A cuvée produced from purchased must, Sauzet’s 2018 Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru delivers a pretty bouquet of citrus oil, white flowers, fresh peach and clear honey. Full-bodied, ample and incisive, it’s beautifully defined, even if it can’t match the depth and concentration of the Bâtard and Bienvenues.
Benoît Riffault, who has directed this important estate since the 2002 vintage, describes the 2018 vintage as “surprising”—both for the wines’ abundance and for their fresh, lively profiles. While the year can’t match the concentration and energy of 2017, it is shaping up very nicely, and these wines merit a place on even the most fastidious of shopping lists. I also took this occasion to revisit some of the domaine’s 2017s from bottle (for already published reviews of Sauzet’s lower appellations from bottle, see our End of November 2019 Issue) which roundly confirmed that this is a great vintage at this address, indeed it’s arguably Riffault’s best to date. What are the rudiments of winemaking at this address today? In short, hand-harvested fruit is pressed without crushing, the press cycle lasting around three-and-a-half hours and performing “quite a few,” which is to say more than 20, rotations. The must is sulfited at the end of the press and settled for 24 hours, but Riffault retains most of the lees, fermenting in wood with ambient yeasts. The wines are racked to tank in July-August before the new vintage, whereas the premiers and grands crus spend as much as six months on their lees before bottling. All Sauzet’s wines are closed with high-quality unbleached and unwaxed cork.