Chablis, Valmur, Grand Cru, 2014

  Domaine Moreau Naudet

A south, south-east facing vineyard, a relatively warm terroir that Stephane Moreau likes to harvest early to maintain freshness and finesse. This has it in spades, graceful, lacy flavours of flower, ripe citrus and stone fruit, a very fine acidity adding brightness and freshness. Beautiful striking flavours that haunt the palate. Rather than just being about intensity, this has that extra finesse that should define a true Grand Cru.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine Moreau Naudet

Stéphane Moreau took the reins of his family domaine in the 1990s and, inspired by Vincent Dauvissat, lifted it to the top echelon of Chablis Domaines over a period of nearly two decades. A passionate artisan, Stephane believed in obtaining healthy ripe and balanced fruit. Wary of green wines he often felt were wrongly referred to as offering classic Chablis “minerality”, Stephane tended to be one of the later pickers, but always using only healthy fruit without botrytis influence. The wines, which undergo prolonged ageing sur lie (18 to 20 months) in a mixture of used demi-muid oak barrels and steel tanks, are consistently complete, silky and alluring but never ever lack for vivacity or vineyard character. In fact tasting his fine spread of left bank Chablis Crus side by side, you see very clear differences from one to the other: from the fruity, fresh Vaillons to the powerful, mineral Montmains or the salty, more refined Forets. These are beautifully harmonious wines full of character that you keep coming back to. Tragically, and well before his time, Stephane died suddenly before the 2016 vintage. His wife Virginie bravely picked up the gauntlet and completed the harvest. Now, with the help of Stephane’s old winemaking team, she is well on course to take the Domaine to even greater heights. He’d have been proud.

Appellation: Chablis

Chablis is Burgundy's northern most region spanning 3,000 hectares centred around the town of Chablis itself in the départment of the Yonne near Auxerre. Though considered part of Burgundy, in terms of geography it is as close to Sancerre and Pouilly Sur Loire as it is to the Côte d'Or, and in terms of soils and climate is actually closer. The vineyard area rolls around Chablis itself and 19 other villages. There are four levels of wine: Petit Chablis; Chablis;Chablis 1er Cru and Chablis Grand Cru, the latter of which there are seven which sit prominently above the town of Chablis itself on sun-blanched south-facing slopes.

Soil is a very important factor in the quality and unique style of Chablis and can roughly be divided into two types, firstly Kimmeridgean. This is a kind of clay limestone with a large proportion of fossilized oyster shells. Chablis is on the edge of the Paris rock basin the other side of which is the Dorset village of Kimmeridge from which the soil takes its name. The other soil type is Portlandien, a similar clay limestone structure without the same complexity, giving wines of slightly less sophistication and finesse. The former is the base of the Grands Crus and all of the best Premiers Crus and Chablis Villages vineyards, the latter, generally speaking, is the base for most of the outlying Petit Chablis area.

The northerly climate obviously means that vintages can vary quite starkly, summers are mostly hot and sunny, though, with the variation in weather coming more into to play towards the end of the season. The greatest danger during the season is from frost, which can be devastating, so much of the vine-growers early season activity is spent devising ways to protect the vines. One of the more traditional is lighting "smudge pots" throughout the vineyards, in an effort to get warm air circulating around the vines. The quantity and quality of wine produced can therefore vary from year to year. Chablis is obviously a large area and now a very big commercial brand so there are swathe's of rather poor quality and not very good value example around. Fortunately though there are plenty of fine examples, too. At its best Chablis is a unqieuly steely mineral wine that can age extremely well. "Classic" Chablis as we know it today is aged and fermented in steel tanks. However there are a number of growers experimenting with oak, mainly used barrels, not to give any oak flavour to the wine but to improve its texture and complexity. These can make for some of the very finest examples of Burgundy there are. Some of the finest exponents are Vincent Dauvissat, Francois Raveneau, Laurent Tribut, Droin and Moreau Naudet.

Grape Type: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most widely-grown and versatile of all white grape varieties. As a relatively neutral grape, it offers a near transparent map of winemaking style, climate and terroir. It is the ideal grape variety for Burgundy, where it serves to mirror the complex nuances of the myriad of terroirs found in this hallowed land. Chardonnay produces a variety of wines from the minerally and unoaked styles found in Chablis, the fatter nuttier examples in Meursault, to the tropical fruit-driven versions found in the New World. It is also the major grape variety in Champagne, where it produces lively floral wines, namely in the Côte de Blancs. It can be found throughout Europe and the New World thanks to its versatility. As a non-aromatic variety, it has an affinity with oak, whether new or used, French or American.