The name Domaine Laroche is virtually synonymous with Chablis. For more than 160 years, the Laroche family has been dedicated to producing top quality wines from the Chablis region. The history of Laroche dates back to 1850, when Jean Victor Laroche purchased his first parcel of land in Chablis. In 1967, Michel Laroche, who represents the fifth generation, joined the family business at the age of 21. Convinced of the appellation's potential for high-quality wines, Laroche embarked on a period of expansion, taking the holdings from six hectares (14.83 acres) in 1967 to nearly 100 hectares (247.11 acres) of prime Chablis vineyards today. Vineyards: Like all white Burgundy, only Chardonnay grapes are grown in Chablis. The region is at the northernmost section of Burgundy, separated from the Côte d'Or by the hills of the Morvan and closer in latitude to Champagne than to the rest of Burgundy. Chablis' grand cru and premier cru Chardonnay vineyards are planted primarily on the region's unique Kimmeridgian soil -- a mixture of clay, chalk and fossilized oyster shells -- renowned for producing crisp, minerally, precise and elegant wines that have become prized throughout the world. Domaine Laroche owns a total of nearly 100 hectares (247.11 acres) spread out across the entire region, including 6 hectares (14.83 acres) of grands crus, 29.66 hectares (73.29 acres) of premiers crus, 63.02 hectares (155.72 acres) of Chablis, plus 2.25 hectares (5.56 acres) of Petit Chablis. Michel Laroche passionately believes that the best wine can only be made using the finest grapes. His approach to viticulture is to create optimal conditions to achieve top-quality fruit -- purity and typicity being the heart of the Domaine Laroche philosophy. Grégory Viennois, technical director of all Laroche estates, along with his team, shares this view, working in tune with nature, encouraging low yields and natural ecology in order to produce fruit that is true to its vineyard origins. Domaine Laroche relies on one-man plots, meaning that one person is wholly responsible for the care of a single vineyard parcel, from the pruning, soil conditioning and control of yields to the sorting of the harvest. Domaine Laroche is currently undergoing active conversion to organic viticulture. Winemaking: The gentlest-possible methods are used in the winery to protect the fruit's natural characters and maintain the purest expressions of each vineyard plot. Fermentation is usually carried out in stainless-steel tanks, except for the premiers and grands crus, which are partly fermented in barrels in order to impart delicate oak flavor and additional oxygen. As part of Michel Laroche's goal to retain purity and minerality in the finished wines, he was the first Burgundian producer, in 2001, to switch to screwcap closures, even for his grand cru wines.
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