The real origin of Le Domaine d’Henri came from my grandparents. When my father inherited it was just two hectares, planted by my grandfather. The Laroche family can date its roots in Chablis back to 1850 and my great great grandfather Jean-Victor Laroche buying one or two patches of vines in the village of Maligny, close to Chablis, but nothing that could really be called a wine estate. Even further back, generations of the Laroche family dating right back to 1695 had always had a few rows of vines. We have been looking carefully into our family history, and it has found that we can really date the creation of a true working vineyard to 1781. The vines were then passed down through my family, and things expanded slowly but surely – two hectares when my father inherited it, and six hectares by the mid 1960s.
Today there are eight hectares of vines, with over 4.5 hectares in the Premier Cru vines of Fourchaume, planted by my father and I. We also have 3.5 hectares of vines in the village of Maligny where Jean-Victor Laroche created the estate. We are slowly reclaiming plots that have been rented, and so will reach 14 hectares within the next few years.
The future of Le Domaine d’Henri is assured, and it will live through the future generations of our family. This is where I learnt how to be a winemaker, and it means a lot to me. I would spend most of my summers on the property as a teenager, and I know each plot of vines like my own children. The oldest plot was planted in 1937, so the vines have reached the venerable age of 75, and we use them to produce our cuvée Fourchaume Héritage. Our Fourchaume Vieilles Vignes wine is from a plot planted in 1970, so with vines approaching 45 years. The Fourchaume itself comes from vines planted half in 1964, and half in 1999. Our Chablis vines in Maligny were replanted in 1988 and 2001, and are increasing in complexity with every vintage, as they approach an average of 20 years old.