Our old colleague (and SF man-on-the-ground), Beau Rapier, was in town and a few of us joined him for a neighborhood lunch at Maysville. We started with the hay-roasted oysters (of course) and ordered a bottle of Chablis (of course).
It was lunch, so we didn’t get anything fancy, just the new vintage of a village wine from one of our favorites, Patrick Piuze. Reasonably priced and humble in appellation. But when we opened it, holy cow—it was off the charts!
Like a top Premier Cru, it had delicious fruit, a telltale note of gun flint (so good with the oysters), and the kind of long, mineral finish that can teach a first-time taster both what a finish is, and what it means for a wine to taste mineral. It was a delicious wine, a great wine with food, and a wine with real personality. At a crazy price. How?
Piuze, we’ve noted many times before (in our newsletter, if not on the blog) is fascinated by terroir—even the “mere” village level terroirs that most producers blend together to make Chablis AC. Rather Patrick bottles the best of them on their own to show just how special their terroir can be.
And that wine, the “Terroir Coteau de Fontenay,” is from special terroir . The coteau is a steep slope on the Serein’s right bank. It’s out beyond the Grand Cru hill, in a valley where the winds whip down from the north. The vines are on the west-facing side and we’re guessing nature’s balance of late sun and cool air must contribute to the wine’s tension of fruit and vibrant acidity.
Piuze’s work is non-interventionist; he wants to let Fontenay just say Fontenay. So this is village Chablis, but different from a blended village wine, or the Chablis from Courgis or the one from across the river in the village of Chablis itself (all of them Piuze wines we’ve sold before). It’s Chardonnay grown in classic kimmeridgian soils, but it has its own balance of orchard fruit, iodine, salt, and chiseled minerality.
Patrick is doing us all a tremendous favor by sharing these different corners of AC Chablis.
2016 Chablis, scarce but delicious
2016 was a devastating year for many Chablis growers. There was terrible frost, hail, rain and disease. Growers lost tons of fruit, many of them 50% of their usual harvest. But somehow, miraculously, the best growers brought in fruit that was healthy. And now that the wines are here we’re pretty much knocked out.
They have plenty of fruit, plenty of stuffing. But most amazingly, even in their youth they are pure examples of their terroirs.
But nobody made much wine and they’re going to go fast.
Piuze is no exception on either front: the wines are straight-up delicious expressions of their terroir, but there aren’t a lot of them. We bought as much of the Coteau de Fontenay as we could, because we know we aren’t going to find a lot of wines this good at these prices.
Even so, we don’t expect to have it long. We know lots of our loyal blog readers will want to have some very special ’16 village Chablis to drink over the months ahead, so we’re offering a special blog-reader discount on 6-pack.
Patrick Piuze, Chablis “Coteau de Fontenay”, 2016 – $28.99 $24.99 *
You can take advantage of by entering PIUZE16 in the shopping cart when you add 6 or more bottles of Piuze Fontenay to your cart.
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- This wine is available for sale from our NYC location only.