Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Mary John Baumann, DWS

Saint Bris - A most unusual Bourgogne.

Posted by Mary John Baumann, DWS, Jan 8, 2016.

Little known by most wine consumers, Saint Bris is an unusual wine that seems to break the rules of tradition in Bourgogne. 

Most Bourgogne lovers are seduced by the beauty of barrel fermented Chardonnay from the finer AOPs of Meursault, Chassagne Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet. Or the legendary Pinot Noirs of Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny. In addition to these two most cultivated noble grapes, Aligote is grown throughout the region, while Gamay is the key grape in Beaujolais.

Tucked away in the far north of Bourgogne in close proximity to Chablis, Saint Bris is the only AOP in Bourgogne where Sauvignon Blanc may be grown. And it is fascinating to learn that the soils in Saint Bris are nearly identical to those of Sancerre in the Loire Valley and Chablis to the north.

Here deep pockets of Jurassic limestone ranging from Portlandian to Kimmeridgean are found along side the river Yonne.  These soils are 150 million year old fossilized oyster beds which once formed the Paris Basin. The comma shaped fossil, known as Exogyra Virgula, can be found on the vineyard floors throughout the region, sending a profound message echoing back to prehistoric times.

Saint Bris is an old stone built village beneath which are remarkable medieval cellars carved into the Kimmeridgean fossil beds. They date back to 1100 AD and cover 3.5 ha. over 60 meters underground.

Today, Kimmeridgean soils provide the unique terroir which has since become a signature to the wines.  Hints of flint, saline notes, crushed oyster shell and distinct marine notes characterize wines that harken from these soils. The Sauvignon Blanc of Saint Bris is bone dry, light and crisp with notes of grapefruit, mandarin, peach and crushed black currant leaves.

Saint Bris Sauvignon is always a great value compared to its Loire Valley counterparts, typically retailing for twenty percent less than Sancerre. Here are some outstanding Burgundian Sauvignon Blancs to seek out!


Domain Jean Louis and Jean-Christophe BERSAN Saint Bris 2014: Light vibrant citrus fruit, with fresh herbs, notes of crushed shells. Racy acidity and moderate alcohol with excellent concentration and a long finish.

Domain GOISOT Saint Bris 2014: An excellent dry Sauvignon with intense minerality and delicate citrus notes. Well balanced with crisp acid and moderate alcohol. Drink now.

Domaine Jean- Francois and Pierre-Louis BERSAN Saint BRis 2013: A soil driven wine with intense flint, smoke and grapefruit notes. Green notes of boxwood and crisp acid make this a very distinct wine, almost Chablis like. 





Reply by vin0vin0, Jan 8, 2016.

Picked up a 2014 La Chablisienne Sauvignon Blanc Saint-Bris at my local wine store a while back. Here's my tasting note:

"For around $10 this is near the top of the QPR list. Plenty of citrus flavors, lemon, just a bit of white grapefruit, green melon, decent acidity and maybe even a hint of basil on the medium length finish - 87 pts."

I'll definitely go back for more.

Reply by duncan 906, Jan 8, 2016.

I had a Saint Bris from Domaine Goiset last year and wrote up a review on this site. . I agree with you about it being very dry but I thought that the fruit was not very intense unless that is what you mean by nmineral. There art fruitier sauvignon blancs out there. Saint Bris is a little bit of a curio as it is a very small appellation

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