March 8, 2017
Red Burgundies from 2014 are now arriving in quantity
on our shores, and as usual, they are anything but inexpensive. After serious weather problems in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (ranging from thunderstorms to bunch rot to hail), 2014 was likewise afflicted by a horrible hail storm in late June. The 2015 vintage looks very promising, but 2016 was marked by the worst frost in a generation, so vintners simply must make some money off the 2014s.
That's the bad news--unless, of course, you have a giant trust fund to load up on the 2015s next year. The good news is that those with more brains and time than money can do very well with the 2014s, provided that they use their brains and time to find carefully tended little domaines that are nimble enough to work around weather problems and make great wines from merely good years.
That's a fitting description for Domaine Serrigny in the village of Savigny-les Beaune. I had no prior experience with this
domaine until tasting the 2014s about a week ago, but our first encounter could hardly have gone
better. Serrigny is a small operation based on 17 acres of vines, now in its 4th generation under the direction of Marie-Laure Serrigny.
Many of the vines are quite old, and the farming regime is farming culture is lutte raisonnée, i.e. sustainable. During fermentation, the cap is broken up by foot, oak for élevage is on the older side, and there's no fining of the reds...just a light filtration. Total production is a modest 2,500 cases on avarage.
Of the 2014s now in the USA, the domaine's straight village Savigny-les-Beaune is
simple but delicious and totally ready to rock for $40, and the 1er Cru
"Les Peuillets" ($54) is now quite brooding and closed but very promising in
concentration and proportions. In my opinion, the star in the lineup is "La Dominode"
(which turns out to be a Lieu-Dit that is contained within the
Narbantons Premeir Cru). The wine is simply terrific and easily worth the SRP of $56.
Of course, it only takes two seconds to type the word "terrific," so I should enhance my credibility by noting that I took the precaution of
buying a case before posting this blog. The Dominode shows a
wonderful interplay of fresh, open Pinot fruit with a host of savory,
mushroomy undertones. Many of the 2014 red Burgundies I'm tasting are
very tight now, but this is a wonderfully expressive exception to the
rule. With that noted, however, there's every reason to believe it will
develop nicely for at least another five years, as it shows fresh
acidity and plenty of fine-grained tannins.
Domaine Serrigny's wines are imported in the USA by Vintage '59 Imports