Profile: Moreau-Naudet

Update 20.6.2019(1.5.2019)billn

Tasted in Chablis with Virginie Naudet, 19 March 2019.

Domaine Moreau-Naudet
4 chemin de la Vallée de Valvan
89800 Chablis
Phone: +33 3 86 42 14 83

If you know the location of Camille Besson’s domaine, then you will know this neighbouring building – modern, dating from 2015, but also very discreet. There’s only a small sign attached to the fence, which you could easily miss, a sign from the grandfather’s domaine, because it was the grandparents – Alfred and Armelle Moreau-Naudet – who began this domaine. Behind the usually closed gate is a large, aging, Newfoundland dog and the smiling, welcoming, face of Virginie Naudet.

Before this visit, I’d never tasted a wine from this domaine – they don’t send out samples for itinerant journalist tastings – but I’d noticed Virginie a few times with her vineyard workers, and one of those times when I was with a fine producer of Chablis, I asked ‘who’s that?’ The answer was a serious nod and ‘you should go taste there‘ – so…

Although I’m sure that Virginie would, to an extent, wish to move on, it’s impossible for a profile of this domaine to not to mention her husband Stéphane, who died in his sleep at just 47 years-old shortly before the 2016 harvest. Stéphane’s inspiration had been the likes of Didier Dagueneau and Vincent Dauvissat – and Dauvissat’s also fan of this domaine’s wines. Today it is Virginie and her team that are taking the domaine forward.

Past family members have been winemakers as far back as the 17th century, but domaine name itself only came into existence in 1950, following the marriage of Marie Naudet and René Moreau – Stéphane taking on the domaine from his father, Roger, in 1991. The work in the vines is without the use of herbicides or pesticides, with manual harvesting – and that’s no small feat for a domaine with 25.5 hectares of vines. About 5 hectares worth are not commercialised by the domaine – including some young vines – but 20 are bottled and sold from here. 55% of the domaine’s production is sold in France – the main export markets being the US, UK and Sweden.

When fermenting, there are no added yeasts, there is a little added sulfite early on, but generally not much sulfur is used here. Elevage is on fine lees – the approach is the same whether it’s their Petit Chablis or a higher appellation wine. Virginie adds “we have only 35 hl/ha for the domaine in 2017, we never make the rendement, also not in 2018. We have some Montée de Tonnerre too, but in 2017 we only had 3hl plus some young vines, so I sold it – it would have been too complicated to sell clients only 1 bottle!

The wines…

Virginie is such a lovely host and makes beautiful wines too – an address with wines to savour! She’s on my lis to visit again next January – a super address!

The Petit Chablis and the Chablis are sealed with DIAM.

2017 Petit Chablis
From one parcel in Chichée – a mix of 50 and 20-year-old vines – almost 3 hectares worth, with almost 1 year of elevage. There are two bottlings; January and March.
A weighty nose, freshness and some green citrus notes. Hmm, nice mouth-filling freshness, a bright, pure and delicious clarity of lip-smacking flavour. Long, slowly fading. Ooh bravo – lovely wine, the nose brightening more with air.
2017 Chablis
The largest single parcel is of 3.5 hectares – Prehy and Courgis the location of the vines.
A faint DIAM reduction to the nose, but behind is a weight, a concentration of aroma. Serious, mineral, lovely transparency, mouth-watering, saline, this is another step up from the the PC – bravo again – fine mineral but no reduction in the flavour – so delicious – and the nose opens beautifully in the glass.

There’s also a villages ‘Pargues’ cuvée, but it has been assembled and isn’t yet clear, so Virginie prefers not to show it for now.

2017 Chablis 1er Vaillons
All assembled, waiting for a June bottling – or-so. Have Epinottes, Roncières and Sécher in here – the latter from almost 70 year-old vines.
A wide and vibrant nose – almost a golden fruit. Ooh lovely wine, diving deep with flavour – vibrant again, golden lemon style. Holding beautifully in the finish.Excellent for sure!

2017 Chablis 1er Montmains
From ‘real’ Montmains, Vieux Moulot and Butteaux
Hmm, a more calm nose, one of width, slowly growing with extra fine complexities. A little extra weight, supple, mobile finely constructed. A growing insistence of enduring flavour. Ooh more a contemplative style, but lacking for nothing. Simply a super wine.

2017 Chablis 1er Forêts
A first touch of aromatic reduction but behind is a vibrantly mineral nose. Extra sweetness and energy here, slightly toasty reduction in the flavour too, finely textured yet incisive, saline – extra complexity apparent here. Long, long. Such an excellent wine, possibly ‘bravo’ certainly delicious!

2017 Chablis Valmur
0.6 ha, worked by horse
A tighter nose, an impression of ripe fruit – though with no direct evidence! Supple, richer, slowly growing in both flavour and complexity. Really easier than I expect at the start, but slowly it becomes a little more structured and complex. The length is without doubt! Here is a fine, grand cru, finish. The aroma is mow slowly growing in the glass – its necessary to work the glass today!

And to finish:

2013 Chablis 1er Montmains
Some extra colour. Complex, apricot and plenty of freshness. Ooh drive, energy, fine acidity, layered and complex – ooh a mouthful of joy! Long finishing, there is that noble ending too but this is delicious!

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