Antoine Petitprez Bourgogne Aligoté les Valendons comes from 30-year-old vines on clay-limestone soil. The resulting wine is sensational, Jura-esque in purity and minerality, orchard fruit, roasted almond saline notes.
Organic, BioD., Natural
The wines of Antoine Petitprez are wines for connoisseurs. Most of his modest production is sold to multi-Michelin-starred restaurants in France, and yet for more than a decade he has largely gone unnoticed in the rest of the world. An impressive achievement considering how quickly rumours generally spread about anything related to Burgundy. But Antoine has never made a big deal out of marketing his wines. He is a hardcore terroir nerd with a scientific background, and he spends all his time in the vineyard.
In his modest cellar in the heart of Pommard, he vinifies his wines with great attention. Whole clusters, gentle extraction, spontaneous fermentation, only old casks, zero fining or filtration and zero added sulphur. The wines of Antoine Petitprez are light and elegant, yet profoundly concentrated while trembling with energy.
Antoine studied oenology in Beaune and Lyon, during which he was responsible for a research program on the moon's effects on wines and vines. He created an association with the likes of Meo Camuzet, Domaine JJ Confuron, Alain Meunier, Liger Bel Air, Bruno Clavelier and Domaine Dujac to repeat experimentations in the vineyards and in the cellar. He’s part of a new generation in Burgundy, taking the best of tradition, soil and winemaking to tell a story of where the wines were made.
After his studies, Antoine worked in Chablis, then Domaine Malivoire in Canada, Domaine de L’Arlot in Nuits St Georges, and a vintage at Turley Wine Cellars in California.
The first vintage of Uliz was 2008, which produced 1,200 cases from small lots of old vine fruit, all of which were organically or biodynamically farmed.
The fruit sourcing for Uliz is quite original and utterly efficient: Antoine develops mutually beneficial partnerships by consulting with organic farmers in exchange for their agreement to sell him grapes. His strategic networking allows him to acquire superior fruit contracts with these growers and provides him with an openness to understand their vineyard practices throughout every aspect of harvest. All of Antoine’s farmers plow for good biological activity in the soil and practice organic and biodynamic farming methods.
Besides his partnerships in Burgundy, Antoine works with farmers of old vine Mondeuse in the Savoie appellation.
“Bespoke” is a word that has been ruined by overuse, but I’ll use it nevertheless to describe the wines of Antoine Petitprez. Most of what little wine he makes ends up in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, leaving the rest of us to fight over the tiny amount that’s exported. This begs the question: Is it worth the effort? Well, it sure was for me. Uliz is a venture focused first and foremost on sustainable viticulture: Antoine Petitprez consults with organic and biodynamic growers in exchange for fruit from those vineyards for his wines. Impeccably crafted and resolutely natural, his are tiny-production, much-buzzed-about Burgundies—and they live up to the hype!”
Ian Cauble, Master Sommelier, SOMM Select