With a sharp eye, natural instinct, and solid, Burgundian pragmatism, Roland Lavantureux is making no-nonsense Chablis that has come to be one of the most reliable of the old reliables here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. He farms nineteen hectares of Chardonnay vines in Lignorelles, about four miles northwest of Chablis. Upon his completion of wine school in Beaune, Roland founded the domaine in 1978. Today, he is joined by his two sons, one who works with him in the vineyards and cellar, while the other takes the lead in marketing and sales. In addition to making a stunning Chablis, the Lavantureux family also bottles a mouth-watering Petit Chablis, which, depending on the vintage, can easily rival their more highly pedigreed bottling—only proving the unwavering consistency of the Lavantureux family that has kept our relationship with them so strong for over thirty years.
The region is best-known for the Kimmeridgian soils, a highly-prized terroir of limestone and clay infused with tiny, fossilized oysters. The intense chalk and sea-shell minerality lends deep complexity to whites, making this region an ideal home for the Chardonnay grape. The Portlandian soils in the extension of the Chablis appellation, known as Petit Chablis, may not enjoy the same reputation as the Kimmeridgian, however they imbue the wines with a crisp, lively freshness and zesty, citrus aromas that speak to the deep mineral component of northern Burgundy. There is no accounting for these imaginary boundaries, because the pedigree of his wines is palpable. As Roland once told Kermit, “I don’t know why the INAO named some vines ‘Chablis’ and others ‘Petit.’ When I stand in the middle of my vineyard, the row to my left is Chablis, to the right it is Petit Chablis, but you can’t see any difference.” His wines display show-stopping nerve, to be enjoyed as easily before dinner as they are with a piece of grilled fish or oysters-on-the-half-shell. These wines drink as honestly as the man who makes them; they are staff favorites year after year.