It was time again for the annual release Champagne Savart from the French-Swedish wine merchant Caviste, now for the fifth time. Savart is one of the new generation of high-class small growers in Champagne and is located in Écueil, a premier cru village in the northwestern part of the Montagne de Reims – “La Petite Montagne”, i.e., in the northern part of the Champagne wine region and just south of Reims. Savart also has vineyards in the neighbouring village, Villers-aux-Nœuds. The Champagnes are Pinot Noir-dominated but very firm and mineral-dominated for their varietal composition, but they absolutely possess quite a bit of fruit and “substance” as well. Purity in aromas and elegance are two other terms that always seems to fit Savart’s range, in my opinion.
I’ve written about the 2014 release here.
2013 that is the base vintage of this year’s NV release is definitely a good vintage in Champagne. An then it’s worth remembering it’s not an easy job to follow up on the 2012 vintage that is generally considered excellent, and the source of some of the reserve wines for these cuvées.
Champagne Savart L’Ouverture
100% Pinot Noir, Brut, dosage 7 g/l. Base vintage 2013 (1/3, supplemented by 1/3 2012 and 1/3 2011). Disgorged autumn 2015.
Pure, young and elegant nose with ripe apple including waxed green apple, slightly flowery and faintly bready notes. Palate with apple, in particular ripe green apple, medium bodied with mineral, prominent acidity, as well as a long and fresh aftertaste dominated by tart green apples. Fresh, pleasant, elegant and young, but works well in this condition, 88 p.
L’Ouverture is more youthful and fruity in its aromas than L’Accomplie, and less complex, but is very fresh. The green apple notes could probably get some to consider this being a Chardonnay and blanc de blancs. It is similar to last year’s release of L’Ouverture.
Champagne Savart L’Accomplie
80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, Brut, dosage 5 g/l, i.e., in reality an Extra Brut. Base vintage 2013 (50%, supplemented by 50% 2012). 50% vinified in oak. Disgorged autumn 2015.
A bit more full colour. Rather complex nose with ripe yellow apple, some spice, some oak notes with hits of dried fruit, mineral, some bread and some notes of maturity. Palate with a lot of mineral, red and yellow apples, good concentration, spice notes, high acidity, aftertaste with spice, mineral and apple. A foody profile, approachable now but could be cellared, 89 p.
Deeper and more developed nose than L’Ouverture where the oak barrel treatment can be noted a bit if you know what to look for. Definitely more foody palate, and more “Pinot-styled” in its aromas.
Champagne Savart Bulle de Rosé
80% Pinot Noir (of which 6% red wine) and 20% Chardonnay, Brut, dosage 6 g/l. Base vintage 2013 (50%, supplemented by 50% 2012). Disgorged autumn 2015.
Pale salmon colour. Nose with wild strawberries, some red apples, some mineral, and slightly flowery notes. Palate with green apples and some red apples, mineral, high acidity, a slight bitterness, and apply aftertaste with mineral as well as red and green apples. Rather young, should be cellared, 87+ p.
In some releases, the rosé has come across as younger and more in need of cellaring than L’Accomplie, but not in some other releases. This year I would again say that the rosé seems to need more time than the two previous cuvées.
As a reference we got to taste two older rosés that weren’t available to buy now:
Somewhat deeper colour than this year’s release. Deep fruity nose with wild strawberries, other red berries including red currants, red apple, and slightly flowery notes. Palate with red apples, wild strawberries, rather good concentration, noticeable minerality, high acidity, very light bitterness, fresh aftertaste with apple and mineral. Rather young but approachable now, 89 p.
Slightly more powerful that this year’s release and with somewhat deeper berry notes. Due to logistical problems it wasn’t available for tasting at last year’s release tasting. I must congratulate those who bought it then and still have bottles left!
Champagne Savart Bulle de Rosé (2012 release)
Salmon colour. Nose with somewhat more developed notes including cocoa powder, bread, red apple together with a hint of winter apples, some wild strawberries and regular strawberries with hints of old Burgundy notes. Palate with red apple and hints of winter apple, noticeable minerality, rather prominent spice, high acidity, a hint of bitterness, and an apply aftertaste with mineral. Rather fully developed, 88 p.
Surprisingly developed notes for its age, but definitely pleasant such notes.
We also got to taste two newly released 2011 vintage Champagnes from Savart, which were only available in small quantities.
60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, vinified in oak, dosage 3.5 g/l.
Nose with ripe yellow apple, some zest, rather noticeable oak, dried fruit, a bit of “bass note” aromas, spice mineral, and bread. Palate with ripe yellow and red apple showing good ripeness and good concentration, almost a bit of berry sweetness in the attack, prominent minerality, some oak and rather noticeable spice, good acidity, long aftertaste with yellow apple, mineral with slightly earthy note and spice. Good weight, young impression due to the oak barrel note that needs time to integrate. 90(+) p.
2011 is generally considered a weak vintage in Champagne, but there are no signs of that in this wine – or the one below.
Pale pink colour. Definitely an elegant nose with a lot of berry notes, wild strawberries, other ripe red berries, some orange zest, slightly spicy, discrete flowery notes, some oak notes with some time in the glass. Good weight in the aromas. Palate with wild strawberries, red apples, good concentration, prominent minerality, some spice, high acidity, aftertaste with a lot of mineral and some wild strawberries. Rather young, 90(+) p.
Much more berry-dominated than the 2011 L’Année, and not as prominent oak or as “bass noted” aromas.
Expression is the Pinot-dominated prestige Champagne from Savart, and the first release was the 2009 vintage. This is the first time it has been released as a rosé, because 2009 and 2010 were white.
It could be mentioned that Savart hasn’t produced a Dame de Coeur in the 2010 vintage, the 100% Chardonnay that otherwise should have been released this year, and probably not a 2011 vintage either.
We also got to taste a considerably older cuvée that had been produced by the parents of the current Savart, who were more “conventional” in style. It’s unfortunately not for sale.
Rather golden colour with hints of amber. A noticeably developed nose with old yellow apples, cocoa powder, a hint of herbaceous notes, some minerality including clay notes, spice, aromas that come with age but has not really come to the sherry stage. Palate with good concentration, old yellow apples, spice, good acidity, some minerality, aftertaste with old apples and spice. Fully developed but still sticks together, 88 p?
1991 is a very unusual vintage to come across, since very few produced vintage Champagnes that year. It is considered a weak vintage that followed the excellent trio 1988-1989-1990. This Champagne gives a hot vintage impression, since it has concentration and not as noticeable acidity. I hadn’t been at all surprised if this had turned out to be a Champagne from a really good vintage such as 1989, 1990, and 1995.