A Fixture in Chassagne-Montrachet

Today’s Story: Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils

The history of Domaine Bernard Moreau began in 1809 when Auguste Moreau built a cellar near the Champs Gain vineyard for ease when farming his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It wasn’t until the 1930s, however, under Marcel Moreau that the family’s holdings started to grow exponentially. For instance, the domaine today operates on 14 hectares of vineyard land (9 hectares they own, 5 hectares they farm) and about 80% of that land was acquired by Marcel. Bernard Moreau took over the vineyards and cellar during the 1960s (at the age of 14!!) and the name “Domaine Bernard Moreau” came in 1977 under guide of Bernard and Françoise Moreau. With Bernard and Françoise at the helm, the domaine updated their winery, farming methods, and equipment in addition to buying more land to get to that 14 hectare total number. Their sons Alex and Benoît joined the team to help with winemaking and in the cellars, with their first vintage being 1995. From 1999 onward, Alex took over winemaking responsibilities and Benoît specializes in the vineyards.

The winemaking style at Domaine Bernard Moreau is best described as “hands off.” Like most estates producing exceptional wines in Burgundy, Alex and Benoît take a view that terroir should be the forefront of a wine and therefore they must care for the vineyards. While the farming practices at the domaine are characterized as sustainable (not organic or biodynamic), they use organic fertilizers with the soil and do not use pesticides. Also like many great estates, Moreau utilizes rigorous pruning, debudding, and green harvesting in an attempt to lower yields that are more expressive of the terroir. During aging of the wines, Alex uses 10-50% new French oak barrels (depending on wine and vintage) for 12-20 months (also depending on wine and vintage). For the Pinot Noir, Moreau does not rack, filter, or fine the wines at all.

Domaine Bernard Moreau produces a broad range of wines, and I highly suggest trying some of them. From the Bourgogne Blanc and Rouge to their Aligote and up through the multitude of 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet to the big-daddy Bâtard-Montrachet, I have not met a wine I didn’t like.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes Rouge

100% Pinot Noir; 13.5% ABV

This wine is medium ruby in color and moderately transparent. Though young, this is fairly approachable after some time in a decanter or your wine glass. The nose emits aromas of black cherry, plum, black raspberry, tomato sauce, black olive, earth, green underbrush, gravel, and saline minerality. Once in the mouth, the wine showcases notes of tart cherry, underripe strawberry and raspberry, chalky earth, slight barnyard, green herbs, tobacco, and milk chocolate. I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of this wine (though I suppose I shouldn’t be being familiar with their white wines). This is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $55. This is a great value from an outstanding producer in Burgundy. Moreau’s wines seem to have flown mostly under the radar, though I noticed they are starting to pick up in demand and therefore price. Pair this with duck, roasted chicken, or even salmon.

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