Tasted in Moulin à Vent with Brice Laffond and Morgane Chambriard, 21 February 2018.
Château du Moulin-à-Vent
4 Les Thorins
Tel: +33 3 85 35 50 68
Brice on 2017:
“It was a super year in the vines with a lovely Spring and low pressure from maladies but then came the hail – we lost a lot – it was the heart of the appellation that was mainly hit and we were right in the middle of the path. Fortunately the grapes that remained were in good health and we think in the end the wines have some power and lots of balance, but we lost approximately 70% though. We’d finished all the training of the vines and then boom. So we destemmed about 90% and had a big team to do triage but for the actual harvest we needed only half the number of harvesters.”
“The vintage was complicated from the perspective of the vines, but the wines showcase the end of the season, where the weather was really fine. The first half of the season was wet, wet, wet, and there was hail in Moulin à Vent too – though fortunately we were hardly touched – except at the bottom of the appellation where we are replacing the vines. Only one wine is in bottle the rest are in the process of bottling – that’s why we are showing the 2015s – to be finished in April. The vintage was almost the reverse of 2017 in terms of its complications – so much rain – we did 12 treatments and it’s all bio here so all small treatments. But then the Summer itself was beautiful with a wind from the north. They are not wines of power but they are beautifully ripe and aromatic. 2016 started badly but the wines are a great souvenir. We did a lot of whole cluster – the stems were riper than the grapes! We were lucky that the hail was at the bottom of the appellation close to Romanèche so our parcels were barely touched. – 31 hl/ha is actually our biggest yield to date!
“For wood we changed a lot for 2015 moving to older barrels – but now it’s a mix of tank and barrel – there’s as much a triage of barrel as grapes – we buy less barrels but with more work in the selection. We are staying with 228 litre mainly – there are some 350s too.”
Excellent to great wines, seemingly showing less overt oak than the early vintages – I still advise patience – you will be well-rewarded!
2016 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent Couvent des Thorins
An assembly of parcels, ‘For us this is more about gamay on granite that comes from Moulin à Vent, rather than the other wines that are more about Moulin à Vent.’
Flashes of higher tones, some floral – a deeper well of riper, darker red fruit below. Volume but a wine that’s as much about direction as roundness. The concentration is palpable and the balance fine. Almost a spice to this in the mid and finishing flavours before opening out over the palate for the complex, rather young finish. Holding very well. Excellent.
2015 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent
‘A lovely vintage where we did lots of whole cluster but for a different reason to 2016, rather to keep some energy in the wines. In 2015 we were one of the first harvesting and it was a good choice as the weekend brought higher temperatures and the north wind with degrees jumping from 13 to 14° in a couple of days.’
Ooh – it’s very easy to simply describe the 2015s as non-standard or not classic, but this has a sumptuously inviting nose that’s faintly spiced, with mulled fruit – it’s super. More structural, fine freshness. A width of flavour and adjoining tannin. Long, long, delicious flavour.
2015 Moulin à Vent – Croix des Vérillats
The cross of redemption, which was by a nearby wall, west from the château. It’s a poor, sandy, granitic soil over rock in the high part of the appellation. The sunniest terroir of the domaine so almost with a constant hydric stress for the vines, bringing very small berries. 4.5 heacares for this cuvée, typically all oak elevage. This wine still in tank.
Deep, deep nose of mulled fruit – fresher higher up. An obvious extra dimension of fresh flavour complexity – just a suggestion of barrel and more bass-line of tannin but barely with any grain. Flavour that’s delivered in successive waves. Holding long – if relatively narrow. A wine to wait for – I would certainly take the previous wine before this today – but it’s super wine all the same…
2015 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent Champs Cours
Lower altitude, nearer the Moulin, still granitic, sandy, soil but with more depth and below 20cm with some clay.
Deep, suggesting a twist of reduction, yet finer fruit too. Fresher, more direct, more instantly attractive in the mouth – that reduction holding in the flavours but never too overtly. A little floral dimension in the middle too. Successive small waves of finishing flavour. Concentrated but with line and freshness. More approachable than the Verillats today – and very tasty wine indeed.
3850 bottles the label proudly proclaims – all the ‘climat’ wine proclaim the number of bottles produced. The same sand as Verillats – unlike the clay of Champ de Ceour – also a warm climat but usually with hydric stress. Mainly old vines here – of about 80 years old – starting now to make some replantings.
All the wines have a mulled, spiced, faintly reductive nose that makes me think of oak but never overtly ‘oaky’ – this is the most complex nose by far – with freshness, fruit and flowers intertwined with the spice. Pow – fresh, lots of impact, concentration but delivered with energy. Fine texture supported by micro-grained tannin – really a tour de force of flavour here – young flavour but delivered with class. Really the most appealing of these young wines today – bravo. The finish is not to be ignored too. Top!