"The 2013 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru les Referts has a poised, tightly wound bouquet with hints of blackberry leaf and licorice suggesting that post-bottling, this might turn out to be spicy little number. Nothing wrong with that! The palate is crisp and taut on the entry with a steeliness coming through with aeration, then it lets go during the second half with citrus lemon, orange zest, freshly squeezed lime and a long minerally finish. This is one of the more mercurial Puligny's from Sauzet - very intriguing.
Etienne Sauzet has always been one of Puligny’s go-to domaines, and under Gérard Boudot it produced many a fine “Les Referts” and “Bâtard-Montrachet." It went through a period when I thought the wines just went "off the boil" a little, but in recent vintages Benoît Riffault has steered the ship back on course. Sauzet is back on top of its game. “It was very difficult, particularly on the plain with the humidity and the clay soils,” Benoît explained. “We had to do more work by hand this year, especially the spraying. We picked the Chassagne side first starting on 26 September and over the following eight days, finishing just before the storm on the 4/5 October. It was a difficult and long season since we harvested later than usual but we had good maturity. When we sorted the fruit we found the berries were dry with very little rot, and after the press the juice was very clean. The malic levels were normal and the malos finished around January. Potential alcohol levels came in between 12.5 and 13.2 so we did not have to chaptalize.”
Benoît was one of few winemakers to mention that there was no chaptalization (others include Patrick Essa at Domaine Buisson-Charles). “The vintage is one that I like to make. There is very good terroir focus with good body and good constitution. I like the energy of the vintage.” I too found much to enjoy in this range of Pulignys that were exactly as Benoît described: taut and linear with clear distinction between the terroirs, not every 2013 is a slam-dunk success. Some vineyards fared better than others and I have indicated these in my notes. Occasionally, I found that the season denuded Benoît the quality of the 2012 or 2011, but in the case of his Montrachet or Bâtard-Montrachet I think that he may well have surpassed it. Both he and his team deserve applause in such a challenging season."
Score: (91-93) points
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, Dec 2014