The Wine Advocate


At first glance, Domaine Antonin Guyon in Savigny-lès-Beaune appears to be an old-style winery, steeped in tradition. However, as I listened to the winemaking techniques employed by this large estate (1181/2 acres that stretch from one end of the Côte d’Or to the other), I realized how modern and avant-garde Guyon has become.

For the past 10 years no commercial fertilizers have been added to the vineyards, as Guyon believes they rob the terroir of its natural balance. At harvest the grapes are placed in small stackable boxes to ensure that they will not be harmed during movement to the winery. Once there, each bunch is inspected on sorting tables for imperfections (rot, mildew, unripe berries). The bunches that pass inspection are destemmed and undergo a cold maceration that lasts 5–6 days (this “cold soak” has been stretched to 12 days when deemed necessary). Alcoholic fermentations (at 28 degrees Celsius) are long, most often between 10 and 20 days, and are followed by a 3-day soak at 32 degrees. Each day during this process a vigorous pigeage is performed. Following a 48-hour débourbage (the decanting of the wine off its gross lees), the wines are transferred to oak barrels. Each 228-liter barrel (the traditional Burgundian size) is filled with 218 liters of wine, 10 liters of fine lees, and no sulfur. The malos take place generally in April or May, but the wines are not racked. If it is deemed necessary, the lees are sulfured using a long, intravenouslike needle. According to Guyon, this process ensures that the wine does not come into unwanted contact with air and treats the problem (the theory being that any potential problem remedied by the addition of sulfur is caused by the lees, so why risk drying out the wine if the lees can be treated independently).

In July all the barrels are racked, separating the lees from the wine, and sulfured (the lees receive 10 centiliters of sulfur, the wine 5 centiliters). The lees are then placed back into the bottom of the barrels. According to the Guyon team, the wines have completely consumed them, adding depth and richness to their flavor profiles.

The results of all these efforts speak for themselves. Domaine Guyon’s wines are excellent, displaying plenty of ripe, concentrated fruit.