Alice et Olivier de Moor “Le Vendangeur Masque” Chablis 2014
Despite its reputation and the devoted love of wine geeks everywhere, Chablis has a weak track record for healthy vineyards. A very large amount of land in Chablis is still farmed with heavy chemical use and the region’s monoculture has significantly hurt biodiversity over the last few decades.
In this context, a producer like de Moor is an essential antidote. Founded in the mid 1990’s by husband and wife, the domain has always focused on promoting biodiversity and has been working organically since 2005. Olivier also believes that the current flavour profile of common chablis, with its flinty aromas and high acid citrus notes, is a product of very poor vineyard practices over the years and reductive winemaking, and that Chablis once more uniformly had the flavour profile more common to Chardonnay from the Cote d’Or – that is, richness, nuttiness from oxidative wine making, and ripe fruit. As such, he crops at very low yields and waits for greater ripeness than typical in the region.
Ripe, Potent Chablis
The de Moors are located in Courgis, a small town south of Chablis with few producers. Their very important neighbour (and co-inspired/inspiration) Thomas Pico makes some stunning Chablis that is imported into BC by Sedimentary. The de Moor wines have never been available in this market before – but are now being imported by Cellar Direct and available for quite a good price only through their email list, which you can sign up for at www.cellardirect.ca.
As for the wine itself, it is true to Oilvier’s philosophy – richer, riper and more forward than most AOC level Chablis. It does not have the structure and complexity of 1er or grand cru bottlings, but it is extremely delicious, honest wine and very true to both Chablis and this particular style of wine-growing and wine-making. The process for this bottling from 15 year old vines is to ferment with indigenous yeasts, age in oak for 11 months, do not fine or filter, and add minimal sulphur only at bottling. It’s tough if not impossible to get Chablis as good as this for $33 elsewhere.
For an in depth look at modern Chablis and the practices of de Moor and Pico, I highly recommend this New York Times article from Eric Pfanner.
Very Good+ and Highly Recommended Value
$33 at Cellar Direct (for the current 2015 vintage) [Note the wine sells for $30 USD in the states]
*Note: I received this bottle of wine as a sample*