William Kelley - 04/01/2019
About this WINE
The excellent Domaine Guyon in Vosne Romanée has been below most people’s radar – perhaps because Jean-Pierre Guyon spends as much of his time as possible out in the vineyards, which have been farmed organically since 2006, certified from 2012. This is a hugely exciting addition to the Berry Bros. & Rudd range, the wines wowed Jasper Morris MW when he first discovered them. The wines are extraordinarily good, yet are priced very sensibly indeed, a winning combination.
With his high pedigree viticulture as a great starting point, Jean-Pierre can employ whole bunch fermentation as the stalks are ripe, eschewing the use of sulphur at this stage (though some is added later during elevage and at bottling to assure stability). Another point of Guyon’s meticulous care is the use of a vertical press before the juice goes to barrel for 12 months, before racking into older wood for a final six months maturation.
This range of wines is hugely impressive, from the simple Bourgogne Rouge up to the Grand Crus. Finding high quality Vosne Romanée at this pricing level is a rare thing indeed.
Savigny-lès-Beaune is situated within France’s larger Burgundy wine region, celebrated for its intricate terroir-driven winemaking traditions. The village lies just north of the town of Beaune and is known for producing red and white wines, although red wines dominate in quantity.
The reds are primarily made from Pinot Noir grapes, which thrive in the region’s limestone and clay-rich soils. These wines often balance ripe fruit flavours like red cherries and raspberries, earthy forest floor notes, and a refined structure of moderate tannins and vibrant acidity.
The whites from Chardonnay grapes display a refreshing acidity and diverse flavours, from zesty citrus and green apple to more complex hints of hazelnuts, white flowers, and mineral nuances.
Due to its hilly landscape, Savigny-lès-Beaune benefits from a mosaic of microclimates and various soil types, allowing for subtle variations in the wines produced across its multiple vineyards or “climats.” These climatic and soil distinctions contribute to the unique character of each wine, emphasizing the concept of terroir – the idea that a wine’s flavour and personality are intricately tied to its specific place of origin.
The winemakers in Savigny-lès-Beaune are deeply committed to traditional winemaking methods, paying meticulous attention to detail during vineyard management and the winemaking process. Hand-harvesting, careful sorting of grapes, and gentle extraction methods are standard practices, ensuring that the wines reflect the essence of the terroir while maintaining a sense of finesse and elegance.
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.