Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2012
Domaine Laroche owns 2.16 hectares (5.34 acres) of the 126.1 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 1970, 1986
- Clones: Sélection massale
- 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.
- 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 27-28; manual harvest; hand-sorted at the winery
- Yields: 54 hl/ha (4 tons/acre)
Pressing: Whole bunches in a pneumatic press, then 12 hours settling at 12 to 15°C (53° to 59°F) in specially designed wide tanks that accelerate the natural settling process
- Fermentation: 3 weeks (85% stainless steel, 15% French oak)
- Malolactic: 100%
- Aging: 9 months (85% stainless steel, 15% French oak)
- Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
- Production (in cases): 2,500 cases
- Production Case Pack: 6/750ml
- Alcohol: 12.5%
Appearance: Clear, bright limpid yellow
Aroma: Complex with hints of citrus and summer blossoms
Taste: Offers a velvety character that comes from the sunny character of the vineyard. A powerful yet elegant wine.
Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2012 – Domaine Laroche: A Pioneering Spirit in the Heart of Chablis – The SOMM Journal
T"he Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vines, is lush and juicy with fragrant pear, citrus and flint notes and a silky, vivid finish."
Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2012 – 92 points – Wine Enthusiast
"This wine has a vegetal aroma, with hints of asparagus, while the palate is riper, showing the concentration of old vines. It offers lemon and orange zest as well as a fresh, tight texture. The wine needs time to reset itself and balance out."
Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2012 – 91 points – Wine Spectator
“Round and open, with no shortage of cut, sporting lemon-lime and light herb notes. Clean and focused, showing fine length.”
Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaillons Vieilles Vignes – 2012 – 92 points – The Tasting Panel
"Lush and juicy with tangy acidity and vibrant fruit; silky and fresh with a long, vivid finish."