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Monday, August 29, 2011

Debbie Miller Nelson's Trip to France, Part 13

All of our managers and wine staff travel at least once a year to a wine-growing region somewhere throughout the world. Traveling is one of the many aspects of UWS that sets us apart from other wine shops. We know that by meeting the winemakers, walking the vineyards and tasting new wine from the barrel, we can see first-hand the passion that goes into each bottle. We can then convey this commitment to quality to our customers. Rather than having you just looking at a label and a score, we believe it is our responsibility to bring you closer to how the wine was made and the people who made it. We'll be sharing their trip reports with you here on the Blog.

In June 2011, Debbie Miller Nelson, Wine Manager, had the privilege of traveling to France and immersing herself in French food, culture, and most importantly, wine!

After leaving Domaine Faiveley, we drive to Chablis while I take a much needed nap for most of the 4 hour trip.

Upon arriving in the quaint hamlet of Chablis, we check into our hotel Hostellerie des Clos (that has no ac – yikes!) we head over to Christian Moreau’s winery down the street. We meet Christian himself and his son Fabian. I should mention that I did get a bottle of Grand Cru Valmur in my room that made it back home safely. Yay me!

The Moreaus own 11.5 hectares of vineyards. Christian said that Chablis is NOT Burgundy. It is the golden gate! They gave us a tour of the vines in the rain but I don’t think anyone really cared about getting a little wet. As we talked about the vines, we stood at the top of the hill overlooking the town of Chablis.

It’s interesting to note how close a forest of pine trees is to the vines as that flavor profile really stands out in their wines. I grabbed Fabian’s ear about the US misconceptions of Chablis thanks to California jug and box wine bearing the wines and how we can change that. He said, look, Chablis is a village in France making Chardonnay. That’s it. Well, ok, then!

We head back to the winery to sit at a table in the main part of the winery to taste samples.

During the tasting I notice that Christian has the most pimped out phone with the most apps I’ve ever seen. He took pictures and videos of US. Oh yeah, he’s on Facebook and he even has a device in the vineyards that calls him when the humidity or temperature is in a danger zone. How can I get a vineyard to call me? As we were tasting one wine, I wrote in my notes that this wine had more finesse. Then Christian said, this wine has more finesse.

I said, “I just wrote that down!” He high-fived me! This guy rocks. Although he claims to be officially retired, Fabian now runs the operation, but Fabian says his dad still annoys him, er, I mean, is involved in the operation.

We have dinner at the hotel and Christian and Fabian join us. Christian told us his history over cocktails He left France at an early age because he had no direction and didn’t want to work for his father in the vineyards. He lived in Canada where he met his wife. He refused many times to go back, but finally did to run the operation. He was a bit of a wild child and still quite sassy today.

Dinner consisted of Magnums -6 of them all compliments of the Moreaus.

After dinner, Christian invited us back to his house, walking distance to hang out in his personal wine cellar. How could we refuse?

He cracked open vintage Chablis for us and we all sat together enjoying his wine.

Remember when I said the French love California wine? Opus One here, too!

When he kicked us out around 2am, he gave us the leftover wine and we all went singing and dancing down the street back to the hotel. We drank the leftovers of the vintage and the magnums until the wee hours of the morning. Life is good!

Tomorrow we head to Paris for our last day!

Deb’s Spotlight
Christian Moreau Chablis 2009
This Chardonnay from Moreau is classic to the core - clean, crisp, great minerality and some zesty acidity with loads of citrus aromas and flavors. Drink straight on a hot day or while cracking crabs.

Also Available:
Christian Moreau Vaudesir Grand Cru Chablis 2008 $66.99
Christian Moreau Les Clos Grand Cru Chablis 2009 $67.49

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