Jacques Lardière, the winemaker for Maison Louis Jadot is retiring at the end of 2012, after 42 consecutive vintages. He was in New York earlier this year, for a farewell lunch with some of the wine journalists he has met during his career. We also sat down for an interview on video.
Lardière is sui generis, one of a kind.
His unique view of wine is fascinating. Lardière applies a metaphysical approach to understanding wine. He describes it as part of a complex organization between nature, earth, energy, life and death. Burgundy, his canvas, emits very strong vibrations, vibrations that must first die in the form of must, only to be reborn as wine. As a wine ages, it becomes transparent, so only its soul, its being, i.e. its climat, is left.
Lardière always believes in retaining some malic acid, to have the memory of the climat in the finished wine. In more difficult vintages, when the wines are lighter and more fragile, he will use a greater proportion of new oak barrels to provide structure. He proposes swirling the glass in both directions to receive the full complement of aromas and flavors.
It was always a pleasure and, more important, educational, tasting with Lardière in Jadot's cellars. It was often a marathon, moving from barrel to barrel, tasting the same wines from new and older oak, approximating blends, until we had tasted 50 or 60 different whites and reds.
What amazed me was the quality of the wines, given that Lardière made more than 130 different appellations, from Bourgogne to Musigny. Many of those came from Jadot's own vineyards; others from purchased grapes. From his first vintage, in 1970, Lardière oversaw the growth of Jadot's range from 45,000 cases annually to 850,000 cases today.
In addition to the 2010s, Lardière and Jadot CEO Pierre-Henry Gagey organized a tasting of wines from each of the 42 vintages vinified by Lardière. You can see some of my notes in the upcoming Nov. 15 issue, along with a profile of Lardière. The complete tasting notes will be available online in a few weeks.
I suspect Lardière will continue in some ambassadorial role with Louis Jadot in the future. I hope to taste with him again soon.
Peter J Gatti — Austin, — October 2, 2012 6:26pm ET
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