Laroche – 2015


Tasted in Chablis with Grégory Viennois and Stéphane Barras, 17 January 2017.

Domaine Laroche
22 rue Louis Bro
89800 Chablis
Tel: +33 3 86 42 89 00

Gregory on 2016:
“2016 in some places delivered nothing, in others 10-15 hectolitres per hectare. For us, this was all due to the frost, but we were well prepared for the maladies that followed, so lost not much at this stage, and fortunately we have vines throughout the area, so we did reasonably well.”

Gregory on 2015:
“2015 was almost warmer than 2003; it was really a dry vintage except that rain came when the hydric stress was high, so the vines really avoided blockage. We are lucky that we have a good vine age so they didn’t suffer due to their deep roots. The flowering went well, everything seemed well triangulated. The big heat was over by the 14th August and the nights were quite fresh. Of course there was hail but we were anyway ready to harvest, and started only 1 day earlier than planned. We needed to change nothing – fortunately. One of the enigmas of 15 is that certain vineyards that are normally later harvested were earlier than normal.

“Of-course we won’t speak of the volume delivered by Blanchots! But our overall yields were very good – Montmains and Les Lys were also a little touched by the hail. In terms of concentration of the grapes and the thick spicy skins – perhaps 2005 is a similar vintage, though during elevage they looked similar to 2011.

“The hail was more an emotional problem than a direct effect on the quality of the wines. Of course a few days earlier would have been a catastrophe…”

The wines…

Another fabulously, consistently, high achieving vintage chez Laroche.

2015 Domaine, Chablis St.Martin
An assembly of about 42 hectares from 60 hectares, with separate elevage – many terroirs – using old foudres 10% for the elevage. The aim is to add a little density. Never the same parcels used, always selected blind.
Faint yellow colour. The is large and round with a faintly sweet brioche note. Round, attractive in the mouth. Faint, slightly mouth-puckering lime notes, but fine texture, and a very good line of flavour that melts over the palate. This gets better and better the longer it’s in your mouth. Ends up really fine.

2014 Domaine, Chablis Vieille Voye
Second vintage from 6.5 ha below Les Lys, here a selection of 1 ha. First time separated. Vines are 75 years old. Elevage in foudre then finished in stainless steel with all the lees. Vieille Voye reflects the nearby Roman Road.
A little more depth, a very faint impression of toast to the herb. Hmm, lovely on the palate growing depth of flavour. Starts a little strict but then melts beautifully over the palate. Finishes really great!

2015 Domaine, Chablis 1er Les Vaudevey
A nose of width and freshness and herby salinity. Hmm, that’s gorgeous in the mouth, melting, fabulous, citrus infused flavour, direct yet absolutely delicious. Bravo!

2015 Domaine Chablis 1er Beauroy
Not yet bottled.
Deeper, a modest vibration of minerality, and very faint reduction. More lime fruit, a hint of gas, growing intensity, slowly melting over that palate, again really very super wine, but this time with a hint, only a hint, more rigour and more salinity in the finish. Excellent.

2015 Domaine, Chablis 1er Côte de Lechet
Almost the smallest parcel of the domaine – 0.2 ha. In wood but nothing new.
An impression of toast which I think is really reduction, below a very nice minerality too. A little time the glass and it opens much more, a hint of citrus and a suggestion of sweet bread. Hmm, really a wide impression. Beautiful acidity and line. A long, slow wave, a big wave of flavour. Less overtly energetic, despite great energy, the finish is a beauty. Still wide and citrus, suggesting a hint pf lip-smacking phenolic. Just great!
2015 Domaine, Chablis 1er Vaillons Vieilles Vignes
Bottled end of last week.
A really fine, wide nose, beautiful agrume fruit. Also in the mouth, there is clarity of fruit – grapefruit, super enjoyment of mouth-watering acidity. Then a burst of extra flavour, bright. A wine to be patient with but this has fabulous character.
2015 Domaine, Chablis 1er Montmains
‘A wine that seemed meagre during the first part of elevage, but grew and grew.’
A silkier width of aroma, less overtly deep to start, but with a subtle but vibrant mineralty below. Oof. Mineral, direct, fresh, just sweet enough and certainly intense enough. Great energy and a great ride too. This is a thrilling rollercoaster ride of brilliant energy.

2015 Chablis 1er Vaucopins Selection
Bought grapes, but it’s a long-term contract, vines planted in 1955. 1 hectare, always the same parcel. Vinified with foudres.
A bigger nose, more volume, more salinity. Also lots of volume in the mouth, transparent, pure, lots of energy, really a great salinity but also a density of flavour in the mid-palate too before slowly fading in the finish. Super.

2015 Domaine, Chablis 1er Les Fourneaux
Hmm, vibrant minerality, a little floral addition too – beautiful. A little gas (it’s still in tank) fabulous mouth-watering acidity of essence of citrus fruit, melting with a super finishing density of flavour. Really a great finish here – clarity and importantly joyous flavour.

2015 Chablis 1er Mont du Milieu Selection
Really from the heart of the appellation, not yet in bottle.
Wide, a subtle floral, a subtle sweetness, a subtle fineness of texture too. Round, fine, a really, really fine volume of almost sizzling complexity, with easily the best mid-palate flavour so far – almost a hint of cream. Supple in the finish. Just a great wine. Contemplative yet with emotion too.
2015 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre Selection
Mainly Chapelots – also not yet in bottle.
A more vibrant and open nose, a little yellow fruit behind. Wide, fresh, growing interest, growing complexity, more salinity and really a very engaging flavour. Getting better and better and the finishing flavour is simply delicious. Not better than the last, but perhaps as good!
2015 Domaine, Chablis 1er Fourchaume Vieilles Vignes
Really, 80% from L’Homme Mort.
Oof, lovely, wide, yellow fruited, and lovely freshness too. Even nicer in the mouth, a little like the Mont de Milieu in delivery – a vibrant flavour – mineral, but sweetly mineral. Modestly more rigorous minerality in the finish, but not one cent of hardness, just a great wine!
2015 Domaine, Chablis Les Bouguerots
More depth of fresh aroma with just a hint of toast – probably reduction more than oak – slowly adding quite a pronounced perfume. Oof! Fresh, mineral, growing intensity, a faint but growing agrume. This is a tour de force, fresh, delicious wine. Bravo!

2015 Domaine, Chablis Les Blanchots
7 different parcels – 4.5 hectares.
A bigger nose, rounder, more ripe fruited in personality, accented with agrume. If the nose is rounder, the palate is hardly so – this is fresh, concentrated, layered and still with just a suggestion of oak. Wide, long, delicious in its partially oaked style – though really delicious, the finish going on and on…

2015 Domaine, Chablis Les Clos
Quite a large-scaled nose but of freshness, clarity and energy – oak is not evident, but a super silky fine herb is. I return and now the oak is starting to show with a little cream! Ooh… this is so wide but slowing changing direction and becoming long, long, long. What fabulous direction, here with plenty of oak backing, creamy oak. Even more gourmand in the finish. Just an extra energy and clarity here.
2015 Domaine, Chablis Blanchots Reserve de l’Obediance
Always the best tasting parcels – blind.
Deep, very deep, floral above. A wine of minerality first, despite its comforting bouquet of flowers. Oof! – I’m getting to use plenty of oofs this morning! Wide, a nice but not overpowering volume, clarity, fine texture and a suggestion rather than a delivery of fat. Just a great finish – open, clean, beautiful delicious and just ever more complex… easily the best finish. Bravo!

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