Tour de France without bikes but with wine: Maison Louis Jadot

Maison Jadot logo

It might seem strange to visit more than 1 vineyard in the same region or even in the same town. But every winemaker has its own way of making wines and therefore have wines will taste differently… also they don’t all have vines on the same places or might use different grape varieties. As second Bourgogne vineyard we visited Maison Louis Jadot. Maison Louis Jadot is not as old as the previous vineyard I wrote about, but nearly as old Jadot was founded in 1859 by Louis Henry Denis Jadot and belonged to the Jadot family until 1985. In this year in order to ensure the company’s future, Madame Jadot (who didn’t have children) decided to sell the company to the 3 daughters of Rudy Kopf, Jadot’s US importer and a very good friend of her. FYI these 3 sisters are still alive and kicking, they still visit the vineyard once a week or once a month (can’t remember it exactly). Maison Louis Jadot today gets run by Pierre-Henry Gagey and this since 1985 (with the helping hand of Technical Director Frédéric Barnier since 2011) . Obviously more things happened between 1859 and 2014, but I decided to keep the history to a minimum as you can read most about their history on their website 🙂

Louis Henry Denis Jadot

Pierre-Henry Gagey and the 3 Kopf daugthers

Pierre-Henry Gagey

Our visit of Maison Jadot was at their ‘new’ location or better ‘cuverie’ (where they bottle and ago most wines except for the old vintages) where they moved in just a few years ago . I would have loved visiting their original location aka ’Couvent des Jacobins’, that as you might already guessed from its name used to be a convent. The ‘Couvent des Jacobins’ is still used as storage/aging location for the Grand Cru wines and some of the older wines… but one cannot have it all and  their new location is as magnificent and incredible but just more modern :-). The mental picture that sticks in my mind when I think back (besides the one from the enormous cellar) was the production hall. Yes, production hall!! It reminded me a bit of a concert arena (that big) where they had a specific way to make and distribute their wines in/to barrels and stainless steal (INOX)tanks. They pump the grapes in INOX tanks  via a unique stubbing system that I have never seen before. Also they will be pumping the grapes in both INOX  and wooden barrels, the reason they pump it in both types of barrels is purely related to space 🙂  as in that stage the types of barrels don’t matter yet. FYI the aging in tanks all happens naturally, as for as far as we were told there is no temperature control! Like for example the Gamay grapes they destem the grapes in order to allow them to undergo a vinification according to the traditional method from the 19th century. This basically means the fermentation is done with wild yeasts, with maceration periods lasting two up to three weeks. What I also noticed during their explanations by Baptiste (our guide) is that as they don’t regulate their temperatures automatically they depend on seasons and weather even more than other vineyards. Anyhow, a very interesting method they use!

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

The cellars were also an eye-catcher with wooden barrels as far as the eye can see. It is like when you’re walking through Harrods in London, you always find a new room you didn’t see before with more stuff … in Jadot’s case always a new room with more wooden wine barrels. I’m not sure how many it were, but A LOT!! We considered ourselves lucky to be able to taste some wines directly from the barrel itself. First of all to experience how some wines taste during their aging process (young, not completely developed or maybe ready for bottling), but also to afterwards being able to make better comparisons with the similar finished/ already bottled wine from a different year.  A way of tasting you learn a lot from to my opinion… I think Carlos also had a favorite?! Or he forgot spitting and started feeling it 😉

20141114_152224

20141114_153109 20141114_153405 20141114_153422 20141114_154708 20141114_154936 20141114_155742 SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

Something I noticed about the Jadot wines had a more herbal/ complex taste and smell compared to the ones we tasted at Bouchard for example. Best way for you guys to try this is to for example buy a particular wine from the same region from different wine makers and taste them next to each other. This will prove 100% what I’ve been saying until now that 2 (of more) winemakers might have vineyards on the same location, but both of their finished product will have a completely different product! Of course this might have also been because of the selection they served us, but still…

Plan appellations Jadot

Plan appellations Jadot (2)

