Saint Bris le Vineux is a small village in the north-western part of Burgundy located 16 km from Chablis and eight kilometres from Auxerre. Although Chardonnay is renowned as the main white grape variety grown in Burgundy, uniquely St Bris is the only village in Burgundy where elegant and floral Sauvignon Blanc wines are produced. It is here, in Saint Bris Le Vineux, that in 1987 owner and winemaker Erick Lavallée established Domaine Grand Roche. In 2021, Eric passed over the family estate to his daughter Caroline and son, Clément. The property comprises 14.5 hectares of vineyard, spread between Chablis and Auxerre and a small quantity of Saint Bris. They produce clean and fresh Chablis, blended from different parcels on the private estate for complexity and balance.
The growing season began with an unusually mild winter, which led into a clement spring. Warm weather during the spring cumulated in an unnaturally warm April, prompting early budburst and flowering. This set the scene for a rapid growing season, with a hot, dry summer and low rainfall resulting in arid conditions. This slowed down the ripening and the vines produced and average yield of small grapes with concentrated flavours.
Chablis is internationally renowned for the combination of the Chardonnay grape and the Kimmeridgian soils in which they are cultivated. These estate vineyards are no exception, the limestone soils impart ‘mineral’ characteristics, elegance and finesse to the resulting wine. The vineyard is managed according to sustainable growing practices, which are observed and supported at each stage of the vine’s growth. These techniques limit the risk of pollution and allow for the preservation of the soil and terroir. The vineyard is cultivated sustainably and is certified HVE3 which officially recognises the environmental performance of winegrowers, including biodiversity conservation, plant protection strategies, managed fertiliser use and water resource management.
The grapes were destemmed and gently pressed in a pneumatic press, which delicately extracted the juice without the herbaceous aromas of the stalks. After settling, fermentation started spontaneously with indigenous yeasts taking place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 16 to 18°C. These techniques guarantee the typical expression of the terroir and natural aromas of the Chardonnay variety. Following racking, the wine was rested on its fine lees for a minimum of six months prior to being pink-earth filtered and bottled.
Fresh, bright aromas of citrus fruit and floral notes are elegantly enveloped in subtle, smoky mineral notes. Crisp on the palate, with refreshing, vibrant white fruits complemented by a hint of butter, good structure through to a dry, mouthwatering finish.