Les Closeries des Moussis | Pushing the boundaries in Bordeaux

Les Closeries des Moussis is a little domain in the Haut-Médoc run by two very talented women crafting superb wines that are delicate and easy-drinking. Plus, biodynamic domains are quite the rarity for this appellation!

This Haut-Médoc domain was created in 2009 by two women: Pascale Choime, oenologist and an artist at heart, and Laurence Alias, an agricultural engineer specialised in ecology and sustainable development. Pascale was already experienced in the world of wine, having been cellar master for a Médoc cru bourgeois for over 20 years.

The vineyard covers just 2 hectares, most of which is in the AOC Haut-Médoc as well as a small area in the AOC Margaux. There is a small parcel in Cantenac where the vines are around 150 years old, meaning that they date from before the phylloxera blight. The rest of the vines were planted around 35 years ago. It’s in the older parcel that six Bordeaux varietals are planted together, including the Carménère grape. It was supposed to be closed in 2008, hence Laurence and Pascale’s decision to take care of the land themselves, a task they have embraced with gusto. The yields here are very low, usually around 15 hectolitres per hectare.

On the whole, the goal of this project has always been to produce eco-friendly wines, a challenge with very little representation in the Haut-Médoc appellation. The vineyard has thus been cultivated organically since the beginning, with official certification obtained in 2012, and then they made the transition to biodynamics, confirmed by Demeter five years ago. Grass is grown in the vineyards, and no pesticides are used. All the work in the vineyard is carried out by hand and the soil is ploughed by Jumpa, the workhorse. In the winery, the vinifications are natural with no additives. A small amount if sulphur is permissible from time to time, though only in very small doses and only when totally necessary. Notably, the 2018 vintage is entirely natural. Oak casks are used to mature the wine, with around 10-20% new wood; there is no fining and only a light filtering before the cuvées are bottled.

This is the kind of wine that reconciles all wine lovers with the reds of the Haut-Médoc, even those who aren’t usually Bordeaux fans. Unlike what we can find in heavily standardised wines, there is no excess oakiness or tannin in these cuvées; they are authentic and much closer to their original fruit. Yet this is a domain that remains relatively under the radar, except for some of the wine world’s more seasoned enthusiasts, so we recommend you try some of their excellent produce – it really does stand out from the crowd! We’ve fallen for this little domain with its sharing spirit and Bordeaux cuvées just as we like them.

In the middle of their busy harvest, Laurence and Pascale took the time to talk to us!

Where does your passion for wine come from?

“Pascale is from a Cognac family and she undertook studies in the same field. What we love is producing something artisan, something that reflects us, a product to be enjoyed at the table.”

What makes your wine distinctive?

“We’re always aiming for freshness and a certain lightness. Other wines in the appellation put much more emphasis on achieving structure.”

How are the harvests going this year?

“We started picking the red grapes today and we feel that the balance is quite fragile. We’re trying to pick the Merlot as quickly as possible because they’ve given 10 days of sun, and we don’t want to risk the wine being too jammy. We’re thinking of making a start on the Cabernet Sauvignon in 15 days, but then it gets a bit complicated with the differences in maturity. 2020 will probably be a vintage with lots of different interpretations.”

How do you see the future of your domain?

“We’re expanding our vines! This year we grew from 2 to 4.5 hectares, meaning that there will be some brand new cuvées in 2 years. The climate is also going to be a challenge.”

See the wines from Les Closeries des Moussis currently available here

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