Simon Bize - 2014 Savigny-les-Beaune Rouge, 1er Cru Aux Vergelesses
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Inside the Bottle: This wine has it all. However, if you are impatient, you will get what you deserve: Very little. This wine sets the tone immediately with tension in both the nose and the palate. The aromas start slowly and build over hours to a crescendo. The process of watching Aux Vergelesses display its magnificent range is much like watching a great movie. Actually, it's more like watching a great foreign film, which keeps you engaged through having to read the subtitles all the way until the end. And, if you miss a crucial sentence, you could be lost until the entire plot is revealed. With Aux Vergelesses, you won't want to miss a single sentence.
Aux Vergelesses is poetry in the bottle. If you don't understand her language, you will be lost in it. In both the nose and palate, the start is flowers and herbs, followed by earth and soft red fruits. After her discrete first hour, the signs of its true depth start to emerge. The once tense, acidic red fruits become more dense and sappy while adding layers of dark fruits, blackberries, griotte and black plumb. The floral range evolves from pink and white, to sweet red and violet. Wet forest and earth, morels, wild thyme, and moss subtly resonate in back of your nose and palate after the sweet fruit and flower notes have wilted away. The structure evolves from angular grit, to velvet. Albeit cliché, yes, this is the velvet glove, iron fist. Aux Vergelesses represents the best of what Burgundy is, even from this modest and grossly overlooked appellation.
Terroir: I had the fortune to drive the vineyards quite a few times with Patrick Bize before he passed, in 2013. His reverence for this vineyard and its position in the hierarchy was clear. As we drove along, he explained that the upper slopes were a more white soil than the lower slopes and that's why he planted Chardonnay up high. From the vantage point of Jarrons (more famously known as Dominode), another great premier cru, on the opposing south hill of Savigny-les-Beaune, the secret of Aux Vergelesses is exposed. Standing there and looking at this vineyard, it's impossible not to notice that its southeast facing slope perfectly matches that of Corton, in the distance. If the erosion between Savigny-les-Beaune and the Corton hadn't happened, it is likely that Aux Vergelesses would have been the continuation of the hill of Corton. Despite Aux Vergelesses not being as profound by sight, it can be equally profound as a Grand Cru from Corton, only in a more discretely feminine way.