Christian Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This has an array of fruits from citrus to white and yellow peaches. More tropical mangoes and papaya with wet stony mineral nuances follow afterwards. The palate’s very expansive and expressive, but it is pinned together with a core of bright fine acidity and a very concentrated rich serving of fruit flesh. Delicious now, but it will age well beyond 2025.
Unusually, I prefer this to the more expensive Clos des Hospices bottling in 2016. It’s quite a
broad, powerful style - you could easily mistake it for a Meursault - but there’s enough acidity
to balance the rich, leesy, spicy palate. An unusual style of Les Clos with just a whiff of iodine
bringing you back to Chablis. 2019-24.
Christian Moreau, one of the leading figures in Chablis, is producing the wines he loves under his own name. Free of any personal involvement with the negociant company that his family founded and sold, with his son Fabien they founded Domaine Christian Moreau Pére et Fils in 2001 and set up their winemaking operation in the very heart of the Chablis country, at the foot of its famous Grands Cru vineyards.
The Domaine holdings are located in the best oriented parcels, and bottlings include Grand Crus Les Clos, Valmur, Vaudésir, Blanchot, and Les Clos des Hospices (a Monopole from the Moreau family), Premier Cru Vaillon, as well as Chablis AC, and some Petit Chablis. Every parcel is harvested by hand to bring out the very best from each vineyard. The Moreau's winemaking philosophy is non-interventionist at its core, entailing biodynamic practices aimed toward creating low-yield, high-quality harvests. Additionally, grapes for every wine from the Chablis AC to the Les Clos Grand Cru are hand-picked.
Fabien Moreau became the winemaker with the 2002 vintage, and is already producing remarkable results. With previous experience in New Zealand, Fabien is a visionary young winemaker who is a sincere adherent to the tenants of terroir. As such, the wines of Christian Moreau Pere et Fils are remarkable for their authenticity, distinctiveness, and exquisite quality.
The source of the most racy, light and tactile, yet uniquely complex Chardonnay, Chablis, while considered part of Burgundy, actually reaches far past the most northern stretch of the Côte d’Or proper. Its vineyards cover hillsides surrounding the small village of Chablis about 100 miles north of Dijon, making it actually closer to Champagne than to Burgundy. Champagne and Chablis have a unique soil type in common called Kimmeridgian, which isn’t found anywhere else in the world except southern England. A 180 million year-old geologic formation of decomposed clay and limestone, containing tiny fossilized oyster shells, spans from the Dorset village of Kimmeridge in southern England all the way down through Champagne, and to the soils of Chablis. This soil type produces wines full of structure, austerity, minerality, salinity and finesse.
Chablis Grands Crus vineyards are all located at ideal elevations and exposition on the acclaimed Kimmeridgian soil, an ancient clay-limestone soil that lends intensity and finesse to its wines. The vineyards outside of Grands Crus are Premiers Crus, and outlying from those is Petit Chablis. Chablis Grand Cru, as well as most Premier Cru Chablis, can age for many years.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.