Domaine Simon Bize
Savigny-lès-Beaune “Les Bourgeots”
Villages Red barrel
Tasted: Apr 15, 2014
Producer note: It was with enormous sadness last October that I learned of the heart attack, subsequent coma and ultimately the untimely passing of Patrick Bize, one of Burgundy’s most beloved and respected vignerons. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him and by those of us who loved his wines. Patrick was 61 and is survived by his wife Chisa and their two children as well as three sisters, one of whom, Marielle, is married to Etienne Grivot of Domaine Jean Grivot. I remember the first time I visited the domaine in 1994 I was struck by Patrick’s demeanor which was somehow relaxed yet determined. There was an unmistakable intensity to him even though he tried to disguise it by offering a seemingly endless series of rapid fire jokes, puns really, that were often self-deprecating. In a rare moment of unguarded candor he once told me that “I love what I do but I am serious about it because the quality that you taste in the bottle, and that my clients have come to expect, isn’t there by accident. I am blessed to work with some great terroirs but I am also obligated to try to obtain the best from them. The quality of the terroir contributes most of what is in the glass but without a competent, and rigorous, guiding hand, not even the best terroirs can compensate for a lax work ethic.” Quite so and I believe, at least professionally speaking, those few words say at least as much about the vigneron that was Patrick Bize than anything else that I have heard or read. As to the man, well, I think it’s only necessary to report that the church where his services were held was not only filled to capacity but there were literally hundreds of people paying their respects in the courtyard outside because there was no more room in the church itself. This too speaks eloquently to just how many people loved, admired and respected Patrick. It is a considerable understatement to observe that Burgundy has lost one of its true originals and that he will be much missed.
Tasting note: A distinctly earthy nose of primarily dark berry fruit scents displays a top note of raspberry. There is good energy and detail to the very supple and round middle weight flavors that display good balance if more limited depth on the delicious finish. This is certainly pretty though at present it lacks a bit of complexity.