Some insights come when least expected. Such as the case of Savigny from Seguin-Manuel.
Seguin-Manuel, originally in Savigny, dates to 1824. The Savigny plots that compose the source of the villages wine date back nearly that long.
When the winery was purchased in 2004 by Thibaut Marion, one of the primary reasons was these old vines in Savigny and Corton.
I had the occasion to purchase some of the 2012 from the source, deeply colored and with a Corton-esque dimension that while great for those that crave ‘big’ Pinot Noir, it shouted for additional age. My suspicion was that it would always retain a bruskness.
I wasn’t sure there was much of any hope I would see this mature anytime soon, and I suspected it might dry up with extended age, without much complexity eventually.
Shortly thereafter I chanced on a cellar of old Burgundy, including some Seguin-Manuel wines from the ‘40s. Scattered amongst the bottles was a bottle of 1942 Savigny. Not much promise, with its faded label and a 4.5 cm ullage. It wasn’t expensive, so I chose it as a shot-in-the-dark wine for my birthday.
My prediction; It would try valiantly, a baby of the occupation in France when winemaking and supplies were restricted. Conclusion; Not my day for predictions.
The short answer was quite clear. Spectacular.
It embarrassed a 1976 Echezeaux I had brought from my ‘cave personelle‘, a wine I was very fond of. Tired? Not even the last drop 5 hours later did the wine show a hint of decline.
I see the merits of many appellations, not just the famous ones, and I like the ‘cinderella‘ wines for their statements. However a deeper current runs through these wines. Had I been overlooking the merits of vineyards because I applied the wrong standards?
In todays instant gratification world, were wines dismissed as primary simply because they required age? Savigny is a top runner for bargain and value, but brilliance, perhaps not its reputation.
A self fulfilling prophesy, if you consumed the candidates before they reach maturity. Another wine came to mind, refuting ‘simple Savigny’. I had one bottle of 1935 Hospices de Beaune, cuvee Cyrot Savigny, that I drank when it was 43 years old. A Doctor Barolet collection wine competing against many Barolet Chambolles, I recall how brilliant it shone. Of the many Barolet wines I consumed in the decade of the 1970’s, this was the finest.
These results were not just good for villages or commune level wines, instead they measured up against Grand cru standards. Aging 40 years was common last century, not so, recently. The capacity to mature not just for drinkability, instead achieving a remarkable experience, is not possible in many Burgundy appellations.
I look at Savigny differently now.
So do I bequeath the 2012 to my Grandkids? Put a note on the back to ‘Open in 2052’? If someone hadn’t saved the 1942 all those years, I wouldn’t have been so informed. So it is my donation to posterity, in a ‘wine – time – capsule’.