Simon Bize


Photography and writing by Ted Vance.

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It could be said that we drink more wines from this estate than any in Burgundy. The reason is that their range is so diverse and incredibly well-made that from one night to the next, and for weeks straight, you can drink wines that will fascinate with their diversity and perfect craftsmanship. They are also some of the most profound wines made in what most consider a secondary appellation in the Côte d’Or, Savigny-les-Beaune. I don’t like using the term “overachiever” because one can never overachieve; one can only reach the height of their potential and it seems that Bize does this time and time again. The wines at this domaine find a level of Savigny-les-Beaune that many may think not possible with this appellation.

Domaine Simon Bize was under the direction of Patrick Bize for 20 years or so. Sadly, during the harvest of 2013 Patrick unexpectedly passed away, at age 60. The future of this estate is somewhat unknown, but once you meet his wife, Chisa Bize, you know that the estate is the good hands. She has long been quietly involved with Patrick along the way, encouraging him the direction of organic and biodynamic farming, principals that have been quietly applied to the estate for years. Also, Nicolas Gordo, Patrick’s long-time winemaker, has been overseeing the cellar work for many years and while the wines of the domaine will no longer have Patrick’s finishing touch, they were left in very capable hands. So far, what we’ve seen coming could even, dare I say, eclipse what has been achieved in the past.

Savigny-les-Beaune, one of Burgundy’s most overlooked appellations, is one of our favorites. It’s not because it has the best or most famous vineyards, it’s because there are great vineyards and some very special producers that make wine from this village, like four producers that we work with: The resident producers Simon Bize and Jean-Marc & Hughues Pavelot, and the outsiders Nico Rossignol, from Volnay, and Bruno Clair, from Gevrey-Chambertin and Marsannay.

The appellation is cleft in two by a creek that once was a more torrent river.  Between the north and south hills of Savigny-les-Beaune is a great study of what effect different soil types, aspects, valleys, combes, dejection cones, elevations and grade of slopes can have on wines that share close proximity and the same grape. Savigny-les-Beaune is one of Burgundy’s best, most affordable and underrated teachers of terroir.  The difference between Bize and others is that these wines perform at the highest level in Burgundy, despite the appellation.