The wine world lost a talented winemaker when Patrick Bize died Sunday. Patrick was genuine, warm and had a great sense of humor.
I had the good fortune of visiting Patrick twice in the past four years at his domaine in Savigny-lès-Beaune, where he made terrific reds and whites from an assortment of villages and premier cru parcels for Domaine Simon Bize. He also bottled a little Corton-Charlmagne and Latricières-Chambertin.
His wines reflected his personality: Frank, honest, warm and inviting.
We first met in 1991, when I worked for Burgundy Wine Company. In the spring of 2009, we had lunch together in New York and made plans for a visit on my next trip to to Burgundy.
It was during that visit, in November 2009, that Patrick was working on his family tree and urged me to accompany him to his uncle's house in Aloxe-Corton to pick up some documents. Of course, his uncle makes a little wine for himself and we had to have a glass, which turned into two glasses and probably would have been three had we not excused ourselves.
We went back to Savigny and enjoyed a simple casse-croûte by the fire. Patrick's interests were wide, including music. He talked about one of his favorite pieces, Requiem, by the French composer Gabriel Fauré, among the classical pieces he often listened to.
When I left, he spoke of doing a tasting in the vineyards one day, so we could taste each wine in its place of origin.
In January 2012, just after arriving in Beaune for my annual trip, I ran into Patrick and his wife, Chisa, at Caves Madeleine. We made an appointment to meet and taste his 2010s.
After tasting, we enjoyed a lunch prepared by Chisa. Again we discussed music, and he urged me to buy Fauré's Requiem, which I subsequently did on my return to New York.
Two weeks ago I heard that Patrick had a heart attack while driving and as a result of his injuries was in a coma. I was deeply saddened when I heard the news of his passing.
I went home that night and listened to Fauré's Requiem.
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