The 2016 Jadot Barrel Tasting
My first Jadot release tasting was many years ago, hosted by friends who were in the business. At that time I was working as a private chef and aspiring freelance food and wine writer. As I tasted through the range, I must admit that I didn’t fully understand the wines. To my virgin Burgundy palette, the wines came across as lean, dry and closed in on themselves. In the end, my notes still live in a tattered notebook that’s long forgotten, since I had never transposed them to a digital format–which is incredibly sad.
The reason for my remorse is that with time, my knowledge and palate expanded, and I started to understand that I couldn’t look at Burgundy the same way that I looked at Pinot Noir from California or Oregon. Even the Barolo lover in me didn’t understand how these wines could change from the tightly-wound, feminine examples in front of me, and then mature into something deeper, layered and remarkably beautiful. It took many years of tasting mature Burgundy for me to understand the five-to-ten year curve that most of them require to reveal their true selves. It was with this knowledge in mind that I set out to understand the region better.
Fast forward to 2018
With an invitation to taste the new 2016 vintage at the Modern in New York City, I found myself excited to dive in. There were a number of reasons for this excitement. For one, I’ve learned that Jadot (as big as they are) is one of the most dependable producers of red and white Burgundy. Since their range spans across the entire region (with 35 individual vineyard sites), and with production overseen primarily by one individual (Frederic Barnier), you can depend on Jadot to provide you with the most comprehensive overview of any new Burgundy vintage. Also, because Jadot has a proven track record of producing a number of under-the-radar gems from some of the region’s top vineyards, any early peek is a step closer to securing the wines before they disappear–ask anyone who has purchased and experienced a mature Clos Saint Jacques. Lastly, the hype over the 2016 vintage is hard to ignore, as it’s an incredibly small vintage that’s been rumored to have produced some remarkably good wines.
Add this all together, and what you have is one of the most important tastings of the year to date. Also, having Frederic Barnier (The technical director of Jadot) on hand to work through the wines and vintage in a focused tasting was a big plus.
The scoop on the 2016 Burgundy Vintage?
The 2016 vintage was the result of a very mild and rainy winter with a fruit set between the end of March and beginning of April. Everything seemed to be on track for a good year, until the region was battered by a combination of hail and frost events that ravaged many of the top vineyards. Chardonnay suffered the most, but the loss of production spanned nearly the entire region. Anna Parent of Domaine Parent explained to me that 2016 is the smallest harvest since 1975. The saving grace of 2016 was how the vintage got back on track around the middle of the summer and throughout harvest. What this meant is that the producers who were able to properly tend to their hail-beaten vines, or survived through the frost and sunburn of the rising morning sun, completed the vintage with a beautiful, yet small harvest.
However, the reports of hail and frost marked the vintage in the mind of most collectors, and many people simply assumed that 2016 wouldn’t be anything to chase after. Then the critics started to taste, and before we knew it, reports of an unexpectedly excellent year began to pour in. Many of us were sceptical, and now having tasted through not only the Jadot range, but also at a number of other organized tastings in the city, I believe that skepticism was warranted.
One of the biggest issues that producers faced was the question of when to pick. With both September and October yielding ideal conditions and low rainfall, Jadot decided to pick early, while others waited and picked overly ripe grapes. When you combine that with the reduced yields, the results are heavily-fruited, sometimes even, sappy wines without the acidity and structure to support.
The good news for the house of Jadot is that they had indeed made the right decision, and it shows in the wines. In fact, nearly the entire selection showed a uniformed level of balance, while other tastings of 2016s have shown mixed results. Don’t get me wrong, not every wine is a superstar, but I did find something to like in most of them. For Jadot, it was not ripeness of fruit as much as ripeness of tannins that propels the wines forward.
As for 2016 as a vintage, what I’m finding are wines that are wonderfully aromatic, sometimes showing over-ripeness of fruit, but more often just remarkably pretty and expressive. On the palate, they are already easy to like, and the best of them will do well in the cellar. It’s a vintage that will make big fans of new Burgundy customers because it doesn’t follow the five-to-ten year aging curve that is often necessary. However, for someone who is looking to collect the wines that they can explore over the decades, I don’t find the necessary balance that will permit it. My preference leans towards the reds over the whites, but only because I have found more variability in the white wines, which I would expect since they were the most affected by frost.
In the end, I believe 2016 is a great place to look for Burgundy that we can enjoy now and over the next ten-to-fifteen years. You just need to make some informed buying decisions.
