Tasted in Moulin à Vent with Brice Laffond, pictured with Jean-Jacques Parinet, 03 February 2020.
Château du Moulin-à-Vent
4 Les Thorins
Tel: +33 3 85 35 50 68
Brice on 2019:
“A vintage that was limited by the frost, both in Moulin à Vent and Pouilly-Fuissé – 25 hl/ha for the red and also less than 30 for the white. In the end more than we had expected – all the parcel selections were hit by frost on the Romanèche side. That meant a large difference in maturity for the lower and higher vines. So when harvesting, we started high and finished low – which is rare. There was good grape ripeness in the frosted vines, but I think less depth of flavour than in 2018 – the combination is elegant, perhaps classic – there’s finesse. For the whites it’s our best vintage since we started in 2016 – all was perfect and we have good acidities too – no excess – hardly higher than 13° – of-course we would have liked more!”
Brice on 2018:
“A fine year for us – a year that was easier in the vines, that said 2017 was quite easy apart from the 15 minutes of hail! We made 35 hl/ha here in 2018, a sunny year, though less sunny than 2015 – rounder wines too, similarly powerful – at least at this stage in their evolution. 2015 stressed the vines and the grapes – very small grapes – but 2018 more classic in terms of the weather and some juice in the grapes too. We had a little lift from some rain just before harvest, which started 30 August, but was quite a long harvest as all the maturities were at different stages. ”
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 just 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. Something of a bizarre vintage; fine, delicate, very aromatic and very open – nearly sold out already though because of the volume.”
As in the previous years, the domaine shows wines that have finished elevage, not their tank or barrel samples – so 2017 for the reds, which is the currently commercial vintage. Then we followed, like last year, with the Domaine Roc des Boutires whites
Very fine fine reds, multiple great whites – this year around.
The 2018s are now racked into the tank but not yet bottled, 2017 is the currently commercial vintage. All the wines were destemmed with double the amount of people needed to triage, more barrels used – due to the lower volume, but none were new:
2017 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent Couvent des Thorins
‘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.’ This a larger cuvée than usual as what was left from most of the parcels also went into this in 2017.
An easy but attractive fruit – it doesn’t speak necessarily of MaV to me, but it is a very nice invitation. Open, playing nicely over the palate, actually quite layered – there is some concentration here – red fruits, a nice sizzle of finishing flavour – fanning out wider and wider – delicious!
2017 Château du Moulin à Vent, Moulin à Vent
Hmm – a vertical nose – less wide but deep and attractively high-toned. Fuller in the mouth – a modest base of tannin – fine-grained and ripe – energy and good clarity to this flavour – punchy in the middle before slowly fading in the finish. Long and satisfying this is lovely…
2017 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. The least touched – 40% – by the hail – the only parcel selection that was bottled.
Rounder, a little more compact but also seemingly more concentrated too. Not rich or overtly concentrated but here is volume and energy – clearly the most impressive of these – ingraining flavour, small but long waves of finishing flavour.
‘95% hailed but while one side of the vines was massacred the other side had some nice grapes’ – they have isolated this parcel since 2015 but so far have never commercialized – there isn’t much… Worked biodynamically
The most attractive nose – not the most open but a complexity and a clarity that is completely engaging. Wider, more profound, a little more tannin, but then there’s more of everything. Lovely balance, some seriousness in the finish – but it’s a baby – bravo – if you ever happen to see any!
Les Blancs of Domaine Roc des Boutires…
“We think the 2018s in Pouilly a very good vintage. The different terroirs had a big difference in timing of maturity – normally a week of difference in maturity – but in 2018 it was 3 weeks so there must have been some blockage to the maturity in some places – I think it was more important than usual to be hand-harvesting and making the best choices for pressing the juice. We had to watch the yields – it could have been like the Côte d’Or – ending up with 50 hl/ha was so not so bad. We didn’t look for degrees, some were higher, just above 13°, but most were about 12…”
All the wines are sealed with (expensive) cork today, they have stopped with DIAM – ‘I think great whites should have great corks’ They are now starting to commercialise the 2018s – all bottled during the first week of December:
Three parcels, one bordering Pouilly-Fuissé 1er Cru! All is done by hand here.
Ooh – that’s bright and vibrant but with a seriously mineral base too. Full but no lack of energy – the flavour welling-up and becoming more insistent, easy yellow fruit slowly giving way to more peach and mineral. That’s a mouthful of tasty wine!
Many small parcels go into this – three bigger ones and then lots of smaller ones – all bar one on the Pouilly side, the other in Fuissé. This bottled December 2018
Wider, still an insistent freshness, almost a suggestion of salinity too. Hmm, that’s completely different – just a little less volume but a core of flavour that’s much more mineral in style, melting with flavour at the edges – definitely saline finish – an exotic agrume mix of finishing fruit – excellent.
2018 Pouilly-Fuissé En Bertillione
All from the higher slopes with gravels but below is very limestone.
Narrower above but here’s a deep nose, I have the impression that this could be a wine with salinity too. A little extra richness, but also another level of wide minerality – really a mouth-watering citrus here – bursting forward in the finish – this has a simply excellent finish – mouth-watering, almost juicy.
Lower slopes, a limestone plateau that has a 1er cru notation. As the name, a really stony limestone here.
Open, fresh, a little background oak in this one. Driving, mineral, here’s the energy that I’ve been waiting for – a cool block of mineral followed by a juicy citrus acidity – bravo! Wait if you can as there’s some barrel showing on the palate (half tank elevage) but it’s on a subtle level.
The same terroir as Bouthières but south-facing. 60-year-old vines – ‘lovely vines – it would the perfect place to do a massale selection’
Hmm – a yellow-fruited nose – ripe lemon and a cushion of barrel. Great shape again – almost shimmering with minerality – the oak on a higher level in this one – but again what a fabulously delicious wine. Wait longer for the extra oak to fade, but a great PF here!
The largest parcel and oldest vines of this selection – about 70 years old. Higher on the slope, more exposed, facing east, south-east, some clay that ‘sticks’ here but with small stones in. Elevage with 50% barrel.
Yes – vibrant, mineral, perhaps a little too reducto-mineral – but that’s a big, big invitation. Mouth-filling – complex, energetic. The flavour mouth-watering and has a good intensity too. Almost too energetic in the middle – like it was gassy – though there’s nothing overt – have patience so that it can calm. The finish is a great one though – more reflective of the minerality of the aromas. Excellent now, with the potential for greatness.