Domaine Bernard Moreau & Fils
The winery’s roots go back to 1809 when Auguste Moreau built a cellar across from the Champs Gain vineyard and farmed his few hectares of Chardonnay and Pinot along the golden slope. The 1930s saw an expansion of the family’s vineyards under the guidance of Marcel Moreau.
Roughly 80% of the domaine’s current vineyard holdings were acquired by Marcel. At age 14, Bernard Moreau took over the vineyards and cellar in the early 1960’s. In 1977 the reputation of this great estate was fully established under the leadership of Bernard and Françoise Moreau and the winery was named Domaine Bernard Moreau. In addition to the changes in equipment, farming and winemaking, they
also purchased additional land bringing the vineyard total to 14 hectares. To help with winemaking, viticulture and sales, sons Alex and Benoît joined the Domaine after having worked in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Alex and Benoit loosely split the esponsibilities of the operation with Benoit more focused on the vineyards and Alex more focused on the cellar.
As with most all great Burgundian estates the emphasis at Domaine Moreau is on terroir. Treat the vineyards right and they’ll reward you ith superior fruit. To maintain healthy balanced soils the winery uses organic fertilizers and no pesticides. To ensure greater flavor intensity they farm the land for lower yields through pruning, debudding, green harvesting in August, leaf thinning for Pinot Noir (on the morning sun side), and the planting of cover crops in certain vineyards to encourage competition and soak up moisture.
The 1er Cru Chardonnays are barrel fermented and aged in French oak barrels (10%-30% new). The wine spends between 12 and 18 months in wood with a little lees stirring early on for added texture. Says Bernard, “The spirit of our winemaking is to not touch the wine too often. For Chardonnay our aim is to produce very clean and precise wines which are not too austere. We like the minerality and purity.”
The red wines are aged in French oak barrels (10%-50% new) for 12 to 20 months depending on the vineyard and vintage. Bernard states, “For our Pinot Noirs we don’t do any racking, fining or filtration. We want to make the purest expression of the Pinot Noir from our vineyards.”
NOTES FROM BURGHOUND.COM
Benoît Moreau told Allen Meadows that the 2016 “growing season was, in a word, awful. Neither he nor his father has ever seen frost like this before. They lost 70% and it was depressing to think that they were completely screwed before the growing season had barely begun. Then there was a severe attack of mildew and worse, just as we thought that conditions were about to turn in their favor, there was a hailstorm on the 14th of July that cost the domaine yet more potential production. The Moreaus began picking on the 21st of September and it was weird in that they had some parcels that basically had roughly 50% of normal yields and in others where the loss was fully 100%. The yields for our pinot vineyards came in between 13 and 16 hl/ha, which obviously isn’t much. In white there will be no Champs Gains or Chenevottes as what little fruit remained was declassified into the Chassagne villages.
The fruit was exceptionally clean though there was some sorting required to eliminate some second generation fruit that wasn’t sufficiently ripe. What was so surprising is that we also had no idea that it would be possible to make this level of quality despite all the problems that we endured. We were also really concerned about our wood regimen because with such low quantities it would have been easy to excessively mark the wine. Overall, they’re very happy with the wines but the sooner Benoît forgets the 2016 growing season, the happier he will all be.”