In preparing a new report on Chablis, we recently met up with Alice and Oliver de Moor in Courgis, located about 7 km southwest of Chablis. They started their vineyards 20 years ago with just three parcels [Bel-Air, Clardy, Rosette] in Courgis, and today have 7 hectares located in ten parcels in the tiny villages of Courgis, Chitry and Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, all conveniently located on the D62. They’ve farmed organically since 2005 and make some of the most distinctive and distinguished wines we tasted on our trip to Chablis.
Olivier grew up in Courgis, and the couple’s barrel cellar is located under his grandparent’s house where we did our tasting. They started out planting on parcels owned by his family in Courgis and expanded as they found suitable vineyard sites elsewhere.
The de Moors are among a new generation of vigneros in Chablis who craft their wines as simple and natural as possible, farming organically, using natural yeast, using no SO2 during fermentation, and never chaptalizing or filtering.. Since 2007, they have been producing their wines in a new winery which allows them to do all their cellar work by gravity. They use a pneumatic press for gentle pressing and age their Chablis in Burgundian barrels of different ages.
The de Moors have vineyards in Courgis, Chitry and Saint Bris. The Courgis vineyards have yellow and brown clay with both southeast and northwest expositions. Planted in 1989, the one hectare Rosette vineyard, their finest vineyard, has hard yellow clay and white limestone with a southeast exposure; it’s located just south of the Premier Cru Les Beauregard at the end of the valley and is very steep site (up to 40°) with very low yields (20 hl/ha) that requires special equipment to farm; Kimmeridgian marl can be found on the mid-slope. Bel-Air et Clardy are two Courgis vineyards distinct for early maturity.
To facilitate photosynthesis and to provide good ventilation, they train their vines with thin, high foliage to increase leaf exposure. They even had an especially high tractor made for cultivating the vines. On their especially steep vineyard sites they use horses or specialized equipment for cultivation
In addition to Chablis, The de Moors produce Aligote and Sauvignon in Chitry,Saint Bris and Chitry. The 60-year-old Saint Bris vineyard, mostly planted to Sauvignon, is located near the village of Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, located southwest of Chablis. Created in 2001, Saint Bris is the only Burgundy appellation to allow Sauvignon Blanc. An 0.5 hectare portion of the vineyard called Plantation 1902 was planted to Aligote in 1902. The Chitry vineyard, planted between 1995 and 2000 to Aligote and Chardonnay, is the source for the domaine’s Bourgogne Aligote. Chitry is a white wine appellation adjacent to Chablis.
Alice and Olivier are both trained winemakers, graduates of the Dijon enological school. They collaborate in both managing the vineyard and making the wine. On our visit we tasted through their current releases, which we thoroughly enjoyed, especially the 2008 Rosette Chablis. Alice and Olivier’s importer in the US is Louis Dressner Selections in New York.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2013 Bourgogne Aligote 89 Made from their vineyard in Chitry, the Aligote is fresh with assertive acidity, showing a mix of green and ripe apple flavors and a persistent, rich finish. The nose reveals hints of resin and toasted wood, since the yields were so low in 2013 that they had to use smaller oak vessels than usual. Fermented and aged in oak one year.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2012 Aligote Plantation 1902 91 The Aligote Plantation comes from a 0.5 hectare vineyard planted in 1902. The wine reveals a stonefruit-infused perfume and a concentrated, dense and stony palate with a dried herbal nuance. It’s complex and compelling. Only 1500 bottles made.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2013 Bel-Air et Clardy Chablis 92 The 2013 vintage of Bel-Air et Clardy is the most fruit forward of the vintages, showing a perfumed, fresh nose of honeycomb and stonefruit. It reveals a soft palate with distinct mineral notes and purity of flavor. The wine is beautifully balanced and finishes long and precise with thick extract. Bel-Air et Clardy are two vineyards distinct for their early maturity. The Chablis wines are aged in used oak barrels of diverse sizes.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2011 Bel-Air et Clardy Chablis 93 Yellow gold. It’s amazing how a few years of age contributes depth and complexity to this wine. The 2011, tasted from magnum in 2015, is a stony wine with nuances of beeswax, chamomile, and dried yellow fruit. Dense on the palate with intense mineral character, it’s drinking beautifully right now.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2013 L’Humeur du Temps Chablis 91 Made from four vineyards located in Courgis, this Chablis reveals a bouquet of wet stones with hints of butterscotch and toast. The palate is crisp and dry with underlying minerality and bright acidity, finishing on a chalky note.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2013 Le Vendangeur Masqué Chablis 90 Sourced from a variety of organically cultivated vineyards in Courgis and Béru, this is a magnificent wine revealing a rich, ripe bouquet and a silky palate with precise flavors of ripe yellow fruit. It’s a superb wine showing good depth and focus.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2008 Rosette Chablis 93 Sourced from a special vineyard parcel in Courgis, the 2008 Rosette reveals fragrant aromas of mushroom, earth and underbrush with nuances of ripe yellow fruit. The bouquet is mirrored on the densely packed, ripe, round palate with the addition of stony minerals, finishing clean and precise. Yields were too low to make a 2013 Rosette.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2013 Bourgogne Chitry 90 The de Moor’s Chardonnay from Chitry reveals ripe grapefruit citrus on the nose. It’s a beautifully balanced wine, fleshy in texture with good acidity and stony minerals, and shows a long, inviting finish. Established in 1993, Bourgogne Chitry is a village wine grown in the commune of Chitry-le-Fort, a close neighbor of Chablis. This is a wine for early consumption.
Domaine Alice et Oliver de Moor 2013 Sans Bruit Saint Bris 89+ Made from 60 year old vines, this Sauvignon Blanc is perfumed and dry. It’s lean and focused in the mouth, revealing hints of citrus fruit and brisk acidity.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler