JOHN GILMAN-VIEW FROM THE CELLAR

View from the Cellar-John Gilman http://viewfromthecellar.com/

Domaine Patrick Piuze has moved to more convenient and spacious cellars since
I last visited here, and the domaine is now located in the old Vocoret cellars almost
directly across the street from Domaine Vincent Dauvissat. There was a fair bit of
construction going on in the cellars at the time of my visit, as the various rooms here were being outfitted to better match the needs of the domaine. Patrick has abandoned his pneumatic press for the most part in the 2011 vintage, deciding that the older vintages of Chablis that aged so well were all done with the old mechanical presses of their era, and if they worked so well then, what is the point of not still using them today. He has made a few cuvées in 2011 with both the new and the old-fashioned presses and kept the two wines separate for the elevage, so it will be possible to taste and compare the two versions in the spring. As far as his fine 2010s go, like Bernard Raveneau, Patrick Piuze is not madly in love with his 2010s, and he had not revisited them out of bottle for many months prior to my visit in November. He was pleasantly surprised at how well the wines were showing, but he still feels that his 2009s were a cut above the 2010s here, as they have a bit more cut and structural integrity than the more open-knit- though still transparent and racy- 2010s. It was a year that Patrick would be happy to forget, simply from a business standpoint, as one of his partners became a major liability to the enterprise and it was a very difficult year as a result that required much more attention to the business side of the domaine than would be ideal for a vigneron who wants to be in the cellars or out in the vineyards as much as possible. As Patrick says, “somehow the wines of 2010 seem to have known that my attention was preoccupied with the business side of things and they do not show quite the same precision- at least to my palate- as was the case with the 2008s and 2009s, which I could focus all of my energies on during their elevage.” Like the Domaine Raveneau wines of 2010, the Domaine Piuze wines are a tad more generous out of the blocks than Patrick finds ideal, and he mentioned that to the best of his recollection, once the rain started on the 24th of September, it seemed like the entire harvest was conducted in the drizzle. Consequently, the 2010s chez Piuze will drink a bit earlier than was the case with his superb 2008s and several of his 2009s, but the same transparency of terroir is evident in the new vintage as well. In fact, I really liked these 2010s a lot and have to wonder if part of Patrick’s fairly modest attachment to this vintage has more to do with the unsavory memories of the partnership troubles than it has to do with the actual quality of the wines- which really are very, very good. In any event, Patrick’s ex-partner is now in the rearview mirror, his long-time assistant, Sylvie Quittot, who worked with Pat at Domaine Brocard, has joined him as a partner, and the future is again looking very promising. There is a new project in the works here outside of the domaine that is going to keep Patrick Piuze close to home for the foreseeable future (he has done stints as a travelling winemaker in the southern hemisphere in several recent vintages during the winter months in Chablis) and which he should unveil next year. In the meantime, he happily reports that his 2011s are much more along the lines of what he is most excited about producing and he has very, very high expectations for this next vintage. That said, I seriously doubt that anyone who is lucky enough to latch onto some of his ever so slightly more forward 2010s is going to be disappointed!

2010 Petit Chablis- Domaine Patrick Piuze87

As was the case with the 2009, the 2010 Petit Chablis hails from two different parcels of vines, with one of them lying immediately above Les Clos on the top of the grand crus. This wine is a blend of eighty percent barrel-fermented juice and twenty percent fermented in stainless steel tanks. The 2010 offers up a very pretty nose of grapefruit, apple, lovely, chalky soil tones and white flowers. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and suave on the attack, with nice framing acids and good length and bounce on the juicy finish. A very good example. 2011-2017.

2010 Chablis “Terroirs de Chichée”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 89.

The four different villages bottlings of Chablis made by Patrick Piuze are designed to show the different terroirs to be found in the various valleys of the appellation. The “Terroirs de Chichée” hails from very hard, limestone soils and is made up of a blend of eighty percent forty-one year-old vines, with the balance even older, having been planted in 1947! This cuvée is all raised in stainless steel tanks and is very good in 2010, as it offers up scents of tart orange, green apple, chalk, spring flowers and a touch of beeswax. On the palate the wine is medium-full, vibrant and complex, with ripe acids, solid depth and very good length and grip on the wide open finish. Good juice,. 2012-2020.

