Exploring Bourgogne (2) Cave de Bailly-Lapierre, specialists in Crémant

Cave de Bailly-Lapierre
Hameau de Bailly – 89530 Saint-Bris-Le-Vineux
Tel. +33 (0)3 86 53 77 77

Located just above on the Yonne River near Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, Bailly Lapierre is a remarkably high-achieving cooperatve. The site is a 5 hectare former quarry: limestone from here constructed many of the great buildings in Paris. I visited with the technical director, Sylvain Martinand.

Bailly-Lapierre was founded as a result of the crisis in the wine industry in the 1972. 42 growers got together in 1972 to begin this venture: previously many of them had been selling base wines to Germany for Sekt production, but a change in the laws meant this business was over, and they still had their vines.

In 1975 Cremant de Bourgogne was created, and this really proved to be their salvation. Back in the 1970s, getting ripeness in this part of Bourgogne was tricky: it was a region much better suited to making base wines for sparkling than still wines. And they had a lot of Aligoté. There’s a reason people added Cassis to still Aligoté back in the day! ‘We started Crémant in 1975, and for the first 10 years we were making 90% of the Crémant de Bourgogne,’ says Sylvain. In 1986 they began to accept some grapes for still wines: Aligoté, Chitry, Saint-Bris and Bourgogne Auxerrois.


Bailly-Lapierre is part of the Compagnie de Burgondie, which is a commercial alliance of seven cooperatives who share logistical, marketing and commercial services. The partners are Caves Bailly Lapierre, Cave des Vignerons de Buxy (focusing on wines of the Côte Chalonnaise), the Alliance des Vignerons Bourgogne-Beaujolais (Cave de Viré, Cave d’Azé from Bourgone and from Beaujolais Cave du Château de Chénas, Cave du Château des Loges, Vignerons des Pierres Dorées).

The old caves of the quarry house the winery, and because the door is 3.8 m high, this limits the tank sizes. Before the cooperative took over the facility it was being used as a mushroom factory. The capacity is 30 000 hectolitres. Sylvain likes to work with very clean juice and cold settles to around 50 NTUs, as well as doing some static flotation. He uses cultured yeasts – just one type for sparkling base, but a range for the still wines. ‘I’m not here to take risks,’ he says. ‘It’s not my place. I make the wine, and it’s my decisions, but I won’t play with 80 family growers and 50 others.’

The wine shop in the cellars

They are looking to develop their enotourism: they currently have 40 000 visitors a year. Over the next couple of years they will be adding new technology.

Altogether, around 23 million bottles of Crémant de Bourgogne are made each year.


Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Aligoté 2022
Stainless steel. Juicy and bright with lovely taut citrus fruit with a stony, mineral edge, showing lovely purity and intensity. Linear with nice acidity. Has lovely flavour allied to precision. 90/100

Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Aligoté Organic 2022 (tank sample)
Stainless steel. Linear, bright and stony with a strong mineral character. Zippy and juicy with keen acidity. Very bright with nice linear focus. 89-91/100

Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Aligoté 2020
Nice depth here with a citrus core and some green apple notes, as well as some stony detail. Has a hint of cabbage in the background, but there’s a core of citrus fruit. Some stony notes in the mix, too. Linear. 89/100

Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Aligoté 2021
There’s a lovely touch of apricot here with some citrus and a nice acid line. Stony and mineral with a nice acid line, as well as some exotic characters. Nice mineral detail. 90/100

Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Aligoté 2013
Fresh and linear still with a hint of pear and peach as well as ripe citrus fruit. Nice weight and flesh, showing pristine fruit. Stony and mineral with nice precision, showing just a hint of cabbage in the background. Lovely mineral twist here with a twist of mandarin. 91/100

Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Côte D’Auxerre 2021
Chardonnay. Fresh and lively with a bright citrus core, some sweet pear fruit and a nice crystalline character with good acidity. There’s a sense of purity and freshness here with a bright finish. Stylish. 90/100

Bailly-Lapierre Bourgogne Chitry 2021
Chardonnay. Good concentration here with a lively, juicy lime and lemon edge to the pear and green apple fruit, with a touch of saltiness as well as some creamy nutty hints. Stony and intense. 89/100

Bailly-Lapierre Saint-Bris Sauvignon Blanc 2021
This is really expressive with a lovely green-tinged elderflower nose and fresh citrus and green apple fruit. A beautiful expression of Sauvignon with nettly detail. Very fresh and detailed. 91/100

Bailly-Lapierre Reserve Brut NV Crémant de Bourgogne
Blend of all the grape varieties. This has nice bright citrus fruit with some pear and peach richness. Fruity and lively with nice weight and precision. Fruity and rounded with some depth but also freshness on the finish. 89/100

Bailly-Lapierre Chardonnay Brut NV Crémant de Bourgogne
Zesty and bright with nice pure citrus fruit and a touch of grapefruit. Juicy and bright with nice citrus fruit dominating. Lovely balance here with nice precision and purity to the fruit. Lovely balance. 90/100

Bailly-Lapierre Pinot Noir Brut NV Crémant de Bourgogne
Nice precision here: lovely fruit with some cherry and mandarin as well as bright citrus. Juicy detail here to this wine which shows good precision and a focus on the fruit. 90/100

Bailly-Lapierre Ravizotte Pinot Noir Extra Brut NV Crémant de Bourgogne
Just cuvée. Same as the Pinot Noir Brut, with less dosage. Zesty, lively and really precise with lovely acidity. Zippy and vital with cherry, lime and nice acid line. Has a sense of brightness and precision, with purity. 91/100

Bailly-Lapierre Noir et Blanc Brut NV Crémant de Bourgogne
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Lovely richness here, with cherry and plum, as well as some citrus. Very lively and precise with good volume, showing lots of fruity flavour. 90/100

Bailly-Lapierre Égarade Brut 2019 Crémant de Bourgogne
Organic, Pinot Noir. Zesty and fresh with lovely precision to the fruit. Has nice generosity with some apple and lime, with some pithy hints. Has nice fruit intensity showing a twist of sour cherry on the finish. 91/100

Bailly-Lapierre L’Authentique Zero Dosage NV Crémant de Bourgogne
They do some trials with their wines to see works best with no dosage, and it becomes this wine. Lovely depth here with some apple and pear, and a touch of honey and nut, with nice depth to the fruit. There’s some richness here, and the lack of dosage is hard to spot. Nice acidity here. Nice precision and focus. 91/100

Bailly-Lapierre L’Inattendu Brut NV Crémant de Bourgogne
Toast, citrus, nuts and caramel on the nose. Spicy and broad with lovely depth and focus, showing some sweet honey notes and some spice, with the barrel fermentation making its presence felt. Quite distinctive and maybe a little too much? But there’s a sense of deliciousness here. 89/100

Bailly-Lapierre Vive-La-Joie 2018
Four years on lees. Lively and bright with good concentration, showing good weight with zesty citrus fruit. Linear with nice crystalline citrus but also some lively lemon and mandarin on the finish, with a hint of sweetness on the finish. 92/100

Bailly-Lapierre Vive-La-Joie Rosé 2018
Bright pink colour. Nice cherry and plum fruit with some keen citrus, showing lovely precision to the fruit. Has nice freshness and intensity. Juicy and lively with a lovely spicy flourish on the finish. 92/100

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