Domaine Laroche has launched the first village-level single-vineyard Chablis.
The Vieille Voye 2014 is from a seven-hectare vineyard beneath the Vaillons premier cru on the left bank of the Serein river, which cuts through this northern Burgundian appellation.
Grands crus and premiers crus are single-vineyards in their own right, but village-level Chablis are usually blends of grapes from many sites.
Laroche winemaker Grégory Viennois, who launched the wine in London, said the Vieille Voye vineyard was planted before the 16th century by the Pontigny abbots, who named it after the old Roman road that connected Burgundy with Champagne – Vieille Voye means ‘ancient path’. He was excited by the potential of these 70-year-old vines when he started at the domaine in 2011.
Even though it is a north-facing plot, the organically farmed vines are on the rounded top of a small hill so enjoy both morning and afternoon sun. The handpicked and sorted grapes are then fermented in a 15-year-old, 55-hectolitre oak foudre.
Grapes previously went into the St-Martin cuvée, of which 200,000 bottles are produced annually – 70% of Domaine Laroche’s Chablis production.The domaine owns 90ha, including vineyards in three grands crus and 25ha across seven premiers crus.
When released in October, the wine will be available from UK agent Liberty Wines for £20 a bottle.
The first taste of a barrel sample shows a big step up in concentration and quality from the St-Martin. It has the ripe nectarine, tropical fruit and sweet spice notes typical of Vaillons along with firm acidity, grip and structure plus a slatey mineral tang. Arguably as good as many other left bank premiers crus at this stage of its development.