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Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Chardonnay occupies a small minority of the total plantings in Savigny-Lès-Beaune and it is rare to find one in the United States, much less an organically grown version from old vines. Juliette and Caroline Chenu's bottling is even rarer still as it contains roughly 10% Pinot Blanc, a grape that is no longer allowed to be planted in the area.

The Savigny whites come from so-called “white” soil, which comprises in part of marl. Only 5% of the Savigny vineyard is made up of white grape varieties (mostly chardonnay). The most favorable ground is situated at the entrance to the village on a slightly sloping hillside facing north (Les Saucours) and at the exit of the village heading towards Bouilland on a hillside this time facing south (Les Vermots). The Savigny-Lès-Beaune white wines are well-structured, dry, quite rounded and are an attractive golden-green color. The main chardonnay variety gives the roundness, the aromas and the finesse. The pinot blanc (around 10%) provides the touch from the vine.(Domaine Louis Chenu Père et Filles)

White Burgundy  wine label from Savigny-les-Beaune France from Louis Chenu Pere et Filles.
Les Saucours, Savingy Blanc, Louis Chenu Père et Filles

In the video below, Juliette Chenu describes the wine Les Saucours as well as the vineyard, the use of Pinot Blanc, and the winemaking techniques employed by her sister Caroline to create this old-vine white Burgundy.

Key points about Savigny-Lès-Beaune Blanc Les Saucours:

  1. Les Saucours is a tiny parcel, and limited to under 10 cases a year for IL.

  2. Les Saucours is in a cooler area facing east, receiving morning sun but quickly shadowed.

  3. Comprised of two plots, one almost 60 years old and the other younger.

  4. A blend of the two plots yields a more balanced wine than either would alone.

  5. The older plot contains some Pinot Blanc, contributing richness and density to the wine.

  6. Pinot Blanc is no longer allowed to be planted, but existing older vines are grandfathered into the appellation and accepted in the final wine.

  7. Grapes are handpicked and undergo natural decantation in a vat before being transferred to barrels.

  8. Barrels from Dami are used, with only 20% new oak, and the wine undergoes fermentation (alcoholic and malolactic) in oak.

  9. The wine is left on lees without any batonage (stirring of lees).

  10. Chardonnay matures in barrels for one year before the next vintage, with the same barrels being reused.

  11. Juliette and Caroline harvest earlier than their parents did to achieve a more mineral and "crispy" character.

Situating Les Saucours within Savigny-Lès-Beaune and the Côte d'Or

The village of Savigny-Lès-Beaune sits north of the city of Beaune in a small, amphitheater-shaped valley on both sides of the small Rhoin river. The shape of the valley as well as the forests that sit above the vines contribute cool winds that help deter excessive heat, keeping the wines fresh and bright. Hillside vineyards on both sides of the river are included in the village's twenty-two Premier Cru sites The area is part of the sub-appellation called the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy's larger Côte d'Or region.

Les Saucours sits on the right, or west, side of the river, north of Haut Jarron on the way into town from Beaune, benefitting from the same movement of air that keeps Haut Jarron cool and allowing for bright, mineral driven fruit and consistently restrained alcohol.

An overhead view of vineyards and the village of Savigny-Lès-Beaune, France.
Les Saucours, a vineyard on the edge of Savigny-Lès-Beaune

A map of the vineyard sites in Savigny-Les-Beaune France.
Appellation Map of Savigny-Lès-Beaune from Vins de Bourgogne.

Two sisters, winemakers and owners of an organic estate in Burgundy France against a blue sky.
Caroline (L) and Juilette (R) Chenu of Louis Chenu Père et Filles in Savigny-Lès-Beaune


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