Laroche – 2017

Update 20.6.2019(24.1.2019)billn

Tasted in Chablis with Grégory Viennois, 24 January 2019.

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

Gregory on 2018:
Happily we had a Spring and early Summer that was rainy to recharge the water in the soil. Growth was very early, even earlier than in 2017 – then some cold and the vines stopped – they needed time before they restarted – then they grew well. In the end it was a Summer that was warm and dry – 2017 was also dry but had little periods of rain at important times so there was no vine-stress, but it wasn’t like that in 2018. There was a little rain in August and those with good soils soaked that up and it deblocked certain parcels. We started very early, with crunchy skins and nice acidities. A very heterogeneous year.

Gregory on 2017:
We produced less than in 2016 – the frost touched more parcels. The frost was easy to see, but the effect of the cold was less easy to see until flowering – it’s called filage – we saw only half of the usual amount of flowers, so, of-course, half the number of grapes! 27-28 hl/ha was the average for us, and it was closer to 15 hl/ha in the grand crus. We started our harvest 1st September – the end of August was actually not that great weather – it was more like mid-September. The surprise was having a hot dry vintage but nothing heavy – it’s not comparable to other warm vintages – but it was another harvest with very fine, clean grapes. Lots of vibration and purity in the wines – practically none of the characteristics of an early vintage – the vines never suffered as there was always rain when needed – it’s just the volume that suffered. A vintage with a grain – you will see.

The wines…

Compelling wines.

Practically all the corks here are NDTech – i.e. an Amorim product that is individually tested to guarantee them TCA free.

As an opener the Laroche early bottlings from 2018:

2018 Bourgogne Chardonnay
Bottled in the next month from vines in Mâcon – Uchizy, Burgy, et-cetera.
A nose with a fresh width, a little lime energy. Fresh, good volume in the mouth, fine acidity and a lime zest impression. Ooh that’s good!

2018 Bourgogne Reserve
Same origins, just with a little barrel elevage – 10%
A calmer, more discreet nose. A little more weight on the palate, a touch more sweetness – it seems longer – but overall I’d prefer to drink the first wine today for its zesty energy.

2018 Petit Chablis
Will be bottled in a few days – the low volumes of the last couple of years precipitated an earlier bottling – there will be a single bottling of this.
A tighter nose once more, but with some mineral depth. Ooh – that’s good in the mouth though – sweeping lines, great texture – easy flavour but well-packaged and even a touch of tannin at the base. Agrume finishing – a big and delicious.

2018 Chablis Les Chanoines
A cuvée name, in bottle a few days already.
A tiny biscuit reduction – a sleek nose. Ooh, fresh, citrus, pure – great clarity – a suggestion of salinity and plenty of minerality – this is really positive for what may come from the vintage! Great finishing – pure, citrus – excellent.

2018 Domaine, Chablis St.Martin
Usually an assembly of about 42 hectares from 60 hectares, with separate elevage – many terroirs – using old foudres 15% for the elevage. The aim is to add a little density. Never the same parcels used, always selected blind.
A wine with a width of saline aroma. Lovely width, mouth-filling freshness – saline again – complex – a proper very fine Chablis finish. Great!

Now 2017:

2017 Domaine, Chablis Vieille Voye
Third vintage, selected from 6.5 ha below Les Lys. The vines are over 75 years old. Elevage in foudre then finished in stainless steel with all the lees. Vieille Voye reflects the nearby Roman Road.
Hmm – that’s a fine nose – wide, fresh, saline and complex. Mouth-filling volume, some orange in the agrume fruit – perfect texture, fine freshness – grand vin. If there was only one village Chablis that I could have bought each year since 2014 – the first vintage for this cuvée – then it would simply by this wine.

2017 Domaine, Chablis 1er Les Vaudevey
More depth, freshness, almost creamy at the base. There is oak in the flavour that reflects the creamy nose, but there is also fine volume – mouth-filling – clarity and a vibrant, super finish – simply excellent – indeed great in the finish.

2017 Chablis 1er Côte de Lechet
A more mineral depth – and wide at the base too – no obvious oak here. Lots of volume – fresh citrus style – great finishing again, juicy, a grain of tannin – great, pure fruit. Excellent wine.

2017 Domaine, Chablis 1er Vaillons Vieilles Vignes
Actually from Roncières
A lovely width of aroma. More intent, more depth of concentration but no richness as it perfectly counterbalanced with freshness and energy – pure – great, intense finishing, such depth of finishing flavour – wow, a great finish an excellent wine.

2017 Domaine, Chablis 1er Montmains
All from Montmains – the higher part – 45 yo vines.
Fresh, slightly oaked nose. Vibrant – so fresh, so energetic, more lime than lemon, eventually a little creamy oak catches up – but this will gone soon. Great melting, intensely flavoured finish – great!

2017 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 fuller, more agrume nose. Like to Montmains, fresh attack, mobile energy over the palate – so great the mouth-watering flavour, more modest intensity vs the Montmains but so pure and moreish.

2017 Chablis 1er Mont de Milieu
A little more sunny impression and some oak too – more a ripe lemon here. Richer but with fine drive, great texture – an insinuating acidity, super finishing intensity too – ooh that’s really great, less my style but really great!
2017 Chablis 1er Montée de Tonnerre
From Chapelots
More freshness and more complexity. Density but the freshness and drive ensures nothing approaching heavy: possibly the most overt minerality, couched in a citrus acidity that is both mouth-watering and with a moreish salinity. Waves and waves of finishing flavour – not the longest, but great all the same…

2017 Domaine, Chablis 1er Fourchaume Vieilles Vignes
Fresh, pure, much more depth, some oak here too. More direct, more acidity – almost a touch of ‘sour’ after that last couple (so drink this before) but sucrosity and fine melting flavour in this lip-smacking finish – excellent!

2017 Domaine, Chablis Les Bouguerots
All demi-muids – 600 litres. High density planting – for here – 10k
Not a big nose but one with perfume mixed with a vibration of minerality – a big invitation to drink. Big, fresh, great volume and energy – melting with fine citrus flavour. Layered from the middle onwards – great! Such a juicy finish.

2017 Domaine, Chablis Les Blanchots
7 different parcels – 4.5 hectares.
Similar weight of aroma, more perfumed and with an oaked extra dimension. More stand-alone in the mouth – aloof almost – but lots of volume and energy, very mineral, ooh that’s a finish almost as good as the Bougros – certainly with more citrus skin bitters and a sweetness of oak – – at a minimum, excellent….

2017 Domaine, Chablis Les Clos
A depth of complex aroma, some oak in this but also an extra density of aroma. Full, open, involving, complex, mobile not the most intense, but very involving. Delicious complexity in the finish too. Excellent, perhaps more.

2017 Domaine, Chablis Blanchots Reserve de l’Obediance
Always the best tasting parcels – blind. Not yet in bottle, waiting assembled in tank.
Hmm, this has aromatic volume and a certain complexity, a saline complexity – some oak? Not overtly. Ooh, volume, density and concentration, perfect texture, salinity starting to show, direction, some melting mineral aspect, then width, small waves, mouth-watering but not really juicy. I think I’m seeing only the half of this – but it’s a complete wine – bravo!

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