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It’s good… Chablis terroir lesson by Patrick Piuze 4 Oct 2010 by Jancis Robinson. 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. There is also one of the best Petit Chablis I have ever tasted.

Patrick Piuze is a French Canadian in his late thirties who first ran a wine bar in his native Montreal but then got the wine bug and ended up making Chablis for Olivier Leflaive, Jean-Marie Guffens of Verget and Jean-Marc Brocard before setting out on his own in July 2008. You can read his detailed biography on this page of his excellent website. He is also part of the team of young winemakers working for Pinot Noir specialists Agustinos in Chile that is led by his fellow Burgundy-based French Canadian Pascal Marchand.

He buys in fruit but quite clearly has a magic winemaking hand - not that the wines tasted at all ’worked’. Perhaps he is just very good at selecting which growers to favour ? You can see me below ’working on’ these wines in the Languedoc a few weeks ago. I am very grateful to Steven Daniel of Novum Wines for ensuring that I tasted these wines. Another UK wine importer, Bibendum Wines, is also now offering some of these wines, as per the list below.

Petit Chablis 2009 - £11.75 (£70.50 per 6)

Chablis Terroirs de Chablis 2009 - £13.25 (£70.50 per 6)

Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons Les Minots 2008 - £27 (£162 per 6)

Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots 2008 - £39.50 (£237 per 6)

The 2008s are followed by the 2009s.

Patrick Piuze, Terroirs de Chablis 2008 Chablis 16.5 Drink 2010-2015 :

Mildly, gently smoky nose with very sharp, uncompromising acidity and a palate that builds impressively towards the finish - nothing to do with alcohol, sheer extract. You could drink this now but it gives every indication of being likely to improve over the next few years. Still a little astringent. 12%

Patrick Piuze, Terroirs de Chichée 2008 Chablis 16+ Drink 2012-2016 :

A little more obviously mineral on the nose than the Terroirs de Chablis. Light, restrained and determinedly bone dry - quite a lot of sucking on a stone implicit in this wine. Still very embryonic indeed. Even rather severe at this point. For masochists ? 12%

Patrick Piuze, Terroirs de Courgis 2008 Chablis 16.5 Drink 2011-2016 :

Hint of gunflint, even a suggestion of Pouilly Fumé here, down to the lightly blackcurrant leaf Sauvignonesque suggestion. Sharply defined and more vegetable than animal or mineral (Chichée). Very good juiciness of fruit. So pure ! 12%

Patrick Piuze, Terroirs de Fleys 2008 Chablis 17 Drink 2011-2016 :

Rather complete and more complex than the other three ’Terroirs de...’ Very juicy and broad and satisfying. This has a little more flesh than the other three and is already very winning. Oddly enough, this is the one that is most Côte-d’Or-like - perhaps because of its extra body. Not a hint of oak though. 12.5%

Patrick Piuze, Vaucoupin Premier Cru 2008 Chablis 17 Drink 2012-2019 :

Very tense and tensile. LIke a fine steel rope holding up a bridge. Lovely spread across the palate and lots of easy green fruit flavours. Quite a bit of density and you could open this now but it would clearly be a waste in terms of its potential. Very impressive and very long. 12.5%

Patrick Piuze, Mont de Milieu Premier Cru 2008 Chablis 17.5 Drink 2011-2020 :

Broader than most, even a little nutty and waxy. Very clean and convincing, this seems to have a bit of aromatic development already. Positive, confident hit on the palate. Bone dry and very pure indeed. Not a hint of wet wool. 13%.

Patrick Piuze, Forchaume Premier Cru 2008 Chablis 17.5 Drink 2010-2020 :

Already a hint of honey on the nose even though the palate is bone dry and has tons of gunflint and acidity. Very long and with extremely intense impact. A dramatic, very pure wine. Lots of extract. Almost burly. 13.5%

Patrick Piuze, Les Minots, Vaillons Premier Cru 2008 Chablis 17.5 Drink 2013-2022 :

Restrained, mineral nose that is intriguing but clearly needs time to develop. Haunting and ethereal. And then on the palate a really rather remarkable amount of ripe fruit insinuates itself. Lots of hidden thunder here. But still a bit chewy on the finish. 13.5%

Patrick Piuze, Côte de Bouqueyreaux, Bougros Premier Cru 2008 Chablis 16+ Drink 2014-2022 :

The bottle I tasted seeed a bit flat on the nose - strange in view of the immense trouble taken to protect the corks (horrid wax seals). There is vivacity on the palate and masses and masses of acidity but not much to lift the spirits on the nose. Very persistent. Very astringent. 12.5%
Patrick Piuze, Les Clos 2008 Chablis Grand Cru 18.5 Drink 2012-2025
Really exciting nervosité on the nose. And lovely broad, succulent fruit on the palate. A magisterial Chablis - commanding. It says 12.5% on the label but seems so intense... Difficult to spit. Very multilayered and easy to love already. I assume it would be a waste to drink it now but it’s difficult to resist. 12.5%

Patrick Piuze, Blanchots 2008 Chablis Grand Cru 18 Drink 2014-2024 :

Very mineral nose. Transparent. Tastes much more delicate than Les Clos. Lovely blend of tension, depth and length. Well delineated with lots of green fruit flavours on the palate but still a little astringent. A certain toasty quality on the finish. 13.5%

Patrick Piuze 2009 Petit Chablis 16 Drink 2010-2013 :

Really very generous on the nose for a Petit Chablis. Really so much better than most AC Chablis ! Lovely to drink now. Quite broad and intense with sappy greengage aromas. Perhaps the best Petit Chablis I can remember. 12.5%.

Patrick Piuze, Terroir de Courgis 2009 Chablis 17 Drink 2010-2016 :

I note this is Terroir singular in 2009 as opposed to plural in 2009. Extremely steely/smoky/sulphidey on the nose. Then a good broad hit of ripe fruit on the palate. This seems more forward than most 2008s of similar quality. Lovely already. Very neat even if not the most intense. 12%

Patrick Piuze, Terroir de Chablis 2009 Chablis 16.5+ Drink 2012-2020 :

Tense, tight and classic on the nose. All very tightly coiled. Lots of green fruit and acidity. Juicy fruit and quite crystalline in structure. Not nearly ready - unlike the Courgis. 12%.

Patrick Piuze, Terroirs de Fyé 2009 Chablis 17 Drink 2010-2018 :

Reticent, lightly smoky nose. Very juicy - a sort of Beaujolais of a Chablis. Super-succulent and open but with an admirable spine. Quite concentrated. 12.5%.

Patrick Piuze, Les Minots Vaillons Premier Cru 2009 Chablis 16 Drink 2012-2017 :

Light nose and rather sweet, straightforward - almost fruity ! - palate. Much less intriguing than the 2008 but perhaps just because it is a year younger and still callow. Less crystalline than the 2008 - too ripe perhaps ? 13.5%

Patrick Piuze, Montée de Tonnerre Premier Cru 2009 Chablis 17.5 Drink 2010-2022 :

Lightly honeyed nose. Quite fine and intense with a mineral backdrop and real complexity although the ripeness is deceptive and suggests one could almost wolf it down now. Delicately laced. 12.5%

Patrick Piuze, Les Forêts Premier Cru 2009 Chablis 16.5 Drink 2013-2020 :

Very reticent nose. Juicy and easy but not obviously better than the AC Chablis 2009s from Patrick Piuze that I have tasted. Presumably it has hidden depths but they remain hidden at the moment. Still quite chewy on the end. 13.5%

Un grand merci à Jancis Robinson.