Luxx Club Special Wine of the Week – Camille Savès ChampagneAdd to My Luxx Living
Camille Savès Champagne – Brut Grand Cru
Available especially for Luxx members: 750 ml bottle -$53.99
Our sommelier, Diane Slater of Cape Cod Package Store’s Fine Wine and Spirits, has managed to secure a very special offering just for Luxx members.
You also can email us at email@example.com if you wish to participate in an upcoming private tasting of this special champagne. There will only be 20 openings, so please email us ASAP.
The story of this special champagne vintner
Eugène Savès grew up in the small village of Roquefort sur Garonne at the foot the Pyrenees where his parents were farmers. He was sent to a prestigious school in Versailles, and graduated as an agricultural engineer.
After school, his work took him to Champagne, where he fell in love with, and married, Anais Jolicoeur, the daughter of wine growers in Bouzy. The Jolicoeur family (the name translates as Prettyheart) can be traced back in Bouzy to the 16th century.
Eugène became a wine grower, but soon saw the potential in making and selling his own wine. He founded Champagne Eugène Savès in 1894. The house passed to his son, then to his grandson Camille who changed the name to Champagne Camille Savès, and finally to his great grandson Hervé.
The Savès family owns 10 hectares of vineyards scattered around the grands crus Bouzy and Ambonnay as well as the premier cru Tauxières in the Montagne de Reims, and the grand cru Tours sur Marne, in the Vallée de la Marne. The bulk of the holdings, 7 hectares, are made up of some of the best mid-slope vineyards of the village of Bouzy.
As a matter of fact, with the exception of the Carte Blanche, all the wines produced by Hervé are pure grand cru Bouzy fruit, making Savès one of the most iconic estates in one of Champagne’s best terroirs for pinot noir.
“Definitely one of the highlights of Bouzy. The Savès – father and son – are among Champagne’s most passionate winemakers.” – Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes, 2004.
Hervé has not used an herbicide for seven years or a pesticide for a decade. He would be organic if he weren’t afraid of copper, which is toxic and non-biodegradable. Hervé is not alone. Currently there is a fringe of extremely dedicated and serious wineries who remain just shy of organic because they believe that copper is a bigger evil than a moderate use of chemicals for the treatment of mildew and oidium.
Of course, this position doesn’t make for a good sound bite. But in difficult vintages like 2012, organic and biodynamic producers needed to treat 50% more frequently than wineries like Savès, and the result is more copper build-up, added compaction of the soil, and a larger carbon footprint.
Hervé practices stringent yield control, debudding and dropping fruit when necessary. His grapes are meticulously sorted out at harvest. Actually, meticulous is perhaps what sums Hervé up the best. Both he and is winery are squeaky clean.
At press time, the tailles, which are the last 500 liters, are separated and vinified separately. They may or may not be added later, depending on their quality. In addition, in humid years, the first 100 liters are discarded altogether.
The Bouzy rouge and the cuvée Anaïs are the only two wines to be vinified in oak, all others are vinified in enamel tanks, which Hervé prefers because they are totally inert. Malolactic fermentations are systematically blocked. “Bouzy has a lot of power and richness”, says Hervé, “when you put the wines trough malo, they get heavy.”
“To me, the wines of Camille Savès are all about minerality and fresh, biscuit-laced red fruit. The lack of malolactic fermentation gives the wines an extra dimension of citrus and minerality that deftly cuts through the fruit – this gives the wines amazing finesse while still maintaining an underlying fruity power. This isn’t an easy combination to pull off…”– Brad Baker, Champagne Warrior, Issue 8, October 2010.
Each wine is left on the lees for 36 to 60 months prior to disgorgement. The dosages at Savès vary from 4 to 9 g/l. They are done with traditional liqueur (yay!), meaning wine plus cane sugar, rather than MCR, or,RCGM in English, for Rectified Concentrated Grape Must, which the vast majority of champagne houses have switched to. After disgorgement Hervé insists that his wines rest another six months before they are released.
A special mention must be made of Camille Savès Brut Rosé which has become the favorite small producer rosé for American savvy wine aficionados.
“It is quite clear that Camille Savès is one of the finest sources for Brut Rosé out there today.” – John Gilman, View From the Cellar, July-August 2012
It is a rosé d’assemblage, a blend of roughly 60% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir, and 10% Bouzy rouge. This is all grand cru fruit from a brilliant terroir, there are no souches in the blend. But truth be told, it may be the minority, the Bouzy rouge that makes this rosé shine. It is a selection of grapes from Hervé’s oldest vines in his best mid-slope vineyards. It is so good that Gratien exclusively sources their still red for their Cuvée Paradis Rosé from Savès; Billecart-Salmon has been a long standing customer as well.
Related PostsJuly 19, 2014