Piuze, Patrick

Patrick Piuze
  • "Here is a truly thrilling new producer of hand-crafted Chablis, designed to showcase the individuality of different terroirs, not just at premier (and one grand) cru level, but within that very substantial area devoted to AC Chablis." -Jancis Robinson on her website, October 4, 2010

    “...the only thing truly original in the world of wine is the underlying terroir and I have nothing else interesting to add. Anyone can copy anyone else’s techniques so what else is there to make great wines? I believe the answer is simple: Terroir. I want to work only with the fruit from old vines and even then, only old vines that are planted exclusively within the original boundaries of Chablis. If I respect these things, it will be almost impossible to make bad wine.” –Patrick Piuze

     

Patrick Piuze- a Montreal native- is a rock star in Chablis, having taken the region by storm when he arrived over decade ago. He worked for Jean-Marc Brocard and Jean-Marie Guffens before starting his own label in 2008, and has very quickly come to be counted among the legendary names of the region, not least because he became drinking buddies with most of them. The guy is hella-good fun to hang out with... and while that may sound like an irrelevant detail, it is not: Piuze works with purchased fruit, and his great relationships with the growers of Chablis have allowed him access to choice parcels in all of the great sites.

As for technique, he is a maverick. While 90% of Chablis is machine-harvested, he harvests everything by hand, a paramount factor in the quality of his wines. While most cellars use a pneumatic press, he uses a vertical one because he likes the initial blast of oxygen for the wines in hopes of preventing pre-mox later, a way of thinking also espoused by Jean-Marc Roulot.

While most vintners make one indifferently blended cuvée from mixed sites for their villages wine, Patrick obsessively crafts no fewer than SIX different villages-level wines from six different towns. In our tastings together, he touts them as the qualitative peers of his 1er Cru’s, and with good reason—they are extraordinary. To make wines this way, Patrick has become a walking encyclopedia of the terroir of the area. On our recent visit to his winery, Patrick explained that Chablis is made up of rolling hillsides and valleys. The tops of the plateaus are generally Petit Chablis, north-facing vineyards are generally village-level Chablis and south-facing vineyards are 1er Cru; the Grand Cru hill has direct west/south-west exposure. The vineyards on the left bank of the Serein River generally have more clay and producer richer wines; here you find the villages of Courgis, Chichée, and 1er Cru vineyards: Forêts, Butteaux, and Vaillons. The vineyards on the right bank have much less clay top soil and more limestone – this is where you find the Grand Cru, also the villages of Fleys and Fyé and the 1er Cru Vaucoupin, Montée de Tonnerre, and Fourchaume. The right-bank wines are characterized by an intense minerality and more lean fruit in comparison to those from the left bank.

In the cellar, fermentations start spontaneously. The village level "Terroir" series wines are fermented and aged mostly in tank. And Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines are fermented and aged in used barrels for ten months. The barrels are always from high-acid years, currently 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010. Patrick explains that the first year that the barrel is used, there is not only an exhange of oak to the wine, but also of the wine to the barrel. So he avoids barrels that were first used in a warm vintage, thereby avoiding tropical notes from the barrels to his wine. All wines go through malo naturally. Fermentations are allowed to go at their own pace. In 2015, fermentations were mostly finished after 2.5 weeks. In some years, they last three months. The village level wines are bottled in the spring and 1er Cru and Grand Cru wines are normally bottled in July. The wines are bottled with a very gentle clay filtration. 

Notes on the 2017 Vintage: We visited Piuze in February to taste the 2017's out of barrel. Unfortunately, 2017 was another vintage that was hit by frost. To cope with the losses, the Piuze team decided to diversify and sought out more fruit, finding a new single-vineyard in the village level, new 1er Cru Sechets, and some very special Aligote from Saint-Bris. Unfortunately, there was no village-level Decouverte or 1er Cru Vaulorent bottled in 2017 because of the frost. The quality of the 2017's is excellent. Patrick Piuze describes it as, "a combination of 2015 and 2014. It has the approachability and skin maturity of 2015 and the acidity and structure of 2014 (same pH)." - Michele Peters, French Portfolio Manager, Bowler Wine

Image PRODUCT Description Country / Region Region Materials

DB9091-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Les Sechets
2017
Chardonnay
New! Sechets is also a sub-climate of 1er Cru Vaillons. Minots is the warmest part of the valley an as the valley opens up, the sites are... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0938-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Les Roncieres
2017
Chardonnay
LIMITED. Roncières is a sub-climat of Vaillons with 35 year-old vines and eastern exposure.
France Burgundy

