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2009 Savigny-les-Beaune Rouge, 1er Cru La Dominode, Domaine Pavelot
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The Pavelots have been cultivating vines in the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune since the French revolution, but it was Jean-Marc’s father who began domaine bottling after returning from the war. Jean-Marc really put the domaine on the map in the 1980s and assisted by his son, Hugues, has been quietly producing excellent wines ever since.
The domaine covers 12 hectares and specializes in Savigny-lès-Beaune. A healthy proportion is in old vines planted between the wars – notably Narbantons and parts of Gravains and La Dominode. Viticulture is according to Lutte Raisonée principles.
The grapes are destalked without crushing, given two to three days cool maceration (previously rather longer) then macerated in a mix of cement, stainless steel and – for the premiers crus – wooden tanks, with punching down at first followed by pumping over towards the end of fermentation. The wines then spend 12 months in wood, without racking, and with little reliance on new oak – one third for the Dominode but otherwise between 15 and 25% for the village and 1er cru wines. Hugues has not sought to change much of his father’s successful regimen, but if anything there is a move towards a slightly longer but gentler treatment of the wine during fermentation.
The fruit quality of the Pavelot wines is superb, but these are not simple and forward by any means. There is a solid structure behind each of these wines, quite tannic in some of the Savigny cuvées, which safeguards their ageing potential.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
The wines of Savigny are often as good as those of Beaune itself, a local motto describing them as ‘Théologiques, Nourissants et Morbifuges’. They are usually good to drink at three to five years old. A small amount of white wine is also made.
- 239 hectares of village Savigny-lès-Beaune.
- 144 hectares of premier cru vineyards (22 in all). Best vineyards include Les Lavières, La Dominode, Les Vergelesses
- Recommended Producers: Bize, Pavelot
- Recommended Restaurant : Le Vieux Moulin (at Bouilland, beyond Savigny. * Michelin)