Walter Pater, 19th century critic of the arts, coined a famous observation “All art constantly aspires to the condition of music”. He claimed that the purely aesthetic response that music generates is the goal for all other forms of the Arts. I would like to adapt Pater’s comment and state ‘All white wines constantly aspire to the condition of white Burgundy’ , especially after tasting Sauzet’s Puligny Montrachet ‘Les Referts’ 2011. This premier cru vineyard abuts the Meursault AC to the north but the wine is significantly different the broader flavours of Meursault.
This pale yellow green wine had the aroma of ‘struck match’, a descriptor so loved by Burgundy critics but very appropriate in this instance. It was a wine that could be smelt at all evening and still find some nuances not experienced previously. There was lemon acidity but little evidence of oak, although it had been matured in oak barrels. The flavour – a wonderful combination of lemon and lime – was lean, persistent and focussed but, as it sat in the glass, also developed a subtle, floral quality which suggests that this wine would change for a few years yet. I think we drunk it in its youthful stage; it would be great to try it in three/four years time.
Clive Coates MW describes Puligny Montrachet as ‘the greatest white wine commune on earth’. The description hasn’t Pater’s eloquence but I might agree with the sentiments. I just need to test a few more for confirmation!
[Richard: bottle three from a case of six 2011s by Sauzet from six different parts of Burgundy. Fortunately Geoff has a very large book listing all the areas, in considerable detail. Bottle two, with a link to bottle one, is discussed here. Looking for the price (around £70 paid) I came across the WS tasting note, ‘broad and weighty Puligny from a vineyard towards the bottom of the slope with rich soils. 2014 to 2017.’ I think they have the drinking window right – the bottle developed well over the rest of the evening but the description is the exact opposite of what I tasted. Fine, detailed, not in the least heavy, delicate and not mouth filling, though persistent. Incidentally, this is the first time I’ve really got the ‘struck match’ aroma, quite marked here.]