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29/06/2018

The Grandest of Premier Crus

by Matthew O'Connell (Head of Wine Investment)

We recently hosted a small dinner to take a close look at Louis Jadot’s Clos Saint Jacques (“CSJ”), all from magnum.  Our restaurant of choice was 10 Cases, a firm favourite in Covent Garden - high quality seasonally-influenced food and excellent wine service (with a thoughtfully put together list).

Being a large negociant, Louis Jadot’s wines often don’t receive the attention they deserve - with BI team members having shared stories of the memorable experiences arising from mature bottles, it seemed a great idea to introduce clients to a vertical of their wines from one of the most exciting of all Burgundy vineyards.

Clos Saint Jacques is a 6.7ha site in Gevrey Chambertin and is often cited as the premier cru most likely to be a grand cru if ever reclassified. The vineyard is a little unusual in having neat parcel divisions such that it is arranged as five separately owned linear East-West segments.  Jadot’s (domaine-owned) 1.0ha plot is in the centre, with Rousseau and Fourrier to the Southern side and Sylvie Esmonin and Bruno Clair to the North.

We kicked off with a BI special: 2015 Jadot Chassagne Montrachet Grandes Ruchottes, the two barrels of which were sold exclusively by us. Having that lovely combination of richness and drinkability, it was enjoyed so much that it slightly delayed us getting going on the reds... if you have these, don’t hesitate to crack a couple open (92pts).

Having tasted the reds about 90 minutes before the dinner with Neal Martin (look out for his tasting notes on Vinous soon), we had decanted them to help a couple of the “bigger” vintages unfurl a bit.  Rather than follow any vintage order, we paired relatively alike wine profiles as far as possible.

First up with starters were the 2001 and 2007, both showing hints of softening but still mainly red-fruit focused, more austere cherry and smoke on the 01 (91pts) vs. lighter flecked fruit with some gamey elements on the 07 (92pts and particularly delicious now).

The main course obviously called for the benchmark vintages: 2005, 2009 and 2010.  All fitted their perceived profile well – a darker fruited and larger scale 2005, still firm but starting really to strut its stuff – as enjoyable as it was impressive (95+pts); a noticeably riper slightly liquered 2009 (93+ pts) and a more austere and meatier 2010 (94pts).

With cheese came a nice final comparison of two somewhat unheralded vintages – 1992 and 2011.  The former was the lightest wine of the evening, with some strawberry type flecks and attractive soft evolution (90pts); the latter a surprising crowd-pleaser with a lean prettiness and an attractive example of the smoke elements found in CSJ (92pts).

From experience, I tend to see the Jadot wines as consistently well-representative of their terroir and not too recognizable for a particular producer style; this definitely came across in our case, as did the consistent high quality and ability to convey the vintage characteristics clearly.  And drinking the wines from magnum…. of course, it never fails to make you reflect on why you don’t own more magnums…..