Just 5 minutes south of Beaune and the same east from Volnay, lies Bligny-Les-Beaune. I wasn’t sure what to expect as we pulled up late in the day to the modest and rustic Domaine Jean Guiton, in this village, population just 1,200.
There is much praise for this estate on British wine forums but the wines are hard to find and barely mentioned here. Plus, the estate has no website and is not covered by the leading Burgundy critics. Guillaume Guiton, son of Jean, who assumed management in 2002, greeted us. I have met many intense and deeply committed vignerons but Guillaume has a certain intellectual artistry. You get the sense that he is always contemplating and challenging his own notions of winemaking. Fascinating, considering that his goal is always to interfere the least he can with the natural progression from picked grape to finished wine.
Guillaume makes wines from most of the major Pinot Noir appellations in the Côte de Beaune - many are village-level. He has a handful of 1er Cru but they are not among the well known labels. Yet his wines fiercely overachieve. They are precise, pure and astonishingly expressive.
A fine example is his 2016 Savigny-Les-Beaune. This appellation doesn't command the same kind of respect as its neighbors Pommard and Volnay, or even Beaune. But, it boasts a remarkably high percentage of excellent wine estates that are gaining a reputation for excellent, very long-lived wines and outstanding value.
Pinot Noir from Savigny-Les-Beaune
I was amazed when Guillaume told me he is experimenting with this wine because the '16 from bottle and '17 from barrel I tasted really impressed.
Savigny was one of the villages hit hardest by hail in 2016, so producing a great wine was a near-miracle. When I saw the price - similar to many Domaines' Bourgogne, the deal was sealed.
I am not overly fond of the concept of a house wine as it can demean by suggesting simplicity, but I would gladly drink this SLB regularly. It has great energy and is easy to drink but also can inspire deeper consideration. Added bonus, you can park some of these away for a long while and enjoy the developments as it matures.
We are very excited to include Domaine Jean Guiton in the VDLT Community. Great wines and Guillaume is gracious and very bright. Big things to come from this relationship, methinks.