Domaine Laroche “Les Blanchots” Grand Cru Chablis 2012
The Burgundy premox debate has been ongoing for years. One of the key discussions is the difference between reductive and oxidative aging. Closures play an important part in that discussion but are rarely given attention.
Larcohe first began bottling under screw cap in 2005. They believed this would provide superior and consistent results. Ten years later they have decided to return to cork.
The decision to return to cork is not a result of believing screw cap inherently inferior. Rather, it is based on a greater understanding of the role of oxygen in wine and greater ability to control the amount of dissolved oxygen in a wine.
Larcohe now measures dissolved oxygen, which it controls carefully through highly reductive ageing in steel tank. It believes that lees management is essential to properly reductive wine-making, with poor quality lees producing off aromas. In 2005 it believed the reductive approach would be superior for long-term ageing as well as vinification. In 2015 it backed off that approach because of the realization that oxygen control during vinification allows the domaine to set up ideal conditions for micro-oxygenated aging via very carefully controlled cork closure.
2012 was the experimental vintage that returned Laroche back to cork. Half the wines are bottled under screw cap and half under cork during this vintage.
The Les Blanchots I tasted was bottled with a cork closure and outstanding, showing all the hallmarks of the vineyard, namely elegance and length, with no reductive aromas.
As Chablis prices increase, particularly with the 2014 vintage, larger domaines like Laroche that have maintained an experimental quality-focused approach, but do not have the reputation of Fevre or Dauvissat, will continue to offer superb value for top quality Chardonnay.
Great with saffron and lemon poached arctic char.
$80 + tax at BCLDB