every rule there’s an exception. Whether it’s “i before e except after c” or
Oscar Wilde’s being able to ‘resist everything but temptation”, you’ll find
interest and variety wherever there is an exception to a rule.
the world of Burgundy wine, one of the great exceptions is found in the village
of Saint-Bris-le-Vineux – the only place in Bourgogne where Sauvignon Blanc is
grown. In a region where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign supreme, this
exception is a particularly fascinating one. Maybe the origin of the Sauvignon
tradition is Saint Bris’ proximity to Sancerre– the terroir of the zone being
quite similar to much of the Eastern Loire– but Sauvignon de Saint-Bris has historically
always held an important place in wine production in the Auxerrois..
Selection’s relationship with Domaine
Felix showcases some of the best examples of Sauvignon and the Saint
Bris appellation. Herve Felix’s family have been winemakers in the area since
1692, so they know a bit about the grape.
up, the Domaine
Felix Saint Bris is fresh and lively, with notes of
citrus and gooseberry. It has a bold attack and a vivacious mid-palate, fruity
and herbaceous. Then there’s the Domaine
Felix Saint Bris ‘Cuvee Sainte Claire’ which offers a slightly
herbal hint of thyme. It’s biscuity too, yet still with the famous
gooseberry. You get lime peel, pear and green apple, all underpinned by a smoky
minerality. Elden Selections offers a fantastic value mixed
case if you want to try both.
you should! It’s a fascinating opportunity to taste two totally different
styles of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s rare,
anywhere in the world, for Sauvignon to go through malo-lactic fermentation. While
Sauvignon expresses itself differently in every place that it is grown, afficianados
love the lively, lemony gooseberry dimensions that consistently come through.
And the Felix Saint Bris delivers. But
here, their ‘Cuvee Sainte
Claire’ is a rare and wonderful look at Sauvignon that goes through full
malo: richer, deeper, a homage to Burgundian winemaking.
in the heart of the Auxerrois region, not far from Chablis, the village of
Saint-Bris-le-Vineux sits atop a network of cellars and caverns, covering
around three and a half hectares, and is well worth a visit as much for its
historical significance as its viticulture.
Sauvignon grape gives compact clusters with small and ovoid berries, a
beautiful golden yellow when ripe, with thick film and melting pulp. Sauvignon
is best drunk relatively young, unlike many other grapes. On this Burgundy
terroir, it produces dry white wines, light, fresh and very pleasant. Sauvignon
grapes grown in Burgundy soils can be very complex, a result of the various
underlying Jurassic limestone ridges.
St Bris appellation was established relatively recently in 2003 and covers
wines made from both Sauvignon Blanc and Gris, and grown in the communes of
Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, Chitry, Irancy, Vincelottes, and Quenne, over around 130
hectares of the most perfect terroir and climate
Saint Bris is a small but perfectly formed AOC; one which produces wines for the connoisseur – one who can’t resist temptation, and who loves the exception that proves the rule.