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2009 Bourgogne Blanc, Domaine Antoine Jobard
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François Jobard is as quiet as they come. He has been making top rate Meursault for 50 years in a very understated way, starting work with his father in 1957. However tastings at the domaine have become a little more voluble, since 2002 when son Antoine joined François, the label mentioning both names. This quiet and unassuming grower has nearly 5 hectares of vines in Meursault and produces a minuscule 2,000 cases a year. From 2007 the design has changed and the name has evolved to Domaine Antoine Jobard. But Clint Eastwood look-alike François has still been in evidence when I go to taste at the domaine.
The winemaking is traditional here - Jobard abhors the excessive use of new oak and extended lees stirring which he feels merely serve to flatter the wines when young, yet add little to their long-term ageing potential. If you like Meursaults that are big, broad and oaky, and are as yellow as French headlights, then this may not be the domaine for you. However, if you like Meursaults that are taut, mineral, complex and refined, then François Jobard is your man. Like their maker, his wines reflect an unhurried restraint, competence, dedication and precision, giving them complex and elegant characteristics.
His wines are not flamboyant but are graceful and steely and display astonishing mineral intensity and finesse. François Jobard wines taste superb in the barrel but then need years in bottle before they show their qualities. They are aged in barrel for two years and then bottled with a reasonably heavy dose of sulphur to ensure their longevity at the expense of youthful charm. Probably the key to this style though is the decision not to settle the solids out of the juice before it goes to barrel for fermentation. Antoine does not intend to make significant changes, except to the label, though there will surely be some fine tuning. Already the wines are bottled just a few months earlier, to avoid a second summer in barrel.
Their small plot of Blagny rouge which always made a rather austere wine has been pulled out and replanted with chardonnay so the domaine is now entirely white.
Jasper Morris MW, Burgundy Wine Director and author of the award-winning Inside Burgundy comprehensive handbook.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
Bourgogne Blanc is the appellation used to refer to generic white wines from Burgundy, a wide term which allows 384 separate villages to produce a white wine with the label ‘Bourgogne.’ As a result of this variety, Bourgogne Blanc is very hard to characterise with a single notable style, however the wines are usually dominated by the presence of Chardonnay, which is just about the only common factor between them. That being said, Chardonnay itself varies based on the environmental factors, so every bottle of Bourgogne Blanc will vary in some way from the next! Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are also permitted for use in Bourgogne Blanc under the regulations of the appellation.
As Bourgogne Blanc is very much an entry-level white wine for most regions in Burgundy, prices are usually very reasonable, and due to the terroir and climate of Burgundy, Bourgogne Blanc wines tend to have a strong acidity to them, combined with a vibrant and often fruity palate when compared with other whites from the New World, say, allowing fantastic matchmaking with many different kinds of food.