2010 Chablis “Terroirs de Courges”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 89+.

The villages bottling called “Terroirs de Courges” hails from vineyards that lie out towards the village of Préhy and very close to Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard. These are all fifty-six year-old vines planted in south-facing slopes, and they have produced a very good bottling of Chablis AC in 2010. The wine offers up a deep and classy nose of apple, pink grapefruit, a touch of flint intermingled with the chalky soil tones and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and fairly snappy, with good mid-palate depth, fine focus and impressive length and grip on the succulent finish. This will drink very well from the outset, but has a sufficiently tensile enough spine of acidity to carry it for most of this decade. 2012-2020.

2010 Chablis “Terroirs de Chablis”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 90

The “Terroirs de Chablis” AC bottling comes from a plot of villages vines that lie right next door to La Forest. These vines are thirty-nine years of age and are the youngest vines from which Patrick Piuze purchases fruit. The 2010 is a very fine bottling of AC Chablis, jumping from the glass in a blend of green apple, orange, flint, a touch of straw and lemon peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and complex, with generous ripeness, bright acids and very good length and grip on the wide open finish. This will drink very well from the get-go. 2011-2020+.

2010 Chablis “Terroirs de Fyé”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 90.

The 2010 “Terroirs de Fyé” is a bit more reserved than these other lovely villages bottlings, but every bit as fine. The nose offers up a complex blend of wet stone, grapefruit, lemon zest, smoky notes and a nice touch of lemongrass in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and fairly racy, with a good core, fine focus and very good length and grip on the finish. Good juice. 2011-2020+.

2010 Chablis “Vaillons” Les Minots- Domaine Patrick Piuze 92

The Domaine Piuze Vaillons “Les Minots” hails from a parcel of seventy-one year-old vines in the finest section of Vaillons. The 2010 is really a fine example of the vintage, jumping from the glass in a mélange of apple, tart orange, superb minerality, citrus peel, smoke and wet stones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite crisp, with a good core of fruit, bright acids, fine focus and very good length and grip on the open and complex finish. Good juice. 2013-2030.

2010 Chablis “La Forêts”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 92

The La Forêts chez Piuze also hails from seventy-one year-old vines and is another very well-balanced, complex and fairly open example of the vintage. The deep and classy bouquet offers up scents of pink grapefruit, lemon, chalky soil tones, beeswax and a bit of lemon peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, crisp and classy, with a lovely core of fruit, fine, framing acidity, excellent focus and impressive length and grip on the pure and refined finish. Good juice that will not require a whole lot of bottle age to really start singing. 2013-2030+.

2010 Chablis “Fourchaume”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 92.

The 2010 Fourchaume will be the last vintage in which the parcel in Vaulorent that he is also purchasing grapes from is blended in, as it will be bottled on its own in 2011. Fourchaume is one of the warmest micro-climates to be found amongst the Chablis premier crus, and this often gives the wine a bit more ripeness and generosity out of the blocks. The 2010 from Patrick Piuze is a fine example, delivering a complex and pure
bouquet of apple, tangerine, stony minerality, a touch of the “toastiness” (for lack of a better term) that I often find in the terroir of Fourchaume, citrus peel and white flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and less overtly ripe than the 2009 version, with very good depth, fine focus and balance and a very long, snappy finish. This is a lovely example of Fourchaume that will make friends early. 2013-2030+.

2010 Chablis “Butteaux”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 93+

These vines lie right alongside those of Domaine Raveneau’s in Butteaux and the wine is quite similar in style to the Raveneau bottling in 2010. The bouquet is deep and superb, jumping from the glass in a blaze of lemon, apple, complex minerality, a touch of beeswax, smoky overtones, lemon zest and citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and really quite solid at the core, with snappy acids, excellent focus, a very minerally personality and superb length and grip on the complex finish. A superb premier cru in the making. 2015-2035.

