For upwards of 40 years I visited Burgundy wearing various hats: wine buyer for others and myself; vintage winemaker; part owner of a house in Monthelie (just south of the city of Beaune); and wine writer across most mediums. To say it is part of my DNA is no exaggeration; unbidden full colour replays of the smallest details flash across my memory whenever Burgundy is in the frame.

I have met many figures in the broader cloth of Burgundy, and am not about to enter a name-dropping competition. Instead it is one Burgundian winemaker, Patrick Bize, who I admired for so many reasons, and who, during the 2013 vintage, suffered a fatal heart attack while driving.

Having met briefly in Burgundy, I lured him to Brokenwood during the ’81 vintage. We saw each other regularly in Burgundy. Next came 1986 in Coldstream Hills, where he spent several days as my (only) assistant winemaker. He was always bursting with energy, a huge lop-sided smile, arms and legs not always synchronising, his clothing likewise. A final pen-picture came from Randall Pollard who, on entering the front courtyard of the Domaine, was met by a prancing Patrick wearing a Wallabies yellow rugby jumper, screaming ‘Walla-Beez’ at the top of his voice.

I was responsible for introducing Pollard to his wines on the basis that their quality and price alike was exceptional, and many vintages later that remains my view. His handling of whole bunch ferments was masterful, likewise new oak. He saw things in the 14.38ha estate vineyards in Savigny-lès-Beaunes that others missed, yet on the other hand didn’t intervene unduly.  His Japanese-born widow Chisa, mother to their two children, has taken the Domaine on to even better things.

I have more bottles of Domaine Bize in my cellar than any other Burgundian producer. For more, visit www.randalls.net.au or email wine@randalls.net.au.

2019 Simon Bize & Fils Bourgogne Blanc Les Perrières

The high-quality cork means no random oxidation. Instead there is a complex array of white peach, brioche and green apple lit with sunbeams of citrus on the bouquet, the palate fuelled by the glistening acidity on the mouth-watering finish.

94 points, drink to 2029, 13.5% alc, Cork, $95

2019 Simon Bize & Fils Bourgogne Rouge Les Perrières

The warm vintage allowed maximum use of foot-trodden whole bunches. The colour is deep through to the rim, the depth and texture of the palate superb. Oceans of deep plum and black cherry are met halfway by a chariot of warm spices, and cedary tannins on the finish. Absolutely astonishing.

95 points, drink to 2029, 13.5% alc, Cork, $100

2019 Simon Bize & Fils Savigny-lès-Beaunes Rouge

Has the wonder of a rose garden and a spice bazaar. Violets, wild mushrooms with dark, sweet crumbs of earth on the artist’s palette are there for the taking, the texture wantonly seductive, switching from silk to velvet at (its) will, finesse its song.

95 points, drink to 2032, 12.5% alc, Cork, $120



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