Alice & Olivier de Moor
Alice and Olivier de Moor live and work in Courgis, a town about 7 km southwest of Chablis. Both graduates from the Dijon enological school. They have been certified organic since 2005. This is somewhat of a rarity in the Chablis area with its high latitude, cold and wet climate, inviting locals to use chemicals more liberally. The world-famous Chablis branded wines are often acidic and green, lacking nuance and easily achievable with an early harvest, a bit of chaptalising sugar and a lot of sulfur. If it sells and you can make it from poor quality grapes, full of water and from slopes doused in pesticides and fungicides, why bother?
During a visit in 2013, we rode back with Olivier from lunch at their place to the neighbouring train station. He mentioned how very few were working naturally or even organically in the vineyard and showed us small mounds of dirt at the bottom of vineyards. He said the chemicals were taking the life and structure out of the top layer and a slightly heavier rain would simply wash it off, piling at the bottom. At some point during the year he said, some neighbours collect this dirt and scatter it back evenly on the vineyard’s slope. This sort of practice shows how simple and logical sustainability can appear, facing the absurdity of this modern practice.
Alice and Olivier work naturally in the vineyard, handpicking the grapes and using small crates not to crush the grapes. In the cellar, the grapes ferment with their own yeasts. If needed, only a tiny amount of sulfites is added right before bottling. Although they consult constantly, Olivier tends the vineyard, whereas Alice does most of the cellar work.
In 1989, they planted their first three plots of vines on lieux-dits: Bel Air, Clardy (vinified together) and Rosette. After that, in 1994, they started leasing a parcel in Saint-Bris: an Aligoté planted in 1902 and Sauvignon Blanc planted in 1945. In 1996, they planted Aligoté and Chardonnay on a large plot in Chitry.
The Chablis area is well known for its soil, full of old sea-shells giving it a distinctive minerality. Bel Air and Clardy have a shallow topsoil over harder limestone. It’s rich in fossils and is a highly draining mix of limestone and clay. Alice and Olivier consider Rosette their best plot. The soil is complex and hard to work. Their St.Bris plots grow on brown clay with draining soil. Due to the north-west exposure of the Sauvignon Blanc plot the grapes go through a slow ripening process.
In 2016 Alice and Olivier started making wine under the name Le Vendangeur Masqués: the Masked Harvester. Bad weather in Chablis forced them into creativity. They started buying grapes from winemakers working with the same ideals in other areas. Nowadays, they also use the name to produce wines from their own plots that are waiting to get organically certified.
Alice and Olivier produce rich and ripe wines with great respect for the terroir.