Tasted in Meursault with Vincent Sauvestre, 10 June 2015
Bejot Vins et Terroirs
RD 974, BP 70003
Tel: +33 3 80 21 22 45
The family roots of this, one of the largest operations in Burgundy, go back to 1891, but frankly the ‘excitement’ began only after Vincent Sauvestre took on the family négoce in 1988. There was some honing of his skills and maybe a mental search for his way forward, but it looks like he made his mind up what to do around 2001 – because 11 domaines and their vines have been acquired since then. There are 270 hectares of owned vines in the south of France, but there are also now 260 hectares of vines in greater Burgundy. And if we include their long-term contracts, those 270 hectares are boosted to 320 hectares!
Concentrating only on ‘greater Burgundy’ Bejot has, in order, acquired the following: Maison Protheau (Mercurey in 2001), Maison Moingeon (Nuits in 2003), Chartron et Trebuchet (Puligny in 2004), Domaine Maurice Ecard (Savigny in 2006), Domaine Patrick Clemencet (Pommard in 2006), Maison Moillard (Nuits in 2008), Maison Corton-André (Aloxe in 2014, including Reine Pedanque) and the Domaine du Chapitre (Beaujolais in 2015).
Their main production facility is situated on the route nationale, just north of Meursault, but they have multiple wineries (production sites), all usually as close to their vines as possible. All the 320 hectares the run, represent 30% of the total grape/must supply to Bejot. They are still growing strongly, not just with acquisitions, so are looking to increase their exports – already more than 50% or 22 million bottles – but it was less than 30% only 5 years ago! Still, Europe and north America and Japan are the mainstays of selling into 45 countries.
Their philosophy is that burgundy is a wine for consumption, not for hiding away – and they continue to look for different ways for you to part with your money – online shops, consumer with shops here (Meursault) and in Nuits St.Georges, and they even have a selection of wines sold in the Restaurant Lameloise’s shop in Chagny – with a Lameloise label – though not yet listed in the restaurant!
They describe a sustainable approach, in the vines, though not ‘organic’ as they want to intervene when and where necessary. A team of four oenelogues are each responsible for their own site. ‘Classic vinifications’ to respect the terroirs and parcels, using open tanks and some cold macerations – macerations differ a little depending on both the cuvees, and what they expect from the terroirs. There are 150-180 cuvees per year, and of many sizes. All the reds destemmed, and elevage can be as long as 20 months. There is ‘almost no’ intervention during elevage – if they can help it. Those 150-180 cuvées amounted to 3,500 barrels in 2014!
The retail outlet (shop!) at their Meursault location was the venue for the following tasting – a good chance to get an idea of their respective brands and level of quality. It’s actually a very nice space. Despite note the greatest tasting glasses, and not showing anything to set the world on fire, this is a good to very good set of wines, indeed wines that underline that large producers have a level of quality today that is on another level to 20 years ago.
The whites show a clear style of freshness, and only the subtlest of oaking. As for the reds – all good modern winemaking here – which is clearly a world away from the old Moillard style before Pascal Marchand’s short-lived consultancy. All the Moillard wines are now vinified in the small cuverie behind Maison de Mosaic in Nuits.
2013 Domaine Vincent Sauvestre, Chablis 1er Beauroy
The first vines bought by Sauvestre.
Fresh, a little weight of mineral and green herb – quite classic. Lovely acidity and shape with fine intensity and a very good burst of flavour in the mid-palate, slowly lingering with good extract. Good wine.
2013 Jean-Francois Protheau, Rully 1er Les Grésigny
What a difference! Here the aromas are wide, faintly oaked, and show a fine sweet lemon. Big and round in the mouth. Lovely line of flavour, a fine example of Rully 2013…
2013 Maurice Ecard, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Les Hautes Jarrons
Vincent’s wife is also from Savigny, so some vines also came from that side – 9 different climates with this white.
Tight, pinched aromas, but with fine high tones and faintly florals. Ouf! Intense with a bigger weight of concentration and flavour that really holds on well. A big wine which I’d wait a little time to consume, but it’s a very good one.
2013 Chartron and Trebuchet, Puligny-Montrachet
A modest label redesign, and something of a relaunch of the Chartron and Trebuchet brand – ‘We waited for all the old wines to disappear through the system before we did this.
