The Moreau family sold their wine négociant company, J Moreau, to Hiram Walker in 1985, along with their vineyard holdings. However in 1997 Christian Moreau triggered a clause allowing them to take their vineyards back with five years’ warning. Domaine Christian Moreau’s first vintage was thus 2002. Fabien Moreau has now taken over from his father at this excellent domaine which is moving towards organic farming, having stopped using herbicides straightaway in 2002.
Their Chablis vineyards are all hand-harvested, the grapes being sorted to eliminate rot. Since 2008 they have been using indigenous yeasts for fermentation, which is in stainless steel for Petit Chablis, Chablis and part of the crus, with 30 to 50 per cent wood, from one to four years old, for the top wines. The tiny cuvée of Blanchot is all in barrel, however, as is the Clos des Hospices. The crus are usually bottled before the next harvest. Their vineyards include plots in Grand Cru Blanchot (0.10ha), Grand Cru Les Clos (3.20ha), Grand Cru Les Clos, Clos des Hospices (0.41ha),Grand Cru Valmur (1 ha), Grand Cru Vaudésir (0.50ha), Vaillon (4.70ha), Petit Chablis (0.40ha) ,and inthe generic Chablis area 1.20ha
The Vaillon Guy Moreau bottling comes from a block of 0.90 hectares, planted in 1933 by Christian’s father, Guy Moreau. This cuvée shows all the elegance of the regular Vaillon (spelled in the singular here) bottling but with an exceptional depth of flavour behind. Impressive weight for premier cru Chablis.
The Les Clos Grand Cru bottling comes from one plot of just over three hectares, though the bottom (35+ year-old vines), middle (65+) and top (50+) parts are picked separately. In wetter years the upper part is best, whereas the lower-lying part holds up better in drought conditions. This cuvée shows exceptional weight and density, as Les Clos indeed should.
The vines for Les Clos Grand Cru Clos des Hospices lie adjacent to the road, and the wine is often more accessible in youth than the straight Les Clos, and shows even greater palate density. The oak element is buried by the weight of fruit.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.