David Moreau in Santenay, Clos Rousseau.

n the company of David Moreau in Santenay one quickly realises what is important to this young winegrower. It’s the work in the vineyards, something he can’t stress enough. That’s where the magic is done.

– My only aim is to explain each terroir, to get the best out of each plot, he says.

David Moreau’s first vintage was 2009. After wine school in Beaune and Dijon, and internships at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Hubert Lamy in Burgundy, Château de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Neudorf Vineyards in New Zealand, he took on the family domaine.

Santenay premier cru Clos Rousseau.– My father had no wish to work at the estate, he says. But since I was very passionate about it my grandfather stayed on until I could take over the domaine. When I arrived he was 80 years old.

Already before his arrival David Moreau had picked which parts of the old domaine that would become Domaine David Moreau – five hectares in total, producing seven wines. The wine from the remaining vineyards of the old domaine is also made by David Moreau, but under the Domaine Jean Moreau label and along the guidelines of his grandfather.

– I learnt a lot from working at these other estates, explains David Moreau. I opened my mind and eventually I understood what I wanted to do myself. The work is done in the vineyards. It is all about getting the right balance in the vines.

Santenay, Maranges side.– In New Zealand I saw a very different way of making wine. It was a bit more scientific. Not as much feeling. In Burgundy you feel what you are doing. It is not the analysis results that tell you what to do.

You will find all his vineyards in Santenay and Maranges, at the southern end of the Côte d’Or. There are five red wines and two white. The vineyards are worked along the principles of lutte raisonnée. No weedkillers. Instead the vineyards are ploughed, or in some cases, where the vines are too vigorous, the grass is left to compete with them.

Twenty per cent of the surface area at Domaine David Moreau are used for producing a Côte de Beaune-Villages. It is an appellation which can be used for pinot noir coming from 16 different villages on the Côte de Beaune. In this particular case the grapes come from three plots at the bottom of the slope on the Chassagne-Montrachet side of Santenay. Most of the vines were planted by his grandfather in the 1960’s.

David Moreau, Santenay.– You can keep this wine for six to eight years, says David Moreau. But it is made for early drinking. It is made to be very fruity and very easy to understand.

Another fifth of the domaine is used for making the Santenay Cuvée S. Named after his grandmother Simone this wine, like the Côte de Beaune-Villages, comes from village vines in Santenay. In this case the vines are just below Santenay-le-Haut, in a lieu-dit called Les Cornières.

– My grandmother is crazy, smiles David Moreau. She keeps working, she never stops. I’m not even sure she sleeps. Les Cornières was the first plot she and my grandfather planted. This plot is often affected by millerandage. The wine is very concentrated, with a lot of spices and dark fruit. I use one third new barrels.

Santenay Les Cornières.He also makes a red village Maranges. Made from vines planted in the 1940’s this is the only plot not planted by his grandparents.

– The vines are in Cheilly-lès-Maranges. The soil contains more sand and not so much limestone. There is a little bit of silex. In some parts of Maranges the soil comes from the granite of the Morvan (the mountainous massif just west of the Côte d’Or). In Santenay it’s only limestone. So it’s very different. Maranges is always a bit tighter. Sometimes it can be a bit rustic, but when well-made it’s great.

David Moreau makes three premier crus. All in Santenay – two red and one white. The two reds are on opposite sides of the village. Clos des Mouches is on the Chassagne-Montrachet side, while Clos Rousseau is on the Maranges side.

View over Santenay, Burgundy.– Clos Rousseau is the only premier cru located on the Maranges side, he says. It’s more masculine, more spicy and has a lot of power. The soil is not very deep and there is a lot of gravel. There are even parts of Clos Rousseau where the soil is so thin it’s difficult to plant.

The Clos Rousseau sees one third new oak. Winemaking changes depending on the vintage.

– In 2009 I bottled quite early, because it was a very ripe vintage. I bottled in October, after 13 months. In 2010 there was better acidity and stronger tannins, so I aged it six months more before bottling.

The Clos des Mouches is the smallest Santenay premier cru, squeezed in between Passetemps, Beauregard and Clos Faubard. Most of it belongs to Domaine David Moreau.

– The soil is thin, says David Moreau. Beneath it is hard rock. It is the only vines we don’t use Cordon de Royat pruning. It’s because of the wind. We had some problems here. The wind would break the shoots, so we use Guyot pruning instead. But the Guyot produces bigger bunches so we have decided to plant grass between the rows. The grass will compete with the vines and decrease the size of the bunches.

© 2013 Ola Bergman