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.