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.