With a sharp eye, natural instinct, and solid Burgundian pragmatism, Roland Lavantureux made a name for himself crafting no-nonsense Chablis that has come to be one of the most reliable of the old reliables here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. Upon his completion of wine school in Beaune, Roland founded the domaine in 1978 in the town of Lignorelles, about four miles northwest of Chablis. Today, his two sons have taken over the Domaine: Arnaud is in charge of the vineyards and cellar, while David 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-five years.
The region is best known for its Kimmeridgian soils, a highly prized terroir of limestone and clay infused with tiny, fossilized oysters. The intensely chalky 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, yet they imbue the wines with a crisp, lively freshness and zesty, citrusy aromas that speak to the deep mineral component of northern Burgundy. There is no accounting for these imaginary appellation boundaries, because the pedigree of the 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.”
Since joining the family operation, the young Arnaud and David have shown remarkable ambition and precision in their work ethic: they have increased the family holdings to twenty-one hectares, adding single-vineyard cuvées while constantly striving for more complexity and layered texture in the mineral-driven beauties they produce. The Lavantureux 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 people who make them; they are staff favorites year after year.