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Average critic rating : 91.0 points
The 2012 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru has a feminine, elegant and pure bouquet with Vosne-like pretentions: well defined and equipped with ebullient red fruit. The palate is very well balanced with a succulent and fleshy opening; the tannins making their present felt towards the second half. My one criticism is that at the moment it is missing a little depth and persistency on the sharp and slightly angular finish. ||One statement nonchalantly uttered by head winemaker Frederic Barnier not only summed up the 2012 vintage, but the plight of Burgundy in recent years. “We have lost around one and a half crops out of the last four.” Imagine losing your equivalent income? For a significant negociant such as Louis Jadot, one that under outgoing(ish) winemaker Jacques Lardiere and his successor, have constantly striven for quality, that dearth of fruit has a major impact. The dramatic decrease in crop means that more people are “fighting” for top quality contracted fruit. The rise in land prices has exacerbated the problem as few can afford to buy vineyards and therefore resort to building small negociant businesses and join the queue. Now, small operations that just require one flagship barrel of grand cru might just be able to afford to pay over the odds. However, a merchant such as Jadot simply cannot afford to do that when they need dozens of barrels to satisfy worldwide demand. So how do they do it? “Relationships,” answers Frederic, “It all comes down to relationships with our contracted growers.” For evidence of that, just flick down to my review of their Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet that came a whisker away from never being made. So with all the sturm und drang, how are Louis Jadot faring? Suffice to say that Frederic seems to have slipped into Jacques Lardiere’s impossible-to-fill shoes by simply slipping into his own. There was a confidence about him when I conducted two morning sessions with him, though he never crosses the line into braggadocio. The first tasting focused on a complete horizontal of the white. “The (white) 2012s were very rich,” he remarked. “Some of the village crus were overwhelmed and they were too fat and heavy. So in order to maintain freshness we blocked the malo-lactic through sulfur addition.” Frederic goes into more detail of the vintage in the accompanying video, but the main point is that the skins were thick and the berries yielded very little juice. This meant that he had to exact a very prudent vinification in order to eke out the free-run juice without leeching hard, bitter, perhaps astringent elements. He appears to have done exactly that. While I would not say that it was an unmitigated success, after all when you annually produce 100 crus there are bound to be some that don’t quite make the grade, Louis Jadot’s 2012s continue a fine run of form that disprove the theory that large-scale merchants cannot produce wine equal if not better than bijou growers. And that comes from a lot of sweat and tears. Frederic rued that he had not seen his wife or children over the previous four weeks during the harvest! But these prenatal wines appear to have made that temporary estrangement worthwhile. These samples were all taken from barrel and prepared by Frederic Barnier on the same morning of my arrival, with as much effort to reflect the final blend as possible. Note that for the village crus, samples did not include deselected premier crus barrels that will obviously ameliorate those wines. eRobertParker.com.December, 2013
Louis Jadot: The Importance
Maison Louis Jadot is highly commended by Robert Parker, who calls them “probably the best run negociant firm in Burgundy” and writes that “one can be almost certain that a Jadot wine from Burgundy, from whatever part of their enormous spectrum of wines, including those of villages level, will possess clarity of flavour and a site-specific distinction.” Antonio Galloni and Allen Meadows also regularly give top scores to Jadot.
Due to Burgundy's intracacies, Premier Cru and Grand Cru wines from Louis Jadot are no less rare or sought after than their counterparts from smaller growers, meanwhile the quality tends to be much more reliable because of the scale of their operation and their extraordinary range of terroirs and climats combined with expert winemaking and vineyard management.
Louis Jadot: The Insight
Robert Parker says that “it is hard to single out individual stars in the illustrious Jadot nebula, but their long- keeping Pinot Noir from the monopole Beaune Clos des Ursules (part of the Vignes Franches premier cru) is something of a ﬂagship, and the Jadot Musigny and Jadot Chevalier -Montrachet Les Demoiselles frequently represent the summits of Jadot artistry.” This last wine has also wowed Allen Meadows, who calls it “without question a reference standard example of a great Chevalier. The purity, elegance and sheer beauty of this wine is frankly difficult to adequately describe as words just don't seem up to the task.”
Counting Grands Crus alone, Jadot have Chardonnay plantings in Corton Charlemagne, Corton Grèves and Corton Pougets as well as Le Montrachet, Chevalier Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet and Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet making some of the finest white Burgundies on the market. The Grand Cru list of reds is no less impressive, featuring Bonnes-Mares, Chambertin, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, Charmes-Chambertin, Chapelle-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin, Laticières-Chambertin, Griotte-Chambertin, Clos de la Roche, Clos de Vougeot, Clos Saint-Denis, Echezeaux, Grands Echezeaux, Musigny, Richebourg and Romanée-Saint-Vivant.
According to Robert Parker: “there is no Jadot house style, save for rich, well-delineated, structured wines that stand the test of time.” The incredible range of quality wines produced by Jadot in every kind of cru is best understood in the words of the legendary technical director Jacques Lardière: “There are so many great wines made in the less well-known villages, and if people want to find great value and great wines, it is very, very possible if they will look beyond the most famous appellations. All it takes is a little imagination. Look at the hill of Corton for instance- we have Corton Pougets, Corton “Grèves and a Corton rouge that are all fantastic wines – deep, structured and beautiful expressions of their underlying terroir. Or look at a wine like the Savigny-lès-Beaune Clos des Guettes or Pommard “Rugiens – just great wines year in and year out!”
Louis Jadot: The Background
Jacques Lardière retired in December 2012 but then almost immediately got back to work setting up the Résonance in Williamette Valley, Oregon. The current face of the winery Frédéric Barnier worked alongside Lardière for several years before taking over, just as a generation ago Lardière himself apprenticed under the renowned André Gagey.
Skills have been handed down at Jadot since 1826, when the Domaine was established as one of the earliest Burgundy negociants. After the Second World War, the domaine benefitted from investment by American importer Kobrand. This partnership was negotiated by Rudoph C. Kopf, who founded the prestigious wine importing company in 1944 and headquartered its offices in the Empire State Building. Kopf already commanded the respect of the American market, having set up the fine wine department at New York City’s iconic department store Macy’s. Kobrand helped Jadot to continue acquiring prestigious Burgundy domaines, some of which are still referenced on labels today, such as Duc de Magenta, Gagey, Ferret and the recently successful Château des Jacques in Beaujolais.
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