At l’Art du Vin we pride ourselves on the relationships that we maintain with each of our producers. We strive to keep abreast of all the goings-on at the estates we work with across the world and thoroughly enjoy frequent conversations with our winemaking partners.
As a result, whenever we hear news of bad weather in a wine producing region, we hold our breath. Mother Nature can be cruel and in the past we have seen the entire harvest at some of our friends’ estates destroyed in a matter of minutes due to rain, wind, hail or drastic changes in temperatures.
Last week, in the early hours of Tuesday 1st of September, a freak hail storm struck the area of Chablis. While hail can be devastating to any winemaking region, the timing last week in Burgundy was particularly cruel, as it arrived just days before the harvest was due to commence. Furthermore, after several years of hail-affected harvests, many had been touting this particular vintage as exceptional, only for around 100 hectares of vines to be completely destroyed in a matter of hours.
On Tuesday morning, as soon as we became aware of the news, Richard called Nicolas Laroche, head of the team at Domaine de la Meulière, who has supplied us with premium-quality Chablis wines since our inception in 2007.
Thankfully, their vines were unharmed and their prestigious Premier Cru appellations of Les Fourneaux and Monts de Milieu emerged unscathed. A relieved Nicolas was in the process of planning the harvest, which is taking place as we speak. We are sure it will turn out to be a great vintage, despite their latest stroke of bad luck.
The Laroche family have been independent wine growers for generations, producing fantastic Chablis from Domaine de la Meulière since the late 19th century. In recent years, the youngest generation of workers, namely Nicolas and his brother Vincent, have introduced a number of modern winemaking techniques. However, they still maintain a clear connection with the traditional methods employed by their ancestors and in 2015, they will count themselves as part of an ever-shrinking group of Chablis producers who continue to complete their harvest by hand.
We would like to wish Nicolas and his team all the best for their impending harvest and we hope they manage to complete their operations before any further freak weather affects the area.
In the meantime, why don’t you enjoy the fruits of Nicolas’ past harvests? Details of ours wines from Domaine de la Meulière are listed below.
Domaine de la Meulière
Petit Chablis - £14.00
Text book Chablis, crisp, green apples, fennel and flinty notes on the finish
Chablis - £15.30
Classic, crisp, un-oaked Chardonnay with citrus and mineral characters
Chablis 1er Cru 'Les Fourneaux' 2013, £21.10
As it is starting to age, this 1er Cru is showing some lovely honey and almond characters along with a distinctive savoury, fennel finish
Chablis 1er Cru 'Monts de Millieu' 2013, £22.85
Vigorous and full-bodied with good minerality and a wide variety of fruit and flower aromas. Displays great keeping qualities.