Savigny-lès Beaune wine is produced in the commune of the same name. At 13.89 square miles, the said village is one of the largest in the Côte d'Or, and produces a significant number of wines. The thriving Savigny-lès-Beaune wine industry turns out around 2 million bottles a year from its 860 acres of quality vineyards.
Savigny-lès-Beaune's 22 Premiers Crus make up 354 acres of vineyards, between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total vineyard acreage. For an appellation this large, it is not surprising that great wines both white and red are produced. But at the Premier Cru level, red wine tends to be much more important than white wine, and at its best has a very well-rounded, substantially complex character and can age well for a solid 10 years.
Like many of the "second-wave" Burgundy appellations, Savigny-lès-Beaune was officially recognized as an AOC in 1970. Its history before and since has been not too spectacular, at least in relation to wine. Without much flash or pomp, the appellation has slowly built a reputation as a good-value location for both reds and whites.
Climate and Viticulture
As a large village, Savigny-lès-Beaune has very inconsistent wine in terms of both quality and style. Even among the 22 Premier Cru vineyards, there's substantial variance in quality. The commune itself is located in the north of the Côte de Beaune, slightly southwest of the Corton hill and directly south of Pernand-Vergelesses. It's no coincidence that all these appellations do excellently for red wine: Pinot Noir does better in cooler climates, and the northern end of the Côte de Beaune offers the correct weather conditions.
The best of the Premier Cru vineyards offer a combination of good weather conditions, good slope, and well-concentrated soil, be it limestone, clay, or anything else. A number of white wines made here are lean, due to the cooler climate, but from the quality vineyards that have more friendly weather conditions and hill slope, Chardonnay can be excellent.
- Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is the dominating grape here in Savigny-lès-Beaune, even though Chardonnay is plenty popular. Although not extremely complex, the wines have that pleasant style that many Côte de Beaune reds share. Red fruits, especially cherry, combine with earthy flavors to make a moderately deep, firm but sweetly tinged wine. The Premier Cru wines offer more in the way of complexity. All wines can age 10 years, with the Premiers Crus probably lasting a good 15.
- Chardonnay: These easygoing, very simple wines have the usual Chardonnay flavors of peach and pineapple. There are no big winners here, but a few wines show impressive richness. They last 2-3 years in cellar.
One of the good things about this appellation is that a number of producers are generally trustable. There are several "boutique" producers here, a prime example being Leroy, but due to their expense and lack of availability they are not included on the following list of a dozen major producers of red Savigny wine. The cuvées of all the producers in the below list are discussed in the subregions section. Also, Boillot is counted here as one domaine, but is actually made up of several slightly different ones; these are clarified below.
- Bouchard Pere et Fils
- Domaine Camus-Bruchon
- Domaine Chandon de Briailles
- Domaine Bruno Clair
- Dominique Laurent
- Domaine Albert Morot
- Domaine Jean-Marc Pavelot
- Nicolas Potel
- Domaine Emmanuel Rouget
- Domaine de la Vougeraie
As for white wine, Boillot and Jadot produce special cuvées from their red Premier Cru vineyards which are often great value. But there is only one truly devoted domaine for white wine here.
- Domaine Patrick Javillier: Although some red wine is produced here, the white wine can pride itself on being #1 Chardonnay in a red wine-dominated village. It comes from the lieu-dit of Les Montchenevoy, and has a round, sweet character filled out by flavors of peach and oak spice. There's a little bit of citrus and mineral in here, but most of it is soft and slightly rich. An elegant style, certainly made for drinking young.
There are no Grands Crus in Savigny-lès-Beaune. Most lieux-dits are individual to the producers, and can be a poor indicator of quality. As a result, the sole quality distinction in Savigny-lès-Beaune, besides producers, must be the Premier Cru system. A list of the 22 designated climats in the village follows.
- Aux Clous
- Aux Fourneaux
- Aux Gravains: The only known offering here comes from the Savigny leader, Pavelot. With solid, slightly dry tannins and consistent dark flavors of blackberry, raspberry, licorice, and earth, it's a great wine with good aging potential as well.
- Aux Guettes: Once again Pavelot is the leader here, making a wine of great complexity with mineral and berry flavors. Although it's often a bit too intense for some people's palates, this is one of the most concentrated and therefore ageworthy Savignys. Other producers from this vineyard include Jadot, whose offering is soft, rounded, and roasted-ripe.
- Aux Serpentières: This is probably Pavelot's least intriguing Premier Cru in its leaner, less round vintages, but in some cases this wine can be complex and elegant at the same time. There are a host of good competing producers in this vineyard.
- Basses Vergelesses
- Bataillière: This vineyard, whose wine is always labeled La Bataillière aux Vergelesses, is a monopole of the outstanding Domaine Albert Morot, which charges about $50 for its extra-special cuvée. The wine's flavors are atypically dark, and although sometimes heavy they more often have a certain roundness as well. A good aging term is 5-10 years.
- Champ Chevrey
- Les Charnières
- La Dominode: This vineyard is truly exceptional, producing most of the best wines of Savigny. From Domaine Bruno Clair comes a consistent, firmly structured wine that has great flavors of powerful red fruit and chocolaty earth. Ripe but deep, the Jadot is less complex but also good. Among Pavelot's lineup the Dominode is the best, which is saying a lot; this cuvée is a silky yet impressively deep wine combining fruit and earth in a remarkable way.
- Les Hauts Jarrons: Pleasantly energetic, upfront, albeit slightly simple wines are made by Potel here.
- Les Hauts Marconnets
- Les Jarrons
- Les Lavières: Though wine here rarely, if ever, overshadows that of the La Dominode vineyard, Lavières would have to be considered clear second nonetheless. Jean Boillot and Henri Boillot both make energetic, light, gamy wines with good flavors in most years. Ripe and forward but layered, the wines of Bouchard and Camus-Bruchon are also good. Chandon's firm yet elegant cuvée is notable.
- Les Marconnets: This vineyard is the home of Domaine de la Vougeraie's Savigny offering, which is both lively and concentrated with its Pinot fruit and earth character.
- Les Narbantons: A common, though not outstanding, Premier Cru. The leader is Pavelot, which makes very complex Narbantons with a smoky, ethereal character and great complexity for aging.
- Petits Godeaux
- Les Peuillets: Wine from here should be good from any producer. Concentrated but approachable, the Potel is drinkable young. Pavelot's is also simple, with elegant, smooth flavors and early approachability.
- Les Rouvrettes
- Les Talmettes
- Les Vergelesses: Not to be confused with Albert Morot's La Bataillière aux Vergelesses. The best wine from this Premier Cru is definitely the Potel, which has vibrant energy in its minerally red fruit flavors.