About this WINE
Francois et Antoine Jobard
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.
Puligny was one of two villages (along with Chassagne) which gained permission in 1879 to hyphenate the name of its most famous vineyard, Montrachet, to its own.
The reputation of Puligny-Montrachet is based around its four Grands Crus. Montrachet labels often boast a noble, triumphant ‘Le’ in front of its name, lest you dare confuse it with any lesser wine. It has much to be proud of, with many considering Montrachet to be the greatest white wine in the world. At its best it has an intensity, complexity and elegance that make you wonder how such a wine could be made from mere grapes.
The luxurious and explosive Chevalier-Montrachet is not quite as deep, although it is probably the next best. Only marginally less impressive, and rather more consistent than Montrachet is the richly textured Bâtard-Montrachet (also shared with Chassagne). Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet is equally good, with the focus on honeyed finesse and exquisite balance rather than richness.
These legendary wines are supported by a host of fabulous Premier Cru vineyards capable of reaching Grand Cru quality. Brimming with flavour and intensity, Le Cailleret and Les Pucelles (which both lie across the road from Le Montrachet) are prime candidates, along with Les Demoiselles, Les Combettes and Folatières.
Sandwiched between the larger Chassagne and Meursault, Puligny produces wines that are more striking than any in the Côte d’Or, portraying a floral elegance alongside a stylish, steely concentration. They are very different to Meursault: more refined and delicate, and less rich.
Village level Puligny-Montrachet from top growers can be very good indeed, but is all too often unexciting and disappointing. Grands Crus normally need at least eight years before they can be broached, and last for 20 or more. Premiers Crus should generally be enjoyed between five and 15 years of age; village wines from three to 10 years.
In theory, you can find red Puligny-Montrachet, but it scarcely exists anymore, and is rarely worth the price tag.
- 114 hectares of village Puligny-Montrachet
- 100 hectares of Premier Cru vineyards (17 in all). The best vineyards include Les Demoiselles, Le Cailleret, Les Pucelles, Les Combettes, Les Folatières
- 21 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards: Le Montrachet (part), Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet (part), Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet
- Recommended Producers: Leflaive, Carillon
- Recommended Restaurant: Le Montrachet (excellent cuisine and good wine list; also an hotel)
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.