Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Domaine Simon BIZE et Fils: 2013s from Cask and one from bottle

Domaine Simon BIZE et Fils (Savigny-les-Beaune)

2013s from Cask and Bottle

This was the saddest vintage. Of course the estate suffered the serious vineyard losses due to hail as did so many on the Côte de Beaune, but much more importantly, just as the harvest was set to get underway, Patrick Bize suffered a heart attack while driving and crashed his car. He was in a coma for three weeks as a result of the crash and finally died later in October.

Patrick was greatly loved and esteemed throughout Burgundy, and for me, too, he was a favorite visit for his warmth, humor, honesty, and overall joie de vivre (and as well, of course, the quality of the wines). Patrick’s family, headed by his wife Chisa and sister Marielle Grivot-Bize, will carry on the estate. Patrick had been intending to retirement and assembled a team to continue. In short, there is no reason for concern about the future of this longstanding estate of very high quality.

As for 2013, there is very little wine (7-10 hl/ha in Savigny!), not just because of the hail, but because a severe triage was necessary and because there was so little juice in the grapes that made up the wines. Many of the wines were not available to taste because of the small quantities or the states of the wines.

The harvest began on October 3 in the wake of Patrick’s accident. One can well imagine that everyone was shell-shocked. This is one estate where stems are used to the extent possible, but because of conditions in 2013, the only wines with whole clusters are the Savigny-Marconnets, -Serpentières, -Guettes, and Latricières-Chambertin. Alcoholic fermentations were quick, and malolactic fermentations were “normal” (which, in my experience, is later here than in many other cellars). Alcohols are about 12.5%, and for the premiers crus, about 12.7-12.8%.

While holding on to some of the other vintages allows them to improve and last so splendidly, the wines of this vintage are to drink young. I visited on November 3, and bottling was to begin three weeks later.

We start with the reds:

2013 Savigny-les-Beaune   Les Bourgeots
This wine has pure aromas and is spicy and racy in its red fruit with excellent concentration. (87-90)

2013 Savigny-les-Beaune  1er Cru – Aux Fourneaux
This wine is smooth and round with red fruit and more breadth than the Bourgeots, but not any greater complexity. (86-90)

2013 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru – Aux Vergelesses
The Vergelesses was very light without much penetration, although it was smooth and velvety. I could not get enough of a bead on it to evaluate it.

2013 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru – Aux Serpentières
The Serpentières is spicy, medium-weight, and smooth with red fruit, especially strawberries. (86-89)

2013 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru – Aux Guettes
Bize’s Guettes shows spicy red and dark fruits with more depth, penetration, and body than the Serpentières. (88-92)

2013 Latricières-Chambertin
The Latricières shows more depth, body, and dark fruit with good minerality. This wine shows more aging potential than the preceding ones. (90-93)

Switching to the whites:

2013 Savigny-les-Beaune blanc
This wine is round, glossy, and smooth with seemingly low acidity. It appears to be fully ready to drink. (85-89)

After the tour of the cellar, from bottle:

2013 Bourgogne    Champlains    blanc

Usually, about 5-10% of the Champlains is made up of Pinot Beurot (Pinot Gris), but given the problems of 2013, about 40-50% of this vintage is Pinot Beurot. The nose is mineral, and the mouth shows lime blossoms, finesse, length, and minerality, making for a most attractive wine. I’d drink it over the next 5-6 years. 88/A