Eric Morgat, Clos Ferrand  (1995)  

Eric Morgat exemplifies all the characters of a true Angevin; considerate, thoughtful and most of all, modest. His family have been vignerons in the Layon for more than two centuries, but, it was Eric’s grandfather who bought Château de Breuil in the Coteaux du Layon in 1959. The mode at the time was for varietal wines, and in the early 1960s much of the Chenin was pulled out in preference for Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Eric, who was born in 1969, arrived back at Breuil after his studies in the early 1990s, but realised early on that, although he was committed to a life as a vigneron, there was no future for him here. His father, Marc, was a good friend of Madame Laroche of Domaine aux Moines, and it was she who made the initial contact for Eric to buy 1.5 hectares of vines and a tiny house and cellar at the foot of La Roche aux Moines in 1994. The owner, M. Gillier was a polyculturalist with vines, cereals and cattle. Domaine de la Monnaie was founded and Eric became the first ever Morgat to traverse the river. From this initial purchase he has since increased holdings, buying around the Moulin de Beaupréau and renting land in Epiré which he planted in 2002. He was also one of four vignerons to take up the invitation to rent land in La Roche aux Moines in 2004, although to date the wine produced from there has been blended into ‘L’Enclos’ although the three 400 litre barrels he produced in 2010 may see themselves in bottle as a stand-alone release for the first time. 

Eric sold Domaine de la Monnaie in 2007 and relocated to Clos Ferrand on the road to La Possonnière. In selling the house, Eric also lost access to the cellar, so from the 2007 vintage he rented the old earth floor cave at the Clos de Coulaine which had last been used in 1991. 

His plans are to replant part of the old clos at Ferrand have come to fruition with 0.7 hectares established in 2010 and a further half an hectare of plantings planned. Although Eric is one of the many Layon growers that have now crossed the Loire in the past forty years, it is worth noting that he is the only one to have settled here and to make wine within the appellation itself. He also currently only makes one wine, Savennières, although did retain one hectare of Coteaux du Layon when Château de Breuil was sold in 2006.

Wine Overview:  
Eric commenced in 1995 and for the first seven vintages the wine was released under the Domaine de la Monnaie label. However, during this period he was conducting various experiments which saw the occasional release of a cuvée called ‘L’Enclos’. By 2002, Eric had started to change his views on the viticultural and vinification methods he had employed until that time; these essentially revolved around his encouraging botrytis in the bunches and combining small oak with batonnage and malolactic fermentation in the cellar. He believes now that botrytis and malolactic fermentation is not a happy marriage for Savennières. Once comfortable with the manner and style of wines he was looking for, ‘L’Enclos’ became the single release. His label carries an illustration by the painter Marcel Hasquin.

The Wines:  
Firstly, a declaration of interest; Richards Walford are Eric Morgat’s UK importers. With a dozen vintages under his belt, one can clearly see the thought, understanding and progression that Morgat has achieved with each subsequent vintage. Every wine here demonstrates a sense of origin as well as vintage character. However, with the change in winemaking style the wines reach a different level of quality from the 2002 vintage onwards and there is no doubt that today Eric Morgat is recognised as one of the bright young stars of the appellation. The majority of the notes below come from a single retrospective tasting conducted at the domaine in February 2008.    

2009 L'Enclos'
Eric had to invest in new wood this vintage due to the perils of having less of a crop in 2008. It's simply too risky to have empty barrels in the cellar for a year. As a result, one-third of the wine saw new oak. Obvious oak on the nose but there is an underlying minerality. Very clean and linear on the palate with less of the pithy phenolic edge of previous vintages. This is very clean, pure and fresh but will need time to settle. (01/11)

2008 'L'Enclos'
Faint maritime nose displaying some old fashioned Chenin notes. Complex, honeyed and faintly exotic. The palate is currently closed but clearly has more to give. Typical pithy to the finish. (01/11)

2007 ‘L’Enclos’  
Harvested at just 15hl/ha. Clean, but very restrained nose. Backward. Delicate, but with a stony expression behind. The nose is giving very little away. The palate is more expressive although has more to offer. Taut and juicy. There is a superficial delicacy here but one senses the power below. Mid-full, but should fatten out with time. Very delicate and stony on the finish with a distinct saline edge. Currently also marked a little by the oak. This really needs time. (02/10)

