2012 Batard Montrachet Etienne Sauzet

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Average critic rating : 94.0 points



Here the surprisingly expressive nose is even more complex with broad-ranging aromas of various floral and white fleshed fruit scents that also display top notes of spice, all of which is again framed in discreet oak hints. This is a big Bâtard where the broad-shouldered flavors brim with palate soaking dry extract that does a fine job of effectively buffering the very firm acid spine that keeps everything in balance on the opulently textured and hugely long finish. Moreover this is strikingly complex, indeed it rivals the Montrachet for being the most complex wine in the range. Tasted: Jun 15, 2014. Drink: 2022+



The 2012 Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru originates from vines that are essentially an extension of the rows in Bienvenue, sandwiched between those belonging to Anne-Claude Leflaive and Bachelet-Ramonet. As usual, this Batard-Montrachet is timorous on the nose, demanding coaxing to reveal its flint and granite aromas complemented by a hint of apple blossom. The palate is very well-balanced with a light honeyed note on the entry. There is good depth here and it has a winsome finish that glides across the mouth with style. This is a pretty Bienvenue imbued with style and personality. ||Etienne Sauzet has been a source of fine Puligny wines since I first dipped my toe into Burgundy. I visited their winery located on the fringe of Puligny that was constructed just over ten years ago: a tastefully furnished facility equipped with a comfortable tasting room, ideal for laptops tired of being precariously balanced between barrels. Sauzet’s policy has been to buy in fruit to augment their own 9.5-hectare of holdings, almost exclusively from within Puligny-Montrachet. The original parcels had been accumulated by Etienne Sauzet in the 1920s and expanded in piecemeal fashion until 1989, whereupon his daughter divided their vineyards for tax purposes. After almost inevitable familial dissention the holdings were splintered to form domains Jean-Marc Boillot (based in Pommard and taking a significant proportion of the vines) and Henri Boillot (Volnay). Together they essentially deprived daughter Jeanine and her husband Gerard Boudot of the lion’s share of their premier crus. Ergo from 1991 Gerard and Jeanine supplemented the family’s remaining vines with out-sourced fruit and set about rebuilding their own portfolio in Batard-Montrachet and Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet. Jeanine’s son-in-law Benoit Riffault, who escorted me through their 2012s, commented that these days the domaine is out-sourcing less than previously. Now approximately 15% of fruit is bought in through contracts and I can imagine that figure might ultimately be zero. Their portfolio did not go unscathed by the difficult growing season. There were one or two esteemed premier crus such as Les Folatieres and Les Champs Canet whereby the triple whammy of hail damage confiscated the wines of their usual breeding. Some of these parcels were up to 80% down and the total crop was depleted by half. Fortunately, they are in the minority. Otherwise, I found that their best wines were brimming over with vigor and tension, encapsulating the mineralite of their terroirs. Sauzet’s wines can sometimes be obscured by sulfur in their youth. However, I did not find such problems here. And I feel that as the domaine as relied less and less on out-sourced fruit, so their wines have become more and more consistent. In 2012 they are crowned by a scintillating Chevalier-Montrachet that ranks as one of the finest that I tasted. If that is beyond your means, then apart from some outstanding premier crus, their Puligny village cru is as dependable as ever. Spotting a couple of palates of village cru destined for “The Wine Society” in the UK, I imagined a lot of satisfied members savoring this superb wine over the next three or four years. N.B. Readers can view Benoit expressing his opinions of the 2012 vintage on www.erobertparker.com. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013

The Sauzet domaine covers roughly 10 hectares in Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet and produces some of the finest white Burgundies available. Winemaker Gerard Boudot has a magic touch and the wines, from the village Puligny to the grand crus, are exceptional across the board.

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