DB0936-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Fleys"
2017
Chardonnay
Fleys, from a vineyard near the eponymous village is on the right bank of the Serein and is very near to the 1er Cru Mont de Milieu.... Read More
France Burgundy

DB9737-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Plateau de la Cornasse"
2017
Chardonnay
From a parcel in Beine on the west side of Chablis. Vinified and aged in tank. Bright acidity with more tropical fruit.
France Burgundy

DB0909-17
Sustainable
Petit Chablis
2017
Chardonnay
From a parcel on the Grand Cru hill called the Plateau des Clos, it sits just above Vaudesir. Fermented and aged entirely in barrel.
France Burgundy

DB9800-17
Sustainable
Bourgogne Tonnerre Boutots
2017
Chardonnay
From a south-facing single-vineyard in the commune of Vaulicheres, east of Chablis. Two thirds of the fruit is barrel-fermented and aged,... Read More
France Burgundy

DB5350-17
Sustainable
Bourgogne Aligoté 1953
2017
Aligoté
New! From an old Aligote plot in Saint Bris, planted in 1953. The field is surrounded by hemp. Fermented and aged 90% in barrel, 10% in... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0916-17
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots
2017
Chardonnay
On the right bank of the Serein River, with south facing exposition. The vines average 40 years old. Vinified and aged in neutral barrels. ... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0920-17
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
2017
Chardonnay
The aristocrat! From 35 year-old vines grown in Kimmeridgian limestone and clay soil, on the right bank of the Serein River with westerly... Read More
France Burgundy

DB9700-17
Organic
Chablis “Coteau de Fontenay”
2017
Chardonnay
From a steep west-facing vineyard behind the Grand Cru hill on the right bank of the Serein. The valley runs north to south and cold winds... Read More
France Burgundy

DB9701-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Vallée Sebillon"
2017
Chardonnay
From the left bank of the Serein in the commune of Beines, in a valley with full south sun exposure. The wind corridor brings freshness to... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0910-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Chablis"
2017
Chardonnay
From two parcels, both north-facing, very near to 1er Cru Montmains. It’s fresh and rich on the palate with an herbal finish. Fermented and... Read More
France Burgundy

DB9800-16
Sustainable
Bourgogne Tonnerre Boutots
2016
Chardonnay
From a south-facing single-vineyard in the commune of Vaulicheres, east of Chablis. Barrel-fermented and aged. White flowers and stoney... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0914-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre
2017
Chardonnay
From a single parcel of 70 year-old vines located on the right bank of the Serein River in the sub-climate of Montee de Tonnerre.
France Burgundy

DB5126-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Chichée"
2017
Chardonnay
Chichée is on a plateau near the 1er Cru Vaucoupin vineyard. It's on a plateau and it always takes the wind of the vintage - if it's from... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0935-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Fyé"
2017
Chardonnay
Fyé comes from a 2.5 hectare parcel surrounding a little chateau that you can see from the top of the Grand Cru hill near the subclimate,... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0919-17
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru Valmur
2017
Chardonnay
Location : on the right bank of the Serein River, with south facing exposition. In the name of this vineyard, "val" refers to "valley" and... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0917-17
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru Bougros "Côte de Bouqueyraux"
2017
Chardonnay
Côte de Bouqueyraux refers to a unique section of terroir along the Bougros Grand Cru vineyards. In this area, vineyards slope at a 45°... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0934-17
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru Bougros
2017
Chardonnay
From vines planted in 1956 that are located on the plateau.
France Burgundy

DB0080-17
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru les Clos
2017
Chardonnay
From two parcels: one near Blanchots, and the other near Valmur. 
France Burgundy

DB0913-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru les Forêts
2017
Chardonnay
From a single parcel of 70 year-old vines (bordering Dauvissat’s vineyards) located on the left bank of the Serein River. The top soil has... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0911-17
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Courgis"
2017
Chardonnay
Courgis is from a single vineyard on the left bank with clay topsoil on top of Kimmeridgian limestone bedrock. It’s typically the most... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0915-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons "Les Minots"
2017
Chardonnay
‘Les Minots’ is a specific parcel within 1er Cru Vaillons with 70-year-old vines that benefit from southern exposure. It's Patrick's... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0912-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux
2017
Chardonnay
From 75 year old vines on Kimmeridgian limestone and clay soil. Butteaux is a sub-climate of 1er Cru Montmains. A chalky soil mixed with... Read More
France Burgundy

DB0937-17
Sustainable
Chablis "La Grande Vallée"
2017
Chardonnay
The Grand Vallée is from the Les Pargues vineyard, considered a top site by the monks. It sits in the valley between the 1er Cru Montmains... Read More
France Burgundy