France – Cote d’Or
What is remarkable about Domaine Simon Bize is that each of its wines clearly portrays the ‘house style’ as well as its individual personality, without one masking the other. The domaine’s winemaker, Chisa Bize, is a Japanese Burgundian perfectionist. It is a little-known fact, but this domaine has some of the oldest vines and the highest average vine age in all of Burgundy. There are few domaines that could boast a Bourgogne Rouge made from vines planted in 1963, 1971 and 1980; or a 1er Cru Vergelesses made from vines planted by his forbears from the ‘30s – ‘60s with the youngest planted in 1978! The winemaking philosophy is based on the principle that yield is of the utmost importance and should never exceed 40 hectoliters per hectare (a personally imposed restriction, given that the legal limits set by the French government are significantly higher). She believes in harvesting ‘perfect’ fruit, and does whatever is required to accomplish this, even if it involves a degree of risk that most winemakers are not comfortable with.
BOURGOGNE ROUGE ‘LES PERRIERES’
Les Perrieres is located on the north-western hill overlooking the village of Savigny As the name suggests, Les Perrieres is a very stoney vineyard, giving rm reds with lovely density, worthy of ageing. The vineyard is split between pinot noir (planted between 1963 and 1974) and chardonnay (planted in 1967 and 1968). Modestly, the label doesn’t boast about such ‘vieilles vignes’. Yields are kept low at 30-40 hl/ ha each year. ALOXE-CORTON ‘LE SUCHOT’ This wine seems to show richness and great value each vintage. As the vines are ‘young’ [23yo] the bunches are always 100% de-stemmed, but even though the site is classed as villages AC, it is adjacent to Grand-Cru Corton and 1er Crus. It usually shows bright dark cherry fruit, good underbrush and earth nuances and lovely ripeness.
SAVIGNY-LÈS-BEAUNE ‘LES TALMETTES’ (2009)
“A fresh and relatively cool red berry liqueur and violet-infused nose introduces rich but beautifully well-detailed medium-bodied avors that exude a ne minerality on the ener- getic, balanced and driving nish. This is a really lovely wine of harmony and grace though note that the underlying struc- ture is quite rm.”
93 points burghound.com
SAVIGNY-LÈS-BEAUNE ‘AUx VERGELESSES’
The vines were re-planted progressively from 1939 through to the 40yo ‘youngsters’ in 1978! This is one reason for this wine’s greatness, the others being Patrick’s obsessive attention to detail and low yields, plus the great east/south-east aspect of the site.