Tasted with Vincent Laroche in Fleys, 27 January 2016.
Domaine de la Meulière
18, route de Mont de Milieu
Tel: +33 3 86 42 13 56
Nicolas and Vincent Laroche, no connection the Laroche family of Chablis, are two brothers heading a family domaine that dates from 1774 in Fleys. Nicolas is responsible for the vinifications, and here since 1994, brother Vincent who I tasted with has been here since 2000.
It’s a 25 hectare domaine, with no bought grapes or wine. 35% of the production is exported, the rest finds home in France. Classed as ‘vigneron independents’. Despite it’s size, the whole domain is hand harvested, including their Petit Chablis. They are ‘biologique’ in the vines, looking for good maturity and using very little sulfur.
They are split into two locations – one each side of the main road. The larger, newer cuverie houses tanks and multiple barrel sizes. The older, traditional cellar, used mainly now for tastings and receptions, is round roofed and not so deep, but dates from 1750…
Here is static decanting of the bourbe before moving the juice into tank or barrel – no enzymes. Prefer to keep some bourbe. About 5% of total production enjoys some barrique elevage; some 500 litre, some 228 litre. A little acacia wood is used here too. Some ‘cigar’ Chablis barrels of 132 litres are also used. Finally two large wooden tanks – mainly used for the vieilles vignes.
There are two bottlings per year, the most mineral (later) in September. Apparently they had too many problems of reduction with their trials of DIAM.
We tasted the ‘standard range’ as there are a number of ‘special cuvees’ here, but they are still unfinished from an elevage perspective. “We like to make wines to age, so it’s no surprise if the wines are a little austere when young – we prefer to wait years” says Vincent. I find a good range of wines from a label that I didn’t know before.
2014 Petit Chablis
Just 0.5 ha a sunny spot.
Wide and a little herbal, faintly but pleasantly phenolic too. A wine that surprises with its richness of texture, layered and certainly of lots of interest. A herby flavour, but it swirls nicely over the tongue. Quite good finishing too with a long ripe fruit note, tasty!
Almost 15 hectares worth of vines are represented here. For drinking from the Autumn says Vincent!
Finer, wider nose less deep and ripe. Yum. Lovely in the mouth – super texture, silky but lots of energy and sweet-edged flavour, mineral in the finish Excellent!
2014 Chablis 1er Les Fourneaux
Young vines – 21 – 2.02 ha with a south-facing exposure and almost a 40% incline. ‘Best to wait 4-5 years.’
Really a classic nose of faint salinity, perhaps a trace of reduction augmenting too. In the mouth this is indeed faintly austere but the wine rolls around the palate in fine fashion, slowly mouth-watering but mineral and complex. Worth waiting for, for sure – and I love the last note in the finish, really floral!
From 0.60 ha – 42 years old vines.
A fine, slightly tight nose, but of seashore. More sucrosity, indeed this is gorgeously flavoured, beautifully mouth-watering and complex – I love this – faintly, floraly, massively tasty. Bravo!
2014 Chablis 1er Fourchaume
0.28 ha, 37-year-old vines.
A wider nose, with an obvious line/width of ripe fresh fruit. Also mouth-watering, fruity and floral – there’s a hint more mineral austerity here, but modestly so, with sweetness and complexity. This is very fine indeed – I don’t know if its better than Vaucoupin, but That wine is the easier to drink today.
2014 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
The last of these with all stainless-steel elevage – from 2.5 ha, 49 years average age of the vines.
A faint salt over a deeper but tighter warmth of ripe yellow fruit. A wine that grows in your mouth – really a good texture and growing complexity but essentially modest in comparison to the previous wines. There is, however, a really fine and wide finishing flavour – the high point of this wine today.
2014 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu – a different one:
1 week bottle. 1 year in barrique new to 6 years old and 4 months in stainless-steel.
A certain quality of wood but not sweetly creamy, rather with a little spice. Fresh, bright, a certain sweetness, but of wine. There is energy and direct mouth-watering flavour. The background also hints a sweetness of wood, but really there’s no creamy vanilla here. This is very tasty wine!