Tag Archives: Domaine Laroche

The name game (Chablis, France – Day One)


When I was younger I didn’t like my name. In terms of my first name I didn’t really have a problem with James, but I didn’t like it being such a common name, nor did I like derivations and colloquialisms of it, like Jim, Jimmy or Jamie. Considering how uncommon my surname is and how much of an individual I attempted to be, you would think I would like my surname but this was not the case. I wasn’t a fan of the length of it nor did I like the fact that people could neither spell it by ear nor could they pronounce it when reading it. I love my name now, being proud of its uniqueness and also as the last male Scarcebrook in the family I have a sense of obligation to continue the name. People in Europe, particularly France, are similarly fiercely proud of their names, often naming their children after themselves. Continuing the family name carries over to the family business as well, but complications arise with splitting of estates between children or establishing new estates with the same name. Within the same village it is not uncommon to find several producers of the same name, and within an entire region this could multiply significantly. Not for the first time on my trip I arrived at the wrong winery because it had essentially the same name, even though there is no relation between them. This gets complicated out in the market as a producer’s name is effectively their brand, so when someone else is using the same brand their products can reflect on your own reputation. I guess this is another complication that makes wine so special, and it is important to trust your source, be it a restaurant, store or importer.

Limestone clay and a bit of chalk

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Domaine Laroche – 3/12/2012

Petit Chablis 2011
Quite green and crisp, a touch talcy, not a lot of minerality nor fruit. Fresh zingy acids, some late fruit sweetness, very clean and drinkable, good value but far from a great wine. Delivers what’s expected.

Chablis Saint Martin 2011
A little denser and more expressive on the nose, introducing some floral notes, subdued citrus notes, starting to show a little bit of mature green/brown notes. Fuller in texture and weight, denser and darker minerality, breadth and persistence, very lively but not quite ripe enough, looking a touch warm.

Les Beauroys 2008 Premier Cru
Brighter fruitier bolder and more expressive on the nose, floral and concentrated. Depth and complexity, round generous with soft caressing acids and creamy texture, seems to be ageing a little already.

Les Vaillons 2008 Premier Cru
More mineral notes, darker and more brooding, wilder fruit characters, kind of edgy. All around the edges, flat in the middle. Lacking much depth and concentration, fruit not quite ripe enough. A little disappointing on the palate to be honest.

Les Vaillons 2007 Premier Cru
Deeper riper fruit notes, more akin to stone fruit than citrus. Much fuller in comparison, good level of ripeness and structure, balanced acidity and alcohol, some nice dried fruit characters. More going on in this wine and more potential down the line for ageing.

Les Blanchots 2008 Grand Cru
Very closed on the nose, almost a touch reductive, extremely subtle showing almost no fruit character. Full , builds on the palate but the density of the wine somehow doesn’t translate in the fruit, and subsequently looks both hollow and warm. Something went wrong with this vintage.

Les Blanchots 2006 Grand Cru
Inviting citrus sherbet sorbet aromas, quite flinty and a little smoky. Bold, expressive, quite concentrated, very dense and still quite locked-up. Brooding in its structure, masculine in its power, warm in its alcohol but much better balance and integration.

Reserve de l’Obedience Les Blanchots 2007 Grand Cru
Quite dense nice concentration, evidence of low yields. Full palate, good texture, complexity and weight, extension on the palate, but also a clean balanced finish.

Domaine Laroche

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