Simon Bize - 2014 Savigny les Beaune, “1er Cru Les Fournaux”
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Inside the Bottle: Vintage 2005 was considered brilliant for red wine. Dry, but rarely hot, with its much-needed rainfall splendidly timed, it produced wines which in their youth could be stern and hard, but which no one doubted would render great pleasure and purity in maturity. This 2005 Les Fournaux is at a perfect place right now. In the aroma, you’ll first notice the soothing sweetness of ripe, purple-red fruits like mulberry and cherry. Orange rind and plenty of sweet spice follow, as well as hints of dried green herbs. The wine may be a little tense immediately after opening, so don’t be afraid to give it some time—30 minutes in the bottle maximum; no need to decant this beauty—to loosen or just drink it slowly. You’ll find on the palate that it’s impeccably fine. On the back of the tongue, you can almost taste the space previously occupied by layers of tannin, now given to expanses of succulent red fruit.
Terroir: The vineyards of Savigny-Les-Beaune are divided by a little river called the Rhoin, dissecting the vines into northern and southern zones. The northern Premiers Crus (there are no Grand Crus) face south, giving them an advantage in warmth over their north-facing counterparts across the river. The northern plots also have a higher content of clay, allowing them to produce fleshier wines, which is why they can be considered superior. Aux Vergelesses is considered Savigny’s mightiest vineyard. Beneath it is another top Premier Cru, Les Lavières. Fournaux—which is named for ancient coal-fired kilns housed there, not because it is especially hot—lies just below those two, nearer to the bottom of the hill. The combination of these factors—southwest exposure, crumbly limestone-clay soil, shallow slope at the taper of the hill—leads to wines that offer a lovely compromise. They are supple and generous, though not without structure. They drink well young, but will reward short to medium aging.