Since 1921, at the entrance of the sleepy village of Savigny les Beaune resides this lovely family-owned estate. Following vigneron generations before him, Jean-Michel Maurice studied in Beaune and at the University of Beaune before purchasing pre-Phylloxera vineyards in Hautes Côtes de Beaune, now holding 12.5 hectares. With his wife Yvonne and son Stephen (who studied Pinot Noir winemaking in Australia), they are committed to producing wines true to the intrinsic feminine character of Savigny Les Beaune. The appellation is in a shaded valley that means cooler temperatures, longer hang time, lower brix levels and wines with lower alcohol, more delicacy and elegance in style, yet with acidity for graceful aging. The Prieuré (Abbey) on their label built in 1771 was their winery until building the new one in 1992.
Planted with super-high vine-density of 4,450 plants per acre of either Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, vine competition contributes to low yields of 1-2 tons/acre, forcing the dry-farmed roots deep into the soil for water and nutrients. The family personally manages their vineyards, and since 2000 have used the natural farming practice, “Lutte Raisonnée” (lute-reason- ay), that improves micro-biotic life of the soils, using environmentally- friendly pest control and tilling methods. The clusters hang very low to catch radiant heat off the soil, since the appellation is so cool. The grapes are picked perfectly ripe with low brix, expressing their goal of making lighter, feminine, delicate wines, resisting the 1990s fad of making Bigger Pinot Noir in Burgundy. Their philosophy is to “put more work on the vines and less work in the cellar.”
Grapes are hand sorted by the family (plus a cousin, uncle and Stephen’s winemaker-girlfriend Lucy), the whites are pressed directly after harvest, the reds de-stemmed. Initially cold soaked, native- yeast fermentation starts naturally with gentle punch- downs, then pump-overs as temperatures rise, limiting extraction. Reds age in 10% to 30% new oak, depending on appellation, are racked after 12 months in 3000 Liter wood fudres, and settled in stainless steel vats before Estate Bottling unfined, course-filtered only if necessary.
Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut NV OUT UNTIL SPRING 12.0% alcohol
This Crémant is entirely grown in Savigny Les Beaune from true Champagne varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. From two steeply sloped, west-facing, rocky parcels with yields under 2 tons/acre, it has 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 25% Reserve wine, and dosage of 10g/l. 10% is new-oak aged for 10 months, 90% in neutral vessels, and 14 months in tirage before disgorgement.
Tasting Notes: “Crisp, racy and lively, a nose of flower petals, nutmeg, earth and cider, flavors of white peach and stone fruits, honey, minerals and toasted nuts.” Remarkable for the price. 500 cases.
Savigny Les Beaune Blanc, Chardonnay 2017 13.0% alcohol
Tasting Notes: “Traces of smoke and citrus lead to round, delicious and attractively vibrant middle weight flavors that possess solid complexity and persistence on the appealingly dry and balanced finale.”
From three dry- farmed parcels on a steep 25% slope yielding 1-1.9 tons/acre. The 66 year-old vine fruit is aged 15 months in neutral barrels with no ML fermentation; the rest is stainless fermented with cold, slow malo-lactic conversion. No new oak. 400 cases.
Bourgogne – Hautes Cotes de Beaune, Pinot Noir 2017 New Vintage 12.5% alcohol
Because these 34 year old vines are on shallow, rocky soil on a steep 20% slope in the coolest and highest elevation in Savigny (single Vineyard “Les Champons”), it has longer hang time, low yields under 2.25 tons/acre, produces small and concentrated grapes, and is the last Prieuré parcel picked.
Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017 Remarkable Value 13.0% alcohol
38 year-old vines, 2.25 tons/acre from two gravelly parcels, just outside of Savigny. 100% de-stemmed, cold soaked, native yeast fermented in stainless tanks, made with no oak. Tasting notes: “Aromas of fresh strawberries, rose petals, cherries. Forceful yet gentle, with crisp light red fruits.”
Savigny Les Beaune,”Les Gollardes”2016 Pinot Noir New Vintage 13.0% alcohol
Tasting Notes: “Aromatic notes of both red and dark currant, earth and a hint of humus. Supple, round and nicely vibrant flavors, rich finish.”
Named “the place with bad soil,” (the exact same Comblanchien soil as in Chambolle Musigny) the densely spaced, 50 year old vines look down from a steep southwest facing slope 300 feet above the village of Savigny. The cool site produces thinner skins and typically more delicate styling.
Savigny Les Beaune, Les Lavieres 1er Cru 2016 New Vintage 13.0% alcohol
Tasting Notes, Burghound: “Nose exhibits earthy and layered soft spice, pretty mix of red and dark fruit and smoked game. Delicious, round and nicely vibrant flavors, a subtle minerality on the sappy long finish. I like the texture and developing depth.”
With yields of barely 1 ton/acre, their plot in this famed vineyard has 63 year old Pinot Noir vines. Just downslope from the famed Grand Cru hill of Corton, berries are tiny and concentrated, allowing use of 20% two-year-old Nuits St. Georges barrels to soften the structure, and still produce a wine that merits decanting and aging.175 cases
Savigny Les Beaune, Les Haut Jarrons 1er Cru 2015 New Vintage 13.0% alcohol
Burghound: “There is a whiff of menthol to the earthy forest floor nuanced red and dark berry aromas. There is a lovely texture to the mid-palate of the rounded and velvety flavors that contrast noticeably with the somewhat dry finish.”
Grown on a sloping hillside vineyard, these 61 year old vines produce a tiny yield from the gravel and clay based soil. Aged in 20% new French Oak barrels. Only 175 cases made, 45 cases imported to the US.
Cru Beaujolais “Chénas” 2015 NEW Prieuré Wine 12.5% alcohol
Not fully retired from winemaking, father Jean-Michel has now introduced “Chénas” to their line. Among the most revered Beaujolais Crus (and rarest in the US), low-fertility soils result in small, thick-skinned, concentrated grapes and age-worthy, sturdier Gamay based wines. 40-year-old, close- planted vines on a granitic, sandy and porous hillside slope overlooking Chénas, “goblet” pruned without wires, aged in neutral oak vats and barrels.