A modest nose but of fine and fresh detail. A little more lush in the mouth, fine intensity and a lovely mouth-watering and slightly sweet wine. Aromatically tight but a good wine.
2013 Patrick Clemencet, Ladoix 1er Les Hautes Murottes
A 30 hectare domaine from Pommard – Bejot bought everything except the house.
A riper nose, still with some freshness. Mouth-filling, lovely acidity with a faint softness but good concentration – really good finish
2012 Chartron et Trebuchet, Meursault 1er Les Charmes
Another rather tight aromatic. In the mouth a narrow entry, but it gets wider and wider – there’s a growing intensity and certainly more mid-palate complexity than the Ladoix. A very good, stony finish. A wine that is very modest to start, but that gets better the longer you stay with it. Yet still a modest showing today…
2011 Domaine Vincent Sauvestre, Corton-Charlemagne
Modest aromas but with fine, delicate and focused top notes. Weight, a little saltiness to the texture, faint cushioning too. Some impression of asparagus(?) but long and mineral. A good Charlemagne…
2013 Moillard, Fixin Clos du Meix Trouhans
New labels for this year.
Quite a deep colour. Deep, macerating fruit – a weight of aroma here. Rather silky, some good fruit flavour and a nice burst of flavour in the finish too. A faint tannin but for Fixin this is rather elegant.
2013 Maurice Ecard, Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Les Serpentieres
Here is an obvious extra sucrosity on the nose – very faintly floral too. The aromas are not as forward as the Fixin, but prettier. Lovely width, silky texture too – this is very super. A good finish too.
2013 Patrick Clemencet, Beaune 1er Champs Pimont
They also have a white…
A good width of aroma, nice depth of pretty fruit – in fact very nice. Velvet texture, lovely depth of flavour – a more direct flavour – very different character. Less plush versus the last but very good!
2013 Vincent Sauvestre, Pommard Clos de la Platière
Medium-plus colour. Wide and with quite a floral aromatic – plenty of tannin, muscular fruit, good weight of flavour and dimensions of flavour too. A little dryness in the finish, but that will be gone in a couple of years…
2010 Moillard, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens
From Rugiens bas.
Complex notes of leather, herb and pretty flowers too – nice! Cushioned in the mouth, mouth-filling too, weight yet with a fine undertow of flavour complexity and modest but quite enough acidity… A lovely wine and of-course, still a baby…
2010 Moillard, Chambolle-Musigny Elevé en fût de chêne
How much I personally avoid wines with oak references on their label, is hard to quantify…
Fresh, confiture, dark sweet fruit. A little tannin but also pretty fruits. There’s some structure but nothing that jars, a little extra dimension of fresh flavour in the finish too. Good.
2012 Moillard, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Argillats
A cushioned but concentrated nose, also cushioned in the mouth, plenty of ripe tannin but nothing that drags or jars – good clarity of fruit in the finish which ends with a good weight – a very nice wine in a ripe but fresh style.
2012 Vincent Sauvestre, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les St Georges
A modest nose but with a nice top note and a slowly growing clarity of pretty fruit. Lots of structure and some minerality but really held together with a very good texture. Again nothing too dry and a fine extra dimension of flavour in the finishing flavour – good wine…
2011 Vincent Sauvestre, Corton Les Marechaudes
Pretty red fruits and flowers and some pyrazine. Lush, wide, fresh fruit, again with a little pyrazine flavour. Modest but still grand cru structure. The main finishing note is just a modest mouth-watering impression. Overall quite a good wine.
Moingeon, Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Prestige
Moingeon is about selection and the base wines, utilising 100% grapes from the domaine vines. Gyropalettes and the further elaboration is done by another maison, today it’s only a modest proportion of the sales. Here, chardonnay, pinot and aligoté but it depends on the vintage which are included. All varieties are vinified separately. About 10 grams of dosage, but they are really working with ‘vins de base’ from different blended vintages.
A modest but clean and fresh nose – appealing and inviting. Nice clean flavours in the mouth too. A fresh, not oxidised style with ripe green fruit and a finishing sweetness – maybe a hint too much sweetness for me, but tasty, flavourful wine…