Chablis produces the purest expressions of Chardonnay in the world. Today's offer comes from a new producer, who after many years of working for top producers in the region, has gone out on his own. He has utilized the relationships he developed with small growers in the area to start his own labels—Patrick Piuze and Val de Mer—both sourcing fruit from different small vineyard sites and fermenting in different locations. For those who don’t know, in Chablis, there is a classification system which categorizes the vineyards according to the soil type, slope, temperature and sun exposure; these factors play an important role in determining which vineyards will produce the best fruit and result in the highest quality wine. The term “Grand Cru” is the highest level of quality and there are only 7 classified vineyards, followed by Premier Cru, Chablis and Petit Chablis. Each level is typically a bit lighter and less complex, depending on the vine age and other factors. The 2012 Les Clos Grand Cru Chablis, which is produced under Patrick Piuze's Val de Mar label, is made from intensely-concentrated grapes from the acclaimed Les Clos Grand Cru, whose oily texture and profound minerality is unlike any other vineyard. When these wines are properly aged, they can become some of the greatest white wines produced in the world.
It is no secret, wine professionals and connoisseurs alike will tell you that the terroir of Les Clos is the most famous Grand Cru. Piuze has established close relationships with the hardworking growers in Les Clos—working intimately with them in the vineyards to farm as organically as possible and understand the terroir and intricacies of each vintage. When the grapes are harvested, Piuze focuses on revealing the true varietal characteristics and the unique terroir of the vineyard; he ages the wine in 100% neutral barrels to assure that the purity of the terroir is expressed in the glass. His relationships with the best growers and his respectful and natural approach to winemaking have allowed him to rise to the top of the list of the best producers—among the likes of some of my favorites, such as Francois Raveneau, William Fevre and R & V Dauvissat. His wines are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after from the region and we are honored to share the great 2012 vintage our members. When you taste this wine, you will see why he has emerged as one of the best new producers in the region.
The 2012 Val de Mer Grand Cru “Le Clos” has a highly concentrated yellow core moving to green and gold reflections on the rim. The aromas are floral and mineral with notes of fresh white flowers, saffron, honeysuckle, fennel fronds, and crushed oyster shells with a touch of fresh yellow apple and white peach in the background. The palate has a very broad and oily texture, joined with compact minerality which tests your brain’s ability to comprehend the complexity and concentration of minerals in the glass. Flavors on the palate are similar to the nose with flavors of fresh flowers, unripe yellow apple, yellow peach, lemon peel, oyster shells and crushed stones. This wine should be put down a minimum of 3-4 more years before drinking and should peak at about 15-20 years of age, if kept in a cold and dark cellar. If you would like to drink a bottle now to understand its evolution, please decant for 2 hours and drink at about 55-60 degrees from a large Burgundy stem. This wine is delicious at the moment; I am drinking some now with great pleasure, but I promise this Grand Cru Chablis will begin to show its true potential years from now—please try to be patient.