Tasting Note: 2010 Domaine Laroche, Bourgogne “Tete de Cuvee”

imgresMichel Laroche is the fifth generation to run this highly regarded estate, that has grown to a very large 100 hectares since the Domaine’s founding in 1850.  While most of the wine produced comes from the family’s base of operations in Chablis, this comes from the Maconnaise  -physically about as far away from Chablis you can get and still be considered to be in Burgundy. This is a negociant wine; grown and fermented by 15 (or more) growers with long term contracts. Once fermentation is underway, the wine is transferred to the negociant (in this case Laroche) to be pressed and finished (95% malo) in their cellars.  This Chardonnay is aged only 2 months (on its fine lees) in stainless steel tanks before being bottled.

This Chardonnay has a rich nose, of like the Greek dessert Balaclava, full of lots of honey, nuts and butter and toasty filo dough, coupled with sage, chalk, and wet stones. The mouth is very dry and savory, rich and broad. The watering acidity (like biting into a crisp grape) is soften and rounded by chalky minerally, which is lemon and golden apple-tinged.  It is very good and quite complex, but its age has stripped it of much of its fruit, leaving the finish a touch bit drying and abrupt. Here is a wine that really would rise to its apex with some pure, but simple food. A roast chicken with wild mushrooms, or Swordfish with butter toasted almonds and fried sage.  This 2010 is very good wine, at the end of its run.  At this point it’s a food wine rather than an aperitif.  For something fresh, try the 2011 which should be out in the market now. 87 points.

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