"The 2006s are similar to the '05s at the same stage," said Christian Moreau. "Both vintages have good acidity, but the acid levels are not like those of 10 or 15 years ago." Like a number of their colleagues in Chablis, Christian and Fabien Moreau make their wines in a combination of tank and barrel, matching the vinification and elevage to the needs of each parcel. Among the small but important improvements here in recent years is the care with which the various wines are tasted and tweaked during the winter after the harvest. Every barrel is tasted in January and the father-and-son team decide, among other things, which wines need to be moved out of wood and into tank, which barrels work best with which cru, and which barrel suppliers to eliminate for the next vintage. The Moreaus are also moving steadily toward the use of wild yeasts: for the first time, the 2007s will be fermented entirely with indigenous yeasts. (Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York, NY)
Previously recommended: 2005 Petit Chablis (85), 2005 Chablis (88), 2005 Chablis Vaillons (89), 2005 Chablis Vaillons Guy Moreau (90), 2005 Chablis Vaudesir (90), 2005 Chablis Blanchots (88+?), 2005 Chablis Valmur (91+?), 2005 Chablis Les Clos (92), 2005 Chablis Clos des Hospices (91+?).
($26; bottled two weeks before my visit) Grapefruit pith and white flowers on the nose. Stony, juicy and very dry; a classic, brisk, rather austere village wine. Persistent finish features good stony cut.
($45; 70% vinified in tank and 30% in oak, less than 2% new) Good pale color. Steely aromas of lemon drop and pineapple, accented by a light spicy character. Juicy and brisk but supple, with a touch of sweetness to the grapefruit and pineapple flavors. Little sign of oak on the palate. Finishes fresh and pure, with a youthfully metallic quality.
($50; 40% oak; from 74-year-old vines) Musky aromas of lime, ginger and curry powder. Richer and more glyceral than the regular Vaillons, with noteworthy intensity to the ripe flavors of pineapple, lemon and licorice. A very suave and supple style, but currently showing more length but less obvious cut than the Vaillons.
($81; fermented entirely in barrel, then aged half in tank and half in oak) Good pale yellow. Captivating aromas of grapefruit, lemon, white flowers and spices, with a white nectarine note emerging with air. Rich, ripe and broad, but with a silky texture and noteworthy delicacy. Intensely flavored and youthfully tight, with some oak spice showing today. A step up in length from the Guy Moreau, finishing with a suave suggestion of white grapefruit. The toasty spice note will disappear with aging, Moreau maintains: he was one of a couple of Chablis winemakers to tell me that it's often impossible to distinguish between a wine aged partly in oak and one aged entirely in tank after a decade in the bottle.
($67; bottled a week before I tasted it; done entirely in barrel) Pale yellow. Sappy aromas of peach flesh, chlorophyll and charred oak. Supple, subdued and quite dry, with its fruit component currently shocked by the bottling. The grapefruit flavor is opposed by vanillin oak on the end, as well as a hint of youthful bitterness. Just three barrels produced. (By the way, the 2005 version was moved from oak to tank in April of '06 but still was the most obviously oaky of the Moreaus' wines from the earlier vintage.)
($70) Pale yellow. Explosive nose offers sexy mirabelle, brown spices, baked bread and smoky silex notes; distinctly earthier and more deeply pitched than the Clos. Ripe, dense and powerful, with a silky texture to the rocky flavors of grapefruit and wet stone; clearly a wine from a very warm site. Boasts lovely sucrosite and generosity of texture and really spreads out on the palate. A showy wine with a rising whiplash of a finish.
($93) Pale yellow. Perfumed, refined aromas of citrus peel, powdered stone and violet; very high-pitched. Vibrant and precise in the mouth, with terrific energy to the flavors of citrus zest, grapefruit, underripe pineapple, flowers and powdered stone. Best of all on the tactile, palate-dusting finish, which boasts a bracing, refreshing bitter edge and outstanding subtle persistence. Forty percent of this cuvee is aging in barriques but the wood element is all but invisible.
(aging in 50% new oak) Very good pale yellow. Very ripe aromas of pineapple and spicy oak, with heavier suggestions of candied fruit and fruit syrup. Rich and oily in the mouth, with flavors of pineapple nectar and flowers. Despite its depth of texture, this is quite dry and austere today, with a substantial structure for aging. Finishes broader and oakier than the "regular" Clos. The Clos des Hospices is located low on the hill, where the soil is deeper and there's more humidity.