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Domaine Moreau-Naudet

Domaine Moreau-Naudet

Anti-Establishment Chablis

The late Stéphane Moreau was a devotee of Vincent Dauvissat, Didier Dagueneau and Nadi Foucault of Clos Rougeard and offered us basically everything we searched for in quality growers of white Burgundy. Here was a talent that had turned his family Domaine around by reintroducing the old, pre-industrial growing methods to make something truly distinctive and extraordinary.

We learned about Stéphane Moreau from Maxime and Alain Graillot, and the first time we visited, we were blown away by the texture, depth and sheer hedonism of his Chablis. When Stéphane Moreau suddenly, and tragically, passed away on the eve of the ‘16 harvest, Chablis was robbed of one of its brightest stars. He was a generous, warm and free-spirited soul, and we miss him.

Moreau-Naudet was recently promoted to two stars in La Revue du Vin de France—only Raveneau and Dauvissat rate higher in the region. This is a credit to both the legacy of Stéphane Moreau but also to the Domaine’s continued evolution under Virginie Moreau. It helps, of course, when you have friends like Vincent Dauvissat to call on, yet all credit must go to Virginie and her team, who have not had the easiest of rides. Frustratingly, Moreau has been forced to deal with three severely frost-affected harvests in her first quartet of vintages. Reputation counts for little in the face of Burgundy’s unsettled climate. 

Now under the direction of Virginie Moreau, this Domaine’s already stellar reputation has only broadened since the tragic passing of its founder.

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 with pulpy and generous fruit. We recognise the personality of these wines. We see it in all the finest, artisanal Burgundy. This makes sense—Moreau’s method sounds identical to the best growers of the Côte de Beaune. 

Moreau’s vineyards are some of the most fastidiously tended in Chablis: his soils are ploughed, and no weed killers, insecticides or chemical treatments are used. Only weak doses of organic fertilizer are added when needed. Much like Stéphane, Virginie chooses to (hand) harvest slightly later than her neighbours to ensure perfect ripeness.

In the cellar, all fruit is whole berry pressed in a new Champagne-style press (whose 4-hour cycle allows for a finer juice that does not pick up any bitterness by draining through the pomace). The wines are slowly fermented, with some solids, via natural yeasts at a warmish 21/22 degrees. Moreau uses 30% barrel-élevage for all the Premier and the Grand Cru wines. All the barrels are steamed rather than charred and there is no new oak except in the straight Chablis (and then only one barrel per 100hl to age it prior to using for the Premier and Grand Crus).

Long élevage is a particular feature here: even the straight village wine spends 18 months on lees. In other words, Moreau is seeking additional complexity, flesh, natural stabilisation as well as a sense of place by holding the wine on the lees for much longer than her peers. There is little if any, bâtonnage, and low sulphur is another key to quality and expression in the wines. The results, to quote The Wine Advocate’s William Kelley, are “some of the most characterful wine to be found in Chablis.” 

Region

Burgundy, France

Appellation

Chablis

Wine Maker

Virginie Moreau

What They Are Saying

“This is one of Chablis’s finest estates, and the domaine deserves to be much better known.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

“Virginie Moreau-Naudet is carrying on the work of her late husband, Stéphane, with real aplomb.” Tim Atkin MW

“Textural but tangy, the wines do much to prove that ripe grapes and a faithful and differentiated expression of Chablis's diverse terroirs is possible. Despite challenging circumstances, this is a domaine that continues to thrive and produces very fine wines.” William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

Domaine Moreau-Naudet

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