Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 2021


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“The 2021 Puligny-Montrachet Village has a taut and strict nose, well defined, green apple mixed with subtle petrichor/wet pavement scents. The palate is well balanced with lemon zest, lime and a dab of ginger, gently building towards a nicely composed and delineated finish. This should give 8-10 years’ drinking pleasure. Drinking window: 2024-2034. 89-91 points

“We had frost in April, and for me, it was the snow that did the real damage,” winemaker Benoît Riffaut explains in the tasting room. “Without this, I think the Premier Crus would have been less impacted, maybe 20%? But in the end, we are 80% down in terms of production, whilst Village and Regional Crus are only 50% down. Afterwards, it was not easy due to the mildew, as the vines were less strong. We had to be careful. We began picking around 22 September, 13 months after 2020. The grapes were healthy with correct ripeness, around 12% to 13.2% potential, and slightly more malic than 2020. During élevage, after August racking, I thought the wines were surprisingly good – I liked the energy, the electricity. That’s purely because of the terroir. The wines have been racked in stainless steel tank and will be bottled next January to March.”

Riffaut has been on a roll in recent vintages, and I find many of Sauzet’s 2021s exemplary. Best in show? No, not the Montrachet or the Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet. Not the Chevalier-Montrachet that sadly is no more following the frost and, subsequently, the acquisition of Bouchard Père denying them their source (though Riffaut seems to have a replacement lined up). No, it’s the startling Bâtard-Montrachet that is the thrill, surfeit with tension and poise, a livewire with bags of energy. Also, try to grab his Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, Les Referts or the Folatières En La Richards, though they are in minuscule quantities. Chapeau Benoît!”

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/23)