Profile: Francine et Olivier Savary

Update 20.6.2019(1.5.2019)billn

Tasted in Maligny with Mathieu Savary, 19 March 2019.

Domaine Francine et Olivier Savary
4 Chemin des Hâtes
89800 Maligny
Tel: +33 3 86 47 42 09

Mathieu’s parents, Francine et Olivier, started their domaine in 1984 – with just one hectare of vines – but right from the start, the decided to do everything themselves – including the bottling and commercialisation.

Today the domaine extends over 20 hectares with vines that came from both sides of the family – the family have, for generations, been vignerons but they produced grapes for the coop. Although Mathieu’s grandfather had vines, he decided to work in Paris – “In those days, there wasn’t really enough money in Chablis to support a family.

The domaine’s vines are mainly located Maligny and Villy, plus a little on the plateau of Lignorelles. Today the range includes Petit Chablis, Chablis, some Chablis 1er crus and even a Bourgogne Epineuil. About half of the production is exported – but like from the very beginning, all the production is commercialised in bottle, indeed, there’s even a little négoce operation here to augment the volume. Mathieu’s parents are still involved in the day-to-day work of the domaine, and now, since 2015, Mathieu’s younger brother, Maxime, is also part of the team – mainly working with the vines. “My father was, from start, raisonnée in his approach to the vines. Now with Maxime we’re looking at Terravitis certification – to be honest, we’re still not happy with the organic label as there is too much use of copper – but we will have certification from 2019 vintage though,” says Matthieu.

Mathieu on 2017:
Here, 2017 brought an even smaller volume than 2016 – it tastes good but there’s not much – 19 hl/ha! So we’ve practically one-third of a normal harvest in 2017, and all down to the frost. Everything else went very well, so we harvested fine, clean, grapes in weather that was not too warm during the harvest – so the cool grapes were in great shape.

The wines…

Here is a strong new addition to the domaines covered here – really first-class Petit Chablis and Chablis!

2017 Petit Chablis
Bottled January 2018. DIAM for this, and the Chablis, but the Chablis VV is cork.
A lovely width of fresh aroma – but a certain richness included. Supple, concentrated, an aspect that has lime fruit but is saline too. Intense finishing – great PC!
2017 Chablis
Like the Petit Chablis, this has only a tank elevage.
Less depth of aroma but showing a more mineral width – swirling brings a little floral lift too. Ooh that’s good – intense, plenty of mineral flavour – but not with rigour – giving, tasty flavour. More drive and a fabulous finishing clarity – bravo! Love this wine!

2017 Chablis Sélection Vieilles-Vignes
This and the premier crus are normally bottled about June following the harvest. A cuvée since 1995 – vines of about 60-years-old, planted by grandparents. ‘Usually a little more concentrated as there’s less yield from the older vines’ – 20% wood but in demi-muids of 500 litre.
Not an obvious oak but there’s a faint spice in the saline-mineral width of aroma. More directly intense – more impact too – very silky with super, cushioned acidity. The oak is beautifully managed here – it’s practically invisible. More direct than the last wine so I’d have a little more patience – really excellent.

2017 Chablis 1er Vaillons
Bought for many years – always the same contract, all tank elevage.
More depth of aroma and it’s quite a different aroma – there’s clarity but the fruit is a touch more exotic. Mouth-filling with a slight cushioning to the texture, ripe fruit for sure, growing in intensity. Lots of finishing width and a little citrus zest included in this impressively long finish. Lots of wine here – tasty – but a different style of fruit to the other wines – picking dates?

2017 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
One 500l barrel here wich, vintage dependent, represents between 5-10% of the total volume – the rest has tank elevage.
Finer, pure, almost floral perfume to this nose – it’s a beauty! Drive and freshness – waves of energetic flavour, mouth-watering, slightly saline – a suggestion of the barrel in the middle flavours – but modest. Finishing mineral and mouth-watering – really excellent wine!

2017 Bourgogne Epineuil
2016 and 2017 both had frost here, though less than in Chablis – these vines are about 20 km away. Cool maceration to start. Began with just tank but one year found that a little barrel elevage was interesting – so about 20% sees barrel elevage today. Did use DIAM but with 18 are returning to cork as find the DIAM too hermetic. Cropped at about 40 hl/ha – almost 1 ha and they have some more land that are planning to plant too. ‘A wine that’s easier to sell in export markets – when people taste it, 7 out of 10 times they want to buy it’!
Relatively modest colour. The nose has little reduction from the DIAM seal. Supple, a wine of drive and freshness – growing in intensity in the middle – this has quite some finishing power and minerality but with a creaminess of red fruit to accompany. There’s a certain rigour here, so wait 1-2 years, but the length of finish is very impressive. The domaine seems to agree they are still commercialising their 2015 – they don’t rush into selling…

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