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Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Vaulignot Premier Cru 2016

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Winemaker Notes

Chablis achieves its highly distinctive mineral character due to its cool northerly climate and its highly calcareous soil. The Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis Vaulignot Premier Cru has a classic Chablis character, with an elegant minerality and a rich, full palate. Hints of mint and pineapple on the nose, and a long finish.

Critical Acclaim

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The 2016 Chablis Vau de Ligneau 1er Cru has a well-defined and nicely focused bouquet with fresh orange pith and subtle nectarine scents, an underlying mineral note that comes through with aeration. The palate is very well defined with a taut line of acidity, very focused with a brisk, lightly spiced finish that fans out leaving residues of brown spice on the aftertaste. Excellent. Tasted blind at the BIVB Chablis tasting.
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Domaine Louis Moreau

Domaine Louis Moreau

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Domaine Louis Moreau, France
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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.

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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.

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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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes for Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a dry, white wine. When Chardonnay grapes are planted on cool sites, the resulting wine's flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Food Pairings for Chardonnay

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.

Sommelier Secrets for Chardonnay

Since the 1980s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy this lighter style.

STC906837_2016 Item# 234706

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