It’s not so long ago that I took the trip to Nuits St.Georges to visit Thomas-Moillard and was able to try some encouraging 2005’s. This time I was hoping to check on the progress that was indicated at my previous visit, ask questions of the team and look at some of their work-in-progress wines. As it turned out, I completely missed out on the 2006 vintage here, jumping directly to the 2007’s, so maybe I will have chance to get back and do those at a later date.
To recap, Thomas-Moillard is a large operation, annually producing about 5,000 hectolitres of wine from 38 appellations for the négoce part of their operation, and another 5,000 hectolitres from 30 appellations for the domaine operation – and as French law dictates, these must be produced in physically speparate cuveries. Denis Thomas says that
“the Belgians and the Swiss who have been the mainstay of our sales, expected to leave their bottles in their cellar for 10-plus years to mature before opening – so that was always our starting point for producing the wines. But today our client list is evolving, and many clients also expect that they should also be able to appreciate their bottles at a younger age.”
As per my domaine profile, the team in the vineyards and cuverie that are expected to achieve this better fit to the market, are respectively Bernard Zito and Isabelle Lenet together with consultation by Pascal Marchand.
Work in progress
We tasted and contrasted about 17 samples, none of which being the finished object so won’t include the notes, but it is possible to summarise as follows:
Thomas-Moillard have done the ground-work over the last years such that they have 28 hectares that are certified as organic, now the winemaking must ‘evolve’. The 2007 whites were all way ahead of the reds in terms of their malolactic fermentations; gone are the estery, clumsy wines of my expectation, replaced by higher and finer tones and more energy. In particular look out for strong base wines such as Aligoté and Bourgogne Chardonnay. The Corton-Charlemagne whose production will be officially certifed as organic from next year (they started in 2004) also showed plenty of class – rather like here.
The samples varied in terms of their progress through malolactics, but uniformly were more polished than before – their ‘automatic punchdown’ arrangement (more of a rotating barrel) is good at extraction, but also tends to extract let us call it – quite a masculine tannin. We looked at samples from the standard equipment compared to open fermenters with manual punchdowns (pigeage). They are experimenting with an ‘isinglass’ fining of the reds (more common for whites) which seems to be doing a good job of ‘polishing’ the tannins. There is even some whole cluster experimentation where we compared the two approaches. There was a whole bunch of 1er crus which look worthy of checking on in another 6 months including Beaune Grèves, Volnay Clos des Chênes, Pommard Grands Epenots and a super Rugiens too. Finally an impressive Clos Vougeot too.
I think they have something and it’s looking good!
A few older wines
1998 Nuits St.Georges 1er, Clos des Thorey
A wide nose of nicely maturing aromas mixed with earth. The palate is lithe, linear and of moderate length. It’s clean and quite interesting
1983 Volnay 1er, Clos des Chênes
Earthy chocolate mixes perfecty with the savoury notes. Lovely acidity and tons of flavour delivered with a soft touch. A slowly lingering sweet finish to round off – Super.
1993 Corton Clos du Roi
A deep and bloody nose. It builds in in tesity in your mouth and shows lovely acidity and an understated length. This seems much more powerful than the last bottle!
1977 Beaune 1er, Les Grèves
The nose is wide and savoury. In the mouth you find a lovely core of sweet red fruit – it’s not so long, but it’s a lovely vibrant presentation that is very moreish.