I taste only a few Burgundies here and there .. but still I normally I have most of the best wines from region on my snout-radar.
But especially the Corton hill has a lot of hidden – disapointments and luckily a few gems as well. One of these under the radar wines is the Corton Charlemagne made by the very well esteemed Savigny house Simon Bize. I must confess that I have never visited Simon Bize and was therefore unaware of the excellet Corton-Charlemagne made at this estate.
The Corton Charlemagne from Simon Bize
The Corton Charlie from Bize is coming from a quite cool area in the Pernand-Vergelesses part of the Corton appellation – or more accurately from the terroir En Charlemagne – a steep terroir where Bize owns two plots planted back in 1938 on the the south west side of the Corton hill.
The area of the plots is 0.21 ha hence the production is quite limited and this can also explain my ignorance (not all though) about this wine …
The Corton hill is a special place .. and normal vintage logic does not quite always apply to especially the white Cortons. Take a vintage like 2001 – this is by normal standards not an excellent vintage for white Burgundies as a whole, but it is regarded as one of the best vintages for white Corton – or Corton-Charlemagne if you like – in recent decades.
The hill offer a lot of possibilities but sadly a lot of producers make a sorry excuse for flabby a Corton-Charlemagne – and only quite few make the racy and refined wine that can be made on this mighty hill. One of these producers is Domaine Simon Bize.
Three times Charlie .. and I hear the angels!
A good friend recently made a tasting of three Corton Charlemagnes from Simon Bize .. to present this wines for a group of infidels .. including me.
The vintages were – 2012, 2010 and 2008 .. three rather different vntages – two I love to like – and one I like to – if not hate – then dislike.
I do love the 2008 vintage for the whites – but they are a bit of a bumpy ride on occasion – hence also the Simon Bize Corton-Charlemagne. The usual frisky and slightly anarchistic acidity showed and gave the wine energy, but the fruit was in a transitory state between young and getting maturing notes .. so not really unfolding one or the other way. It’s definitely a mineral driven and powerful Charlie on the cool side, offering plenty of intensity and length. I’m pretty sure this will unfold fully in a couple of years and hopefully it will develop the same complexity as the 2012. The 2008 is offering a fine potential for sure – although for medium rather than long term drinking – Very Fine+ (93 – 95p)
And to the 2012 – the vintage I normally like to dislike. This was however not the case with this magnificent Charlie … what a gorgeous and complex wine. The nose is unfolding beautifully – slightly maturing notes – yellow orchard fruits, hints of acacia and roasted hazelnuts with a citrus/lime infused minerality adding focus and freshness. On the palate richly flavoured fruit on the mid-palate – yet its still very fresh and vibrant for the vintage – and with the powerful mineral backbone as a focusing element – it’s long intense and very complex with the maturing notes. Very Fine++ (94 – 95p).
The 2012 is in my view not a great year for the whites in general – but this will certainly make me look closer at the 20121 whites from the Corton hill – perhaps thee are other hidden gems.
The last wine the 2010 is Charlie full throttle – a young, powerful and almost impenetrable wine with plenty of weight, power and freshness. It’s still very young and not unfolding much of its tremendous potential .The nose is intense and packed with fruit and citrus infused minerality. On the palate tightly packed fruit, tremendous acidity and power offering a very tightly knit mid-palate fruit – and a long and very powerful finish. This is a big and powerful wine – will need at least 5 years to unfold – preferably even 10 … and then it will be a truly great Charlie – if it unfolds the same enchanting complexity as the gorgeous 2012. This is a truly magnificent Corton Charlemagne in the making – Outstanding (95 – 96p).