Chablis Grand Cru La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2016
Chablis – Blanchot Grand Cru Réserve de l’Obédience is produced
from the finest selection of Les Blanchots grand cru vineyards. The eight plots that Laroche owns total 3.74 hectares (9.24 acres). 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 9th 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 in 1950, 1965, 1968, 1986, 1991, 2009
- 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.
A mild winter was followed by a cold and rainy spring with frost and hailstone showers on some parts of the appellation. August was warm and dry which favored belated ripening and accelerated the maturation process. The ideal September weather conditions with mild showers and sunshine finally ensured a nice maturation of the grapes. The harvest started on Monday, September 26 and ended on Tuesday, October 4, similar to 2014. The 2016 vintage is precise, fresh, lovely and well-balanced.
Pressing: The grapes are harvested and sorted by hand. Whole bunches in a pneumatic press, then 12 hours settling at 12 C to 15 C (53 F to 59 F) in specially designed wide tanks.
Fermentation: 3 weeks (50% in stainless-steel vats where the temperature gradually increases from 16 C to 19 C, or 61 F to 66 F; 50% in French oak, of which 15% is new).
Maturation: After 14 months of aging, the individual lots are blended together from the best wines.
Filtration: Minimal filtration is used to preserve and maximise the natural character of the wine.
First, there is the typical floral character of Blanchots, on both the nose and the palate, and then an intense minerality appears. It develops and offers a remarkable aroma complexity, with a superb finish. A touch of velvey, from a careful ageing, on the top of the racy character of a Grand Cru Chablis.
- Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
- Alcohol: 13%
Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Blanchots La Réserve de l’Obédience – 2016 – Wine Spectator – 92 Points
Elderflower, vanilla and apple aromas and flavors converge on this refined, stony white. Shows richness midpalate, before the vivid acidity cleanses the finish. Delivers more finesse than power. Drink now through 2025.
Domaine Laroche, Chablis Les Blanchots “La Reserve de l’Obedience” Grand Cru – 2016 – 92 Points – Burghound
This wine has changed dramatically since the sale of Laroche as it once could be fairly described as an oak bomb with some white wine buried underneath - not necessarily a bad wine but not a very good Blanchots. By contrast there is good freshness t