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Domaine Laroche

Domaine Laroche has a rich history which began in 867 when the abbots of St Martin de Tours settled in Chablis, built a monastery calling it L'Obédiencerie and cultivated vineyards – and the first Chablis wines were born! The monks kept the relics of St. Martin safe for many years and you can still see the exposed niche where they were secluded. The first mention of L'Obédiencerie as a wine producer is in 1128, and the first mention of their wine press is in 1216; incredibly this press can still be seen today in the cellars of the domaine. It is the oldest working wine press in the world and, once every three years, Laroche operate it once more! From the 15th to the 17th century, L'Obédiencerie was the major wine producer in Chablis, owning vineyards that would be come Premier Crus in the future. During the French Revolution L'Obédiencerie became a private residence. In 1850 a vineyard labourer named Jean Victor Laroche acquired his first parcels of vines in the village of Maligny, near the small town of Chablis. These vineyards were passed down from father to son, expanding through the generations, and by the mid-1960's totalled six hectares. In 1967 fifth generation Michel Laroche took control of the domaine. He has 90 hectares under vine with Chardonnay spread through the Chablis region, with 6 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards and 21 of Premier Cru. Over 60 hectares of these are planted on the famous Kimmeridgian limestone soils of Chablis, and some of the vines are over 70 years old. Laroche farm sustainably and organically and take a minimal approach in the winery. Additionally Laroche have some long-standing purchasing arrangements with small growers; Laroche Chablis is made from these partnerships, whilst the Domaine Laroche wines are made from their own vineyards. In 1985 Michel Laroche acquired L'Obédiencerie and turned it into the domaine's headquarters. Today, in this beautiful 15th century former monastery built over the original 9th century crypt where the monks made the very first Chablis, the Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines of Laroche are matured. In 2001 Laroche were the first Burgundian producer to bottle under screwcap, and this went for their whole range, from entry level to Grand Cru, but in 2016 they switched back to un-tainted cork for their top wines. Although Michel remains actively involved in the company, in 2009 he merged it with the leading Languedoc producer and trader Vignobles Jeanjean. An extensive range of superb wines, including 10 Premier Crus and 4 Grand Crus are produced. These are impeccably made and stand out for their exceptional crystalline purity and steely minerality – 1000 years of history, the epitomé of Chablis!