2018 Domaine Camus-Bruchon, Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru “Aux Gravains” Red Burgundy, France.
Guillaume Camus, who has now taken the helm from his dad Lucien, is one of the rising stars in the Côte de Beaune, and is making outstanding and elegant wines from vineyard holdings in in the Cote de Beaune, with many parcels in Premier Cru sites, especially in the Savigny-Les-Beaune, where this gorgeous Aux Gravains comes from, as well as nice pieces of Pommard and in the Beaune zone. The Camus-Bruchon vines are solidly mature and old, averaging at least 35 years, though as noted by importer Beaune Imports, they have some fabulous 95 year old vines too, like in their plot in the Grands Liards vineyard. This 2018 vintage Premier Cru Aux Gravains is an absolute gem of a red Burgundy with exceptional purity and a beautiful dark garnet/ruby color in the glass with supple/smooth layers of black cherry, plum, red currant and Moro orange fruits, a fine chalky tannin, refined natural acidity, mineral notes along with a touch of rose petal, Asian spices, black tea and a subtle wood frame in this wonderfully pleasing medium bodied wine. The Camus-Bruchon Burgundies, which I have been following and buying for many years have been superb dating back many vintages and remain savvy buys for the Burgundy enthusiast, they offer great terroir driven flavors and character at an insanely good price and they age fantastically well as I have found at trade tastings, when I have experienced 20 to 30 old bottles that showed almost no signs of their age. I took a uncharacteristic gap in reviewing these wines, which isa shame, as they taste even better than I remember, with the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 being excellent, as I noted, but this 2018 is looking like a step up. All the vineyard sites farmed by the Camus family are dome using sustainable methods and with great respect for the lands and to promote healthy soils, these wines really showcase each site’s distinct micro climates and are really respectful of history of this region.
Like his father, Guillaume, of Domaine Camus-Bruchon, has a light touch and very much a winemaker that makes his wines in the vineyard, rather than in the cellar, everything he does is to showcase each vineyard site and produce transparent wines. He uses approximately 15% new oak in any given year, including in his top Premier Cru bottlings like this one, preferring to follow the Domaine’s tradition of crafting raw, balanced and graceful Pinots. The Camus-Bruchon wines see an extended maceration to fully extract the terroir and structure with about 18 days in total for the period of fermentation. The wines are all done with indigenous yeasts in old school concrete vats before being racked of to the French oak for over a year and then they are bottled unfined and unfiltered to capture every nuance and the full sense of place. The older Camus-Bruchon wines might have been a bit more chewy and meaty, a touch more rustic, but there is a long lineage of continuous quality and highlight the classic clay and limestone soils, these Burgundies are fine examples of wines grown in the vineyard, and as Guillaume says, he firmly believes that one can only make wine as good as the grapes that you grow and it is clear he spends much more time with his vines that he does in the cellar, as it should be, especially when you have the parcels at your disposal like he does. The Camus-Bruchon Savigny-Lès-Beaune 1er Crus are stunning values and this Aux Gravains is one to stock up on, but be sure to also keep an eye out for the Lieu-Dit, non Premier Cru, Aux Grands Liards Vieilles Vignes (old vine), it maybe one of the best Pinots for the price in all of Burgundy. Others to look for in this stellar collection are the Savigny-Lès-Beaune Les Narbantons 1er Cru, which has been a long time favorite of mine, it is more dark fruited, complex and deep with lots of inner power and a heavenly perfumed nose, and the rare Clos des Arvelets Premier Cru from the legendary Pommard zone. Enjoy this 2018 Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru “Aux Gravains” now, particularly with robust cuisine, or put some bottles away and be gloriously rewarded with patience, no doubt this wine will be excellent in 15 years too.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive