Tasted in Chablis with Fabien Moreau, 22 January 2019.
Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils
26 avenue d’Oberwesel
Tel: +33 3 86 42 86 34
Fabien on 2018:
“It’s a great year – that’s for sure – we avoided climate-accidents – we are certified organic and our last treatment was 8th July – normally it’s in August – extremely dry so extremely free of maladies too. Still had some worries that the vines and grapes would start to dry out, but thanks to the wet start of the year we avoided it – there was just enough reserve of water for the vines. Started harvesting about 6 September, a few years ago I might have started earlier but we stayed calm and decided to wait. A little less acidity than in 2017 but I think these will be tasty wines. We made a similar yield here in 2004 and 2011, but neither of those vintages had the dream cleanliness of the 2018 grapes. Twice as long harvesting in 18 versus 2017, but there were less grapes in 2017. I had some worries as the degrees were 14.2 in the last days of the harvest, probably because of that the fermentations were slow but it’s worked out. If 2017 had been a normal volume there wouldn’t have been enough place for the last of the 2018 harvest. Some gymnastics were required to find places for the wine between decanting and racking from one tank to another, et-cetera – but these are not bad problems!”
Fabien on 2017:
“In 2017 it was much easier to work, it almost tranquil compared to 2016. Of course there was the frost and a much colder winter than in 2016 – we protect 4.5 hectares of vines with candles and needed them for 8 days, so as we slowly ran out of candles they were pulled out of Vaillons and taken for Les Clos. We didn’t use them in Valmur as it’s practically never frosted but it was in 17 – still we managed to make 12 hl/ha though. In Les Clos we saved all the buds, but the flowering was still not very consistent given the cumulative effect of the cold. We have less grand cru in 2017 than in 2016 and the Petit Chablis was made from only 8 hl/ha. The left bank in Vaillons was fine, just one small part where we lost half, but the grand crus were all between 10-20 hl/ha – the third consecutive low volume vintage in the grand crus due to either hail or frost, or both!”
Despite testing volumes in 2017, Fabian has fashioned some great wines…
All the wines are bottled, the last done before the Christmas holiday. For some of the smaller lots there were no small tanks so it was better to bottle a little early than keep longer in barrel. All the wines apart from the Chablis have 100% barrel elevage – as there was such a low volume in 2017. Practically all the domaine’s wines are now in DIAM 5 and 10, only the Clos des Hospices is in cork.
1.5 ha of domaine vines.
A nice freshness – not a big nose – but a fine yellow citrus width. Bright, I would say incisive, lots of citrus acidity and growing in intensity, but not with any sharp or hard edges. Concentrated, impressive finishing. Simply excellent.
201/ Chablis 1er Vaillons
There are 6 parcels of Vaillons at the domaine – 5 are assembled for this cuvée.
A tight nose, with a tiny biscuity reduction. In the mouth a touch of gas. Bright and with forward energy and incisive shape – just like the villages. Plenty of lemon-fruited energy. Deliciously mouth-watering wine.
Vines that are 80 years old – the ‘sixth’ parcel of Vaillons. The oldest vines planted by grandfather in 1933, a longer elevage and just a few newer barrels.
A little oak is showing here, but so is a very fine perfume too. Bright, plenty of open, accessible volume – clarity, minerality – plenty of oak too though. Wait 2-3 before approaching – but this has exquisite shape and a great finish.
100% barrel elevage, none new.
A little more open again – a suggestion of oak in the concentration but another wine with a beautiful perfume. Fresh – super-wide, insistent, but absolutely delicious. There’s a faint salinity and a fabulous mobile depth of mineral-citrus flavour. Bravo – the oak is an accent but no more.
The most open aromatics of all so far – a strong, heady perfume. Ooh – can this really be even wider, broader and more incisive? There’s less depth to the concentration but a more incessant intensity – a different energy in the end, even a touch of phenolic, like a tannin at the end. But both are great – if very different.
2017 Chablis Le Clos
A small nose – but a beautiful one of white flower perfume and subtle fruit. A little more direction to this wine – less overtly wide and intense as the previous two, but with great energy and a slight textural cushioning to the fruit flavour. More overtly saline finishing – ooh that’s super finishing, but in terms of volume, junior to the previous two today!
A little more aromatic volume – and it’s a wonderfully perfumed nose. Fuller, more depth of texture, more salinity – some tannin style phenolic texture too. The complexity is more overt here, with a fine agrume fruit behind. Simply great finishing in a 2017 style. I often prefer the previous wine at this address but not this year. Great!