Michel Sarrazin et Fils, Bourgogne Rouge Vielles Vignes
Michel Sarrazin et Fils, Bourgogne Rouge Vielles Vignes

Michel Sarrazin et Fils, Bourgogne Rouge Vielles Vignes

Burgundy, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$38.00

Michel Sarrazin et Fils, Bourgogne Rouge Vielles Vignes

Just when we’re about to complain anew about Burgundy prices, along comes Domaine Sarrazin with a Bourgogne Pinot Noir that had us all flabbergasted. This is hands-down one of the best red Burgundy values you’ll ever see—a wine that drinks so far above its station you’d be hard-pressed not to guess Premier Cru in a blind tasting. Best-known for brambly, classically structured reds from the Givry appellation, the Sarrazins nevertheless over-deliver across the entirety of their lineup, especially so with this Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Yes, they do tell you that it comes from vieilles vignes (“old vines”), but they don’t tell you that those vines exceed 50 years of age and cling to a steep slope at about 1,000 feet, right at the edge of both the Givry boundary and the forest line. These wines speak of their woodsy, rustic surroundings in a clear, resonant voice. You will not find a more thoroughly “Burgundian” Pinot Noir, and, as “entry level” wines go, this is as good as it gets. If you love red Burgundy as much as we do, stock up on this—it has no peer at this price!

The Sarrazin name is an important one to know in the Côte Chalonnaise, the region just to the south of the Côte de Beaune that includes Maranges (which is just a click south from Santenay), Mercurey, and Givry. Headquartered in the tiny hamlet of Jamblès, within the Givry AOC, the domaine includes about 35 hectares of vineyards across a number of appellations (Givry, Rully, Mercurey, Maranges), all farmed according to lutte raisonnée (“reasoned struggle”) principles; this means that herbicides, pesticides, and any other non-organic inputs are prohibited except in serious emergencies. Brothers Guy and Jean-Yves Sarrazin have run the domaine since the mid-1990s, and in that time, they have raised their own profile along with those of the lesser-known villages they showcase. We have come to rely on Sarrazin for red (and white) Burgundies of uncommon depth and clarity at the lower end of the price spectrum, 

The cuvée “Les Vieilles Vignes” isn’t messing around in the vieilles department: The wine is sourced from 50+-year-old vines on a family plot in Jamblès, which, at about 1,000 feet in altitude, is just outside the Givry AOC boundary. Hand-harvested grapes are fermented on indigenous yeasts in open-topped wooden vats, after which the wine is aged partly in large, wooden casks (80%) and partly in stainless steel (20%). It is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

In the glass, the 2022 “Les Vieilles Vignes” is a medium ruby moving to pink and magenta at the rim, with perfumed aromas of black and red cherry, red plums, cranberry, damp roses and violets, black tea, crushed stones, underbrush, and a hint of leather. It’s juicy and nicely concentrated but also tangy and spicy, with that inimitable wave of freshness that gives it lift and lilt. It glides gracefully across the palate, without too much tartness or twang, and ends with a floral flourish. I’ll bet it would improve with a few years of cellar age—and make you feel even better about what you paid for it—but it is also approachable now. Decant it about 30-45 minutes before serving in Burgundy stems at around 60 degrees (the cooler temp here designed to highlight fruit over acid). Perhaps the best word for this wine is “surprising”—considering everything that went into it, I’m surprised it doesn’t cost more. It offers great versatility at the table as well, with enough finesse for some seafood preparations but is ultimately better-suited to chicken, pork, game meats, or even beef. The attached “hunter’s style” chicken recipe may be nominally Italian but it’s right at home with this Jamblés red. Enjoy!

Michel Sarrazin et Fils, Bourgogne Rouge Vielles Vignes

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