The Pinnacle of Savigny:
2008 Bize Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Aux Vergelesses
A Beautiful Example of All That's Right About Burgundy
Sometimes, it's hardest to write about the domaines you really care about. Why do I love the underappreciated wines of Simon Bize? Because they're good, of course. Classic. Honest. Beautifully concentrated, dark and juicy yet fresh and lithe. Oh, and wildly underpriced.
I believe that Patrick Bize is making some of the best wines in Burgundy. I believe that if you put his estate in the middle of Gevrey or Chambolle instead of the decidedly overlooked Savigny-les-Beaune, his reputation may well rocket up to ranks the likes of Roumier, Rousseau or Meo-Camuzet. His wines would fetch comparable prices, which would be fair.
But Patrick Bize makes his 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses in Savigny.
If you want to throw comparisons around, I'd say this wine packs a wildness comparable to the best Pommards, along with a driving vibrancy that recalls great Volnay, all held together with the weight of a satisfying Gevrey. I should keep this quiet, but I'd pay twice this price and be very happy with my investment.
This wine - especially in 2008 - is full of everything that I love about Burgundy.
Site specificity, yes. Elegance with power, yes. Winemaking that is simple, honest, and therefore brilliant and classic. Yes. Wines like this are what got me excited about Burgundy in the first place - they are the pinnacle of a commune that, while it's modest (in terms of profile and pricing), produces very serious wines.
As for the profile, if you stand at the top of the grand hill of Corton-Charlemagne and look due west, you'll be looking over Savigny-les-Beaune. Cast your eyes slightly to the left, and your eyes will fall over the 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses with its south-facing, light chalk slopes. As Clive Coates says in his Côte d'Or, "Here Savigny is at its most refined, with the most intensity and depth. Here it is at its smoothest, its most velvety, its most complete."
As Coates importantly wraps up his notes, "Bize is the best domaine in Savigny, and this is its best wine."
True to form, Bize's 08 Aux Vergelesses is dense with concentrated dark cherries and brambly raspberries pressed into rich, hearty earth; it has a profile of vigor and solid structure that, thanks to the fantastic 08 vintage, maintains an overall freshness and resonance of ripe fruit with great acidity. This is undeniably tasty right now, a rush of all the visceral and intelligent aspects great Burgundy brings. Still, its structure is significant enough to age for a decade (and that's on the conservative side).
Not only is Bize's Aux Vergelesses an ideal bottle to bring to the holiday table (Bize's wines are renowned for their affinity with food, and they're the sweethearts of many a French chef and sommelier), it's also a fantastic stocking stuffer for the serious Burgundy aficionados (who should, if they don't yet, have these on their wish lists) or for the enthusiastic wine drinker who is just beginning to assemble his or her cellar.
As the radar for well-priced and lesser known excellent Burgundy expands (and it's doing so quickly), Bize's small production Savigny-les-Beaunes will likely become more difficult to come by, especially at pricing like this. To place your order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to this email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
1er Aux Vergelesses
Wine arrives tomorrow!
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