Piuze's Stunning 2012 Chablis - Montée de Tonnerre, Blanchots, Clos, Valmur & More

Posted by Ian McFadden

Piuze's Stunning 2012 Chablis
2012 Piuze Chablis:
Montée de Tonnerre, Blanchots,
Clos, Valmur & More

Since his first vintage in 2008, Piuze has done nothing less than send shockwaves across this Kimmeridgean-laden landscape.

Piuze immediately entered a very, very elite level of winemaking.

The 2012 collection at Piuze establishes this emphatically.

Comparing Piuze to Raveneau and Dauvissat seems almost too easy, but that doesn't mean this comparison isn't apt - it is. As with both of these legendary producers, the style of Piuze is about texture and weight married to a shocking clarity, a pristine and seamless presentation of marine-infused minerality.

Today, we're happy to offer Piuze's top wines from the excellent 2012 vintage.

2012 in Chablis is a vintage of outrageous purity. With his usual acuity, David Schildknecht hits it on the head when he writes: "the best 2012s are focused, energetic, and not lacking in textural allure."

Of course the wines are still young, but the consensus is that 2012 is, with 2008 and 2010, the strongest Chablis vintages of recent years.

Piuze is one of the high points of this strong vintage.

Our well-curated offer focuses on the top 1er Crus and Grand Crus. To begin with Vaulorent, a mere path separates Vaulorent from the Grand Cru Les Preuses, and it delivers the substance and complexity of a baby Grand Cru. The same goes for Montée de Tonnerre, which is situated next to Blanchots and is a 1er Cru that comes close to Grand Cru quality.

Piuze's Grand Crus are beautiful in 2012 in both their complexity and mineral-saturated clarity. This ranges from what's easily one of best examples of Grand Cru, the Blanchots, to the super-agile and detailed Valmur, the supremely finessed Preuses, and the epic Les Clos.

Piuze came to run his own operation after nearly a decade of stints making Chablis at Olivier Leflaive, Jean-Marie Guffens' Verget label and Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, so he knows the area well. While he doesn't personally own any vines himself, he maintains close relationships with the region's landowners and buys grapes only from plots where he oversees all the vineyard management, and all of the grapes he buys are hand-harvested.

The only catch is that 2012 in Chablis, like all of Burgundy, saw ridiculous low yields. These are very limited.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

2012 Piuze

David Schildknecht:"Piuze says that his 2012 Chablis Montee de Tonnerre originates with a single hands-on grower who "is one of those meticulous men who has never, ever produced wine but has grown grapes all his life" (and who also supplies Piuze’s outstanding Vaucrains). There is an impressively overt if somewhat opaque sense of sheer density to this wine, which is loaded with salt- and alkali-tinged lemon, grapefruit, and kelp. Mouthwateringly long and mysteriously marine and mineral, happily, there are 17 barrels of this, and it should fare well in bottle through at least 2020."

David Schildknecht:"From old vines in two especially breezy spots in this grand quality premier cru, the 8 barrels of Piuze 2012 Chablis Vaulorent display infectiously juicy fresh lime and white peach admirably transparent to nuances of stone, salt, and crustaceans. Bittersweet perfume of iris and gentian wafts from the glass and afterward across a subtly creamy palate tinged, too, with almond extract and peach kernel. The intricacy of floral, mineral, and fruit interweaving here are typical for this superb site and the clarity and energy typical for the best of the 2012 vintage. Plan to follow this beauty through at least 2022."

David Schildknecht: "From two producers and selected rows in three disparate parcels, Piuze’s 2012 Chablis Blanchots smells of iris and gentian wafted on ocean breeze. Silken-textured, strikingly buoyant (at a mere 12.3% alcohol, no wonder!) and infectiously juicy in a fashion too-seldom evident among grand cru Chablis, its citrus and pale pit fruits are tinged with salty-sweet, saliva-inducing savor of shrimp shell reduction, leading to a mouthwateringly long and dazzlingly interactive finishing colloquy of flower, fruit and mineral. The sense of clarity – notable, given the supplemental lees this was fed – of finesse and near-kaleidoscopic complexity on exhibit here should remain exciting through at least 2024 (and, I am hopeful, beyond)."

David Schildknecht: "Alas, there are only two barrels. "I always harvest here late in the afternoon," says Piuze of his 2012 Chablis Valmur "because the skins are softer and the afternoon lees accentuate what I think the monks who planted and named this site ‘vale of ripeness’ had in mind. That’s why," he adds – citing this cru’s surprisingly wide discrepancies in exposure – "I wanted fruit from the south-facing portion or nothing." Scents of woodruff, arbor vitae and grapefruit, resin and nutmeg anticipate the flavors of a sappy, expansive, glycerol-rich palate, leading to a superbly-sustained, complex finish. Here is another of this producer’s grand crus worth following through at least 2024."

David Schildknecht: "Piuze points out in introducing his 2012 Chablis Les Clos that on past occasions he has never shown the wine from this celebrated site last in his line-up; whereas this year he thinks it has earned that position. I would not disagree, and can well understand why – along among Piuze’s current collection – this wine was to be bottled at some as yet undetermined date not in July. Lusciously juicy, bright pink and white grapefruit are liberally laced with chalk, alkali and saliva-drawing salt on an impressively dense and (for now) firm palate. While this lacks the lift, intricacy or transparency exhibited by its counterpart from Blanchots, it finishes with implacable grip as well as energy and mouthwatering refreshment. Sourced from a single grower but two parcels – one near Blanchots and one up by Valmur, whose fruit was crushed together – like the corresponding Blanchots, this benefitted from extended stay on lees that reflected substantial borrowing other musts. But while "benefitted" is indeed the right word, given how brilliantly both wines have succeeded, their author reports, "We were scared right until the end that there might be reduction problems" or other undesirable consequences."

David Schildknecht: "Along with the musky and scallop-like scents and flavors I would expect from this site, the Piuze 2012 Chablis Les Preuses exhibits a strongly alkaline, almost metallic streak, though this is satisfactorily integrated into a bright matrix of crabapple, grapefruit and white peach. The combination here of fullness with tartness is striking, if slightly incongruous, and the finish impressive for sheer length, if not notably transparent to nuance. This may merely need time – or perhaps wanted to be tasted on a different day – for its manifest wealth of sheer material to sort itself out. I would want to revisit it before prognosticating about its bottle evolution beyond stating that it will certainly be worth following through at least 2018."