Benjamin Laroche Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 2016

A lot of people think that talking about the color or smell of wines is just pretentious balderdash.

Here’s an example of why that is wrong.

If I hadn’t known that Chablis is made of 100% Chardonnay grapes and almost always fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks, I might not have known that there was something wrong with this bottle of wine.

Impressively, Naked Wines immediately credited my account for the bad bottle. And as you can see from the winemaker’s response, he didn’t have any doubt either – even though he had never seen my particular bottle!

Typical colors and smells help you identify if a bottle is bad (corked, premox, bad storage etc.) I am certain that there other people who received bad bottles but just didn’t realize it.

As soon as I work through my last case, I’m going to order a different bottle of this Chablis. A bad bottle doesn’t mean a bad wine.

*** My review and rating of the wine on nakedwines.com

2 Stars

Unfortunately, I am quite sure that this bottle had premox. [Premature oxygenation = too much air got into the wine too quickly.] 

It was as yellow as an oaked California Chardonnay when I poured it. It smelled and tasted like an old Riesling. Not what you would expect from a 2016 Chablis.

Chablis is my favorite Chardonnay region in the world, and one of my favorite whites, so I know the typical style very well.

I am certain that this was an individual bottle problem as I cannot imagine a Frenchman with the last name Laroche would make a Chablis that doesn’t taste like Chablis! 

As such, my rating of 2-Hearts is not really fair. I am sure that I would love this Chablis if the wine was in pristine condition.

*** Reply from the Winemaker

“Dear Scott, indeed, there [must] be a problem [with this bottle]. The color at first speaks by itself. My wines are pale yellow with greenish hints. Wine is a living product so problems sometime occur….You should contact Naked customer service and they will exchange the bottle. Sorry for that. If you are a Chablis lover, for sure you should not be disappointed [with my wine].”

WineKnow Facts:

  • Chablis is in Burgundy. If a wine is white and says Bourgogne or Burgundy on the label, it is almost always 100% Chardonnay
  • Chablis is almost always 100% unoaked. It’s fermented/aged in stainless steel tanks.
  • These wines should be pale yellow to clear, have great acidity, lemon-lime fruit and a difficult to describe mineral or saline quality.
  • Chablis is my favorite type of Chardonnay. In fact, it’s probably my favorite white wine period. (Although Godello is my current fling.)