Q&A: Grégory Viennois of Domaine Laroche4th September, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
When he’s not enjoying the best of Burgundy, Grégory Viennois, director of vineyards & wine at Domaine Laroche in Chablis, picks out Chile as a source of “ideal conditions” for Chardonnay.
What factors in your view makes a Chardonnay great?
Chardonnay should always grow on light, aerated, filtering soils that contain lots of minerals. The ripening of bunches should be done under specific conditions, with warm and sunny, but not hot, days and cool nights in order to keep acidity, but also the elegance and complexity of aroma.
For these reasons, the Kimmeridgian limestone of Chablis, combined with the weather in September and October, is highly favourable to the production of great Chardonnays.
The human factor strongly matters as well, of course, especially to decide the optimal picking date, pressing, and above all the ageing period that must reveal the climat of origin with the highest authenticity possible.
What regions of the world, other than your own, have the potential to produce high quality and distinctive Chardonnay?
For the same reasons as above, the granite of Casablanca region in Chile has ideal conditions. The strong influence of the southern Pacific and the Andes make the place a particularly cool one.
What is it about Chardonnay that means it has lasting global appeal?
Chardonnay can produce elegant wines without pungent aromas, green acidity or bitterness. I think that the global success of this variety comes from these characteristics. The reputation of Burgundy among wine lovers, and particularly some prestigious appellations such as Meursault, Montrachet etc, have strongly contributed to the development of this variety in the world.
Is there a winemaker or wine whose expression of Chardonnay inspires you?
The Meursault of JM Roulot, the Chablis of Dauvissat and the Puligny of AC Leflaive
the drinks business Global Chardonnay Masters 2013 takes place in September. Presided over by a panel of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, rather than being judged by country, each Chardonnay is assessed by style and price.
Those interested in entering the competition can do so here. The deadline for entries is 13 September.