David Schildknecht - 22/12/2009
About this WINE
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 Kopf 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.
Gevrey-Chambertin is the largest wine-producing village in Burgundy’s Côte d'Or, with its vineyards spilling over into the next door commune of Brochon.
Located in the far north of the Côtes de Nuits above Morey-St Denis, classic Gevrey-Chambertin is typically deeper in colour, firmer in body and more tannic in structure than most red Burgundy. The best can develop into the richest, most complete and long-lived Pinot Noir in the world. This is largely thanks to the iron-rich clay soils, though much depends on whether the vineyard is located on either the steeper slopes (Evocelles, Clos St Jacques) or the flatter, richer soils (Clos Prieur, Combottes).
Whereas in the past there have been numerous underperformers in Gevrey-Chambertin exploiting the reputation of this famous village and its iconic Grands Crus, today there are many fine sources to choose from, and overall quality is higher than ever.
Gevrey-Chambertin’s greatest Grand Cru is named after the field of the monk Bertin (Champ de Bertin). In 1847, Gevrey appended the name of this illustrious vineyard, Chambertin, setting a trend for the other principle villages to follow. Le Chambertin may not be quite as sumptuous as Musigny or Richebourg, or as divinely elegant as La Tâche or Romanée-St Vivant, but it is matched only by the legendary Romanée-Conti for completeness and luscious intensity.
In all, Gevrey boasts an impressive nine Grands Crus, with the name of Chambertin retaining a regal omnipresence throughout its finest vineyard names. The other truly great Grand Cru is Chambertin-Clos de Bèze which has the right to sell its wines simply as ‘Chambertin’, and is the only wine allowed to put the Chambertin name before, rather than after, its own. Situated slightly further up the hill, the wines are fractionally less powerful yet full of sensual charm and finesse.
Quality-wise the next best are generally acknowledged to be Mazis-Chambertin and Latricières-Chambertin. The former is incredibly concentrated and very fine, but its structure is a little less firm than Le Chambertin. Latricières is less about power (although it can be explosively fruity) and more about an entrancing silkiness.
Situated slightly higher up the slope, Ruchottes-Chambertin is impressively rich, stylish and slightly angular. The tiny Griottes-Chambertin, which owes its name to the grill-pan shape of the vineyard rather than the wine’s griotte cherry aroma, is lower down the slope and boasts a velvety texture and rich fruit reminiscent of Chambertin itself. It is generally better than the lighter, although wonderfully fragrant Chapelle-Chambertin and Gevrey’s largest Grand Cru, the pure and seductive (if variable) Charmes-Chambertin.
Gevrey also has some outstanding Premier Crus on the south-east-facing slopes above the town. Les Cazetiers and especially Clos St Jacques produce some exceptional wines. Indeed Armand Rousseau, who pioneered domaine bottling here in the 1930s and is still one of the region’s very best producers, often sells his Clos St Jacques for more than several of his Grand Crus.
Drinking dates for these wines vary, but Grand Crus are generally best from at least 10 to 25 years, Premier Crus from eight to 20 years, and village wines from five to 12 years.
- 315 hectares of village Gevrey Chambertin
- 84 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (20 in all). The foremost vineyards include Clos St Jacques, Lavaux St Jacques, Combottes, Corbeaux, Cherbaudes, Cazetiers.
- 55 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze, Latricières-Chambertin, Ruchottes-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, Charmes-Chambertin, Mazoyères-Chambertin, Chapelle-Chambertin, Griottes-Chambertin..
- Recommended producers: Bachelet, Dugat, Esmonin, Mortet, Rossignol Trapet, Rousseau, Serafin, Bernstein
- Recommended restaurants : Chez Guy (good wine list), Rôtisserie du Chambertin (and Bistro)
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.