Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2016
Chablis – Vaillons 1er Cru Domaine Laroche owns 2.16 hectares (5.34 acres) of the 126.09 hectares (311.57 acres) in the Vaillons premier cru appellation. Les Vaillons is a well-favored site with an elevation of 180 to 200 meters (590 to 656 feet), a generous southeastern exposure and well-drained soil. During sunny vintages, the grapes attain perfect ripeness in this premier cru vineyard and produce wines with bright fruit flavors.
- Definition: “Vaillons” refers to the smaller valleys or climats that the larger climat of Les Vaillons can be divided into: Roncières, Beugnons, Les Lys, Les Epinottes, Châtains, Sécher and Mélinots.
- 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 1978
- Soil: The limestone marl and Kimmeridgian soil is deep, and the vines are deeply rooted in this stony environment. Formed during the Kimmeridgian geological period (Late Jurassic, 150 to 155 million years ago), the soil contains a mixture of limestone and clay with a multitude of tiny fossilized oyster shells. This unique soil structure gives a finesse to Chablis that is precise, elegant and exceptional.
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 (85% stainless steel, 15% French oak)
Maturation: 9 months (70% stainless steel, 30% French oak)
Filtration: Minimal filtration is used to preserve and maximise the natural character of the wine.
There is a velvety character in this wine that comes from the sunny character of the vineyard. Perfectly ripe Chardonnay grapes grown on old vines give Vaillons a typical oriental spice overtone. On the palate,it offers real sinew but never lacks the elegance of the best premiers crus of Chablis.
- Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
- Alcohol: 12.5%
Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2016 – Wine Spectator – 90 Points
Lemon cake, apple, flint and stone aromas and flavors are the hallmarks of this vibrant version. Balanced in a steely manner, with a long, detailed finish. Drink now through 2024.
Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2016 – 90 Points – Wine Spectator
“Lemon cake, apple, flint and stone aromas and flavors are the hallmarks of this vibrant version. Balanced in a steely manner, with a long, detailed finish. Drink now through 2024. 200 cases imported.”