Bernard Moreau Chassagne-Montrachet 2018


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“The 2018 Chassagne-Montrachet Village had been blended in July and fined three weeks prior to my visit. It has a delightful bouquet of orange blossom, tinned peach and touches of wild mint, quite intense for a Village Cru. The palate is taut, fresh and spicy on the entry, with touches of white pepper and fennel infusing the citrus fruit. An almost clinical saline finish lingers in the mouth. Superb. Drink: 2021-2036. 90-92 points

Readers will know the high esteem in which I hold Domaine Bernard Moreau and winemaker Alexandre Moreau. You want the best Chassagne-Montrachet? This is where you call first. I have absolutely no reason to alter that view with respect to the 2018s. “We started picking on 30 August, the same date as 2017 but the profile of the vintage is different,” Moreau told me surrounded by stainless steel vats. “This was because of the size of the crop and the heat. I like to have freshness and not too much alcohol, so I was anxious about the picking date. So I controlled the maturity, constantly tasting in the vineyard and soon realised that the sugar level can rise quicker than the phenolic maturity. I have now started the harvest in August in 2015, 2017 and 2018. I couldn’t understand why if August was so warm, the increase in sugar level was actually quite slow. I knew it was generous, but I did not know it would be so generous in older vineyards – something that I have never seen. For example, I haven’t made nine barrels of Chassagne Chenevottes since I began, then again, yields are only just above 50hl/ha for the Premier Crus. Maybe people are expecting something like 2003, but the 2018s are not heavy at all. For the Village and Premier Crus the alcohol is between 13.0° and 13.5°. As usual we practice natural fermentations, no racking and so forth – the only difference in 2018 is that it was a super-long alcoholic fermentation. Many barrels were fermenting until July – and I don’t mind that – I like to play this game as you have activity in the barrel with the fine lees in suspension and natural CO2 that protects your wine. The pH is around 3.19, which gives them a lot of freshness. It is not a vintage for early bottling and so most of the Premier Crus will be bottled next Spring.””

Neal Martin, Vinous (01/20)