Domaine Laroche epitomises Chablis. The quality of their wines is impeccable, with all wines carrying the Chablis hallmark of crystalline purity and steely minerality. Laroche were the first Burgundian producer to move to screwcaps in 2002 and now all their wines, from Petit Chablis through to Grand Cru, are now closed under stelvin. The domaine has been built up over the past 160 years, but a dynamism that is unusual in such a venerable producer permeates everything Laroche does.
Michel Laroche, the driving force since he took over the domaine in 1967, has recently merged the company with another family owned producer, Jeanjean, yet he remains actively involved in the company, along with his wife Gwénaël. The approach to production is meticulous under the stewardship of vineyard manager Yannick Cadiou and newly appointed winemaker Grégory Viennois and many of their vineyards are being converted to organic viticulture. Grégory refers to Chardonnay’s `two-day window`: once the parcels of grapes have ripened and the right balance between sugar, flavour and acidity has been achieved, he allows only two days in which to harvest. After this, the acidity falls and the freshness and minerality that makes Chablis so special is lost. Domaine Laroche’s ownership of vineyards is remarkable, and sets them apart from their main competitors. Chablis is a fragmented region, but Domaine Laroche owns 100 hectares of vines, including an impressive 30 hectares of Premier Crus and six hectares of Grand Crus. In addition to their own vineyards, the domaine has developed long-standing purchasing partnerships with 40 small growers. The ‘Laroche Petit Chablis’ and ‘Laroche Chablis’ are made from these partnerships, while the ‘Domaine Laroche’ wines are made from their own vineyard holdings.