Vertical Tasting: Domaine Girard Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru "Les Peuillets"


A vertical tasting (four different vintages of the same wine) of a Premier Cru from Burgundy. Taste for yourself how different growing conditions, and time in the bottle, affect a wine's flavour and mouthfeel.  Limited Edition, only 25 packs remaining.

Tasting notes
A brilliant cherry red, with aromas of red fruits with a slightly peppery note. The fullness and roundness make these wines a pleasure. Ideal with lighter weight dishes be they fish, fowl, four-legged or vegetarian.

Why we recommend these wines
Savigny is a typical old Burgundian winemaking village just to the north of Beaune. Today, the majority of grapes grown in Savigny-lès-Beaune are Pinot Noir though there is also some Chardonnay. It boasts 22 Premier Cru vineyards, one of which is the famed “Les Peuillets”. It borders the Beaune appellation with vines planted at an average altitude of 250 metres (820 ft.). The gentle slopes face south-southeast, and are composed of predominantly sandy, particularly well-drained soil. Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Peuillets is adjacent to the Beaune 1er Cru Clos du Roi.

The wines
2015 is a highly rated vintage, the Wine Society rating it 10/10 with the other vintages 8/10. Girard’s 1er Crus are all aged in oak barrels for about 15 months.
The winemaker’s brief notes on each vintage.
2015 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru les Peuillets
Rich and vividly fruity but with sufficient tannin and structure to age well. Vintage of the decade.
2017 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru les Peuillets
Impressive, rich, juicy fruit allied to ripe tannins. Slightly fresher and riper at the same time than 2015. Great structure with a similar weight to the 2016 vintage.
2018 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru les Peuillets
Dense and rich with lovely, juicy fruit from a superb vintage. Despite the hot, dry summer the soils didn’t suffer from excessive dryness. As a result, this is the most generous and opulent style of Peuillets compared to the 2015 and 2017.
2019 Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru les Peuillets
For the 2019 vintage, very similar yields to the 2018 but the wines is slightly less tannic giving a lovely fresh character and allowing lots of ripe fruit to shine through.

Our tasting experience
We taste verticals from youngest to oldest. Tasting the other way makes the tannins in the younger wines seem harsher than they are. Also you move from tasting the simpler, younger wines to the more complex and subtle flavors of the older ones.
We started tasting from freshly opened half bottles and then continued retasting over several hours and with dinner (fillet steak with asparagus, petit pois and new potatoes, and Comté to finish) to see how the wines developed. And develop they did! We found the freshness of the ’19 contrasted well with the slight age of the ’15 (although 6 years old it is still very young for the vintage). The ’17 and ’18 did not differ much at first, but the wines really came into their own after being open for an hour or so. It would be wonderful to taste them all again in 5 years when bottle age has developed the wines more. Nevertheless, fabulous now.

The wine estate
About five centuries ago, Jean Girard began cultivating vines in Savigny-Les-Beaune. Until the late 90s, Jean-Jacques father, Georges, ran the Domaine but when he bowed out, the sons soon saw that each had his own vision and style, and the domaine was split, pretty much down the middle. Since the split, Jean-Jacques has built his holdings back to its original size of 15 hectares, making it one of the most impressive domains in Savigny. He has been a busy man in the process, adding to his impressive array of Savigny 1er Cru vineyards with parcels in Pernand Vergelesses 1er Cru in red and white, a Beaune 1er Cru ‘Clos du Roi’, some Volnay and Pommard and a little jewel in Corton-Charlemagne. In 2008, his son Vincent joined him on the farm. Their approach to agriculture is based on a deep respect of the soil and the environment. The wine making approach reconciles traditional know-how and new technologies.

Food and wine
All feathered game without forgetting the traditional dishes: beef bourgignon and Gaston Gérard chicken. Refer also to our food and wine pairing guide here.

Did you know?
There is a lot of debate about the order in which to do a vertical. Some (not only us) prefer young to old, others old to young and yet others base the order on the expected changes in the flavour profile. If the tasting is commercially driven it will inevitably end with what the organiser thinks is the best wine.