2010 Chablis “Montée de Tonnerre”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 94

The 2010 Piuze Montée de Tonnerre is the strongest of a very good lineup of premier crus in this vintage, as the wine offers up a deep and classic nose of lemon, apple, complex minerality, a touch of anise, beeswax and white flowers. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and really quite concentrated at the core, with bright acids, lovely focus and balance and superb length and grip on the nascently complex and very pure finish. Fine, fine juice. 2015-2035+.

2010 Chablis “Blanchots”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 94+

At about this point in the tasting, I was beginning to wonder why Patrick was not enamored of this vintage, as there had already been some very fine bottles in the lineup and the 2010 Blanchots is a simply superb wine. The bouquet delivers a fine mélange of lemon, pink grapefruit, chalky minerality, beeswax, lemon blossoms and a touch of licorice. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure on the attack, with lovely complexity, a very good core of fruit and a very long, focused and quite tensile finish. Classic Blanchots. 2016-2040.

2010 Chablis “Bougros”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 94

The 2010 Piuze Bougros is a lovely wine in the making, with the generosity of this grand cru perfectly matched to the style of the vintage chez Piuze. The deep and complex nose jumps from the glass in a blend of grapefruit, tart orange, lemon zest, very fine minerality and a topnote of spring flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, fullbodied and quite plush on the attack, with lovely mid-palate density, excellent focus and balance and impressive length and grip on the minerally finish. A lovely wine. 2016-2040.

2010 Chablis “Côte de Bouquereaux”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 95+

While much of the grand cru of Bougros has southwesterly exposure, there is a very steep section right down by the River Serein that faces due south and is for all intents and purposes a separate terroir from the rest of Bougros. Here is where Domaine
William Fèvre produces their bottling of Côte de Bouguerots, and Patrick Piuze has also been able to source grapes from a parcel of vines in this same section of the vineyard, which he dubs his Côte de Bouquereaux bottling. The Côte de Bouquereaux name is taken from an ancient spelling for this section of Bougros. The 2010 Côte de Bouquereaux is a step up from the straight Bougros, offering up a superb bouquet of apple, tart orange, a touch of straw, pink grapefruit, very complex minerality and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and racy, with a great core of fruit, snappy acids, laser-like focus and superb cut and grip on the very, very transparent and long finish. A superb 2010. 2017-2040+.

2010 Chablis “Valmur”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 95+

The 2010 Valmur chez Piuze is a beautiful wine in the making, with impressive complexity on both the nose and palate and the requisite structural integrity to seemingly cruise along on its exquisite balance for several decades. The deep, complex and striking nose jumps from the glass in a superb blend of apple, lemon, a touch of pear, beautiful, chalky minerality, smoke, lemon blossoms, anise and a nice topnote of oyster shell. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and complex, with a fine core of fruit, lovely focus and grip and a very long, crisp and soil-driven finish. Great juice. 2017-2040+.

2010 Chablis “Les Clos”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 96.

The 2010 Les Clos from Patrick Piuze is a classic expression of this magical terroir, with all of the transparency of the vintage in full display and with plenty of structural backbone to carry it many years into the future- most likely without demanding a long stretch of pre-drinking bottle age. The superb bouquet is a mélange of apple, lemon, grapefruit, very complex, flinty minerality, orange peel and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure and complex on the attack, with a fine core of fruit, superb focus and balance, very good acidity and excellent length and grip on the classy finish. 2017-2040+.

2010 Chablis “Les Preuses”- Domaine Patrick Piuze 96+

In the 2010 vintage, Patrick Piuze’s Les Preuses is the king of the cellar. The wine offers up a simply stunning nose of lemon, pink grapefruit, brilliant chalky minerality, a touch of youthful grassiness, citrus peel, beeswax and a distinct topnote of oyster shell. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and very suave on the attack, with a fine core of fruit, brisk acids and outstanding length and grip on the laser-like finish. This will drink earlier than the Piuze grand crus from 2008, but at its apogee, it very well may provide every bit as much pleasure and complexity. A beautiful wine. 2017-2040+.