On to the tasting notes
The Whites (Blanc)
Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle Domaine du Duc de Magenta 2016 – The nose was shy at first, yet opened in the glass over time to reveal dried apricot, honey, smoke and crushed stone minerality. On the palate, I found a silky yet wonderfully-fresh expression with ripe stone fruits, almond paste, lemon-lime citrus and minerals. The finish was medium-long, showing the wine’s structure, as ripe stone fruits, minerals and spice lingered on. This is yet another ‘16 Jadot that should spend some time in the cellar for optimum enjoyment. (94 points)
Louis Jadot Corton Charlemagne Domaine des Heritiers Grand Cru 2016 – The nose was mineral-driven with roasted hazelnut and almond, followed by fresh green apple and hints of crushed limestone. On the palate, I found silky textures, perfectly balanced with mineral-laced ripe stone fruits and hints of almond The finish was long, showing citrus and minerals holding on with yellow inner floral and apple tones. (93 points)
Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne 2016 – The nose was darker and richer than expected, with ripe apple and crushed almonds offset by lemon-citrus laced florals. On the palate, I found a medium-weight frame with oily textures giving way to apple and melon tones with minerals sinking in as balanced acidity added freshness. The finish was medium-long with lasting minerality, inner floral tones and hints of apple. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Meursault 1er Cru Blagny 2016 – The nose was rich and a touch exotic, with zesty ripe pear and peach giving way to roasted hazelnut, vanilla and dusty minerality. On the palate, I found velvety, rich textures with an oily feel, yet perfectly lifted through brisk acidity, as ripe stone fruits washed across the senses leaving inner floral tones in their wake. The finish was long with floral-infused lime and mineral tones. It’s a big wine, but the balance is impeccable. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Grande Montagne 2016 – The nose was rich and spicy with ripe pear complicated by dusty floral and mineral tones. On the palate, I found soft, almost oily textures, yet balanced through brisk acidity as notes of ripe peach and inner floral tones emerged. The finish was long and wonderfully fresh, as the wine’s acidity brought life back to its stone fruits along with a twang of saline-minerality that came forward. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Chablis Blanchot Grand Cru 2016 – The nose was wonderfully fresh with perfumed floral tones, tropical yellow fruits, zesty lime, crushed stone and baked apple. On the palate, I found rich, silky textures yet lifted with medium-weight, showing notes of ripe apple, green melon, mango, hints of lime and inner floral tones. The finish was medium-long, showing ripe melon and lasting minerality. (91 points)
Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Grèves Le Clos Blanc Domaine Gagey 2016 – The nose was highly-expressive with dusty minerality up front, followed by smoke, fresh lime and sweet florals. On the palate, I found soft textures offset by brisk acidity, with sweet stone fruits and hints of tropical fruit followed by saturating minerality. The finish was medium-long and balanced with lifting minerality and zesty lingering acidity. (91 points)
Louis Jadot Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2016 – The nose showed a mix of minerals and citrus-infused herbs, along with stone dust and crushed almond. On the palate I found a rich, ripe, yet balanced expression with stone fruits giving way to tropical tones and spicy floral notes that lasted well into the finish. (90 points)
Louis Jadot Meursault Charmes 1er 2016 – The nose was floral and zesty with sweet spices giving way to ripe stone fruits, hints of lime, minerals and dried flowers. On the palate, I found soft textures, which were quickly contrasted by drenching minerality, hints of pear and inner floral tones. The finish was medium in length and a bit dry, showing young stone fruits and hints of spice. (90 points)
J.A. Ferret Pouilly-Fuissé Clos des Prouges Tête de Cru 2016 – The nose was fresh and floral with ripe apple, almond paste, lime and sweet spicy floral tones. On the palate, I found soft textures with ripe apple and young peach followed by a hint of minerality. The finish was medium in length with lasting minerality and rich ripe stone fruits. I craved more vibrancy here, feeling that the palate need more energy. (89 points)
Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2016 – Here I found a bouquet of fresh flowers followed by dried mango, spice and crushed limestone. On the palate, oily textures ushered in notes of ripe pear and minerals, yet I craved more acidity and freshness. The finish was shorter than expected, with notes of young stone fruits and lingering inner florals. (88 points)
The Reds (Rouge)
Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques 2016 – Here I found a dark bouquet with depths of earth-infused red berry fruit, dusty soils tones, minerals and dried florals. On the palate, I found soft textures with refined, pure red berry fruits, hints of herbs, and fine tannin that gripped the senses throughout the finish. The long and structured finale resonated on earth tones and dried red berry fruits. Possibly the most structured and full-of-potential wine from the 2016 Jadot barrel tasting. (95 points)
Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles-St.-Jacques 2016 – One of the standouts of the tasting, the Estournelles Saint-Jacques showed masses of crushed black cherry with sweet florals, spice and earth tones. On the palate, I found gorgeous textures like pure silk, which were firmed up by fine tannin, as brisk acidity ushered in notes of dried cherry and hints of dark exotic spice. The finish was long yet structured, with a coating of fine tannin that clenched the senses as a core of persistent red berry fruits lasted throughout. Wow. (94 points)
Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin 2016 – The nose was floral with marine-infused minerals, red berries and soil tones, almost like digging through fresh soil in a berry patch. On the palate, I found soft textures with glossy ripe red fruits, inner florals, and earth, made fresh through balancing acidity. It finished long, with palate-staining red fruits and hints of sweet tannin. (93 points)
