Monday, March 10, 2008

Louis Latour Savigny les Beaune Blanc, 1996

When Donna and I were married on March 10, 1973, I wasn't a wine drinker. But I've had quite a few 1973 "anniversary wines" over the years--mostly California Cabernets and Spanish Riojas--to celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately, my 1973s are all gone, so I chose what I consider one of the best whites in my cellar to accompany grilled salmon with roasted vegetables and potatoes. It was a good choice.

Savigny les Beaune vineyards are only about 10 minutes north of Beaune in what is primarily a red wine area. Chardonnay vines, comprising only 3.5 percent of the production from this area, are situated mainly on higher slopes and on soil that is similar to that of Corton Charlemagne. Savigny les Beaunes, as a result, is sometimes called the poor man's Corton Charlemagne. Corton Charlemagne, according to reports I've heard, is the wine that made Richard Nixon vow never again to be poor. This wine tonight confirmed for me that there's no need to be like Dick in order to drink good wine.

Louis Latour's 1996 Savigny les Beaunes Blanc is a brilliant deep gold, a near perfect level of maturity. The nose is similar to that of many excellent California Chardonnays, billowing with fresh citrus scents and hints of butter. But oh so classy. The wine is also fat and creamy in its mouthfeel but the remarkable thing is the racy, citrus-tinged fruit on the inside. Flavors dance on the tongue and the aftertaste goes halfway down the esophagus. Incredible wine!

The tag on the bottle says $17.99. 2008 prices are much higher, but, even so, I dare you to find a better New World Chardonnay for a comparable price.


  1. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! With Donna - it could only all be good - except for this weekend! Fred...I gotta say I love you too! (Love your blog but still am a California snob...Hess, Artesa, Rombauer...can't get enough!) ~merely me! ;)

  2. Hey, "merely me"! Thanks for the wishes, and thanks for the tips about wine. I have had the Hess Select Chardonnay and always liked it. Haven't tried Artesa or Rombauer and will have to do so.

    California Chardonnays that come back strongly in my memory are those of Belvedere--three vineyards, three cuvees, each with a distinctive personality. But I haven't seen Belvedere wines in Michigan for several years. And I had the Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Vineyard once--a very impressive wine but too expensive for my budget.

    Any good winemaker establishes a strong connection with his or her vineyards and what they are capable of producing. And instead of imposing the winemaker's will on those grapes, he or she lets the grapes talk. In parts of the world where wine has been made for hundreds of years, that approach is taken for granted. But good winemakers in California, Australia and New Zealand have it too.

    I didn't mean to put down New World Chardonnays, but there is a general feeling that White Burgundies are expensive compared to California Chardonnays, and that is not necessarily true.

  3. Wine production which is not responsive to my taste. Thank you for providing such interesting details about wine.

  4. My father used to drink Louis Latour Savigny with his stakes or chicken dish.

  5. I do not like wine.....but do know that Wine production which is not responsive to the people in my area....Thank you for providing such interesting details about wine....

  6. wine was used from a long time ago. it was exotic to have..