2009 Burgundy Middle-Weights: Simon Bize

Posted by CrushWine

Detour from Route 74
2009 Bize Savigny-les-Beaune
1er Cru Aux Vergelesses
"The Bize '09s are simply fantastic wines. Don't miss them." - Burghound

I maintain that Patrick Bize makes some of the most honest, classical red Burgundies in the whole Cote d'Or.

Savigny-les-Beaune, however, is a bit of a detour from the famed Route 74, the north-to-south road that passes near the most famous villages of Burgundy: Gevrey-Chambertin, Vosne-Romanée, etc.

This is off-the-radar Burgundy and for that reason these wines tend to be underappreciated and underpriced, almost regardless of quality.

In the monumental 2009 vintage, this is where the extraordinary value is.

Simon Bize has long been one of my favorite estates - in 2008 I named their 2006 1er Cru "Aux Vergelesses" my Wine of the Year.

Bize's Aux Vergelesses is widely considered to be both the pinnacle of the Bize portfolio as well as the pinnacle of Savigny, right up there with La Dominode. It is parts Pommard (wild, meaty), Volnay (vibrant, clear) and Gevrey (weight, depth) all combined.

At just over $50 a bottle for the 3-pack purchase, this is one of the deals of the vintage.

If you've read anything about the 2009 Burgundies you know this is a ripe, plush vintage. And in this regard the Bize Aux Vergelesses does not disappoint; it is dense with layers of red and black fruit - there is an intensity to the palate that is thrilling, the fruit is flushed all the way out to the edges, creating a richly textured, enveloping hold.

Yet it is by no means "soft" - in fact, this wine is stacked; it has the guts to last in the cellar for well over a decade. In fact, it actually demands some time. As Allen Meadows concludes his enthusiastic tasting note (below), “like many of the Bize 09s, this is unapologetically built to age.”

The package is particularly compelling in the 2009 vintage - I think it's safe to say this is the best Vergelesses the estate has put together since the incredible 2005 and 2006 combo. In 2009, Bize has impressively achieved wines of focus and structure even in light of all the year’s ripe, velvety, luscious fruit. As always, he hand harvested to bring in only perfect fruit, then the grapes saw a cold maceration before being pressed and allowed to ferment naturally.

Bize says he used nearly 100% of the stems in 2009, which clearly lent more sturdiness and a firmer backbone of tannins to the purple-black fruit, the earth and smoke notes.

If you decide to crack a bottle now, a good decant is advised, and an accompanying full dinner table would be ideal. Bize’s wines are renowned for their food-friendliness, and they’re the sweethearts of many a French chef and sommelier, for good reason.

Indeed, in France where Savigny-les-Beaune is less of an awkward mouthful and on the radar of most wine folk, Bize is a known and coveted producer. In the U.S., despite the fact you find these wines in the cellars of geeky Burghounds they have thus far remained out of the sights of the blue chip collects.

For this reason, the pricing remains relatively sane - even in a vintage like 2009. Bize's 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses will arrive in the fall - still, the smart money would place your order now. This will be sold out before it makes it to the front door.

To place your order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

2009 Bize 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses

Burghound: "This possesses the most elegant nose among these Savigny 1ers with complex and fresh aromas of violets, plum, earth, wet stone and a smoky hint that precede rich, intense, detailed and highly energetic middle weight flavors that are shaped by the very firm tannins on the impressively persistent finish. This doesn't have quite the same level of complexity as the Talmettes but it may in time as there is ample underlying material and like many of the Bize '09s, this is unapologetically built to age."