Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Vaillons Premier Cru 2017
Chablis achieves its highly distinctive mineral character due to its cool northerly climate and its highly calcareous soil. The Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Vaillons Premier Cru is a generous, fleshy and lively wine that displays a beautiful balance of minerality, fruitiness and elegance.
Chablis, with its steely character and fresh citrus flavor, pairs well with white fish and shellfish and its naturally high acidity can counterbalance cream-based sauces. Unoaked Chablis lends itself well to vegetables, starches, Comté, or fresh goat cheese.
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Moreau's 2017 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons is broader and more overtly sun-kissed, wafting from the glass with aromas of delicately honeyed citrus fruit, orange blossom and pastry cream. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, satiny and expansive, with lively acids and a long finish. Open and enveloping, it's a charming expression of Vaillons.
This domaine includes 8.8 acres in Vaillons, where the oldest vines date to 1945. Vinified in stainless steel without added yeasts, this wine developed an ornate complexity as it aged on the fine lees. That complexity has not yet fully emerged, living within a fresh, floral white with savory green-almond notes and salty minerality. It’s classical and understated, even as the concentrated depth of fruit is apparent. Destined for the cellar.
Domaine Louis Moreau is a 50-hectare estate based in the commune of Beines in the heart of the Chablis appellation. Louis and his wife Anne founded the domaine in 1994 with half the family vineyards once leased to the négocaint firm J. Moreau & Fils. Louis Moreau owns parcels in four of Chablis’ seven grand cru climats including the grand cru Clos des Hospices dans Les Clos, three premier crus, and several plots in the Chablis and Petit Chablis appellations. Louis seeks clarity of site in each of his wines and all his decisions in the vineyard and cellar are meant to bring out the personality of each terroir. The domaine is made up of an impressive number of premier cru and grand cru vineyards with additional holdings in Chablis and Petit Chablis totaling 50 hectares. Petit Chablis comes from the sandy-Portlandian limestone soils of the plateau above the valley. Village-level Chablis is from classic Kimmeridgian clay and is from parcels mainly in Beines and near the town of Chablis. The three premier crus are Vaulignot, Vaillons, and Fourneaux, each of them in a side valley of the Serein river. The grand crus include Blanchot, Vaudésir, Valmur, and Les Clos. The Clos des Hospices dans Les Clos, located towards the bottom of Les Clos, is bottled separately from Les Clos in only the best vintages. Vineyards are farmed lutte raisonée with some of the premier cru and grand cru vineyards in conversion to organic. Massal selection is the preferred method of replanting. Petit Chablis and Chablis are machine-harvested. “We’re using the third generation of machine harvester,” says Louis, “it’s very gentle and works well when we need to be quick.” The premier and grand crus are hand-harvested, and whole bunches go directly into the press. Fermentation is spontaneous except for Petit Chablis, and malolactic fermentation is controlled depending on the vineyard and vintage. All wines are vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks except for grand cru Valmur which ages in up to 25% new 500-liter French oak. The wines receive a gentle filtration before bottling.
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.