Chardonnay

Domaine Bernard Moureau et fils Chassagne-Montrachet 2013, Burgundy

Drunk June 2017 @ home

The winery

Domaine Bernard Moureau is located in Burgundy's Chassagne-Montrachet. The majority of the domaine’s 14 hectares (out of which 9 are owned and five are farmed) were assembled by Marcel Moreau in the 1930s. Bernard Moreau, the father of Alexandre and Benoit who presently run the domaine, took over the vineyards and cellar in the early 1960s at the age of 14 years. Around two thirds of production uses the Chardonnay grape.

In 1977 the reputation of this great estate was fully established under the leadership of Bernard and Françoise Moreau and the winery was named Domaine Bernard Moreau. In addition to the changes in equipment, farming and wine making, they also purchased additional land bringing the vineyard total to 14 hectares. To help with wine making, viticulture and sales, sons Alex and Benoît joined the Domaine after having worked in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Alex and Benoit have loosely split the responsibilities of the operation with Benoit more focused on the vineyards and Alex more focused on the cellar. There first vintage was 1995 and they took over control of the vineyards and winemaking in 1999. 

The Domaine applies a hands-off approach in the vineyard and in the winery. Chemical herbicides and pesticides aren't used in the Domaine's vineyards and worganic fertilisers are in sole use. Harvest is done by by hand and natural yeasts are used in fermentation. To ensure greater flavor intensity they farm the land for lower yields through pruning, debudding, green harvesting in August, leaf thinning for Pinot Noir (on the morning sun side), and the planting of cover crops in certain vineyards to encourage competition and soak up moisture.

Wines are aged in oak, without racking or lees stirring, retaining the natural carbon dioxide of the process for as long as possible. The Bourgognes are aged in older barrels, before being assembled in tanks. The village wines are aged in barrels 25% of which are new, and the premiere crus are aged in 30-50% new oak. The total elevage in barrels is considered vintage by vintage and vary between 12-20 months, plus another one to three months in tank to slowly settle the lees. The wines are bottled without filtration but with a slight fining. Bernard states, “For our Pinot Noirs we don’t do any racking, fining or filtration. We want to make the purest expression of the Pinot Noir from our vineyards.”

Domaine Bernard Moureau vineyards Burgundy

The Domaine’s most famous own vineyard is its 0.35 hectares of Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Les Grandes Rouchotes.

The Wine

Represents 30% of the Domaine's production. Alexandre Moreau described 2013 as "a very complicated season, with "good acidity but also a bit of botrytis, giving false sweetness," . "We had no idea what we had, but the vintage has turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The wines are rounder than the 2012s, which were very taut here."

20% new oak; made from multiple parcels, combined in the press, with two-thirds of the fruit coming from the Puligny side of the appellation.

 Fermented Grape Tasting Notes

This Chassagne-Montrachet village wine had nice aromas of peach and citrus but slightly austere for me with moderately high acidity, clean on the palate,  so not that easy drinking. Good villages wine from the area but you pay the price in Burgundy. 

Beaune 1er Cru "Les Aigrots" Domaine de Montille 2004

Drunk September 2013, Murano London

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See Domaine de Montille Volnay above for further details about the vineyard and owners.

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The Domaine's vinification methods aim to produce a chardonnay of purity, transparency, energy and complexity. Harvesting is performed entirely by hand. With the use of pneumatic presses, press cycles can be modified depending on the quality of the grapes, using a very gradual increase in pressure for each low-pressure cycle and limiting the intermingling of musts between cycles. After a brief settling, the must is placed in barrels where alcoholic fermentation occurs. Five to ten percent of new barrels are used, and Etienne and Alix prefer Allier wood that has undergone a long and light toasting. This provenance and type of charring best suits the crafting of fine white wines. The second, malolactic fermentation usually occurs during the spring following the harvest. The first racking takes place at the end of this second fermentation. This marks the end of the barrel aging and begins a second phase of aging, carried out entirely in stainless steel. This phase of aging wine together in larger volumes in stainless steel or enamel tanks helps revitalize and integrate the wine. A rest of three to four (or more) months in tank brings freshness and structure to the wine, giving it a “center”, as though giving it a spinal column. All the whites finish their pre-bottling stage in this manner and receive, at the end, a light fining followed by a similarly respectful filtration before being bottled. This cycle for white wine making lasts, depending on the cuvée, between 11 and 13 months.

This is an exceptional aged Burgundy chardonnay. Creamy and medium yellow in colour with a beautiful smoothness on the palate - lemons, fruit, fresh bread all dominate the nose. As the French would say, délicieux! 

Tamar Ridge Devil's Corner Chardonnay 2008, Tasmania, Australia

The cooler climate of Tasmania compared with mainland Australia means the area produces wine which are very distinctive versus its larger neighbour. Though still quite unsophisticated compared with other regions, I was very impressed with this chardonnay from Tamar Ridge which had a good balance of fruit and acidity. Certainly not as over powered with fruit as many mainland Australian chardonnay's due to the cooling winds of the Antarctic.

Joseph Faiveley Chablis (Chardonnay) 2010 Burgundy, France

 

A great example of a robust, bold and intense Chablis. Plenty of grapefruit aromas and a strong finish on the palate, exactly what a good chardonnay should be. A bit on the pricey side, but that's a Chablis for you! The difference between an over vipened new world chardonnay and a good Chablis is worth the price.