Domaine Etienne Sauzet: a 2010 Masterclass

Every year, in every region, there is always a star, always a property that just stands out, that has got the year right, made (with assistance from Him) something special.  Pontet-Canet in 2005 comes to mind, as does Cos d’Estournel in 2009.  I can write you a list.

The same goes for Burgundy, red and white, though we are talking white today and, if you know Burgundy, then you know that all Bordeaux just tastes the same anyway.  More on that later.

White Burgundy candidates that come to mind are Domaines Jean-Noel Gagnard in 2008 and Antoine Jobard in 2009.  And in 2010 I think we have a winner: the question that the merchants that ship Burgundy are asking each other is: “Did you taste at Sauzet?”.  And for good reason.

Domaine Sauzet is run by Gerard Boudot, son in law of the man who gave the estate his name.  My colleagues and I were met by his son in law Benoit, who summed the vintage up thus: “A difficult but beautiful vintage”.  He was spot on with the latter description.  Awesome wines.  Herewith a few notes:

Bourgogne Blanc

Clean if slight nose.  Just filtered and to be bottled later this month.  Very pleasant, all correct and I want to drink it right now.

Chassagne-Montrachet (from Les Enseignieres, I think)

Toasty nose.  Nicely done.  And again in the mouth though this needs to come together.  Compact and the toast is all over it.  Rather good if you like the style.  Good.  Balanced.


A little more delicate on the nose.  From 12 different parcels, principally Les Meix.  Nicely laid back.  Precise though delicate.  Very gentle.  Good.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru, La Garenne (La Garenne is right at the top of the hill)

Some more on the nose and much more in the mouth.  Real steely intensity.  Power.  Weight.  All here.  Very intense.  Very good.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru, Les Champ Gains (stony vineyard, just below la Garenne)

More purity on the nose.  More minerality.  Maybe a little more class.  And certainly more dimension in the mouth.  Back to the elegance of the village Puligny.  Very good.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru, Les Referts

On the Meursault side, next to Les Charmes.  A lot of clay.  This is bouncing out of the glass.  These are starting to get seriously good.  The intensity is here but kept in check by the acidity.  This could be rather special.  Potentially outstanding.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru, Les Perrieres

Something rather special on the nose here.  Lots of lift.  And minerality in the mouth; very Perrieres.  Much more laid back than the Referts but very beautiful in its delicacy.  Very good.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru Folatieres (not a homogenous vineyard.  Limestone at top, clay at bottom)

Very clean.  A hint of creaminess.  Initially very quiet then blossoms in the mouth, grows.  Quite excellent.  Floral.  Compact.  Excellent.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru, Les Champs Canet

More power on the nose.  Some liminess. Intense.  All here.  These are impressive wines.  And this really grows in the mouth.  All here and dancing.  More citrus than flowers, and I prefer the Folatieres, but very very impressive.  Ripe.  Intense.

Puligny-Montrachet 1er cru, Les Combettes

This seems to be the most complete on the nose.  And in the mouth a perfect balance between, well, everything.  Minerals, flowers, all flashy and all here,  Silky intensity,  Multi-dimensional.  A firework of a wine in the way it explodes in the mouth.  Wow.


 This more closed on the nose.  But there is something big lurking underneath.  Very big.  And quite something in the mouth.  This is definitely grand cru.  Incredible weight, though this is neither top nor bottom-heavy.  Long, and staying packed shut for the moment, but there is an awful lot here,  Potentially outstanding.  “A V12” sez Clarethound


This again is a little shy, keeping its clothes on, though the suit is definitely silk.  And again in the mouth.  Very, very, very classy though showing no bare flesh today.  Silky and, yes, regal.  A flat 12?  Edge.  Gosh.

Le Montrachet

FMD (this is my equivalent of James Suckling’s UFB).  Toast on the nose with an incredible intensity of fruit coming through it.  Something very special.  Ditto in mouth.  Exceptional juice.  Pretty much flawless,  Outstanding.  Minerality coming through underneath the fruit.  Exceptional.  Long.  Perfect.


My notes are for my reference.  I have the memory of a fish.  I look back and am occasionally surprised that they contradict my memory of a particular wine or tasting.  The flaw in these notes on the Sauzet wines is that they do not convey the sheer electric brilliance of the wines.  What is particularly notable is that there is no mention at all of any fault in any of the wines – faults are rather what I’m looking for when tasting young wines – and these notes are not salesmans’ notes edited for convenience.

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