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Benjamin Leroux Savigny-les-Beaune Rouge, Burgundy, France 2017

  • $64.00
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PINOT NOIR
EARTHY & COMPLEX
SUSTAINABLE FARMING
CRITIC SCORE 90+ and PREVIOUS BOTTLE CLUB FEATURE
SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE, CÔTE DE BEAUNE, CÔTE D'OR, and BURGUNDY
FRANCE

Benjamin Leroux Savigny-les-Beaune Rouge, Burgundy, France 2017

  • Winemaker: Ben Leroux
  • Farming: Organic & Biodynamic Practicing; Lutte-raisonné
  • Varieties: Pinot Noir
  • Terroir: From three lieux-dits with sandy-textured soil: Les Saucours, Aux Fournaux, Ez Connardises.  Planted from 1955 to 1990. 
  • Vinification: 10-15% whole cluster, 15-day maceration, ambient yeast fermentation. 
  • Aging: Aged 14 months in barrel (10% new), unfined, unfiltered. 
  • Scores: 92 Points, Robert Parker

 From our 2023 Q4 Club Notes:

Benjamin Leroux Savigny-Les-Beaune Rouge, Burgundy, France, 2017

A native of Beaune, Benjamin Leroux is part of a very small Burgundian winemaking group that was NOT born into an oenological family. Enthralled with the vines surrounding him though, Ben’s curiosity led him to the lycée viticole in Beaune at the young age of 15. After graduating without any vines to inherit, he swiftly wormed his way into internships and jobs at some of the world's top wineries, including Domaine Drouhin in Oregon and Cos d'Estournel in Bordeaux. But when the opportunity arose to return home, he made his way back to the source of his inspiration. 

The call came in 1999, when respected winemaker Paul Marchand decided to leave his post at the famous Comte Armand winery in Burgundy. When Paul decided to move on, the Comte Armand did not hesitate to take a risk on handing the reins over to the young Benjamin Leroux. Ben was 24 at the time, but eventually spent 16 vintages as the general manager and winemaker of Comte Armand. It was while building a side négociant project for the Comte Armand that he saw that serious wines could be made even with purchased fruit. As a vigneron with no inheritance to rely on, Ben asked the Comte if he could have permission to begin his own negociant project while still overseeing Comte Armand's winery. The Comte obliged, and with the financial  backing of British wine writer Jasper Morris, Ben was able to launch his namesake project in 2007. 

Ben has been able to acquire nearly 20 acres of vines in Burgundy, and purchases fruit from an additional 50 acres in the region as a négociant. The vines he owns are certified organic, and he employs his own use of biodynamics in the vineyards, choosing to forgo certification because of its strict rules. Recognizing the individuality of each vineyard site and its environment is important to his approach on biodynamics, so he chooses to keep his options open by not certifying them. 

While he might not have the historical pedigree of some of his peers, it has made him even hungrier to learn and produce the best wines he can. This 2017 bottling comes from three different sandy plots within the village Savigny-les-Beaune in the Côte-d’Or. The Pinot Noir vines from these vineyards range in age from 33 to 68 years old, providing complex and concentrated fruit, which Ben treats gently to coax out brightness and silkiness. He keeps 10-15% whole clusters and allows a 15-day maceration of the juice on the skins. This creates an intense palate with a punch of black cherry and fresh strawberries, with an earthy bouquet of forest floor and toasted cardamom. The wine  aged 14 months in barrel (10% new), and was bottled unfined & unfiltered. The 2017 vintage in Burgundy produced wines that are drinking very generously now. With holidays around the corner, save this one for the Thanksgiving table, or pair it with a hearty Sunday supper that took you all weekend to make! 

—Simi Grewal