Feast your eyes on the soils 🙂

20141114_160007 20141114_160015 20141114_160024

To make the tasting of the bottled wines more interesting Baptiste made it a blind tasting. I admit I wasn’t nearly as good I started thinking I was 😦 I think most of the wines we tasted were Mâcconais which is close to the Beaujolais wine region where the wines also have this more herbal taste/scent … but this is my amateur opinion. It is true lots of wines  should be drunk accompanied from some food (Cheeses, meat, etc…) as this will make you look at these wines from a totally different perspective. Nevertheless I did find a few favorites like the Corton-Pougets Grand Cru 🙂 (Carlos even insisted I took a picture with it as I couldn’t stop saying how good it was)

SAMSUNG CSC

IMG-20141114-WA0000

BUT I did learn lots of new things during our visit and cannot wait to open one of the Jadot Bottle I now have a home and learn some more 😉 On the question which of the Burgundy wines I liked the most I wouldn’t be able as they were too different + they all have something I like for a different occasion (If I don’t find one I’ll make one). You try them and see what your opinion is?!

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

 

Up to Champagne….

In case you would want more about these wines please contact Peter lauwerens from Cinoco – Le palais Du Vin +32 (0)475/595.3456 – peter.lauwerens@cinoco.com

 

Tour de France without bikes but with wine – Bouchard

After a good night of sleep (which we needed because the day before was a very long day) we set sail to visit a vineyard in one of Beaune’s most ancient buildings that goes back to Louis XI (15th century) and where thanks to Michel Bouchard there is wine made. Up to today this vineyard is still family owned with Christophe Bouchard as current General Manager. I must add that eventhough the vineyard is still family owned and lead by a Bouchard family member, it is now owned by the Henriot family (who are also owner of Henriot Champagne). Welcome to the Bouchard vineyard I’d say! We are in Beaune… for those who didn’t know it yet, we entered the world of Bourgogne/Burgundy wines. Together with Bordeaux, Bourgogneis one of the most spoken about all over the world (mainly the wine world I’m sure). Most wine makers from outside of France either follow the Bordeaux or the Bourgogne methodology to make their wines … so I was really interested in knowing/seeing what was so special about it and what fascinates/attracts all the winemakers to this wine region, but also why they all come here to learn everything about winemaking.

Bouchard pere et fils (1) Chateau_de_Beaune_remparts SAMSUNG CSC

First things first. What do you guys need to know about Bourgogne/ Burgundy wines to be able to mingle in when people are talking about this wine region? The Bourgogne wine region is located somewhere between Lyon and Dijon in which we can distinguish 4 different departments: Yonne (Chablis), Côte-d’Or (Côtes de Nuits and Côte de Beaune), Saône-et-Loire (Chalonnais en Mâconnais which is next to the Beaujolais (Fleurie) wine region) and last but not least Nièvre. The vineyard from our friends from Bouchard is in the Côte-d’Or which is basically the heart and soul of the Bourgogne wine region.

Bourgogne wine region by Wine Folly

As grapes, they mainly use Pinot Noir for the red wines and for white wines this would be Chardonnay. Sometimes they’ll also blend with other kinds of grape like Pinot Blanc for whites and Gamay Noire or César for the reds. Bouchard mostly sticks to the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Something that always used to confuse me in the past with French wines was when they started talking about ‘Premier cru’, ‘Grand cru’ and/or ‘Village’… you agree?? The difference between them all is mostly the location of the grapes which leads to either a very affordable or very expensive wine 🙂 (so even in winemaking it is all about ‘location, location, location’). The ‘Grand Cru’ represents the best of the best where the grapes were able to grow in the best conditions (best weather, sunshine, nutrition, etc…) whereas the regular wines aka ‘Appellations Régionales’ in “lesser” conditions (there are obviously more differences, but my example is just generally speaking). Due to the fact that there are not that many grounds/area’s that are considered as ‘’Grand Cru’makes it that it only represents 2% of the total wine volume and therefore are also much more expensive than the ‘Appellations Régionales’ or the’ Appellations Villages’ For example. A fact you do also need to take into consideration is that Grand or Premier Cru wines also age much longer (so a bigger investment for the winemaker) Maybe the pyramid below will help you understanding.

Appellations Bourgogne

It is also very possible that for example a particular wine can all 4 gradations of wine of the pyramid. So for example a ‘regular’ Nuits Saint-Georges and a Nuits Saint-Georges 1ière cru 🙂 . To understand the best the difference between them you should just buy all 3 and taste them next to each other… a whole new world will open, I promise!

