Christian Moreau’s great, great-grandfather acquired the 0.41 hectare vineyard parcel at the hôpital de Chablis (the hospice) in 1904. Since then, it has been owned exclusively by the family. The south-facing rocky vineyard slope is composed of Jurassic-era kimmeridgien limestone and dense white clay. The vines, which average 28 years old, are pruned aggressively to maintain fruit quality over quantity.
The 2016 vintage saw frost strike parts of Chablis in late April, followed by a devastating hail storm in late May. (Some vineyard parcels lost the entire crop.) June brought rain and the threat of mildew, which Moreau handled with organic measures alone – no chemical fungicides were applied. The winery protected their parcels as best they could, but yield was much lower than usual. Production hovered around half of previous vintages.
Moreau harvests fruit by hand in shallow bins to avoid crushing the grapes, then carries the bins to the winery on a small trailer. Bunches are unloaded by vibration (again, to avoid crushing the berries). After meticulous sorting and gentle pressing, the wine undergoes a cool, slow fermentation in stainless steel. Before bottling, the wine spends 12 months on fine lees in barrel: a small portion sees first or second-fill barrels, the majority goes into older, neutral oak. A rare wine, it is particularly special for its scarcity.
The 2016 is a new release that has yet to be reviewed. The 2015 vintage received the following:
“From one hectare within Les Clos. Firm, rather closed nose, with a touch of oak. Rich, imposing, very concentrated and taut. Nutty and mineral on the palate, with some bracing austerity. Fine balance and potential, with a very long refined finish.”
96 points, Decanter, Feb 2017
“A crystal-clear Chablis, boasting white peach, apple, seashore, spice and lime blossom aromas and flavors. Though young, this is complex and harmonious, with a firm, intense aftertaste.”
94 points, Wine Spectator, May 2017
“The 2015 Chablis Grand Cru les Clos des Hospices has a clean and precise bouquet, focused with touches of lychee and pink grapefruit, perhaps not quite as mineral-driven as the 2014. The palate is well balanced with mango and dried pineapple on the entry, the oak neatly assimilated with a harmonious and tensile finish that feels tightly coiled. Give this 5-6 years if you can in bottle, because there is marvelous energy and tension.”
(92-94) points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Aug 2016