Val de Mer by Patrick Piuze Bourgogne Blanc 2015
Although it is a partnership, all of the wines at Val de Mer are made by Patrick Piuze and the vineyards are under his watch as well. For the fruit that is purchased, Patrick chooses the date of harvest and takes his own team into the vineyards to pick by hand, just the same as he does for his own label. At the Val de Mer winery there is a complete range of wines produced including Bourgogne Blanc, Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru and 3 Grand Crus. There are also white and rosé sparkling wines made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir respectively. Patrick is quick to point out that although he is making the wines in the same manner as the wines under his own name, that Val de Mer has its own identity and personality. It is a separate winery located 20 minutes from Chablis and the wines ferment, and age differently here due to the winery’s location in a cool valley and the fact that the wines are made at ground level rather than underground as they are at his own winery. The change in ambiance results in wines that are uniquely their own. Often more classically styled in character than the Patrick Piuze wines which are richly textured and layered, the wines of Val de Mer exhibit pronounced minerality and racy acidity that one expects from Chablis.
A legendary wine region setting the benchmark for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay worldwide, Burgundy is a perennial favorite of many wine lovers. While the concept of ‘terroir’ reigns supreme here—soil type, elevation and angle of each slope—this is a region firmly rooted in tradition. Because of the Napoleonic Code requiring equal distribution of property and land among all heirs, vineyard ownership in Burgundy is extremely fragmented, with some growers responsible for just one or two rows of vines. This system has led to the predominance of the "negociant"—a merchant who purchases fruit from many different growers to vinify and bottle together.
Burgundy’s cool, continental climate and Jurassic limestone soils are perfect for the production of elegant, savory and mineral-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with plenty of acidity. Vintage variation is of particular importance here, as weather conditions can be variable and unpredictable. In some years spring frost and hail must be overcome.
The Côte d’Or, a long and narrow escarpment, forms the heart of the region, split into the Côte de Nuits to the north and the Côte de Beaune to the south. The former is home to many of the world’s finest Pinot Noir wines, while Chardonnay plays a much more prominent role in the latter, though outstanding red and white are produced throughout. Other key appellations include the Côte Chalonnaise, home to great value Pinot Noir and sparkling Crémant de Bourgogne. The Mâconnais produces soft and round, value-driven Chardonnay while Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy, is a paradise for any lover of bright, acid-driven and often age-worthy versions of the grape.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.