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Val de Mer by Patrick Piuze Petit Chablis 2015

Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
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    Winemaker Notes

    In contrast to the Bourgogne Blanc, the Petit Chablis is a more fruit driven wine. It comes from the plateau above the 1er Cru Vaillons vineyard where it is warmer. As a result, the Petit Chablis has more of a ripe fruity nose showing more peach and yellow fruits.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Val de Mer by Patrick Piuze

    Val de Mer by Patrick Piuze

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    Val de Mer by Patrick Piuze, Chablis, Burgundy, France
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    Val de Mer is the latest project of Chablis' newest star, Patrick Piuze. After more than a decade making wine in Chablis for the likes of Olivier Leflaive, Verget, and Jean-Marc Brocard, Patrick Piuze began his own label in 2008, sourcing top quality fruit by using the many connections he had made in the region over the years. The wines were immediately praised by critics and a new star was born. By the time he released his second vintage, the demand had already surpassed the small supply, and Patrick had no plans on increasing his production. Around this time, Patrick received a phone call from François Moutard, who has a sizeable estate in Champagne and had recently purchased a winery and some vineyards in the Chablis region. François knew Champagne, but was finding his new project in burgundy more difficult so he sought Patrick’s help. Soon the two were partners in a new venture they called Val de Mer which was to be made from their own estate vineyards as well as purchased fruit from Patrick’s many sources in Chablis.

    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.

    The source of the most racy, light and tactile, yet uniquely complex Chardonnay, Chablis, while considered part of Burgundy, actually reaches far past the most northern stretch of the Côte d’Or proper. Its vineyards cover hillsides surrounding the small village of Chablis about 100 miles north of Dijon, making it actually closer to Champagne than to Burgundy. Champagne and Chablis have a unique soil type in common called Kimmeridgian, which isn’t found anywhere else in the world except southern England. A 180 million year-old geologic formation of decomposed clay and limestone, containing tiny fossilized oyster shells, spans from the Dorset village of Kimmeridge in southern England all the way down through Champagne, and to the soils of Chablis. This soil type produces wines full of structure, austerity, minerality, salinity and finesse.

    Chablis Grand Cru vineyards are all located at ideal elevations and exposition on the acclaimed Kimmeridgian soil while most of the vineyards in the outlying spots are referred to as Petit Chablis. Chablis Grand Cru, as well as some Petit Chablis, can age for many years.

    Chardonnay

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    One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

    SPRDNVMPC15C_2015 Item# 178154