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Average critic rating : 89.0 points
The 2012 Savigny-les-Beaune Les Bourgeots, coming from vines located on lower reaches to the east of the village, is blessed with wonderful definition on the nose: hints of black truffle informing the crisp black fruit. The palate is medium-bodied, a little CO2 on the entry that does not obstruct what feels like crisp, chalky tannins that segue into a focused, lithe and taut blackberry and bilberry finish. This will provide much pleasure over 5-6 years. ||Vinexpo 1997. Accompanying a Japanese colleague I meet a young Japanese lady translating between Patrick Bize and us. My recollections are hazy, but I recall that after the meeting I asked my friend whether he too had detected a little frisson entre winemaker and translator? Wasn’t there something in the air? The translator was Chisa and she was soon to become the Mrs. Patrick Bize. Fast forward to Savigny-les-Beaune 2013. It is only a few days after Patrick’s funeral. Apparently the pews had been jam-packed, testament to how much Patrick was respected and liked by his friends. The grim news of his car crash and hospitalization had filtered through the close-knit community of Burgundy during my previous visit. The shock was palpable. Burgundy has suffered an unfair share of untimely deaths and this was likely to be another. Winemakers, they come and go. But their legacy and their spirit; their wines all live on. We Chateau about Patrick, Chisa and myself accompanied by Patrick’s sister Marielle, the wife of Etienne Grivot, who is presently assisting at the domaine. Chisa speaks as if her husband’s death was predestined, ineluctable. She describes how Patrick had been so determined to order extra vats against her wishes by tinkering with the order sheet, insisting that it would safeguard the domaine for the future. He had ordered a new pressoir that has proven to be ideal for crushing small quantities of grapes efficiently. She mentioned how Patrick had spoken of taking a more backseat role, and to this end, had invited Marielle Grivot to take an active role in the daily running of the domaine over the past two years, having already worked with Patrick for four vintages. An eavesdropper upon the light-hearted conversation would never know that someone so dear had recently died. But life goes on. Patrick is referred to in the present tense. I imagine he will be for a very long-time. So what of Patrick’s last harvest? “They are miraculous wines,” enthused Chisa, who to be honest looks little different to when I first met her in Bordeaux. “The beginning of the season was very tough. The winter was hot then cold (-15 degrees!) and during the flowering it was cold with humidity. Everything was in a bad condition until the end of June. We had to work very hard ourselves – we could not use tractors because it was so muddy. Even I was in the vineyards! There were no weekends off. We did not suffer any hail damage fortunately and the summer was very nice. That is why this vintage was good. The key is to never give up. You can get good grapes so that we did not need to discard much fruit, because they were so healthy and (pausing to find the right word) muscular (i.e. thick skins.) The berries had very little juice. The harvest commenced on the 23rd of September and yield was 20-25 hectoliters per hectare, about 50% less than usual depending on the appellation.” Readers should note that I have reviewed all of the cuvees intended for release this year. Chisa explained that with the shortfall in 2012 and 2013, the remaining 2012s would be released next year in order to even out the finances. These were a set of marvelous wines, unrepentantly classic in style, the use of whole cluster adroitly used as always. The problem for the domaine’s wines is that because they are deemed to come from less propitious terroirs, they tend to be consumed prematurely. A Savigny-les-Beaune Grands Liards 2005 had barely aged a jot when ordered off a restaurant list during one evening. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013
Domain Simon Bize started in 1880 in Savigny les Beaune and it has been in the family ever since. Since 1972, Patrick Bize has been in charge and carried out years of planning to build a new cuverie, expand the cellars and purchase more land to the now 22 hectares. Quality, care and attention are key words both in the vineyard and winemaking.White grapes are processed as quickly as possible following harvest and lees contact is a very important part of the style. Maturation in barrel up to 30% new oak is for 6 to 12 months. Reds go into barrels that are 1 to 6 years old, new oak is rarely used, to preserve delicate Pinot Noir aromas.
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