We met up with Domaine Moillard at the London International Wine Fair 2011 and chatted to Maude Metin, Export Manager for Domaine Moillard. She took us through the classification of Burgundy and the production of their high quality wines.
The Moillard family have owned many of their vineyards since before the French Revolution in 1789. Following this, in 1850, the first train line from Paris to Lyon was completed meaning that the wines could be transported and Domaine Moillard became a well respected fine wine. The house is one of the largest in Cote de Nuits and is situated in Nuits St George, the main village in the Cote de Nuits.
What makes this producer of fine white and red Burgundies stand out even more is their appreciation of nature and the importance of natural, non-invasive viticulture used in the production of the wines. The vines are allowed to grow deep roots and show all that the terroir has to offer, resulting in wines that are true expressions of their origin. They use as little pesticide as possible, though if there is a high rainfall one year then they have to use a small amount of product to prevent diseases.
Moillard go into a very high amount of detail to ensure superior quality. Each soil type and slight change in terroir has been accounted for and as such, different varieties have been planted on the best soils for a certain expression. Even different clones and rootstock types have been taken into consideration so that they are matched with the best possible site. Their wines are mostly from their own vineyards. There are a couple of very small vineyards from which they buy a some grapes from, but these are vineyards they know extremely well and they only pay for the best quality grapes. Everything after this stage is done 100% on the Moillard estate. The entire production and vinification phases are carried out by Moillard to ensure the highest quality and consistent elegance.
Burgundy wines are divided up into a four tiered pyramid: the base is comprised of blends that can be made from any pinot noir grapes in Burgundy – with the exception of Bourgogne Haut Cote de Nuits which is only grapes in the Cote de Nuits ; the next level up is the Villages, where grapes must come from a single Village or a blend from different Villages; second is the Premier Cru Village with grapes only coming from the Premier Cru classed vineyards; and the top of the pyramid are the Grand Cru wines – a small parcel of vines from a Premier Cru vineyard. The top tier are the highest quality fruit, where the high prices are more than compensated by the elegance and finesse of the resulting wine. Moillard produce wines at all levels and so can cater for a large proportion of the Burgundy market.
There was a large modernisation in 2009 and many more new vats were installed, allowing for single vineyard or even single plot vinification, meaning that production of the top end wines could increase. The Barrel Cellars were also revitalised with a better temperature and humidity control system put in place. All of the red wines and most of the whites are at least rested in old oak, while many are put to age in new French oak. Even with all these renovations, the style of Domaine Moillard has remained constant because they have kept the same winemaker. There for 20 years so far, he will hopefully continue as the winemaker for a couple more decades to come!