Jasper Morris MW, Inside Burgundy (January 2022)
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.
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 often seen as the king 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.