A winery renowned for its exceptional Chablis wines perfectly reflecting the terroir and full of salty minerality, the taste of which is sought to be replicated across the globe.
Laroche winery is located in the village of Chablis at the northern tip of the Burgundy region. The Canons of Saint Martin of Tours made the first wines in Chablis as early as the 9th century. The Laroche family has been involved with winemaking since 1850 when Jean-Victor Laroche planted the first vines and started making wines in L’Obédiencerie, a former monastery in the village of Chablis.
Today, Laroche owns 90 hectares of vines situated amongst the best crus.
However, not all the time between the glorious early days and the current renown was fun and games. In the late 19th century, the phylloxera epidemic destroyed most of the vineyards in Chablis. A new Paris-Marseilles railway was opened which connected Paris to regions that sold cheaper wine, thus severely reducing Chablis’ share of the Paris market. In addition, spring frosts are quite frequent in Chablis and can destroy the crop before it even starts to grow.
Hope returned in the 1960s when they learned how to protect the vines from frost, and it was then that production could really start to flourish.
All of the Chablis Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards are planted on unique Kimmeridgean soil. Kimmeridgean soil, which is composed of limestone, clay and fossilised oyster shells, imparts a distinctively mineral, flinty note to the wines.
Only Chardonnay grapes are grown here.
In 1985, Laroche expanded its activities by establishing the Mas la Chevalière production unit southeast of Chablis, where they grow Syrah, Grenache, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier varieties. Laroche also produces wines in Chile and South Africa.
The philosophy of Laroche winery relies on one-man plots. This means that one person is wholly responsible for the care of a single vineyard parcel, from the management of soil to the sorting of the harvest. This creates a unique, personal wine.
The Laroche winery, which today uses eco-friendly practices, really started thriving in the 1960s when Henri Laroche managed to save a small number of the vines by burning straw and old tires to keep the vines warm during spring frost.
Saltiness of the sea
The fossilised oyster shells in the Kimmeridgean soil are the clearest sign of Chablis’ former life as a seabed, which now heavily influences the wines, resulting in a salty sea breeze kind of minerality.