for money.

Savigny is also home of one of the best domaines in the whole Cote d'Or, Domaine Simon Bize, whose door and wines I return to time and time again (see earlier blog entries). So, before stopping for lunch at la Cuverie restaurant (where I first encountered Monsieur Bize's wines in 2006) there was just enough time to sneak in a quick degustation.
The Domaine Simon Bize range
With only limited time, this was more of a 'speed degustation', tasting only the top and bottom of the Savigny range. We started with the 2009 Bourgogne rouge 'les Perrieres', which was outstanding given its rank and €11.50 price tag! This wine always has  incredible depth of flavour for a Bourgogne with deep, soft black fruit in keeping with the ripe 2009 vintage (2* 8/10).

I cannot recommend this wine highly enough. It is easily as good as, if not better than most producer's village or premier cru wine. Moreover, the wine is made from old vines planted in 1971 and 1974 and are over 40 years old! The vineyard itself is on a hill over looking the village of Savigny-les-Beaune.
Les Perrieres, over looking Savigny-les-Beaune
At the top of the range, the 2009 premier cru Aux Vergelesses was definitely "mineral, intense, and complex..." as noted by Bill Nanson in his excellent book, The Finest Wines of Burgundy.  Like the Bourgogne, the wine is made from exceptionally old vines planted in 1939, 1949 and 1954! Although not cheap at €27 a bottle, this wine represents excellent value for money and would easily hold its own against other more expensive wines.

The 2009 Aux Vergelesses is likely to have a short initial drinking window as Mme Bize mentioned that in a hot vintage like 2009 and 2005 this wine tends to close down after two years, before reopening anything up to fifteen years later. I found it a well rounded wine with soft, black fruit and nervy mineral tension. Very good indeed! (4* 8/ 10).

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