It’s always a pleasure and an education tasting with Jacques Lardière, winemaker at Louis Jadot in Burgundy. I can’t think of anyone that brings more enthusiasm to the table when tasting and discussing wine. It’s even more remarkable when you consider that Lardière is responsible for over 120 different wines under the Jadot label.
While many of these appellations come from vineyards owned by Jadot, others are from purchased fruit, vinified by Jadot, and purchased wine. This is a very good address to taste a wide range of wines from the entire Côte d’Or.
Lardière had prepared a large number of samples when I arrived in Burgundy earlier this year. The 2008s were still in various stages of the élevage: some in barrel, some in tank, cuvées either fined or unfined, blended or not yet blended. Many of the wines were a work in progress, but it was interesting to see them at these points in their evolution.
Lardière was pleased with the results in ’08, because initial expectations were not that high. Yields were 15 to 40 percent less than average, depending on the appellation, due to problems with disease and strict sorting of the grapes at harvest. Though he often blocks a portion of the malolactic conversion, in ’08, there was a high level of malic acid, and the wines benefited from the natural deacidification. There was sufficient acidity remaining to provide structure in the whites.
“We must be patient with ’08,” he cautioned. They have developed slowly and taste better over time.
In my notes below, I have chosen 12 reds and six whites that impressed me. They were in a good stage to evaluate. Lardière drew the samples, approximating the final blends in most cases. Overall, the wines that went through early malolactic were more harmonious and tended to show better.
Beginning with the reds, the Savigny-lès-Beaune La Dominode offered ripe cherry jam and blackberry flavors with a hint of earth. Dense, with present tannins, it showed concentration and sweetness (87-90 points, non-blind). For contrast, the Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Guettes revealed pure cherry in a bright, airy style, with a firm structure and long, tensile finish that echoed mineral (87-90, non-blind).
Lardière made a fine Chassagne-Montrachet Red Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle Duc de Magenta. Half the grapes come from a parcel of 80- to 90-year-old vines. It boasted a deep black cherry aroma and flavor on a rich, dense frame. Though firmly tannic, the finish was sweet (88-91, non-blind).
Samples at the Louis Jadot tasting
The Beaune Clos des Ursules, whose malolactic finished in April ’09, revealed a profound nose that was complex and scented with black cherry and red currant. Full of sweet fruit, it was dense, yet supple, and very long on the finish (89-92, non-blind). For contrast, the Volnay Clos de la Barre exuded Volnay’s beauty and detail, offering fragrant rose, violet and pure raspberry aromas. Its sweet fruit coated the palate, supported by fine tannins and a long aftertaste (90-93, non-blind).
Still in the Côte de Beaune, there was a peppery, spicy side to the Pommard Rugiens. Its fresh cherry allied to a tightly wound structure and mined a vein of mineral on the lingering finish (89-92, non-blind).
Moving north to the Côte de Nuits, I liked the robust, plummy Fixin, with its richness and iron note (87-90, non-blind). The malolactic finished before the 2009 harvest. I’m always seduced by a good Chambolle-Musigny and Jadot’s Les Fuées featured aromas of violet and raspberry and an elegant, linear profile (89-92, non-blind).
Jadot’s Bonnes Mares comes from the Chambolle side, which consists of white soil rather than the red soil found in the northern Morey sector. It was complex and powerful, showing raspberry and cherry flavors followed by a long, chalky finish (92-95, non-blind). The floral-, berry- and spice-scented Vosne-Romanée (88-91, non-blind) was delicious on its own but will probably be boosted by the addition of some lots of premier cru, according to Lardière.
For the Clos de la Roche, Lardière purchased wine from two different cellars. Aromas and flavors of spice, flowers, raspberry, strawberry and minerals course through its expressive character, yet it stayed firm and long on the finish (91-94, non-blind).
I’ve always liked the Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques here, and the ’08 sample didn’t disappoint. Rich and forceful, with sweet cherry, berry, tobacco and licorice notes, it displayed concentration and complexity (91-94, non-blind). We finished the reds with the Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, a concentrated, elegant, complete wine that offered intense cherry, spice, tobacco and floral flavors. The very long aftertaste revealed its potential (93-96, non-blind).
Our first white was the Marsannay, exhibiting aromas of biscuit and flavors of beeswax and peach on a round frame (87-90, non-blind). Despite being rich, the St.-Aubin showed focus with grapefruit and butterscotch aromas and flavors (88-91, non-blind).
In tank and already fined, the Meursault Charmes exuded charm with a round, lush feel embracing toast, peach and butter flavors (89-92, non-blind). The Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée was very together, evoking lime, citronella and biscuit aromas and flavors on a profile that had both opulence and intensity (90-93, non-blind).
There was a very good Puligny-Montrachet, tight and firm, with a hazelnut note that Lardière indicated would be the “minimum,” or base of the final blend (87-90, non-blind). Jadot’s Montrachet was on finings, but the Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles showed beautifully at this stage. It was all dense and creamy, packed with lemon cake, citronella, harmony and grace (93-96, non-blind).
Richard Scholtz — Austin, TX — March 3, 2010 5:13pm ET
Erik Farrell — cali dreamin — March 4, 2010 1:11am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions