White wine

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. 

Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne 2007, Sauternes, Bordeaux

Drunk August 2013

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About Sauternes

Sauternes is a dessert wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. It is located 40 km southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne river and its tributary, the Ciron. Like most of Bordeaux, the Sauternes region has a maritime climate and the source of the Ciron is a spring which has cooler waters than the Garonne. In the autumn, when the climate is warm and dry, the different temperatures from the two rivers meet to produce mist that descends upon the vineyards from evening to late morning. 

It has five communes— Barsac, Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues and Preignac. While all five communes are permitted to use the name Sauternes, the Barsac region is also permitted to label their wines under the Barsac appellation. The Barsac region is located on the west bank of the Ciron river where the tributary meets the Garonne. The area sits on an alluvial plain with sandy and limy soils. 

Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as "noble rot". This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in a distinctively flavoured wine.

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Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions in the world where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. Even so, production can be erratic with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage. The area can expect 92 days of mist every autumn, but in some years there can be none, while rain can lead to the disastrous grey rot. In years when the noble rot does not develop, Sauternes producers will often make dry white wines under the generic Bordeaux AOC. To qualify for the Sauternes label, the wines must have a minimum 13% alcohol level and pass a tasting exam where the wines need to taste noticeably sweet. There is no regulation on the exact amount of residual sugar that the wine needs to have.

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For such reasons, the sale price of top sauternes can be very high.  Obscure vintages of Château d’Yquem have been sold for close to £40,000 a bottle at auction.

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Sauternes are characterized by the balance of sweetness with the zest of acidity. Some common flavor notes include apricots, honey, peaches but with a nutty note, which is a typical characteristic of noble semillon itself (cf. Australian noble (late-harvest) semillon). The finish can resonate on the palate for several minutes. Sauternes typically starts out with a golden, yellow color that becomes progressively darker as it ages. Some wine experts, believe that only once the wine reaches the color of an old copper coin has it started to develop its more complex and mature flavors.

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The wine

This Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne 2007 is not a best in class Sauternes by any means but nevertheless very enjoyable. Vanilla and apricot on the nose, sweet, sour and fruity with a long, fresh finish. A few more years in the bottle would I'm sure make this even better. The Canadian Ice wines as well as the Sauternes remain my favourite sweet wines. 

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.

Dandelion Vineyards Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia 2010

Drunk June 2012

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Pretty intense smell of lime and apples as you open the bottle and pour the first glass.  Fresh, Dry and high minerality. The rieslings from the Eden Valley are meant to be excellent and this lived up to the hype.