It’s National Chardonnay Day, and while you may not be too keen on made-up holidays, this one gives you an excuse to drink more wine – so who can argue with that? But while Chardonnay has gotten a bad rap over the years, thanks to super oaky and buttery wines, there’s a different way to enjoy Chardonnay if that flavor profile isn’t your jam. That’s where Laroche comes in. Enter: Chablis, AKA your new favorite wine.
The Chablis region is the northernmost wine district of Burgundy in France, and it is well known for growing Chardonnay grapes. Because of its cool climate, the region produces Chardonnay (Chablis) that has more acidity and is much less influenced by oak. Translation? It’s crisp. It’s dry. It’s pretty damn good with hints of minerality; and a hit with those who dare cry “ABC” (anything but Chardonnay).
So – what to drink? Enter: Domaine Laroche. The French winery is intrinsically and unequivocally tied to the region of Chablis since the middle ages, as Domaine Laroche’s headquarters, the Obediencerie of Chablis, a former monastery, dates back to the ninth century, where monks had made some of the first wines in the Chablis region’s history. These monks – the Canons of Saint Martin of Tours – had actually hidden some of Saint Martin’s relics inside L’Obédiencerie, and, in fact, Domaine Laroche still elaborates and ages its premiers and grand crus in these historical cellars.
Domaine Laroche prides itself on using the finest Chardonnay grapes, and the gentlest methods protect the fruit’s natural characteristics – and you can taste it in the wines. While most of them are fermented in stainless steel tanks, some of the premier and grand crus are partly fermented in barrels. But don’t be scared! They are all still, in general, crisp and bright. Try the Chablis Saint Martin, a hallmark of the Laroche winery, that is fresh and lively, with white fruit notes.
If you’re looking for something different, you’re following Laroche’s logic. After establishing the stronghold that is Domaine Laroche, Laroche began to explore vineyards outside of Chablis. After experimenting with Chardonnay in the Languedoc – something that was not grown in the region at the time –Laroche purchased Mas La Chevalière, close to Béziers in the South of France. The location features an array of different soils and microclimates that allow for the growing of different types of grapes, yes, including Chardonnay. The hallmark Chardonnay for Mas La Chevalière is the Chardonnay IGP Pays d’Oc, which features bright flavors of ripe fruit with a great balance and citrus notes. (Yep, this ain’t your ordinary Chardonnay.)
And there you have it. It’s time to rethink your Chardonnay stance, one glass (er, bottle) at a time.