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: “2018 was a bountiful vintage, the largest crop that many winemakers had seen in their lifetime; which is a big relief considering that yields the last five years have been well under average. Not only was it plentiful, but it was a great growing season and the grapes were in perfect health at harvest. We just tasted through all of Piuze’s 2018’s and the wines show ample fruit and a lot of freshness. Piuze does not use any temperature control during fermentation and he explained that allowing the temperature to rise gives more dry extract in the wines, giving a feeling of freshness and structure. Total potential alcohol ranges from 11.8 - 12.2%, relatively low for the region as Piuze harvests on the early side. Piuze 2018’s have it all - great aromatics, a kaleidoscope of fruit, and the structure to age for the mid-term for those who can wait.”  —Michele Peters, French Portfolio Manager

Image PRODUCT Description

DB5350-18
Sustainable
Bourgogne Aligoté 1953
2018
Aligoté
From an old Aligoté plot in Saint Bris, planted in 1953. The field is surrounded by hemp. Fermented and aged 90% in barrel, 10% in tank.... Read More

DB9800-17
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Bourgogne Tonnerre Boutots
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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

DB0909-18
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Chardonnay
From a parcel on the Grand Cru hill called the Plateau des Clos, it sits just above Vaudesir. Fermented and aged in stainless steel.

DB0910-18
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Chablis "Terroir de Chablis"
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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

DB9801-18
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Chablis “Terroir de la Chapelle”
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Chardonnay
From a plot on a plateau on the left bank of the Serein, across from Fourchaume, from vines planted in 1974.  A fresh cuvée because the... Read More

DB5126-18
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Chablis "Terroir de Chichée"
2018
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

DB0911-18
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Chablis "Terroir de Courgis"
2018
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

DB9964-18
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Chablis "Terroir Découverte"
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From a single-vineyard just next to 1er Cru Vaulorent, the north facing side of the Grand Cru hill, named Des Couverts. The vineyard lies... Read More

DB9700-18
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Chablis “Côteau de Fontenay”
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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

DB0935-18
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Fyé"
2018
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

DB0937-18
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Chablis "La Grande Vallée"
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DB0936-18
Sustainable
Chablis "Terroir de Fleys"
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Chardonnay
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DB0912-18
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux
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Chardonnay
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DB0913-18
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru les Forêts
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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

DB0938-17
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Les Roncières
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Chardonnay
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DB9091-18
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Les Sechets
2018
Chardonnay
Sechets is a sub-climat of 1er Cru Vaillons. Minots is the warmest part of the valley;as the valley opens up, the sites are cooler. This... Read More

DB0914-18
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre
2018
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. There is... Read More

DB0915-18
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons "Les Minots"
2018
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

DB0924-18
Sustainable
Chablis 1er Cru Vaulorent
2018
Chardonnay
Vaulorent is a sub-climate of 1er Cru Fourchaume; it is located on the same hill as all of the Grand Cru, but is not Grand Cru because it... Read More

DB0916-18
Sustainable
Chablis Grand Cru Blanchots
2018
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

DB0917-18
Sustainable
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DB0934-18
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DB0080-18
Sustainable
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DB0920-18
Sustainable
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DB0919-18
Sustainable
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DB9737-17
Sustainable
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Chardonnay
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DB9701-17
Sustainable
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Chardonnay
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