Thomas Morey

The Morey family of vignerons is one of Burgundy’s better-known; as is quite common in this region of splintered properties, their name has been perpetuated by multiple branches of the family over time. It would be tough to rival current-generation Thomas Morey’s roots: he is tenth-generation in Chassagne-Montrachet. Thomas and his brother Vincent worked the family holdings with their father, the famous Bernard Morey, until he retired in 2005, at which time the brothers were lucky enough to be able to amicably split the domaine in two. Thomas and his wife Sylvie set up their own winery in 2006 and bottled their first wines in the challenging 2007 vintage (his brother bottles wines under Vincent et Sophie Morey).

The current holdings total 13 hectares, 8 of those owned and 5 of them rented; their production is 65% white wine and 35% red, with annual production of a modest 5000 cases generally.  Thomas bottles an impressive 8 different Chassagne crus, including a little Bâtard grand cru and a red St. Jean; plus a tiny amount of Puligny 1er Cru Truffières; and reds from Santenay and Maranges. Most of the vines were planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and 90% of them are selection massale. Harvest is entirely by hand. Thomas made one notable viticultural change after taking over his share of the family vines: he converted the estate holdings to organics starting in 2011. He looked back to his grandparents’ way of farming, with the only vineyard treatments being moderate amounts of copper and sulfur as necessary, from which sprang beautiful wines with minimal environmental impact.

The cellar work is traditional Burgundian with some modifications. Fermentation takes places with indigenous yeasts only, in a combination of neutral barrel and tank, with zero sulfur employed during vinification. Whites go through malolactic fermentation and are kept on their lees--but without any stirring (bâtonnage)—in barrel. New oak usage is headed downward, from about 30% in earlier vintages to no more than 20% in 2015. Whites are gently filtered and reds bottled without filtration. Particularly notable is Thomas’s approach to sulfur. His end goal is a low level of free sulfur in the finished wine, which he finds is best accomplished with a series of tiny doses of sulfur, after malo is completed and well before bottling. He finds that the wine absorbs it more smoothly this way and eliminates the need for a sulfur hit at bottling.

Thomas Morey's wines are typically rich in terms of flavor, depth and texture but  balanced by a restrained hand and naturally vibrant acidity and minerality: in other words, classically Burgundian. While the white Chassagne-based wines tend to fare well critically, as a whole they remain under the radar of Burgundy buyers and drinkers in this country.  It is a wine of small production, farmed conscientiously and handled minimally, to maximize the purity of expression of the grape, vintage and terroir of their excellent holdings