2013 Puligny Montrachet Les Combettes Louis Jadot

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Average critic rating : 93.0 points



The 2013 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru les Combettes, which tends to be an earlier ripening vineyard and needs to be picked exactly at the right moment, has a gorgeous bouquet in the making with orange peel, tangerine and tinned peach scents all beautifully defined. The palate is very well balanced, one of Jadot's most harmonious and engaging Puligny Premier Crus this year. It gathers momentum in the mouth and reveals compelling spicy notes toward the finish. This is a sophisticated Puligny that should repay those who cellar it for several years. ||Like last year, I sectioned off two morning sessions to taste through the complete range of Louis Jadot’s Côte d’Or wines. That’s over 100 wines and so I prefer to not rush, spend my time diligently tasting and comparing each one in the presence of winemaker Frédéric Barnier and then on the second morning accompanied by proprietor Pierre-Henry Gagey, fresh from a ten-day fasting in Germany and positively bounding with positivity. With such a plethora of vineyards under their wing, both owned and rented, both gentlemen have a birds-eye view of how Burgundy performed in the vintage. ||“It was a late vintage due to the late start to the vegetative cycle,” Frédéric began. “Especially the first half of the year was difficult. There was no spring! Between April and May, there was double the amount of average rainfall and a significant lack of sunshine that disturbed the vines. It was very challenging with a strong pressure of oïdium and mildew. Summer was better and it probably saved the vintage, except what happened at the end of July, with the three big hailstorms that devastated a large area, around 1,500 hectares from Aloxe-Corton to Meursault. It was just 20 minutes at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I was actually here in Beaune, in the tasting room with some clients, and I could see the hail mixed with rain outside. So I called the vineyard manager. He said it was just rain, so we went into the vineyards together and we could see the devastation. We had some flooding in the winery and damage to the roof. At the same time, we were lucky because it was a late cycle that gave the vines two months to recover. The weather just after the hail was dry and not too hot, so this helped the convalescence and the scars on the vine could heal. August was very good and the vines restarted to build the leaves so that the quality of grapes was perfect, even in the hail-affected vineyards. So, in a way we were lucky. It was actually more challenging than in 2014. September was where the ripeness and maturity came so it was very important because at the beginning of that month some of the grapes were still green. There was still some rain so we had to be very patient to obtain a suitable level of ripeness, rather than what you would call a "perfect ripeness." At the end of September, we decided to pick the grapes not too late, starting with the whites on September 25: 90% picked before the first weekend in October when it was raining a lot. This made a big difference to the quality.” ||“There are two vintages: people who picked before and picked after that weekend when 50mm of rain changed the quality. We had to sort the grapes carefully. My fear was to have vegetal notes that you can sometimes have in late vintages, but during the fermentation we could see nice colors, no aggression and no vegetal notes, which you could never have predicted when you saw the weather first-hand during 2013. In Burgundy, we do not need fantastic weather to reach full maturity, it is more important to reach phenolic maturity. The weather in 2012 was nice during harvest, but that was not the case in 2013. Around 90% of the white and reds had to be chaptalized. Some of the whites were picked at 12.2%, but that was the top maturity we had in 2013. The acidity was mainly malic acidity and it was important to keep some of this and I did not want the feeling of a low acidity of wine, so in some crus we decided to stop the malolactic early.”||“The good surprise in 2013 is the purity of the fruit, especially when you compare to say 2004. It does not have the density of richness of 2012 but you do have that purity. Both 2012 and 2013 were expensive in terms of production in order to protect the vineyard and we have half the normal yield so we are at the limit of farming. We know in Burgundy we need to suffer to make good wine, to have this freshness and balance.”||It is difficult to summarize the quality of Jadot’s wines when they are so numerous. Certainly, as I remarked in last year’s report, I feel that Frédéric Barnier has adroitly stepped into the large charismatic shoes of his predecessor Jacques Lardière, and while not every label is a home run, the general quality is of admirable standard given the size and logistical complexity of their operation. In some ways, you can view Louis Jadot as a barometer of how Burgundy performed as a whole, excelling in areas such as Gevrey-Chambertin, while others such as Nuits Saint Georges were more variable. That is to be expected in a challenging season such as 2013. Certainly there are some outstanding wines that, as I have mentioned countless times, stand shoulder to shoulder with more bijou domaines that command much higher prices. However, compare them blind, and it is clear that the quality here can often match and occasionally surpass them.| eRobertParker.com.December, 2014

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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