Puligny Montrachet, Les Combettes, 1er Cru, 2017

  Etienne Sauzet

A flagship Sauzet wine and so it is with the 2017. A wine with a lot of texture and fullness but a real elegance and style too. It has even more elegance and energy than usual without sacrificing that typical Combettes richness and depth of flavour. Concentrated and complex but pulsating with energy. A millefeuille of rich but fine honeyed flavours with a gripping structure and lemon rind note adding a focus and definition to the wine. So long and with a seductive floral note on the finish. Sauzet’s example of Combettes is one of the great Premiers Crus of Puligny, up there with Caillerets and Leflaive’s Pucelles. From 50-65 year-old vines in the well-exposed Combettes vineyard. Like Champs Canet, this is mid-slope but with a little less limestone and more clay.

Contains Sulphites.

About Etienne Sauzet

Etienne Sauzet’s son-in-law, Gérard Boudot, makes the wine at this benchmark Burgundian Domaine and has been more recently assisted by talented winemaker Benoit Riffault, Gerard's son-in-law. A tasting with Gérard and Benoit is not just enjoyable but highly educational – each session is a virtual masterclass in terroir. Indeed, their knowledge of Puligny’s different vineyards is second to none. they resist the temptation to interfere with the wines too much after fermentation, and employs on average 30% new oak every year. The Grand Crus are, of course, impressive; even right down to Villages and Bourgogne level the wines display the finesse and grace of truly great Puligny.

Appellation: Puligny-Montrachet

A village in the Côte de Beaune between Chassagne and Meursault producing very fine white wine and small amounts of less interesting red. Within the Puligny commune are two Grand Cru vineyards in their entirety, Chevalier-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, and two which are shared with neighbouring Chassagne: Le Montrachet itself and Bâtard-Montrachet. In addition there are a number of excellent Premier Cru vineyards that are also capable of making some of Burgundy's finest white wines - at the same elevation as Bâtard-Montrachet lie Les Pucelles and Les Combettes, which is adjacent to Meursault-Perrières. A little higher up the slope, at the same elevation as Le Montrachet, lie Les Demoiselles, Le Cailleret, Les Folatières (including Clos de la Garenne), and Champ Canet. Part of Les Demoiselles is classified as Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet but a very small slice remains as premier cru, being regarded, along with Le Cailleret, as the finest Puligny Premier Cru vineyard. Further up the slope, where the terrain becomes stonier are Le Champ Gain, La Truffière, Chalumeaux, and the vineyards attached to the hamlet of blagny, which are designated as Puligny-Montrachet premier cru for white wines, and Blagny premier cru for reds.

A characteristic of the Puligny-Montrachet commune is the high water table, this means there are few individual village vineyards worthy of note, the best village wines will usually be a result of a blend. This also means that the cellars are rarely that deep. The wines of Puligny have a very distinctive style, very fine, taut and typically mineral, much less fat and rich than a Meursault and more elegance than a Chassagne. The top Puligny Domaines are Sauzet, Leflaive and Carillon.

Grape Type: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most widely-grown and versatile of all white grape varieties. As a relatively neutral grape, it offers a near transparent map of winemaking style, climate and terroir. It is the ideal grape variety for Burgundy, where it serves to mirror the complex nuances of the myriad of terroirs found in this hallowed land. Chardonnay produces a variety of wines from the minerally and unoaked styles found in Chablis, the fatter nuttier examples in Meursault, to the tropical fruit-driven versions found in the New World. It is also the major grape variety in Champagne, where it produces lively floral wines, namely in the Côte de Blancs. It can be found throughout Europe and the New World thanks to its versatility. As a non-aromatic variety, it has an affinity with oak, whether new or used, French or American.