2020 Vintage Breakdown and Educational Information About the Village
I was recently in the Bourgogne wine region and visited the appellation of Savigny-les-Beaune. This small village is located in the Côte de Beaune sub region of Bourgogne and is known for both excellent red and white wines. The 2020 vintage looks like it will be a good one, so I wanted to share some information about it with you.
Earlier this month I traveled to Bourgogne for the second time this year. I was fortunate to be introduced to Arnaud DUBREUIL from Domaine Philippe et Arnaud DUBREUIL. I am pleased to announce that Domaine Phillippe et Arnaud will officially be part of my book for the Northern American market.
Together we tasted through several premier cru plots of the 2020 vintage. I was once again amazed at the diversity of the wine’s personality in relation to the climat’s position, what we call, terroir expression. A winemaker’s individual quest to best represent their terroir is fundamental in the Burgundian traditions of winemaking.
Although Bourgogne is one of the most complex regions to understand, it is also the one of the most intriguing. In this article, I will break down the appellation of Savigny-les-Beaune’s terroir, and wines with a focus on the 2020 vintage. I also hope to inspire you to visit Savigny-les-Beaune, support you in selling the wines abroad and provide you with more education about this diverse wine producing village.
The appellation of Savigny-les-Beaune is located in the Côte de Beaune sub region of Bourgogne. It is home to 22 premier cru climats. The village itself is situated on a south-facing slope and is home to both excellent red and white wines. The terroir here is a mix of clay and limestone soils, which provides good drainage and helps the vines struggle a bit, resulting in more concentrated grapes. The climate is continental in Bourgogne.
Primer Crus of Savigny-les-Beaune
Aux Clous / Aux Fourneaux / Aux Gravains / Aux Guettes / Aux Serpentières / Basses Vergelesses / Bataillière / Champ Chevrey / La Dominode / Les Charnières / Les Hauts / Jarrons / Les Hauts Marconnets / Les Jarrons / Les Lavières / Les Marconnets / Les Narbantons / Les Peuillets / Les Rouvrettes / Les Talmettes / Les Vergelesses / Petits Godeaux / Redrescu
The appellation includes the 5 kilometers north of Beaune on both slopes and the alluvium of the Combe de Fontaine-Froide’s alluvial cone, also known as Terre de Bouilland. The river Rhoin caused this valley to form. The vineyard is found on the northern and southern slopes of is close to the Beaune vineyard but it is separated from it by the A6 motorway. The northern hillside is linked to the Pernand-Vergelesses vineyard, with one part exposed to the east and another portion exposed to the south.
Depending on the position of the vineyard on the slope, it can be fairly cool due to the village’s elevation, which leads to longer ripening periods and thus more complex wines. This is the case for the wines I tasted with Arnold.
The red wines of Savigny-les-Beaune are made from the Pinot Noir grape and are known for being light-bodied with elegant cherry, earth and red fruit aromas. The whites, made from the Chardonnay grape, are typically more medium-bodied with ripe stone fruit, vanilla flavors and aromas. The wines of Savigny-les-Beaune are often described as being « delicate » due to their soft nature yet, I want to emphasize the diversity in each plot and impact of the winemaking.
The red wines were dark ruby, fruit forward due to their youth, supple with balanced tannic structure and aromas of red and black fruits. The most prominent were ripe unpicked cherries aromas. In 2020, Arnaud chose not to destem. Stems in the ferment also absorb color, which is why whole-bunch fermented Pinot Noir tends to be paler and more translucent. The choice to demstem or to not destem is variable and dependent on the year.
It is said that whole bunch fermentation gives fragrance and perfume to the wines, and adds a bit of strength and firmness to the tannins. This topic is often debated among wine professionals yet, I can say this is aligned with the Pinot Noir we tasted at Domaine Philippe et Arnaud DUBREUIL.
The wines are beautiful and can be drunk young or cellar for aging. The potential for aging of the 2020 vintage is good. I expect aromas of wet forest floor, mushroom and dried red fruits in the coming years. The growing season started off a bit cool and wet, but things turned around in May and the grapes had no trouble ripening. This resulted in wines that are well-balanced, fruit forward with good acidity levels.
Traditional Burgundian Winemaking reminds me of the film « Tout ce qui nous sépare », a moving film about the Bourgogne appellation and touching family history.
Reds: Light grilled meats like chicken or turkey, game and moderately seasoned cheeses like Comté.
I hope this article has inspired you to learn more about the Bourgogne appellation of Savigny-les-Beaune. This village produces some truly outstanding wines that are definitely worth seeking out. If you have the opportunity to visit Savigny-les-Beaune, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of history and the people are very welcoming.
The great honor to represent the wines of Bourgogne and reconnect with my roots in this region where I did my first harvest when I was just 14 years old. It feels like a full circle.
Until next time, cheers!