Following my visit with Aubert de Villaine and Alexandre Bernier at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, I continued my 2016 Burgundy tastings at Maison Louis Jadot with technical director Frédéric Barnier.
Jadot harvested late in 2016, beginning in late September and finishing in October in the Côte de Nuits. When the Jadot team began picking in the Côte de Beaune, 75 to 80 percent of the region's vineyards had already been harvested, according to Barnier. He felt it was necessary to wait for two fundamental reasons: First, he felt the tannins were not yet ripe in areas where yields hadn't been affected by frost, like Santenay and Monthélie; second, in areas that were affected by frost, the fruit that resulted from the later, secondary buds needed more time to ripen fully.
He also notes that the fruit was ripe and healthy, therefore no sorting was necessary and the vinifications went smoothly. "We accept the character of the vintage," he says.
Savigny was the hardest hit by the frost, however, there are some fine Côte de Beaune reds in the cellar, most notably the Louis Jadot Volnay Clos de Barre 2016. One-third of a normal crop resulted in pretty cherry flavors with a touch of black currant allied to a lacy, elegant, firm profile with fine length and balance. The tight, linear, mineral-infused Pommard Rugiens offers cherry and currant fruit wrapped in firm tannins, yet it's intense and superlong, with a sweet fruit finish courtesy of the 45-year-old vines.
Corton Grèves, from a normal yield, displays a rich, chunky frame full of spicy cherry and earth flavors. It's a tad rustic, but shows nice texture and expression along with fine length.
A group from Beaune also shows outstanding potential. There is a pure cherry, graphite and smoke-flavored Beaune Grèves; elegant, spicy Clos des Couchereaux; Boucherottes has a solid, chunky profile and dense black cherry fruit; and the flagship Clos des Ursules evokes sweet wood smoke, strawberry and cherry fruit—it's a more elegant, delicate Ursules, with fine length.
From the Côte de Nuits, I preferred the Vosne-Romanée Suchots to the Beaux Monts for its pretty cherry, slightly macerated fruit, silky texture, firm backbone and classy, almost sexy demeanor. The Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses includes one-third to half stems, offering spicy aromas of sandalwood, incense, rose, strawberry and cherry, There is an altogether different texture here, softer, more sensual, yet no less structured, with great finesse and length. More evident sandalwood, black currant and violet notes mark the Musigny, but this is denser and more structured than above, if following the same line; very complex, complete and ethereal on the lingering aftertaste.
Made with half a normal crop, the Echézeaux comes from Les Rouge du Bas. It features cherry, strawberry and red currant notes, on a linear frame, all very elegant, lacy in texture with a solid grip on the finish. Clos de la Roche is darker and more brooding, boasting iron and mineral elements on a bigger, more muscular and dense frame
The Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques is rich, suave and mouthfilling, with cherry, mineral, tobacco and oak spice flavors. Firm, but very classy, it's close to grand cru level. As grand as the Chambertin is for its power, velvety texture and ripe tannins, it's not as showy today as the Chambertin-Clos de Bèze with its gorgeous aromas of cherry, strawberry, more delicate red fruits and floral notes. This has energy, grace and elegance—very supple, expressive, minerally, firm and long.
At Jadot's barrel tasting in New York a week earlier, I also sampled a brooding, mineral-infused Volnay Santenots, vibrant, red fruit-filled Corton Pougets and fleshy, spicy Nuits-St.-Georges Les Boudots.