Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2012
Réserve de l’Obédience is produced from the finest selection of Les Blanchots grand cru vineyards. The eight plots that Laroche owns total 4.57 hectares (11.29 acres) of the 11.65 hectares (28.79 acres) that comprise Les Blanchots. Each plot is distinctive, with different vine age, location on the slope, rootstock, clone origin and soil depth — implying a variety of styles. Vintage conditions also vary greatly. A site with favorable sun exposure may be too warm in sunny vintages; a vineyard with less sun would give more balanced grapes. For these reasons, it would be folly to strive for the best wine from one single vineyard.
- Definition: The ninth-century monastery, L’Obédiencerie is where monks made the first Chablis, in the town of Chablis itself. The main offices and cellars of Domaine Laroche are located in this ancient stone monastery which is known as the birthplace of Chablis. La Réserve de l’Obédience is blended from the best wines of Les Blanchots grand cru, selected for their balance and harmony. Seventy different components kept in tanks, casks or large old wooden vats may be considered for the final blend.
- Viticulture: One man, one plot: There are more than 30 people who are dedicated to caring for the 90-plus hectares (222.39 acres) of Domaine Laroche vineyards, with each person responsible for only one plot. This tailor-made approach allows them to manage the vineyards with precision, speed and accuracy. Everyone at Domaine Laroche practices “lutte raisonnée,” or “reasoned protection,” (using chemical intervention only when required): The vineyard is plowed to aerate the soil and encourage development of the root system, as well as the organic life in the soil. Vines are pruned and trained by hand, with a strict pruning and debudding regimen. Leaf plucking occurs to aerate the canopy and avoid the development of botrytis, while trellising aerates the grapes and provides them with favorable exposure.
- Vine Age: Planted 1950, 1965, 1968, 1986, 1991, 2009
- Clones: Sélection massale
- Soil: Blanchots has a unique soil composition, combining typical Chablis Kimmeridgian limestone with a layer of white clay. Blanchots takes its name from this white clay which retains moisture and protects the vines from hydric stress.
- Density: 5,880 vines/hectare (2,380 vines/acre)
The appellation, usually a slow-ripening one, benefited from an extraordinary end-of-summer: Blue skies, sunny and dry conditions, light winds and cold nights…all the elements required for a complete and perfect ripening of Chardonnay grapes. The condition of the grapes — which were less abundant than in 2011 due to coulure and millerandage — was perfect, enabling the development of impeccable aromas. This vintage of cold maturation, which implies neither heat excess nor heaviness, has developed elegant, aromatic, well-balanced and generously mineral wines.
- Harvest Date(s): September 25, 28; manual harvest; hand-sorted at the winery
- Yields: 50 hl/ha (3.70 tons/acre)
Pressing: Whole bunches in a pneumatic press, then 12 hours settling at 12°-15°C (53°-59°F) in specially designed wide tanks; these accelerate the natural settling process, hence reducing the need for sulphur dioxide.
- Fermentation: The grapes from each site are fermented separately for 3 weeks (60% stainless steel, 40% French oak, 15% of which is new)
- Malolactic: 100%
- Aging: After 7 to 8 months of aging (60% stainless steel, 40% French oak, 15% of which is new), the individual lots are blended together from the best wines and aged for another 14 months.
- Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
- Production (in cases): 500 cases
- Production Case Pack: 6/750ml
- Alcohol: 13.5%
Appearance: Clear, bright limpid yellow
Aroma: Complex with floral and mineral notes
Taste: Floral characteristics; a velvety touch on top of the wine’s racy character
Chablis Grand Cru La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2012 – Domaine Laroche: A Pioneering Spirit in the Heart of Chablis – The SOMM Journal
“The Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Reserve de L'Obedience, produced from select Les Blanchots Grand Cru barrels, is iridescent and complex, with intense fruit, searing acidity and an elegant, balanced finish that recalls grapefruit, apples and …”
Chablis Grand Cru La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2012 – 95 points – Wine Enthusiast
"This wine, from the Les Clos Grand Cru vineyard, is a flagship for Laroche. It is richer than the producer’s regular Les Clos offering, bringing roundness and a fullness to the mineral, textured character. It’s open, ripe although it needs aging."
Chablis Grand Cru La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2012 – 92 points – Wine Spectator
“The oak spice is well-integrated into this white, lending honey and vanilla accents to the peach, melon and stone flavors. A citrus note underscores it all, with spice echoing on the lingering aftertaste.”
Chablis Grand Cru La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2012 – 93 points, Year’s Best White Burgundy – Wine & Spirits
“…a wine that feels as dense as a cake of limestone, an austere Chablis that only hints at the floral notes and white-tea spice woven tightly into its mineral fruit. The creamy texture balances some of the austerity…”