Domaine des Hâtes

France, Burgundy

It is no surprise that Domaine des Hâtes has been recently hailed as '...one of the new Chablis growers to watch out for...' by the Robert Parker team. Our first visit there in November 2016 was very memorable and the work going on here is hugely impressive.

Pierrick Laroche is a charming young man and a very talented winemaker. He currently manages 25 hectares of vines in Petit Chablis, Chablis and Premier Cru, with additional fruit being bought to make his Grand Cru Bougros.

Pierrick's father farms cereals, and was not very concerned with his family's vineyard, the production of which was sold to the co-operative. Pierrick took them out of the co-operative, and 2010 was his first vintage making wine under his own label. Even then he continued to sell much of his wine to the négociants - this made cash-flow easier in the early years. As his reputation has grown demand has seen him bottle more under his own label.

In preparation for bottling under his own name from 2010 onwards Pierrick stopped using pesticides and herbicides in 2009 and has since then manually worked the soil - this great change in practices has seen superb results in the quality of fruit he is now picking.

It is all about freshness and precision here. Classical, deeply mineral wines. Picking perhaps earlier than some of his neighbours Pierrick captures beautiful acidity and brightness of fruit - he then loves giving the wine a long élevage in tank to build texture and weight and complexity. He is not averse to using oak - but it is done at a very minimal level with just the 1er Cru wine having less than 25% oak ageing. The results are bright, elegant wines but with a real shape and feel - classical, but interesting Chablis. An exciting addition to our Burgundy list.

A new Chablis grower to watch out for. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Aug 2016)