Domaine Laroche

Burgundy, France

Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots – 2018

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • Blanchots has a unique soil composition, combining typical Chablis Kimmeridgian limestone with ammonites and a layer of white clay. Blanchots takes its name from this white clay which retains moisture and protects the vines from hydric stress.

    • Vineyards: Domaine Laroche owns 4.56 hectares (11 acres) — over one-third — of the grand cru Les Blanchots. With eastern and southern exposures on a steep slope ranging in elevation from 155 to 215 meters (509 to 705 feet), these old Blanchots vines ripen with a matchless minerality and aromatic richness due to the Kimmeridgian soil and the vineyard’s eastern orientation, which protects the fruit from the late afternoon sun.
    • 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: Up to 70 years
    • Density: 5,880 vines per hectare (2,380 vines per acre); massal selection from Laroche old vines for the new plantings
  • Vintage Report

    • In 2018 the summer conditions were dry with temperatures above seasonal norms (> 98 °F) which favored an advanced veraison of 8 days compared to the previous year. After 2 challenging years with harvest volume down 50%, we are thankful for the abundant and high quality of vintage 2018.

  • Vinification

    • PRESSING: The grapes are harvested and sorted by hand. Whole bunches are pressed in a pneumatic press, and then the must settles for 12 hours at 10° C to 12°C (50° F to 54° F) in large vats.

    • Fermentation: The must ferments for 3 weeks, 60% in stainless-steel vats, where the temperature gradually increases from 16° C to 19° C (61° F to 66° F). The rest ferments in French oak barrels, of which 15% is new).
    • Filtration: Minimal filtration is used to preserve and maximize the natural character of the wine.
  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
    • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Tasting Notes

    • A real elegance appears in this grand cru, with a typical spring blossom aromas and a delicate mineral finish. On the palate, it offers a silky mouthfeel supported by a lively, racy acidity. Blanchots is delicate, silky and shows its charm after five years in bottle and at peak after 10 to 12 years.

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Reviews

  • Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots — 2018 – Wine Spectator – 91 Points

    Flavors of peach, melon, apple and mineral are embedded in the creamy texture of this complex and expressive white, which is balanced and stays in bounds, with good underlying cut and a long, vanilla bean finish. Drink now through 2025.

  • Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots — 2018 – Wine Enthusiast – 97 Points

    Creaminess on the nose of this wine comes with the richness of crème fraiche edged with lemon. A velvety palate enforces this bright, mellow creaminess, layering it with chalky coolness pervaded with zesty lemon. The round-ness of 2018is conserved in refreshing smoothness. Depth is already hinted at on the long, smooth and chalky finish. Drink 2025–2045.

  • Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots — 2018 – Burghound – 92 Points

    A distinctly cool and saline-inflected nose reflects notes of citrus, quinine and a hint of sea breeze.The delicious, minerally and nicely chiseled medium weight flavors possess very good mid-palate density before terminating in a dry, chalky and almost salty lemon-tinged finish. There is a very subtle hint of warmth and while this isn’t super-complex at present, more depth will almost certainly develop with a few years in bottle. I would add that this is quite crisp in the context of what is typical for the 2018 vintage

  • Domaine Laroche Chablis Grand Cru Les Blanchots – 2018 – Vinous – 90+ Points

    The 2018 Chablis Les Blanchots Grand Cru did not quite engage the senses on the nose. Following on from the delightful Côte de Léchet, it is just missing a bit of lift and vigor. The palate is much better, featuring lemon zest, lime and light orange peel notes on the entry, a fine bead of acidity, and a concentrated, quite penetrating finish that leaves a saline aftertaste. I will be prudent with my score for now, hoping that the aromatics will get their act together.

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