Tasted in Savigny-lès-Beaune with François de Nicolay, 20 November 2020.
François on the 2020 vintage:
“I think it’s a great vintage. Our harvest started 17 August but the season also got underway very early. It was a super flowering, we thought we might have quite a good yield but it was only 27 hl/ha for the domaine in the end – about 40% less than we were expecting – the cause was the dryness, we had no triage to do though. We had to be very precise in the vines though and harvest with a big team and fast, as the maturities rose very quickly. The reds are intense with even more tension than in 2019.”
François on the 2019 vintage:
“A little less easy than 2020. It was certainly very hot for a time, hotter than in 2020 but the vines didn’t seem to suffer, the wines still good acidity. So it was more of a stress for the vines than an effect on the grapes themselves. But less yield even than in 2020 – 17-18 hl/ha in the Cortons…”
For a number of years now, this domaine has been on a roll – only a blend of great and excellent wines in 2019 – and François thinks 2020 even better!
The first two were bottled in September – ‘I don’t think a vintage that needs a longer elevage or earlier bottling meens wee keep more of the fruit.‘
The two Savigny Fourneaux of the domaine blended – a mix of villages and 1er – done for the 1st time in 2018 – so this wine a villages – 2.10 ha in total.
A deep, ripe but still fresh depth – really a depth – of darker red fruit aroma. Full, very silky, nice direction – ooh that is really so good a villages – indeed, a great villages.
Like the last, quite deeply coloured. Higher tones, more airy, almost a suggestion of florals. Wider at the base with fresher, cooler fruit. More dimension, less richness of flavour. Slowly, slowly fading in the finish – almost introspective here with the same classy texture and style of structure to the wine – another winner!
Now wines sampled from tank or barrel:
2019 Pernand 1er Les Vergelesses
TUnder Ile next to Fichots. Mainly deep clay soils but it’s a darker clay than in Fourneau as there’s more iron.
Not the widest nose but one of vibrant fruit – that’s very fine – again. More direct, more incisive, structural but no grain to this tannin. The wine with the most depth of finishing flavour, almost a suggestion of florals in the finish. A super Vergelesses
The most dimension of aroma here – dark-fruited but almost dynamic in its complexity. More structural than the last – it certainly will need a bit more patience but the width of cool fruit here is fantastic. Almost layered finishing, maybe almost a licorice in here too. Bravo!
2019 Aloxe-Corton 1er Valozières
A small cuvée from below Bressandes and next to Paulands, very clay soil sometimes impermeable, worked by horse.
More elegant than you expect for Aloxe – really showing some flowers in a more modest wc aroma – very elegant. A good impact in the mouth – here is the muscle of Aloxe but wiry, not fat, energetic, not rich. Open, complex and full of delicious energy. You could drink this today despite its structure. Beautifully finishing with a little burst of flavour followed by a more floral last impression, Simply excellent.
2018 Corton Les Marèchaudes
Also under Corton-Bressandes but more to the north with big ‘tête de mouton’ limestone. The first level on the hill above Ladoix. Usually the grand cru that is most approachable young.
A deeper, more engrossing nose – less energy but no less attraction. A touch of gas in this one, still. Wide, structural, volume and clarity – really a great framework. Surprisingly approachable today – though this cru is often easier young than it’s fellow GCs on the hill.
2019 Corton les Bressandes
From 4 parcels, mid-hill, east-facing with a great blend of clay and limestone.
Here less depth but with more overt higher tones, whole clusters tending to the more floral. More direct, linear, mouth-watering and structural but more direct that large and architectural. Wide in the finish and very persistent here. Clearly this will benefit more from your patience but Corton has never been so easy as in the last few (warm) years…
2019 Corton Clos du Roi
The highest of the Corton parcels here – this parcel at the top of the vineyard – old vines with a low yield – towards the Charlemagne, with poorer soil than in Bressandes, less clay.
Not the deepest colour. Open, attractive, floral, always with a little whole-cluster support. The most structural, the most tannic – yet there’s no grain here, again, but there is a little dryness. Essentially great texture though, the flavour slowly melting over the palate. Proper Corton, to age but with decadent winks and smiles when you are least expecting it. The widest, most satisfying of the finishes too – give it a few years before returning.
2019 Savigny Les Saucours Blanc
In the south of Savigny – marne blanche, cool area – it’s just right for Chardonnay says François. Young vines here in their third year of production – planted in 2013, there was none due to frost in 16.
Nice width of aroma, some depth of golden, modestly sulfured fruit. Incisive, cool, growing to fill the width of the palate, sweetly but not too much citrus fruited. Long and satisfying. Simply excellent white.
2019 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Ile des Vergelesses
A similar style to the aromatic but here with more width and less depth – a little finer. A faint gas. Extra-wide over the palate, more mineral. Intense but not harsh, finishing with a little tannin. Classic and absolutely excellent.
This from (90%) Bressandes plus some Chaumes.
An aromatic combination of the last two wines – effusive, wide, energetic but with a good measure of elegance too. Quite a lot of gas. The flavour here melting and mineral over the palate – accented with creamy oak in this case. A fine peak of mouth-watering flavour in the finish that only very slowly fades – got to say – a great white!
In Renardes, under the wood a small parcel just over 0.1 ha.
A fresh though rather a deep nose – properly citrus but pulled down a little by the impression of some oak today. Aeration lessens any problem, the depth slowly becoming more mineral and less creamy – now that’s becoming really super. Really silky and with panoramic width. There’s a few mm of cushioning that keeps you from the full experience today, but all clarity is restored in the waves of finishing flavour, slightly citrus more than slightly mineral and with an accent of finishing tannin as the last anecdote. Bravo!