Moreau’s Villages wine is drawn from 20- to 30-year-old vineyards in Préhy and Courgis, in the south of Chablis. The fruit is subject to a very gentle four-hour press, and the juice is fermented with natural yeasts (a rarity in Chablis). Like the Petit Chablis, this is raised mostly in tank. It’s not until the Vieilles Vignes level and above that Moreau utilises (older) barrels in significant percentages. Even here though, the élevage was unhurried. This spent 20 months on lees, considerably longer than the vast majority of Chablis at this level. These traditional methods, along with hand-harvesting, the quality of the terroir, low yields (circa 35 hl/ha) and the full ripeness levels at which the fruit was harvested help to explain the fabulous texture, depth and quality that is on offer. It’s a much more restrained and mineral expression than the Petit, and offers plenty of class. Expect waves of white nectarine, jasmine and verbena fruit, good texture, excellent sappy drive and a long and powdery, juicy, rocky close.
Pair with oysters or Coral Trout in a butter sauce.
Varietal / Blend: Chardonnay
Farming Practices: Practising Organics
Don’t be surprised if you have not heard of this producer: the transformation only truly occurred in the last seven years and many writers have yet to become aware of what has occurred here. It has been Allen Meadows who was first to pick up the trail. These are not your brittle, simple ‘Chablis-by-numbers’ wines where acidity is often confused as minerality. Here, the style is borne by low yields and ripe fruit and that crunchy, citric, acid tang of generic Chablis finds itself replaced by an intense, mineral freshness interwoven through pulpy and sexy fruit. We see it in all of the finest, artisanal Burgundy. This makes sense – Moreau’s methods–which include ploughing, organic viticulture, hand harvesting, whole berry pressing, natural yeast fermentation, natural settling and long, slow élevage in large oak–sound identical to the best growers of the Côte de Beaune.
Low sulphur is another key to understanding the wines. It’s all very un-Chablis. Tragically, Stéphane Moreau passed away in his sleep (2016) at the tender age of 47. The sum of Moreau’s learning, his technique and his vineyards, and now with Virginie's undertaking, are a set of wines naturally very textural and full of fruit.
We believe they possess a purity and intensity of flavour, seldom encountered in Chablis today. Those fruit characters are vivid – intense floral and orchard-fruited barely hiding under a pile of wet stone minerality. The palate is mouth-filling yet finely detailed and coolly refreshing. This is old school Chablis, yet conversely very contemporary. Wines full of that ‘everything old is new again’ flesh and charm. These are charismatic and thought provoking wines, yet remain deliciously drinkable.