t doesn’t get more Chassagne-Montrachet than this. Domaine Morey-Coffinet produces 14 different wines. Only one of them comes from vines outside the village.
– With the exception of the Puligny-Montrachet premier cru Les Pucelles all our vines are located in Chassagne-Montrachet, from the regional appellations up to grand cru, says Thibault Morey. It makes our work a lot easier, with only short distances between the parcels.
Domaine Morey-Coffinet goes back to 1978, when it was created from vineyards from two other Chassagne domaines – Domaine Marc Morey and Domaine Coffinet.
– My dad is the son of Marc Morey, explains Thibault Morey. My mum is the daughter of Fernand Coffinet. My grandmother is Cécile Pillot. This house and the cellars did not belong to the family. My dad bought them at the time. The house is from the 18th century and the cellar from the 16th century. Domaine Marc Morey was taken care of by my dad’s sister. Today my cousin Sabine is in charge there.
Domaine Morey-Coffinet covers 8.5 hectares. 30 per cent are planted with pinot noir, 70 per cent with chardonnay.
– We work together, my dad and I. We pretty much do the same things. Perhaps I focus a little bit more on the work in the cellar and my dad a bit more on the work in the vineyards.
– He says he will retire in three years time, but I don’t believe him, says Thibault with a warm smile. For a winemaker it is difficult to stop.
The domaine’s vineyards are distributed all over the commune of Chassagne-Montrachet, from the Bâtard-Montrachet, En Remilly and Dent de Chien parcels at the northern end, bordering on Puligny-Montrachet and Saint-Aubin, down to La Romanée above the hamlet of Morgeot.
– In terms of style, and geographically, the Chassagne-Montrachet premier cru En Remilly is very close to Saint-Aubin, says Thibault Morey. The soil is not very deep. The rock is very close. It is 65 per cent limestone. In Saint-Aubin it is 70 per cent, or even 80 per cent.
– Generally I harvest En Remilly early. If I wait it can be a bit too fat. It needs to be fresh. You have to keep the acidity. For En Remilly we use 30 per cent new oak. For Cailleret it is 35 per cent. The rest is one-year old barrels.
En Remilly is a small premier cru, covering only 1.56 hectares. You’ll find it in the northernmost corner of Chassagane-Montrachet, squeezed in between the considerably larger (29.72 ha) Saint-Aubin premier cru of the same name and Puligny-Montrachet’s Chevalier-Montrachet.
On the other side of the village you’ll find Les Caillerets, which top part is the steepest in Chassagne-Montrachet. Domaine Morey-Coffinet has two parcels here.
– One of the two is at the top, where it is very stony. The parcel down below has much deeper soil. I have tried to make two separate cuvées, but it didn’t work out. When I tasted the two cuvées it turned out that the cuvée from the bottom had a bit too much fat.
The two cuvées were never bottled separately. Instead they were blended into a single cuvée and since then all grapes from Caillerets are pressed together.
Thibault Morey arrived full-time at the domaine in 2000. Since then there has been quite a few changes at Domaine Morey-Coffinet.
– Yes, says Thibault Morey, there are a lot of small things we have changed. We use small cases for the grapes when we harvest. We have bought a sorting table. We are pressing longer than before.
He explains that if the pressing is too short you will get a wine with a lot of fruit, best drunk when young. If kept longer it is likely that it after a few years will develop very quickly.
– From my experience part of the premox problem, premature oxidation, seems to come from this. I don’t speak for other wineries, but here, in 2001-2002 we had premox problems. Back then there were journalist who wanted to taste the vintages early and we wanted to make very accessible wines. The pressing and the débourbage (clarification and stabilization) are very important. Three four years after bottling the problems began to appear. We changed the pressing and the débourbage, and since 2004 we haven’t had any problems.
– In 2001 we also added sulfites in the press at a very early stage. Since 2004 we let the wine juice oxidise. If you oxidise early you don’t get a problem.
The ”outsider” in the portfolio of Domaine Morey-Coffinet, the Puligny-Montrachet premier cru Les Pucelles, is a relatively young parcel.
– It is right next to Clos de la Pucelle of Domaine Jean Chartron, says Thibault Morey. My grandfather, Marc Morey, planted the vines 15 years ago. Then the parcel was split in two, between us and Domaine Marc Morey.
In other words, here is a chance to taste two wines from two different domaines that come from the same parcel, planted at the same time by the same person.
Immediately to the south of Les Pucelles is Bâtard-Montrachet, the only grand cru of Domaine Morey-Coffinet. Both Les Pucelles and Bâtard-Montrachet are on the same altitude, very close to each other. Yet, one is premier cru and the other grand cru.
– They are very different. My Bâtard is at the top of Bâtard-Montrachet, where there is a lot of gravel. There is some gravel in Les Pucelles, but much.
– Many seem to think Bâtard-Montrachet is a big wine. Mine is not like that. Maybe it is because of its location, with all the gravel. Maybe it is my style of vinification. The big difference between the Bâtard-Montrachet and the other wines is the length and the ageing potential. I never open it before seven or eight years.
© 2013 Ola Bergman