Louis Jadot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Vaucrains 2016 – The nose was dark and earthy, with savory herbs, crushed stone and animal musk up front, followed by floral undergrowth and dried strawberry. On the palate, I found an unexpectedly zesty, deep red with notes of strawberry and cherry washing across the senses, as brisk acidity and spice maintained freshness. Chewy tannin came through on the finish, along with dried strawberry, inner florals and hints of spice. (93 points)
Louis Jadot Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Clos des Ormes 2016 – The bouquet was earthy and animalistic in all of the right ways, showing crushed stone that gave way to dried cherries with savory spice, moist earth and hints of animal musk. On the palate, I found silky textures with lively tannin adding vibrancy, as crushed strawberry and sweet inner florals filled the senses. The finish was fresh, with a bump of acidity that gave life to its lingering red fruits and spice. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Boudots Domaine Gagey 1er 2016 – Here I found a dark and rich expression of Pinot fruit, with crushed berries giving way to savory spices and underbrush. On the palate, I found a ripe and fleshy expression, kept in check by a balanced mix of acid and tannin, as black cherry gave way to minerals and earth. Tannins mounted throughout the finish with lingering red fruit and spice tones. This ‘16 seems more likely to improve in the cellar as it ages on balance and concentrated fruit. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Volnay 1er Cru Santenots 2016 – The nose was highly expressive with sweet floral-laced strawberry and dusty minerality. On the palate, I found silky textures on a feminine frame, as ripe red fruits combined with inner florals to form a remarkably pretty expression. The finish was long, showing dried red berries and violet floral inflections. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Pommard 1er Cru Clos de la Commaraine 2016 – The nose was dark and spunky with a mix of crushed raspberry, strawberry, and rich brown spice. followed by a hint of violet florals and peppery herbs. On the palate, I found soft textures with excellent lift and energy, showing ripe strawberry and hints of spice. It was wonderfully-balanced right through the finish, where young tannin tugged at the senses with dried berry tones lingering long. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2016 – The nose was spicy and intense with ripe cherry, raspberry, smoke, dried flowers, and with time, hints of animal musk. On the palate, I found soft, caressing textures, yet wonderfully pure, with notes of fresh strawberry, sweet spice and saturating minerality. The finish was long with youthful tannin coming forward yet still lively, with remnants of juicy strawberry and cherry which faded over time. (92 points)
Louis Jadot Moulin-à-Vent Clos des Thorins Château des Jacques 2016 – The nose was forward and expressive, showing crushed raspberry with peppery herbs, dusty floral tones and marine-minerality. On the palate, I found sappy dark red fruits on soft textures with ripe cherry and sweet cream. The finish was long with caressing notes of sweet red berries and violet floral tones. (91 points)
Louis Jadot Monthélie Sous Roches 2016 – The nose was beautiful and inviting, with an array of ripe red berries, savory herbs and hints of animal musk. On the palate, I found soft textures with fleshy, ripe strawberry fruits offset by drenching minerality. The finish was long and stopped short of sappy in its fruit profile, as vibrant acidity added energy and made the mouth water. This is already drinking beautifully and earns points for its great contrasts and balance. (91 points)
Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Boucherottes Domaine des Héritiers 2016 – The Boucherottes immediately stood out for its blend of fruit and earth on the nose, with sweet spices paving the way to a mix of crushed berries, savory herbs, underbrush and earth. On the palate, I found silky-soft textures with fleshy red fruits balanced by zesty acidity and balancing fine tannin. The finish was medium-long, blending the wine’s saturating red fruits with youthful tannin. (91 points)
Louis Jadot Corton Pougets Domaine des Heritiers Grand Cru 2016 – Here I found a bouquet of dark red fruits accentuated by exotic spice, dried florals and crushed stone. On the palate, soft textures were quickly firmed up by gippy tannin, creating a dry and austere expression, with dark red fruits battling to come through, yet not quite making it. The finish was medium in length and defined by its structure. (90 points)
Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny Les Drazey Domaine Gagey 2016 – The bouquet was gorgeous, as intense dark red fruits came together with sweet spice and smoke to create an extremely seductive mix. On the palate, I found soft textures giving way to tart red berry fruit with fine tannin coming forward early and slightly drying out the experience. The finish was medium in length with a coating of dried berries, minerals and fine tannin. (89 points)
Château des Jacques Morgon Côte du Py 2016 – The nose showed ripe red berry fruit offset by sweet florals and spice tones. On the palate, I found silky-soft textures with spiced red berry and hints of violets. The finish was medium in length, yet drier than I’d hoped, as the Cote du Py seems to lack the necessary energy in this vintage to really inspire me. (88 points)
Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Theurons 2016 – The nose was slightly restrained yet showed a glimpse of ripe red berry fruits, hints of sweet florals and smoke. On the palate, I found soft textures, with brisk acidity giving energy to tart red fruits and inner floral tones. The finish was medium-long, showing hints of young tannin and dry red berry fruit. (88 points)
Louis Jadot Santenay Clos de Malte 2016 – Here I found a pretty and elegant display of ripe strawberry with wild herbs, crushed stone and hints of almond skin. On the palate, soft textures gave way to lean red fruits laced with inner florals and grippy tannins that mounted toward the finale. The finish was medium-long, yet unexpectedly lean and tense, making me wonder if the fruit will hold up to the structure of the Clos de Malte over time. (86 points)