Moreau's Petit Chablis is drawn from a single 2.5-hectare site, with a southwest orientation, on the highly prized Kimmeridgian belt (as opposed to the higher Portlandian soils that much Petit is sourced from). This 25 year-old vineyard is in Courgis, on the Chablis-St Bris road. From this top Petit Chablis real estate, the 2014 shows its class from the get go. A juicy, crunchy, spicy white Burgundy, with pithy, citrus fruit and crystalline minerality woven throughout. The finish is long, sappy and cool. - Importer Note
Finding a non-conformist vigneron in Chablis is harder than finding a decent coffee in the French countryside. We've been scouring the region for years, seeking out a vigneron who might be trying to shake things up, seeking to redefine what so much of the wine world accepts as authentic Chablis. You know the stuff: flinty, austere, crisp. This style has its place, but it has as much to do with the early harvesting, high yields and machine harvesting that today dominate the region than it does with terroir. Dauvissat and Raveneau have always shown what was possible but where were the others? At last, we 'stumbled' across what we had been searching for, thanks, initially, to the Graillot family who gave us a couple of bottles of Moreau-Naudet to try. After visiting and tasting the wines from barrel and bottle, we became convinced that this was exactly the type of authentic producer we had been seeking.
Stéphane Moreau (no relation to the other Moreau families in Chablis), is a devotee of Vincent Dauvissat, Didier Dagueneau (who helped him design his idiosyncratic labels), and Nadi Foucault (Clos Rougeard) and offers us basically everything we search for in quality growers of white Burgundy, starting with a remarkable patrimony of old vines (many parcels 50 years +) in superb terroirs (including Forêts!) Here is a youthful talent that has turned his family Domaine around by reintroducing the old, pre-industrial growing methods to make something truly distinctive and extraordinary.
Don't be surprised if you have not heard of this producer: the transformation only truly occurred in the last seven years and many writers have yet to become aware of what has occurred here. It has been Allen Meadows who has been first to pick up the trail. These are not your brittle, simple 'Chablis-by-numbers' where acidity is oft confused as minerality. Here the style is born of low yields and ripe fruit and that crunchy, citric, acid tang of generic Chablis finds itself replaced by an intense, mineral freshness interwoven through pulpy, sexy fruit. We recognise the personality of these wines. We see it in all of the finest, artisanal Burgundy. This makes sense - Moreau methods - which include ploughing, organic viticulture, hand-harvesting, whole berry pressing, natural yeast fermentation, natural settling, long slow elevage in large oak - sound identical to the best growers of the Côte de Beaune. Low sulphur is another key to understanding the wines. It's all very un-Chablis.
Ripe, balanced, fruit from hand tended vineyards is Moreau's mojo. He has 13.5 ha of AC Chablis including a small 1ha of in Les Pargues which has the same exposition as Vaillons and Montmains and more texture and depth than many a 1er Cru. The vines here are on average 50 years old and the wine, which sees some old wood, is bottled separately as a vieilles vignes. Also on the left bank there are 1er Crus in Montmains - all flattering fruit and textured richness - a shimmering, rock-hewn Forêts - the rare site that Dauvissat made famous ‚– and a refined and steely Vaillons that is a brilliant reflection of that vineyard. On the right bank Stephane has almost 1 ha in the Raveneau fiefdom of Montee de Tonnere which makes his most flinty cuvee. Finally there is a majestic, silky textured wine made from 0.60ha in the sheltered Valmur Grand Cru.
The sum of Moreau's learning, his technique and his vineyards are a set of wines naturally very textural and full of fruit. We believe they possess a purity and intensity of flavour, seldom encountered in Chablis today. Those fruit characters are vivid - intense floral and orchard fruit barely hiding under a pile of wet stone minerality. The palate is mouth filling yet finely detailed and coolly refreshing. This is old school Chablis, yet conversely very contemporary. Wines full of that 'everything old is new again' flesh and charm. These are charismatic and thought provoking wines, yet remain deliciously drinkable. We love them and look forward to your reaction.
- Importer Note
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