Back to our visit to Bouchard which was basically a walk through history (without some King doing his business behind the curtain in the hallway that is 🙂 (luckily)). All kidding aside, Bouchard might be one of the most beautiful vineyards I have ever visited and it being in an ancient castle with everything still intact makes it soooo incredible. I was also surprised to find out they still have a few bottles from the 19th century that believe it or not that are still drinkable! They did admit that not all of the bottles preserved as well. A reason why Bouchard still has bottled wines of the 19th and 20th century, is because they first of all can age them in the original conditions and they change the corks every X years (depending on the wine they do it more regularly, but mostly between 20-30 years) . The moment they change the corks, they do check if the wine is still OK or not. In case it is not OK anymore they don’t keep that bottle… this makes that the bottles they do still have are still good to drink… can you imagine to drink a wine from over 200 years??? Obviously this is only something a few fortunate people are able to taste, but still….

20141114_095108 20141114_095346 SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

BTW Comme Chez Soi’s wine-cellar reminds me a bit of the Bouchard cellar (less ancient obviously) … just FYI that I mentioned that 🙂

I hope it doesn’t come over in a wrong way or make you think differently about me, but it was 10:30 in the morning we started tasting wine 🙂 🙂 BUT in my defense, when I say tasting I do mean tasting and spitting out the wine (so NOT drinking it) no matter how good they were. It might be strange we started tasting the reds and afterwards the whites, but according to a French saying, ’Blanc sur rouge, rien ne bouge, rouge sur blanc tout fout le campthat says that it is better to first drink red and than white wine 🙂 so we didn’t want to argue with that…

20141114_105851

Already from the first sip I was converted into a Côte-d’Or Bourgogne fan… even the first, a 2011 Monthélie , wasn’t the highest level they had or more complex wine yet it was definitely my cup of tea :-). It was a very playful wine that everybody would like and is easy to drink and that leaves a very fresh fruity taste in your mouth. FYI all wines we tasted were 2011 Premier Cru’s (besides the first that is as that was an Appellation Village)… which proved (not that I needed it to be proved) I prefer the stronger/ more complex wines and that I am one spoiled brat :-).

20141114_101530

My Absolute favourite from amongst the red wines we tasted was the Nuits-Saint-Georges – Les Cailles Premier Cru with scent and taste of very ripe dark red fruits like cassis or bil/blue berry and even lickerish accents in it and yet very elegant to drink without too heavy tannins…. The second favorite would be the Volnay – Caillerets Premier Cru which is made from the Bouchard Family’s first and oldest vineyard… It must be said that these wines are best with a stronger meal and not really like a Monthélie that can be drunk on a summer’s day outside with some friends.

20141114_103436 20141114_103443

What I was surprised to read is that unlike the Rhône valley where red wine is 89% of the total wine production and I did also assume it would be the same for Bourgogne… but I was wrong as it seems that 70% of the total wine production in this region is white??? Who knew (I didn’t, nor expected it)

When tasting their white wines I started understanding why… the most famous white wines from this region that for sure ring a bell are Chablis (Chardonnay) or Pouilly-Fuisse. FYI not all chardonnay wine from this region is Chablis! What is nice about white wines, is that most of the time you can distinguish ‘easier’ what flavours or smells they have. Like the white variant of the Monthélie (and with variant I mean that you can drink outside on a sunny day with friends) would be the Bourgogne Chardonnay La Vignée where you can find hinds of peach and pear.

20141114_105857

Again here my preference went to the stronger whites. Number 1 would be the Meursault – Genevrières a rich wine with hinds of vanilla, wood (not too much) that can still ago for 8 years and would be a perfect match for foie gras or poultry. N°2 and 3 would be the Beaune du Château Premier Cru (Marzipan, almonds, grilled bread) and the Montagny Premier Cru (Honey).

20141114_105833 20141114_105842

I could keep talking about how they taste or with what they would go well, but there is only 1 way to find it all out yourself and that is by tasting it yourself (I know I say it every time, but it is true). Also I think this post it more than long enough and I hope you already learned something 🙂 BUT there is still more to learn!!

To be continued….

info about these wines like where you can buy them contact Peter Lauwerens: Cinoco – Le palais Du Vin 0475/595.3456 – peter.lauwerens@cinoco.com