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2012 Clos-St Denis, Grand Cru, Domaine Gagey, Louis Jadot
Maison Louis Jadot owns over 60 hectares of vineyard, many of them premier and grand cru, and in Jacques Lardière has one of the most respected winemakers working in Burgundy today, from impressive purpose built cellars on the road to Savigny-les-Beaunes.
The house of Louis Jadot was founded in 1859 though the family had previously been vignerons in the region, acquiring their famous Clos des Ursules in 1826. After the death of the last male members of the family, long-time manager André Gagey took over running the business which was subsequently purchased by the Koch family, owners of Jadot’s US importers Kobrand. The company is today run by Pierre-Henri Gagey, assisted by head winemaker Jacques Lardière who has been responsible for the company’s wines since 1970.
Recent developments have included the establishment of the tonnellerie Cadus in Ladoix-Serrigny and expansion of the modern winery facilities on the Route de Savigny, with a new white-wine vinification centre completed in 2009. On the vineyard front there have been purchases in the Mâconnais (Domaine Ferret) and the Beaujolais, notably with the Château des Jacques in Moulin-à-Vent and the Château de Bellevue in Morgon.
Jacques Lardière is fascinating to talk to and much prefers to talk about the philosophy of his winemaking than specific techniques. Basically, once healthy grapes have been selected, he wants to let the wine run its own course as much as possible. Every intervention he sees as a closing of a door rather than an opening. So there is no formal pre-maceration, no control over the upper limit of temperature during fermentation, no pumping over because that will accelerate the fermentation process while punching down will not. The wine remains in the vat after the fermentation until the chapeau, the crust of skins and pips, starts to slide down of its own accord, at which time the wine has finished digesting the whole fermentation process.
The wine is then raised in barrel, typically with a good third of new oak across the cellar, perhaps up to 50 per cent in a weaker vintage.
With the whites, Lardière often partially blocks the malolactic fermentation in order to retain acidity and finesse, and the reds are fermented at unusually high temperatures and macerated for up to a month, endowing them with depth of fruit and complexity.
Both the reds and whites are of impeccable quality and reflect the individual terroirs of their respective villages and sites, allied with Lardière`s supreme winemaking skills.
The domaine vineyards belong to various entities: Domaine Louis Jadot itself, Les Héritiers de Louis Jadot, Domaine André Gagey and, on farming contracts, Domaine dela Commaraine and Domaine du Duc de Magenta.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
Morey is sometimes ignored between its two famous neighbours, Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin, but its wines are of equal class, combining elegance and structure. Morey-St Denis, being that little bit less famous, can often provide excellent value.
The four main Grand Cru vineyards continue in a line from those of Gevrey-Chambertin, with Clos St Denis and Clos de la Roche the most widely available. Clos des Lambrays (almost) and Clos de Tart (entirely) are monopolies of the domains which bear the same names.
Domaine Dujac and Domaine Ponsot also make rare white wines in Morey-St Denis.
- 64 hectares of village Morey-St Denis
- 33 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). Best vineyards include Les Charmes, Les Millandes, Clos de la Bussière, Les Monts Luisants
- 40 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard. Clos de Tart, Clos des Lambrays, Clos de la Roche, Clos St Denis and a tiny part of Bonnes Mares
- Recommended Producers: Dujac, Ponsot, Clos de Tart, Domaine des Lambrays
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