2006 'L'Enclos'
No malolactic fermentation. Harvested at 25hl/ha. Lovely nose. Very pure, rich and rounded, but shows class and potential. Great structure and weight. Multi-layered. Rich, taut and mineral on the palate. The oak is present but well integrated. Very powerful, concentrated and long. Waxy, with hints of botrytis. Already approachable, but will age and evolve more. (12/08) 

2005 ‘L’Enclos’  
Bright. Quite pale straw/yellow appearance. Rich nose of cloves and apricot with a hint of reduction that appears to add to the overall complexity. Full and rich on entry, but shows delicacy as well. Flavours of honey or honeycomb. Very ripe and well textured. Builds well to a powerful but fresh mineral finish. The alcohol shows just a little. Very good length with a chalky, pithy-Chenin edge. Very open and attractive now, but deserves more time in bottle. (02/08)  

2004 ‘L’Enclos’  
Polished. Mid-pale straw/yellow appearance. Attractive, open and very fresh on the nose. The oak is evident, but harmonious. Very slight and gentle on entry, but builds well with good tension and structure. Powerful to the finish with some ripe exotic, stone fruit flavours. Faint Chenin bitterness to the finish. This would really benefit with more time in bottle. (02/08)

2003 ‘L’Enclos’  
Mid depth. Youthful yellow/straw appearance. Ripe and exotic on the nose. Confit fruits. Attractive on entry, but shows the ripeness of the year (Eric describes this as his ‘Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintage’). Delicate, with flavours of apricots or apricot confit and a waxy texture. There is good acid balance despite the heat and is surprisingly delicate, although the finish does show some heat. Good length. This is drinking now, but could evolve a little more. (02/08)

2002 ‘L’Enclos’  
Polished. Deep orange/gold. Exotic, floral nose. Almost Viognier-like, with apricots combined with dill. The wood shows a little here still. Tight and mineral on entry with very good structure. Broad flavours with a ‘dry’ botrytis flavour. A little hot and ripe, but still has proper acid balance. Apricot confit to finish. Drinking well now, but will develop further. (02/08)

2001 ‘L’Enclos’  
Polished. Deep orange/bronze appearance. Rich and ripe nose with some citrus. It shows none of the oxidative characters that defines this vintage. Delicate and complex with a hint of caramel. Ripe on entry with very good focus. Powerful, with a good, stony, mineral structure through to the finish. Flavours of acacia, honey and cloves. This is drinking now, but should hold and possibly evolve. (02/08)

2000 Domaine de la Monnaie  
Polished. Deep yellow/gold. Broad, rich nose and still quite youthful. There is evidence of botrytis here. Excellent palate weight. Broad, but with good minerality behind. This is still quite closed and somewhat unevolved. A touch tropical and a bit hot on the finish. This is probably at its best now, but should hold although unlikely to improve. (02/08)

1999 Domaine de la Monnaie   
Polished. Mid-full appearance. Yellow/gold. Quiet and delicate on the nose, but quite rich behind. No real evidence of any real development here. Mid weight on entry. A bit shallow on the palate. Broad, but lacks direction and the wine falls a bit flat. There is a sense of minerality, but lacks fruit, freshness and acidity. Has body but no soul. Some maritime, iodine flavours to the finish. Needs drinking (02/08)

1998 ‘L’Enclos’  
Polished. Deep appearance with good variation of yellow/gold with some green hints to the rim. Lovely nose. Complex, rich and creamy. ‘Green’ tones underneath. Slightly lactic edge, but still shows some quince-like fruit. Solid on entry. Broad and still quite youthful with not much evolution. Well focused palate with good balance and texture. Quite creamy. Just falls a bit short. Drinking well now. Unlikely to improve. (02/08)

1997 Domaine de la Monnaie  
Polished. Deep appearance. Yellow/gold. Still quite closed on the nose, but mineral behind. Fresh acidity to the palate with no obvious sign of ageing. Delicate and attractive. Good weight on entry. Builds well. This is still quite taut and unevolved with a lean, chalky textured palate. Good length. Just a touch hot on the finish. Faintly reductive, this is why it’s been so well preserved. Drinking now, but should hold. (02/08)

1995 Domaine de la Monnaie  
Some advanced characters to the nose; white flowers with some apricots and almond behind. Attractive palate, although somewhat restrained. Well structured, but in a traditional lean style. Austere with a mineral edge. More almond and apricot kernels to the palate. Well textured, but needs drinking. (09/02)

Eric Morgat  
Clos Ferrand  
Savennières  
T: +33 2 41 72 22 51  

www.ericmorgat.com
ericmorgat@wanadoo.fr  

 

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