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There are certain vignerons whose wines we eagerly anticiapte with each new vintage. Near the top of that list is Simon Bize et Fils. Arguably the finest grower in Savigny-Les-Beaune, the domaine was run by the talented Patrick Bize, who tragically passed away in 2013. The reins have been ably picked up by his wife Chisa and sister Marielle. The hallmarks of Bize are purity of fruit, terroir transmission, and ageability. The wines have deep fruit, a distinctly mineral edge, and beautiful poise, along with serious structure, which allow for long term aging. Even in difficult vintages, Bize seems to rise above the crowd, as evidenced by a stellar bottle of 2000 vintage Aux Grands Liards tasted late last year.
The wines are old-fashioned (though not at all rustic) and transparent. This results from old vines, low yields, and traditional winemaking employing whole cluster fermentation as the vintage allows. Fermentation is with native yeasts, the use of new oak is judicious, and the wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined. The wines can be a bit reserved in their youth, but even at the village level they age with ease and gain in aromatic and textural complexity with a few years in the cellar.
Today we're happy to offer the 2015 Bourgogne and a pair of village wines. Bourgogne Les Perrières is located above the village with vines dating from the 1970s, planted in rocky soils. Les Bourgeots is on the southern end of the village by the Les Peuillets premier cru, and is comprised of white clay and limestone soils. Finally, Aux Grand Liards, situated beneath the Les Lavières premier cru, shows a good deal of the character and longevity of the nearby premier crus, with bottles aging effortlessly. Unfortunately quantities are limited, but we hope you'll consider adding a few bottles to your cellar. John McIlwain
The Simon Bize 2015 Savigny Les Bourgeots is higher-toned and more tightly wound than the Bourgogne Perrières. The nose is in a cool register: vine smoke, black cherry skin, wild blackberry cassis, mint, and a hint of brambly wet bark. The palate is tightly wound and nervy, but offers a fine tension between cool ripe fruit and a pungent, sapid mineral character. This needs plenty of air to come together, but the purity of fruit and energy that's implied within the structure is intriguing. Decant now or cellar for 3-5 years to allow the elements to integrate. Should be interesting to follow over the next 7-10 years. Quite enjoyable with pasta and a sausage and mushroom ragu, and should work beautifully with pork in a mustard sauce, or with crispy duck confit and a salad of bitter greens. John McIlwain
Aux Grands Liards is located beneath the Les Lavières premier cru. Its soils are comprised of limestone, ferrous clay, and gravel. Per the Domaine, the vines were planted in 1939, 1950, and 1979. The 2015 Aux Grands Liards is a bit more backwards than Les Bourgeots on opening. With air, the nose expands to reveal pure wild cherry, black currant, pomegranate, and an array of baking spice aromas, with just enough earthy notes to remind you that this is Savigny. The palate—equally circumspect on opening—also gains expressiveness and complexity with air. Lovely flavors of red and black cherry, hedge fruits, and game are counterbalanced by savory mineral and spice notes on a vibrant and velvety finish, with a sneakily racy acidity, and ripe tannins framing the whole affair. You could certainly enjoy this young, but there is fantastic potential here for aging into something special. One heck of a Savigny-Les-Beaune for those with patience! John McIlwain
From vines planted in the 1970s above Savigny-Les-Beaune. Dark ruby robe. The 2015 is perfumed, offering aromas of dark berry fruit, black raspberry, dewberry, and peonies on the nose, with a loamy soil note lurking in the background. Initially a bit stern on the palate, the leathery notes give way to brambly pure berry flavors in the glass with hints of spice from the stems. Gains lift and freshness with air. Good punch and drive, though much more ahead if cellared 3-5 years. There's a bit of 2015 power in addition to finesse, but this is a beautifully balanced and layered Bourgogne, with a finely articulated minerality. John McIlwain